Book Reviews

Reading and learning are important parts of writing and teaching. It’s something I keep pressing myself to do.

But as great as it is to read consistently, it often seems that, years after reading a book, I’ve forgotten much of what it has to say, sometimes even its key ideas. Or the key ideas may have been retained, but not necessarily associated with the book. For this reason, among others, I’ve been thinking of taking notes when reading a book, and putting them together as a short review. Actually, I sometimes take notes now, but after enough time they seem cryptic, or are forgotten. So writing a summary would serve as a focus to record thoughts, but also as a way to do so clearly and in a form to be used later.

To be honest, doing this on the blog seems secondary, it’s just that having such a platform provides focus — helpful for being consistent. Also, after thinking about it, there seem to be a couple perspectives that are important to me, but are often missed in other reviews. It’s possible that other people would also find them useful, so maybe posting them would be generally helpful after all.

For one thing, books on creation span a fairly wide range of complexity. I think creation is an important topic and that there are many perspectives that need to be shared, but sometimes good material is written at an advanced enough level as to be inaccessible to most people. However, this characteristic is not always apparent when reading others’ reviews or the jacket cover. I think it would be useful for people, when considering whether to read a book, to know what level it’s written at. And perhaps, if written at an advanced level, to know if there are other treatments available. I would never intentionally turn anyone away from a book they’re interested in reading, but it’s more important that people have access to the ideas they need to hear.

Another thing I look for is the presence of spiritual perspectives. What is the author’s relationship with God, and do they give any sort of witness to the reality of Him in their lives? Do they acknowledge the Bible as more than a secular book, and if so, how? Do they discuss spiritual principles as part of their ideas, or stick to secular analysis? Not everyone cares about such things, but those who do would typically have a hard time finding such information in typical reviews.

So despite not having any experience at this sort of thing (at least not since college), I’ll give it a shot. I’m pretty sure it will be helpful for me; hopefully others will benefit, too.

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