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Reviews Written by
Craig Stephans (Elizabeth City NC)

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From a Buick 8
From a Buick 8
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.40
96 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars I think this was an awful book, March 25 2004
I finished this book only due to my respect for King. I think it was just dreadful. It is boring, goes nowhere, has no revelation or climax. The historical action is told through a present conversation among people who are boring and pathetic. I was not compelled at all to keep reading and when done threw it in the trash, something I never do with books. The car and what comes from it is annoying. We never learn anything about it and there is no explanation for it. The characters are not developed beyond what occurs at the trooper station. I think reading this book was a complete waste of time.

Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 6.88
100 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, March 17 2004
This review is from: Fallen (Audio CD)
I can't seem to listen to this cd enough. It is perfect for listening to while working out or doing anything around the house. I think this cd will be a timeless classic rock cd. The songs have an excellent combination of lyrics, sung beautifully, and rock music. I think as a whole this is one of the best cd's I have listened to in a while. I hope they can match it in the future.

Purpose Driven Life
Purpose Driven Life
by Rick Warren
Edition: Hardcover
335 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Good picture of Christianity though not flawless, March 17 2004
This review is from: Purpose Driven Life (Hardcover)
The Purpose-Driven Life focuses on helping readers answer the question, "What on earth am I here for?" Warren sets out to help readers become the people that God wants them to be.
He elaborates on five truths to answer this question of why we are here. According to Warren, we exist for the purposes of worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship and discipleship. He states that in fulfilling these roles on earth, we find and fulfill our purposes.
This is a comprehensive book about how to live the Christian life successfully. It discusses most of the major themes of The Bible. Warren cites over 1,000 scriptures in the book. He rarely makes a point without quoting from the Bible. The messages of the chapters are relevant for new and mature Christians.
The book is formatted in 40 chapters. Warren suggests readers study a chapter a day for 40 days, so that the reader can take time to reflect and meditate on each chapter's lesson. Each chapter ends with a main point to consider, a scripture to remember and a question to answer. I found these questions to be thought-provoking and meaningful.
This book is an excellent tool for study groups to read and discuss. It emphasizes the importance of Christian character development and of becoming an active member of a community of believers. Warren provides reasons and practical ways for the reader to serve others inside and outside the church.
For a church wanting to develop individuals excited and prepared to do ministry, promoting studies of The Purpose-Driven Life would help to meet this objective. Warren concludes the book by addressing each person's mission within the church and world. He also includes an appendix with further questions to initiate discussion among readers.
In citing 1000 scriptures throughout the book, Warren uses 15 different Bible translations interchangeably. He explains that all translations have limitations and that he uses various translations to present scriptures in a fresh way. The references for the scriptures he quotes are in endnotes, so I was continually turning to the back of the book to discover the version and verse of a scripture. To a minor extent, I think this undermines the integrity and flow of the book.
I always try to keep in mind when reading a book like this that the author's opinions are not infallible like the Bible. I say this because there are a few times while reading this book when I disagreed with an opinion of Warren's which was stated as a fact. Readers should keep in mind that opinions of Christian authors are debatable and not gospel.
I don't think these two criticisms detract much from the value of this book.
Warren writes that "The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity. That's what this book is about." In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren has written indefatigably about this purpose, and I think reading it will help you identify and fulfill your purpose.

GOOD NEWS FOR BAD DAYS TP: Living A Soulful Life
GOOD NEWS FOR BAD DAYS TP: Living A Soulful Life
by Father Keenan Paul
Edition: Audio Cassette
6 used & new from CDN$ 29.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Good News but not Great News, March 16 2004
Keenan explores the realm of the soul in this pleasant, enlightening discussion. A problem I had is that he never (that I can remember) defines the soul or discusses the spirit. So, much of the language about the soul is somewhat ambiguous. I think at times he referred to what I consider the spirit as the soul. I never grasped exactly what he means by "soul," which is frustrating when that is the focus of the book.
Much of the book lacked the passion that really moves a reader to wake up to the sense of soul and spirituality and the need to address the unseen world. The book is told/read without much drama.
Keenan does share insights about life that will probably cause you to examine your priorities and direction in life. He shares stories that are relevant but that didn't seem to strike a loud enough chord to me. I think he could have gone deeper into his spiritual well to offer the reader more living water that what is here.
I think there is a lack of specificity about what he truly believes regarding the soul. He doesn't share much of his Catholic belief system but more of a watered down spirituality that ignores much of what one would expect a Catholic priest to believe.
There were some nuggets that I can take with me such as looking for the miracle in everyday life, expecting gifts from God and from life, and trusting in the guidance of providence when least suspected.
I would encourage him to be more earnest about what he believes in the future.

