Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: a book review

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley is a book like none I've ever read. It is half a zombie novel and half a Christian living discussion. Every other chapter follows a storyline about a world with a zombie outbreak and the other chapters are Kinley talking to you (the reader) about living a Christian life by "Slaying the Living Dead Within". Lets start with the storyline aspect of the novel.
Ben Foreman is a man living in a world where zombies are a constant threat. Each person has a dormant zombie gene that could break out at any time. Ben and others are forced to live their lives with their eyes constantly in the back of their heads. This story was compelling and interesting. As a horror fan, I appreciated the zombie element. There was enough creepy imagery to keep my attention, while at the same time I could imagine living in this world so different from my own. Or is it different? The other chapters explain how we are living with zombies in a figurative sense. By following God's commandments and expectations we can live lives unblemished by evil (zombies).
There was a lot of information in these chapters and Kinley's style of writing was very difficult for me to follow. I admit to only being able to absorb a small amount of what he was telling me because of his readability level of writing. The points he was making are relevant and very thought provoking. He used many examples and cultural references that are interesting for today's young people to think about. However, I believe that his language and cadence were too difficult to keep my attention. To reclaim Kinley's points (which I want to do) I will have to reread these chapters.
I recommend this book to young adults who struggle with understanding God. Kinley does an excellent job of breaking God's demands down into levels that are easier to understand and follow.
I received this book free from BookSneeze® for my review.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Hardest Thing to Do: a book review

This fall I had the pleasure of reading Penelope Wilcock's trilogy The Hawk and the Dove. This trilogy is about the stories a little girl's mother tells her about a group of monks. These tales, which are passed down through generations, include stories about monks learning life lessons. The reader grows to love the monks and care about their problems. When a monk has a personal breakthrough, the reader feels the breakthrough as his or her own. These charming and touching stories are held together by the single storyline of the little girl and her mother.

In 2011, Penelope Wilcock came out with a fourth book in the Hawk and the Dove series, entitled The Hardest Thing To Do. This book contains more small vignettes about monks in the St. Alcuin Abbey. There are a few differences in this book. There is one main storyline in this book, instead of many small ones. This book follows the monks and their reaction to a less than honorable man seeking refuge in their Monastery. I missed the different monks and the variety of life lessons they learned in the first three books in this series. I still quite enjoyed this book, but I liked the setup of the trilogy better. Another difference in this book is the missing thread of the girl as a narrator and her mother as the storyteller. I felt that this common thread held the mini stories together quite nicely. Because this book had the same storyline throughout it, it didn't need the common thread.

As a Christian, I gained a sense of peace reading this book. I was so emotionally invested in this book, I felt empathy and sympathy for the monks in St. Alcuin Abbey. I loved learning about the culture of a monastery, something I previously knew nothing about. Anyone with a love of God would do well to absorb this series, and enjoy every minute of it. Even people with no religious investment would enjoy learning about a different culture and a different way of life. I highly recommend this entire series and eagerly await the next book. I received this book and the preceding trilogy for free from Crossway, a Christian publishing company.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October is Bullying Prevention Month

We all have heard about the latest controversy surrounding bullying. No? Read this. As a student teacher, I have encountered bullying of my students in both 2nd grade and 5th grade. Last week one of my students and a student in the other 5th grade class came to us about being bullied by another student's MOTHER. This mother came to school at the end of the day and said appalling things to my girls in Spanish regarding the friendship of these girls and the woman's daughter. Even though the other 5th grade teacher didn't speak enough Spanish to understand what the woman was saying to the girls, she knew it wasn't appropriate. Seeing the girls upset and scared, the teacher found me and the other 5th grade teacher (my mentor), and we talked to our girls. After a heartbreaking report that moved me to tears, we had the girls write down the incident in as much detail as possible. Today I was emptying my pockets from yesterday and found a note from my student detailing the incident for me. I felt like crying all over again. Bullying from a fellow student is bad enough, but from an adult? What kind of person would come to school and threaten innocent 11 year old girls? Here is a link to visit:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Qwilleran's Last Stand

I was looking forward to a restful Saturday for my roommate and I to hang out, be lazy, and play video games. We did just that until around 4 or so. Then my beloved hedgehog, Qwill started having a seizure. After a minute, it was over and he was back to normal. About 40 minutes later he had another one. That's when we took him to an animal hospital. He had an episode when we were there and the vet said Qwill was having fainting spells and they had to put him on oxygen to wake him back up. The bills for keeping him overnight and running more tests were more than we could spend. On top of the bills for the tests we would later have treatment bills. So I made the decision to have the poor little guy put down. I couldn't bear to let him suffer through another episode where he thrashes and squeals, which by the way, is the worst and saddest sound I've ever heard. He is now buried in a place that has a lot of meaning for me in Allendale. He was about a year and a half years old and my little baby. RIP little guy.