Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Review: The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides Us

The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides UsThe Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides Us by Karl Vaters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A much-needed book. Written for those in small churches (he generally defines this as 200 or less, though sometimes includes 350 or less). Vaters clarifies what small church leadership can glean from the teachings of mega-church pastors and what we cannot. A lot of food for thought and encouragement for leaders and pastors in small churches (and by default, the pastors' wives who love them)....

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the SpectrumThe Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I finished this book, I realized it is written in exactly the pattern of how Dr. Grandin's mind works -- she meticulously examines all the trees and then she assembles her forest. The beginning felt more like a college textbook written in first person -- fascinating information, but slightly difficult to wade through, even though I was familiar with much of the terminology. I was a bit disappointed early on, having previously read, Thinking in Pictures. But I'm glad I stuck with it, as it got better and better. Grandin covers a lot of ground -- from the latest in brain research to the latest hypotheses in how neurotypical and autistic minds process the world (i.e. not all autistics think in pictures like she originally thought and wrote about). And most importantly, she focuses on strengths of the autistic mind in order to steer those on the spectrum to a more fulfilling life and career. If I had edited the book, I might have challenged her to use consistent terms throughout -- i.e. "neurotypical" instead of "normal" in some places, even though she does get into, "what is normal anyway?" But to me that was only mildly distracting. Rating: 4 stars -- " I really liked it"

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman

Like many, I was over-the-moon excited to hear that Harper Lee was finally publishing a sequel. I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird to prepare for the release, and then dove right in. Here's my review:


Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first chapter and all the childhood flashbacks in the remaining chapters, many of which did not appear in the original novel. It was odd to read a few unpolished sections that made it into the final Mockingbird novel, as they were a bit incongruent with what was eventually published and a significant key detail was changed. Tough to review the rest, as it was a rough draft. I wish I hadn't read any reviews that contained spoilers so that I could feel the emotions along with Scout. I can see why the publishers advised her as they did way back when -- the memories of childhood newly revealed in Watchman were just as compelling as the ones that appeared in the polished-for-publication Mockingbird novel. I wish the original author had worked this into a sequel and written a longer ending, but it still is fascinating to see the backstory into how her work was created. Rating: 3 stars -- "I liked it"

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review: Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the TimeOverwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I don't necessarily agree with every single premise, this was a well-researched book with lots of fascinating information. We actually spend more time with our children than previous generations, but the time is contaminated with the ever-cycling treadmill of what's next and/or undone. Our children have the same stress level as a mental hospital patient of the 1950s. The author really did her homework and legwork to sift out many helpful suggestions from her many sources. I enjoyed reading her journey and how she would always bring it all together. There were a lot of rabbit trails, and I'd wonder sometimes, "wait, how did we get here?" just before she'd bring it back around. I'm glad I read it, and would give a solid 3.5 stars if I could.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: Rules by Cynthia Lord

RulesRules by Cynthia Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great read -- especially for the sibling of a special needs child. The author gets it -- she's one of us, and she weaves a nice little story that's a realistic mix of the joys and challenges a special needs family experiences. My only knock would be that the whole story is told in present tense, which seemed a little odd.

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