Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's Denny Been Reading?

With our schedule, it’s sometimes hard enough to find time for reading books, let alone reviewing those books and passing along recommendations for The Book Den.  That’s why I end up with “catch-up” posts like this one – a listing of books recently read with some quick assessments of their value.  

By the way, if you care to note only the books I really liked, just look at the titles I printed in bold.

Hilter’s Master of Dark Arts by Bill Yenne.  This history concentrates on Heinrich Himmler, the Gestapo, and the weird neo-pagan philosophies embraced by high-ranking Nazis.  It wasn’t the best written text but it did pack in a lot of useful, fascinating information.  For students of the period, I would recommend it.

Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow.  This was a real gem.  I didn’t agree with everything and there were a couple of areas the author didn’t address as much as I would have liked, but his insights were often quite provocative, helpful, and extremely relevant.  I have thought through his major points frequently since reading the book and I have brought them up in numerous conversations with other men (like myself) who also find the feminized, inactive, church life of modern times difficult.  Certainly the performance-based, entertainment-oriented, over-emotional music of most church services is a major turn-off but there’s a lot more that needs fixing and Murrow deftly addresses them.  I recommend this one highly.

* The Man from Indiana by Booth Tarkington.  One of our Notting Hill Napoleons selections – and an excellent read it turned out to be.  Recommended.

* Adventure by Clyde Brian Davis.  Don’t bother.  I mean it – don’t bother.

Cloak of Darkness by Helen MacInnes.  One of her typically-fine thrillers.

The Coming of Cassidy and Bar-20 by Clarence E. Mulford.  These were two of the early Hopalong Cassidy novels.  There were a dozen or so of these written in the first couple of decades of the 20th Century.  I found them interesting but ultimately less satisfying (and much less wholesome) than the William Boyd western movies I so enjoyed as a kid.  Indeed, Boyd portrayed an inspirational, heroic cowboy whereas Mulford's Hopalong was a wild, uncouth, and amoral killer.

A March to Liberation by Warren Van Demplas as told to Norm Penner.  A very brief recounting of an American P.O.W.’s suffering in Nazi Germany.  It was a moving read, especially because I knew the late Mr. Van Demplas personally.

Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes.  This account of a “public
school” education in early 19th Century Britain was a fascinating read.  Recommended.

No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman.  This humorous novel was the basis for Andy Griffith's most successful movie but I didn't care for it much. It was a comic novel but with only one basic joke. And that joke got pretty old after awhile.

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan.  The third of the Richard Hannay adventure series is a book I’ve read several times.  A stunning story and wonderfully told.

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan and D-Day: The 6th of June by David Howarth.  Both are excellent histories -- inspiring, infuriating, challenging, and extremely informative.  Both make excellent reading for students of history and for those interested in the historic deeds of one of the West’s very best generations.

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek with an introduction to this revised edition by David Limbaugh.  This is Christian apologetics at its very best.  In fact, this book forced its way into my list of Top Ten Indispensable Books for Christians.  But it is also eminently readable and relevant for non-believers too.

Mistress Wilding by Rafael Sabatini.  A fine adventure novel and with Sabatini’s insight and skill, it reaches into the realm of fine literature as well.  Recommended.

The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle.  Not a comfortable novel to read but still a valuable one.  I’m glad I read it and I would recommend it...with some reservations.

 * Golden GateThe Guns of Navarone, and Force 10 from Navarone by Alistair MacLean.  Typical adventure novels from one of the masters of the genre.  If you’re in the mood for such, MacLean is a good one to go to.

* Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie.  The novel form of the story written after the play had already been produced.  I like the play but I liked this too – very much.  Recommended.