Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alienation by Jon S. Lewis

Alienation by Jon S. Lewis is the second novel in the new young adult fictional C.H.A.O.S. trilogy series.  In light of the popular culture topic of alien invasions seen in countless movies and new TV series, this timely book is sure to appeal to young audiences.  This book is second in ther series, so obviously reader will probably get the most out of this work if they had read the first novel. The science fiction plot will certainly hold the attention of teenaged readers.  The chapters are short and simple.  The youing teenage hero of the story is involved in a conspiracy involving the government and aliens.  He must follow his destiny and save the world. 

This book integrates the popular genre of the comic book- novel hybrid.  Before the first chapter begins, there is a comic book excerpt- with authentic vintage styled text and cartoons.  At the end of the book, a "Classified Top Secret" report is contained- a virtual "Digital Sketchbook" of characters drawn on an iphone background to simulate an electronic database.

As a blogger for booksneeze I recieved this book for the purpose of writing this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Old Library

based on a re-occurring dream

I find myself following a desolate winding dirt pathway across the desert plains region. Blinded by the scorching mid-day sun, somehow, I trudge my way along the path as if by auto-pilot. It is unknown how I actually find my way when I suddenly arrive at a large, spacious, empty, utilitarian multi- platform lobby. There is no entrance, nor door- it is as if I simply find myself placed there. Dreary, faded red commercial carpet at my feet, and above me, sterile, indistinct white walls and ceiling cannot be distinguished from the bright sky above. With a sense of urgency, I am drawn with a single mindedness to the worn, carpet covered stairs- the only visual landmark: quickly I walk up several winding levels.

Finally at the end, I reach gymnasium styled double doors as if approaching a large gym or school cafeteria. I push open the doors to find I am close to my destination: a stark contrast to the spacious, airy lobby- a dim, gloomy, cavernous library with multiple levels awaits me. I am greeted by the scent of freshly uprooted soil, and old books. Even though it is damp, and musty, it is an inviting and comforting, nonetheless. This unusual space is best described as a hybrid of an old forest, with old, twisted trees and scattered remains and relics. Dark, large antique book shelves loom above, crammed with old volumes. Dusty, long oblong boxes, rest undisturbed, in various nooks and crevices. Bookshelves, and relics and picturesque stonework are haphazardly scattered, as well as discarded, wilted, and dry roses. The neglected, old library is overgrown with soft green moss, and climbing vines. Grasping the cool, pointed, black, iron rails, I run up three levels, bypassing the first two levels without even a glance, as I know my time is limited. Oblivious to the beautifully crafted stone monuments, as soon as I reach the top of the platform, I turn to the left, to reach a small, dark, cool, encased, attic-like space and and my hurried quest is complete.  Physically drained, and tired,  I slip down to  the ground,  slumped against a cool corner, to rest for a moment, quite comfortably, in fact,  not a care or concern in the world, peacefully thinking that I wish I could stay undisturbed,  for a little while longer.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn

Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn is a lifechanging book based on biblical teaching to help the reader address and face  the tragedies in life.  The author's premise is that if painful memories and experiences are left untreated or buried in the mind, that they resurface later in the form of deprerssion chronic illness or mental illness.  This is not simply a secular self help book, but rather a spiritual book based on biblical teaching. This book is a sombering wake- up call, as the author warns that the sick mind is usually not capable of healing itself on its own without outside help.  After each chapter is a work book or study guide to allow the reader to take a guided tour through the healing process.  This author has a good insight to the purposes of pain and depression and states that depression is a sign that should not be ignored or medicated away, but rather a sign that something needs to be addressed.  This book alsoteaches personal responsability for one's actions and feelings- not excuses.

 In large part, I did agree with the book and its methods to help the reader overcome his or her pain.  The author himself experienced a difficult and a public divorce that threatened his ministry career.  He included an honest analysis of his own avoidance and dissconnection relationship issues. Nevertheless, his "faults"based on his self- accessment,  seemed  mild and at times self serving. Yet the author maintained a rigid adherence to certain ideas.   I  believe there was an undue focus on one's past.  It almost seemed as if this could perpetuate a morbid fascination with digging up the past and ruminating on past events or past hurts.  If somethong has been buried in the subconscious mind, that it is a survival technique and perhaps it ois best to leave it be then allow it to resurface.  The mind and spirit have an amazing ability to heal and forgetting or burying the past (such as traumatic and painful events) are part of the healing process and coping mechanisms.  Why go through such lengths to undue the work of the mind with an unnatural expedition into one's past?  I also believe that Christian counseling (or any counseling for that matter) isn't always available and financially prohbitive for many people who struggle financially. In an ideal world everyone would get help for their issues, but this isn't an ideal world.   Even if one has health insurance, the copays for counseling visits add up- especially ongoing visits.  If therapy continues for an indefinate amount of time, the money expense is significant.  On pages206-207 the author has a disclaimer warning the reader not to simply read the books and attemp self healing, but that outside help and counseling is essential- and that the reader may do more harm than good in attempting to help himself without the services of a professional counselor or clergy.  As a blogger for Thomas Nelson publishesr I recieved this book for the purpose of writing this review.