Review: Bonhoeffer

Hey all.

So this year, I’m trying to get into audiobooks.  I spend a lot of time in my car, and in looking for a way to redeem that time, I’m trying out books instead of music.

I started off with The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (and I JUST realized I never wrote a review for that – I’m on it!), then moved to something much weightier – Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.

Bonhoeffer tells the story of the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer – a German Evangelical pastor who was part of the plot to assassinate Hitler.  As I’ve mentioned in my posts before, I’m a Christian, and the idea of trying to reconcile one’s Christian beliefs with seeking to murder someone for the greater good was fascinating to me.

The size of this book was pretty daunting – I was going to spend over 24 hours listening to this beast of a biography.  Thankfully, the reader (who did a GREAT job, by the way) read slowly, so I was able to increase the audio speed of my app and cut that baby down to 21-22 hours.  Slightly more manageable.

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Eric Metaxas does a great job of leaving no stone unturned.  Bonhoeffer starts with Dietrich’s ancestors – it took longer to get to his birth than I was expecting.  But Metaxas draws on Bonhoeffer’s family history throughout the story, so it definitely wasn’t in vain.

He then takes us through Bonhoeffer’s entire life: his childhood and schooling, his time in America and multiple countries in Europe, his theological journey and convictions, and how he became a part of the Hitler assassination attempt.

Metaxas does a marvelous job of weaving in details and context, helping the reader to understand why each little piece matters.  He writes matter-of-factly but not so much that we don’t care about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  On the contrary, I found myself caring very much.

The one negative thing I’ll say is that I found the author’s interpretation of the religious climate in Germany a little… how do I say this?  Disappointing.  Or I guess, more accurately, I found myself doubting the validity of what he was saying due to many of his comments the past year regarding Evangelicals in America today and the Trump administration.  His comments have come across as very nationalist, so when I read his criticisms of the German church’s harmful nationalism and how it affected the Jews, I had to roll my eyes just a bit – it seemed hypocritical in light of his defense of many of Trump’s nationalist, racist, and prejudiced comments and policies.

I struggle with trying to understand how an author’s actions outside of their work affects my enjoyment of their work.  More on that another time, maybe.

It was a good biography – thorough and engaging.  I would recommend it if WWII interests you, if Christian ethics interest you, or if you want to think more about today’s political climate through a new lens.

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Review: Provenance

Hi, y’all!

So, this was a HIGHLY anticipated book for me.  I met Ann Leckie in October where she signed my copies of the Ancillary Trilogy, which I LOVED and look forward to re-reading soon.  That was right after the book came out, and meeting her amped me up even more for its release!

Have I told you that I strive to have very low expectations in most areas of my life?  That way I’m rarely disappointed and often pleasantly surprised?  It works most of the time (except for with the Hobbit movies… that’s a whole other conversation, unfortunately).  Anyway, highly anticipated and high expectations are two different things, but I had problems keeping the latter under control this time.

provenanceProvenance by Ann Leckie started out a little slow for me.  I wasn’t crazy about the main character, Ingray, at first, but there were plenty of other characters to love.  If you decide to read this book and have a similar experience in the first 50 pages, Ingray gets better, I promise.  Her character grows and learns and makes mistakes along the way, and it’s great.  Besides, if you loved every main character on page 1, how boring would that be?

BUT.  (Or and?  I’m not sure what interjection/conjunction I want to use here.)

Let me just say: plot-wise, Ann Leckie knocked it out of the park.  There were layers upon layers of intrigue and manipulation, and it had me wondering who in the universe we could actually trust.  The plot is simple yet nuanced in a way that Ann Leckie does best.  It was fun and accessible while still remaining truly science fiction.

It was also really enjoyable to read a novel set in the same universe as the Ancillary Trilogy but with no crossover of characters at all.  It was a (slightly) different a time and a totally different location.  I love that!

Overall, I’d highly recommend Provenance if you’re looking for a cozy science fiction mystery; it’s an easy read and definitely a gem.

Happy February! (Plus a New Look)

Hi, blog friends.

It’s been a much longer time than I had anticipated.  I apologize for not checking in.

Last you heard from me, I was going to be blogging less due to NaNoWriMo.  Have I been writing my novel this whole time?  Is it still November?  No, and no.

I’ve been silent for a few reasons:

  1. I DID work on a novel in November, and I also took a writing class at the Loft Literary Center.  Both were worthwhile endeavors.
  2. 2017 was a year where I focused on my health in ways I never had before.  Making my health a priority led to putting less time and energy into other things, and at the end of the year, blogging had to wait for a bit.
  3. After taking a two-month break, I had to ask myself: Why do I blog?  What do I want to accomplish with this platform?  Do I even still enjoy this?

I’m glad I took this break, and while I don’t have all the answers to number 3, I DO still enjoy this.  I DO want to share my thoughts on books and writing.  So for now, I’m going to.

Which led to the blog getting a slightly different look if you didn’t notice 🙂

Anyway, enough of that life update.  Here’s what you can expect in the coming weeks:

  • a review of Provenance by Ann Leckie
  • a review of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
  • a review of Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin
  • a review of Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes

… and a few other reviews.  See, at least I’ve still been reading!

Connect with you soon, friends.