Winston Churchill’s Improbable Life

Review of The Last Lion, Volume 1 by William ManchesterThe life of Winston Churchill is enough to make one believe in Providence. His life was so charmed, so unlikely, yet, ultimately, so necessary for the survival of a just and free world that the easiest explanation is that the Higher Power custom-made him for the purpose.  Churchill, one suspects, would have agreed.  “We are all worms,” goes one of his famous Churchillian aphorisms, “but I do believe I am a glow worm.”William Mancheste … [Read more...]

Alexis’s Best Reads of 2013

It's that time again—when everyone and their mom is posting 'best of 2013' lists. And since I'm no Arty the Smarty (at least not on this issue), I'll join the club. Here are the best books I read in 2013 (most of which were not actually published in 2013). I've included a few re-reads, but by and large these books were all new to me in the past year.[Side note: 2013 was the year of the road trip, so a decent chunk of these were more listened to than read; I've tried to indicate the audiobook … [Read more...]

Coyle’s Best of 2013

As with last year's list, I do not claim that these are the best books you could have read in 2013. They are, however, the ones that stand out from my Goodreads page.FictionWarlock, by Oakley Hall. Generally considered one of the best westerns ever written, this book is on the surface a fictionalized account of the showdown at the O.K. Corral. But it is also much, much more than that—Warlock explores the development of the American west and the religious and moral issues that attended t … [Read more...]

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Advent and the Incarnation

Review of Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas, edited by Nancy Guthrie, and Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation, by Joel R. Beeke and William BoekesteinConfession: I am a Christmas addict. And I don't mean that in a highbrow religious sense; I love those bits of Christmas that are so often derided as 'crass' and 'commercial'. I love everything about it—gifts, decorations, cookies, cartoon 'specials', and Christmas movies, whether c … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis and the Feverish Passion of ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’

Review of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezThis summer, determined to finally make a dent in my 'to read' list, I finally took the plunge into Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez's classic South American romance, Love in the Time of Cholera.[SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON OUT]García Márquez tells the story of the young poet Florentino Ariza, who falls in love with the lovely (and even younger) Fermina Daza. The two begin a passionate correspondence, despite the v … [Read more...]

I Have Confidence in Me! (But should I?)

Review of A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises by Renee SwopeFor her whole life, Renee Swope has struggled with self-confidence. Now, as a radio co-host for the well-respected Proverbs 31 Ministries, she is sharing her struggle—and the lessons she's learned along the way. So how do you overcome flagging self-confidence? According to Swope, the answer may not be easy, but it is relatively simple: believe the promises of God. In her bo … [Read more...]

No two ways about it—One Way Love is great!

Review of One Way Love by Tullian TchividjianWhen it comes to absorbing the good news of the Gospel, Americans have a dual problem (no doubt this isn't uniquely an American problem, but I've got to write what I know). On the one hand, we like to think that any problems we've got with sin can be solved by hard work, personal dedication, and that stick-to-it-iveness that settled the colonies, won the West, and built the financial and military juggernaut we've got today. If we owe someone … [Read more...]

‘Playing God’ puts power in its place

Review of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power by Andy CrouchAll of us enjoy 'playing God' from time to time, and I don't just mean that in terms of video games or movies. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we have all dedicated every moment of every day to trying our hardest to dethrone God and take His place as the all-powerful King of the universe. And as Christians, we hate that about ourselves. And when our dislike of our own natural sinful power-craving disposition … [Read more...]

‘Death by Living’ Is All Dressed Up with No Place to Go

Review of Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent by N.D. WilsonFrom author N.D. Wilson—he of Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl and an assortment of children’s fiction series—comes Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent, billed as ‘an astoundingly unique book.’ And it certainly is something out of the ordinary, at least based on my interaction with it. I find myself in rather an unusual position: I suspect this book is better than I think it is.I confess that I am handicapped by my styli … [Read more...]

Things That Go Bump in the Night and the Faith that Sends Them Fleeing

Review of What Are You Afraid Of? Facing Down Your Fears with Faith by Dr. David JeremiahI confess, I know next to nothing about Dr. David Jeremiah. I’ve heard the name, sure, and am vaguely aware of a radio program and possibly a televised sermon. But, well, televangelism and religious radio programming being what they are, I was more than a little skeptical when I first cracked open his latest work, What Are You Afraid Of? Imagine my delight when I discovered that Dr. Jeremiah’s analysis of … [Read more...]