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Rodge (Ontario, Canada)
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Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative
Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative
by Sam Storms
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.10
10 used & new from CDN$ 26.09

5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive overview of Arminianism, April 16 2014
This is a fairly comprehensive overview of Arminianism, coming in over 500 pages. Storms is an able guide to the subject, making his exegesis detailed but clear. He doesn't leave many, if any, of the issues untouched so this book is certainly valuable in articulating an Arminian position. Storms also outlines opposing positions, as is necessary to distinguish his views from others. Here he is quite fair, in my opinion - he is clear where and why he disagrees without being condescending or dismissive. Of course he is most engaged with dispensational premillennialism, but he does engage with postmillennialism as well.

I am quite sympathetic to Sam Storms' view - insofar as I have an eschatological position, I would describe it as amillennial. I certainly agree with Storms' criticisms of dispensationalism. Overall, if you want a good book on the subject of eschatology, there are a number of options out there. Sam Storms would have to be one of the top options on the list, perhaps even the best option. On the other hand, if you are already well-versed in the eschatological debates, this book may be unnecessary, although I think it would still be valuable.

The Luminaries
The Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.50
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just because it won the Booker Prize . . ., April 14 2014
This review is from: The Luminaries (Hardcover)
Doesn't mean you should read it. A lesson I've learned several times.

1) This book is far too long (for me). An 830 page novel needs to justify its length somehow, this book didn't achieve that. Middlemarch, yes, The Luminaries, no.
2) The structure of the novel is pretentious, in my opinion. I don't want to have to get myself updated on the Zodiac to understand how the novel is structured. It's okay to make your readers do some work, but you have to pay them back. This book doesn't do that.

That being said, Catton is a fine writer. The opening paragraphs are some of the best I've ever read. Unfortunately the story went downhill from there. We should also be thankful that Catton did give this novel a plot, rather than going so experimental that this novel didn't seem to be about anything. If this book had been 500 pages, I would have felt better about it. Instead, I wondered when the story was going to end. On page 200.

End Of Sparta, The
End Of Sparta, The
by Victor Davis Hanson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.38
26 used & new from CDN$ 4.94

4.0 out of 5 stars A historical novel that works surprisingly well, April 8 2014
This review is from: End Of Sparta, The (Hardcover)
This is Hanson's first novel - for a first-rate historian to make a foray into fiction is a risk that may not pay off too well. Fortunately, Hanson is up to the challenge here, although the reader will need some patience to adapt to his chosen style. Hanson states in his preface that he wishes to avoid making the Greeks sound like modern-day American suburbanites and also avoid the high unrealistic style featured in Greek literature. I would say that he succeeds here. Some of his prose and dialogue is a bit much, but the overall effect is to immerse the reader in an unfamiliar world that still has human beings living in it. They are from a different time and place but their motivations and actions make sense.

Ultimately I think this novel serves its purpose, fleshing out a historical narrative which is short of factual details. Perhaps the only element of the story I found personally annoying was having a young Philip of Macedon tagging along for much of the narrative, and having Plato pop up and make a token, pointless conversational interjection. But we must allow Hanson his indulgences - the rest of his novel makes up for it.

Haydn Piano Sonatas
Haydn Piano Sonatas
Price: CDN$ 18.90
14 used & new from CDN$ 13.28

5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy collection of neglected works, April 1 2014
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This review is from: Haydn Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
Haydn doesn't blow you away with fireworks - he just works hard and gets his point across through musical consistency. This collection shows what he can do with piano works. This is not Beethoven, this is just quality, winning melodic music that is more sophisticated than it might first appear. I'm grateful Hamelin has gone to the trouble of recording all this work, as it is well worth listening to.

5 Symphonies / 7 Ovts
5 Symphonies / 7 Ovts
Price: CDN$ 29.36
34 used & new from CDN$ 16.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Box sets involve compromises, but no regrets here, April 1 2014
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This review is from: 5 Symphonies / 7 Ovts (Audio CD)
Buying a box set obviously means you get a whole bunch of recordings, and hopefully most of them are good. That's pretty much what is the case with this one. We get a whole bunch of Mendelssohn recordings, including all his symphonies and overtures. I have my favourites and there are some recordings which aren't going to get listened to a lot here. Overall though this was pretty good value.

Mozart Piano Concertos 20 & 21
Mozart Piano Concertos 20 & 21
Price: CDN$ 14.62
24 used & new from CDN$ 9.44

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm sold on Lisiecki, April 1 2014
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I've seen Lisiecki live once and I have a couple of recordings, including this one. Lisiecki is not a prodigy, he is a skilled pianist who happens to still be very young. And a totally classy guy to boot.

As far as this recording goes, I quite enjoyed his take on Mozart - and the orchestra complements him very well. No need to hesitate on this one.

Symphony No. 7 - Leningrad
Symphony No. 7 - Leningrad
Price: CDN$ 9.86
21 used & new from CDN$ 5.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine recording, April 1 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wasn't familiar with this symphony when I ordered this, but I thought it would be a worthwhile addition to my collection at the price. Having listened to this a couple of times, I can't say I'm blown away by it. I haven't been blown away by Shostakovich in the past so I assume that it's the composer rather than the recording. Nonetheless, I think this is an important work and this recording is a good way of experiencing it.

Martyrs Mirror: The Story of Seventeen Centuries of Christian Martyrdom, from the Time of Christ to A.D. 1660
Martyrs Mirror: The Story of Seventeen Centuries of Christian Martyrdom, from the Time of Christ to A.D. 1660
by Thieleman J. Van Braght
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.22
17 used & new from CDN$ 28.22

5.0 out of 5 stars The one-of-a-kind Anabaptist reference book, March 31 2014
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This is probably the most famous Mennonite book there is. And what a book - this is an encyclopedic compendium of accounts about Christian martyrs of the past, written and compiled by van Braght in the mid 1600s. The collection is filtered to accounts of those who practiced adult baptism, were "defenseless Christians" (i.e. nonresistant) and were faithful to the end. Van Braght is wordy at times and there are pages in here that are very skimmable. Undoubtedly some of the accounts here are not strictly accurate - some legends probably slipped through van Braght's filter. Nonetheless, this is a book that records the very human record of Christian faithfulness, suffering and death, and for that it will undoubtedly endure for centuries to come.

So Brave, Young and Handsome: A Novel
So Brave, Young and Handsome: A Novel
by Leif Enger
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from CDN$ 44.79

3.0 out of 5 stars No Peace Like a River, March 26 2014
This follow-up novel to "Peace Like a River" has excellent writing, but the framing story and the characters come up a little short. Monte Becket abandons his family to join outlaw Glendon Hale on a hare-brained excursion to reconnect with Hale's former wife. Becket's abandonment of his family for a risky journey with an old outlaw is never that convincing, although the writing may be good enough to make you wish it so. The story is lacking an convincing, emotional core and is only suspenseful on occasion, making for a surprisingly hard read. I was only just able to finish this.

Harvest
Harvest
by Jim Crace
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.88
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing obscures dark subject matter, March 24 2014
This review is from: Harvest (Paperback)
This novel uses literary sophistication to beautifully mask what is in fact a horror story of sorts. The setting is in England at some uncertain pre-industrial time. The peasants have just completed the harvest, when some visitors arrive. The story begins with 2 fires. The villagers react to some threats - but ultimately this book is about how a community can be its own worst enemy. Don't let the writing fool you, this book will take you into an exploration of darkness.

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