Saturday, April 22, 2006

What I'm Reading

This past week I've received several similar emailings from people concerned that our friends in Washington have a plan to control the internet. Internet search engines are one focus and for some reason, Google was singled out in the emails I received. Except for checking the weather, reading blogs, and monitoring a handful of favorite sites -- all of which I've listed in my links here -- I don't do much surfing or searching. Now, I fully understand why politicians might want to protect children from internet predators or monitor sites that might result in loss of human life. But with all the other problems in this country, I can't for the life of me figure out why our elected servants worry about which search engine or phone company or ISP we use.

I read one blog maintained at a personal website because I admire the writer's style. www.elburton.com/blog is the URL to Eric Burton's mostly political blog. Burton is a news junkie who examines the issues and writes about them honestly from his point of view as a citizen and taxpayer. I'm not surprised that these daily blogs are often picked up by newspapers in his area for op ed pieces because they're well and thoughtfully written. Burton sometimes labels his blogs rants, but I find them to be informative and a lot more even handed than the news stories I watch.

As a book reviewer, I'm privileged to read books that might not be best sellers but are excellent just the same. Many books I read for review are just as good or better than those on the New York Times best seller list. Today I'll give a brief thumbnail of recent standout reads.

The Revival by Max Yoho is delightful. Max Yoho is the King of charming humor. In my experience as both reader and reviewer, he has no equal. My grins, chuckles, and outright guffaws started in the first paragraph of The Revival. And Yoho's humor is not politically correct, which only adds to his appeal as writer and storyteller. This story of revival week in rural Kansas of the 1950s, with the Methodists and Holy Rollers competing for souls, is just downright hilarious. You can find Yoho's books on Amazon, or at www.dancinggoatpress.com.

For those who love poetry, Chopin's Piano by Charles Ades Fishman is amazing. ALL of Fishman's poetry is amazing, but this book might be his best yet. No modern poet shares his essence with greater generosity than Charles Fishman. His spirit burns with rage and grieves with inexpressible sorrow; this book is glorious and beautiful, haunting and horrifying. Every place humans starve, burn, or wither, Fishman's heart is there. You can find Charles Fishman's work on Amazon or at his publisher's website, www.timebeing.com.

I'm still reading The Passion of Mary Magdalen by Elizabeth Cunningham. This one may already be a best seller. The book has more than 600 pages and I've devoured every page. The premise is that Celtic princess Maeve Rhuad and young stranger Yeshua -- Jesus of Nazareth -- are lovers in youth and love each other passionately throughout their lives. Characters include numerous biblical icons -- Mary mother of Jesus, John the Baptist, the twelve apostles for example -- presented as they might have been in everyday life. Bible-believing Christians will reject this fictional story because every character, including Jesus, has feet of clay in various ways. But the lost years of Jesus not examined in the Bible are accounted for here. This book is surprising, touching and tender so far in its portrayal of devotion between God's Son and a woman forced into slavery and prostitution by the Romans.

That's enough for now. In the near future I hope to read Dispatches from Kansas by Tom Parker. His blog of the same name is exceptional and listed in my blog links. Parker's book is available on Amazon so I will order it there OR maybe schmooze him into trading books with me. Stay tuned.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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