This page is mostly for personal and spiritual posts (a.k.a. non-fiction).
My fiction-only blog, about my novels and other similar examples of popular art, can be found here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hardware, Day of the Barbarians, and Monstrum

Since my last few blog entries were about discernment in entertainment and the popular arts, I thought it would be good to give you some examples of good books I've read recently. I'd like to have a site just devoted to book reviews from a Christian perspective, because there is a real scarcity of such sites out there. (Are there any at all, in fact? Let me know if you are aware of any.) But I'm too busy to start a new site, and "Voracious" and "VoraciousReader" are both taken as site names (bummer!). So I'll just put some recommendations on my blog from time to time, for movies and music as well as books, and hope somebody benefits from them.

Hardware: The Man in the Machine, by McDuffie and Cowan
This is a really cool graphic novel, by African-American creators, collecting a comics series from years ago that only lasted about 10 issues. But it's got great art by Denys Cowan and beautiful coloring (a rather unique look), and the extra bonus that makes this book special is the theme of revenge vs. justice. The hero, who is more of an anti-hero at first, actually progresses in character development as the story goes, with the arc coming to a satisfying conclusion, especially for those who care about the truth.

The Day of the Barbarians, by Alessandro Barbero
I picked up this short book at a discount store, and I was fascinated by it. It describes the battle of Adrianople in 378 AD, which this Italian historian says was the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire. One of the more interesting themes was how the Romans assimilated the barbarians into their culture, only to regret it later. How that might relate to the immigration trends in Europe and America today, I'll leave that for you to decide.

Monstrum, by Donald James
This one I bought at a thrift store because I thought the cover looked good and it sounded like an interesting premise...a future Moscow ravaged by civil war and a serial killer who may be more than he seems (or she). The author is a historian who is an expert on Russia, so all that happens in the novel is probably possible. If you can stand the constant profanity (Russian style) from some of the characters and the anti-hero's often anti-heroic actions, an illustration of God's grace emerges eventually as He uses an unlikely and undeserving tool to save the country. Along the way, twists and turns keep you turning the pages.