Saturday, September 23, 2006

Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler

Walking the Bible- A Journey By Land Through the Five Books of Moses

This is such a classic. I really enjoyed reading this book. It took me all summer but I finally finished it last night, all 450 pages! Whew.

This is a book written by a Jewish man that wasn't really a practicing Jew but had questions about God and the Bible. He takes a journey to the Middle East to find some answers and in the process has a great adventure and a spiritual awakening in his life. He reconnects with the bible by actually seeing, feeling, experiencing the Bible in a new way.

He wrote the book in 2002. He actually retraced the steps Moses and Abraham took in the bible. He is using the Torah, English translation. It was a 10,000-mile journey and archaeological odyssey. He visited the places like, The Red Sea and Mt. Sinai, the burning bush, The pyramids, Turkey, Israel, Palestinian territories, Egypt, and Jordan. Sometimes he traveled by foot, sometimes by jeep and he even had to ride a camel in a few places.

He talks to so many interesting people on the way. His friend Avner Goren was by far the most interesting person in the book. He is an Israeli archaeologist. He really knew the bible but also knew a lot about traveling, the people and diplomacy. He was also very wise but also funny. He takes the journey with Bruce F. just for fun.

Somehow the book helped me understand how to connect myself with the abstract parts of the Bible I always just skipped over. I feel closer to my God after reading about Bruce Feiler's experiences. I learned about the land, geography, the people, their history and a little bit more about why there is so much fighting down there still.

I would like to travel to the Middle East and experience the dessert. I think the Bible is somehow deeper then faith or science. I'm not sure how to explain that.

The funniest part was when they are visiting Mt. Sinai and it is a very isolated spot. The monk they are chatting with mentioned that he sometimes has problems getting connected to email when people send really big files to them that take days to download. This is what Bruce F. is thinking, "I was stunned: downloading problems at Mount Sinai, the place of the most famous download in history. The irony was too rich to contemplate."

So I don't know a lot about Egypt but I found this part the most fascinating. I always just thought of Pharaoh as a Pharaoh, like in the Hollywood movie about Moses escaping with the Israelites. But, duh, there were lots of Pharaohs over history and they don't actually know which Pharaoh it was that chased after Moses. Was it Rameses or a Thutmose or a Merenptah. The book suggests that maybe the name isn't important or maybe it is important so you would have the conversation and relive the Exodus. Advar says, "We need to understand Egypt. We should understand that the Israelites lived here, they were part of this culture, but that they left here, hoping to find a better life."

This is a Whole and Healing book. I will consider it now a classic in our family. I really liked reading it, even if I didn't understand a lot of it because of my limited understanding of the Bible and the Middle East and History. At least it is a start. Now I want to know more!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chocolate Fever by Robert Kinnel Smith

I love this book. I remember reading it in 2nd or 3rd grade. I tried to get my 8 yr, old to read it but he wouldn't. I tried to get the 6 yr. old to read it but she can't so I finally just read it to them in about an hour one night before bedtime. They both loved it.
It is a funny book about a kid that loves to eat chocolate and pretty soon he breaks out in brown spots. It looks like chicken pox but the spots smell like chocolate. After having a bunch of doctors poke him he runs away and hitchhikes with a trucker, the truck gets hijacked by a couple of dumb robbers...they eventually escape. Now this is the part that really does not make sense...a bunch of dogs come and create all chaos because they can smell the chocolate, okay, if he smelled like chicken then I understand this funny part but dogs don't eat chocolate. It is poisonous to them so this was a bit mixed up.
The story has a good is about self control and the boy learns not to eat so much chocolate...he finds balance in his life. It was really funny and a good quick read. I personally do not approve of hitchhiking but other then that I loved the book!
I would say it was a WHOLE book.

Friday, September 15, 2006

River Secrets by Shannon Hale

Oh, yeah this one is a good one! Shannon Hale does it again! This book is full of mystery and innocent romance. The mystery is easy to figure out but I like the way she takes it through the steps of how it was figured out by the main character.

The whole book is written from the perspective of Razo. He was just a forest boy, poor and just a nobody...until he helped the goose girl in a previous book become princess and he helped Enna in the other book. Now he is part of the kings army, "Bayern's Own". He is brave and sneaky. He plays a major roll in helping Bayern and Ingridan stay peaceful.

Of course there is another person that has a special talent. This time it is "water speach". I don't know if any of you have watched the cartoon Avatar, but it is funny how the powers are the same, Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind. This book just takes it a bit more seriously then the cartoon, which is pretty silly.

There are some scary parts in the book and some really cruel parts because they are dealing with bad guys/soldiers. Nothing gets as bad as the last book where the scary parts were pretty intense when Enna was burning. So aside from the scary parts which kind of have to be there I guess the book is great!

I wish it had developed some of the other characters a little bit more instead of mainly focusing on Razo but oh well.

I think this book is a Healing book and I can't quite decide if it is a whole book or not...

So who wants to borrow it first! I can send it to Utah next week!