On Becoming a Novelist
On Becoming a Novelist
by John W Gardner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.95
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insights and counsel to writers, March 16 2004
This review is from: On Becoming a Novelist (Paperback)
Gardner comes across as a realist and an inspiration to writers. This is not a step-by-step book about how to write a novel. It is more of a big picture approach to developing the mindset, skills and discipline to become a novelist.
Gardner illustrates the ingredients to writing novels and to being a novelist. His examples of his own writing experiences are the crux of this book. He has been through the angst and exhiliration of writing and shares his insights in this book.
He clearly conveys that writing takes discipline, skill, perseverance and teachability. He elaborates on these areas in the book.
Overall, the book is inspiring and educational. It is not drawn out or wordy. He gets to the point and keeps it short, so it is very helpful throughout.

Love Among The Ruins
Love Among The Ruins
Price: CDN$ 17.40
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.09

5.0 out of 5 stars 10,000 Maniacs Live On, March 16 2004
This review is from: Love Among The Ruins (Audio CD)
Thoroughly good cd. The songs are classic Maniacs. Mary Ramsey is a more than adequate replacement for Natalie Merchant. She has a beautiful voice that works nicely with the music. The songs are not quite as stimulating as some of the previous Maniac songs, but are highly enjoyable. Maniac fans will not be disappointed. I certainly an not.

In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003
In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003
Offered by nagiry
Price: CDN$ 9.53
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of why I have always loved REM, March 15 2004
These songs are great to listen to, even the ones that have not become "hits" entertain. This is a broad variety of styles, too. This is a cd you can listen to while doing anything--working, reading, working out, cleaning or driving. I think if you like REM at all, you will be happy listening to this cd.
The jacket includes a brief story about each song's genesis.

Matchstick Men [Import]
Matchstick Men [Import]
4 used & new from CDN$ 9.10

2.0 out of 5 stars I'm just not buying the string of events in this film, March 15 2004
This review is from: Matchstick Men [Import] (VHS Tape)
The story about con men falls apart by trying to be too clever for the viewer. The liberty that a director has to do anything in a movie, because he has the power, trips Scott in this movie. He presents a story that is too outlandish to buy into.
If you watch this and review the events in your mind, you will find yourself becoming as neurotic as Cage's character. The pieces just don't fit and thus what seems to be a good movie is sabotaged and falls apart.
One problem that stands out is the psychiatrist or impersonator. Who is he? If not a real psychiatrist, how did Roy find him and why would he be the liasion between Roy and his ex-wife and then supposed daughter. A con man as sly as Roy would at least posses the discernment to figure something out, despite his obsessive-compulsiveness. But there I go trying to figure it out when the puzzle cannot be put together.
I think you will end up frustrated by this film, as I was. It plays a trick on the viewer, but really ends up catching itself in the net. I would pass on this one.

The Lost Son: A Life In Pursuit Of Justice
The Lost Son: A Life In Pursuit Of Justice
by Bernard B Kerik
Edition: Hardcover
76 used & new from CDN$ 0.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Man, Great Book, March 15 2004
Talk about a man's man! Kerik's life is captivating. This book reads like a novel. Kerik tells his fascinating story of overcoming exceptional obstacles to achieve his dream. The pace never lulls and each new event in his life is intriguing.
I have great respect for Kerik after reading this book. He is the epitome of a leader and fighter. His story is inspirational to anyone facing seemingly insurmountable odds.
It also includes the drama of Kerik searching for his mother after many years and the emotions that a man who is the Chief of the NYPD experiences when learning the truth of his mohter's life and death. Kerik doesn't try to create a facade in this book. He tells a transparent tale of his life that includes, at times, his softer side.

The Syndrome
The Syndrome
by John Case
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.99
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, Intriguing Story But Lacks Believability, March 11 2004
The Syndrome captured my attention and lured me into an exciting story. I read it over a few days whenever I had a chance. It is a page turner.
The story involves conspiracy, secret governmental experiments on humans, assassination plots, false memory and mind control. With those topics at the center of the story, the details become blurred and the believability of the events lessens. But even so, the action is exciting, the main characters likable and not too simple, and the writing is pretty good. There are plenty of surprises.

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