Category Archives: Book review

Review of ‘Finishing Our Course with Joy’ by J I Packer

‘Finishing Our Course with Joy’ is an interesting book. It looks at how as we get older we stop doing things but in fact we should still engage as much as we can with life. It particularly looks at our Christian life and how we need to change what we do and how we do it but not just give up and sit back. It points out that we can be tempted to just stop doing things but that God knows what we can and can’t do and will give us different opportunities to share our faith and engage with others.

An interesting if easy read, it has big print, and a book I will go back to to remind myself that I still am useful to God even as my body gives out on me.


Review of ‘The Lords of Vaumartian’

‘The Lords of Vaumartian’

by C Holland

This is a easy quick read. The story is based around Everard  and his personal story along with the rest of his family in different ways. It is set in 14th century France during the 100 years war. The history feels right and reads well, it soon sucks you into the daily lives of the different characters and the people around them showing us the different ways of live in medieval France. How the rich had it all and the poor where there to support and serve them.

In some ways it can talk to our modern society about how injustice can lead to unforeseen results but also how a good person can change the world around them with love.

If you like medieval history and fiction then this is a book worth reading

Review of ‘A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation’

A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation

by Nick Page

Although I have been a Christian for 20 years and spent 3 years at Church Army college I was never that interested in church history other than the early church as seen in the bible. However I have now read a few of Nick’s books on church history and decided that this would be the next one.

I had no idea how many different people came up with the need for the church to change. Popes might have felt the need but never quite got there to priests and normal people, not that I am saying priests aren’t normal. This book looks with humor where that is possible at how the reformation came about and the differences between those who wanted reform and how as always with human interaction it often led to violence on all sides.

Many knew that the church as it had become needed to change from what it had become, a kind of super state, sucking in money for lavish living for a few to what Jesus had shown and what it had started out as. As the bible, thanks to printing, became more accessible to all, in their own language, so more people came to see that what it was was not what it should be.

This book is a easy, humorous read through a span of history which made the modern world. Brought forth the idea of free thinking and having a personal relationship with God rather than one controlled and by a few. As I read it some of my own idea made sense as I could see them in others, I also understand where my conflict with some of the main organised denominations comes from.  From small beginnings of reform has come constant bickering which keeps splitting Christs body the Church. As far as I can see the reformation was right but we Christians need to stop arguing over ever small point and keep the the main point of being a follow of Christ. Jesus as a body the church of Christ will often need reform as its human run and open to human failings but it is also the Bride of Christ and needs to act like that much more often than it does.

A good book well worth reading if you want a easy read to understand the reformation, I also recommend the other books by Nick Page

Review of Gardens of the Moon by S Erikson

Review of ‘Gardens of the Moon’

from the Malazan Book of the Fallen

By Steven Erikson

This is a interesting book, written in the modern style of multiple view points with no  outline of the story or characters early on. It is part of a big series however I am not sure I would read any more.

The general outline is a war between the Malazan Empire and various cities with various other groups involved as well. It took a while before I could work out who I was supposed to be cheering for and even then I had doubts. At one point I thought it would be a military book then a political based one then a small group based one down to an individuals story. However it is all and none of these, the reason I say all and none is that each of those story lines drew me in and then left me flat.

I wanted a story I could hold on to in the mix, but the story kept moving and leaving the line it was on. The end does make sense even if it only uses up the last 20 pages of a other 700 page book. As a person who likes detail in weapons, spells ect I was disappointed. Some mages unleashed terrific power which would, apparently level  cities, but nothing much happened. We had a division which seems to consist of only 6 or so men and a girl, a civil war within the empire which is hinted at only. Swords which dampen magic so a mages city destroying power has no effect and so on. I found it all quite strange and with no explanations it was difficult to work out what was going on at time. Gods which seemed to be all powerful at one point and nearly useless at others.

This book has good reviews however I would only rate it average. It tries to be like Lord of the Rings but fails to explain background and context.



Review of ‘How to be a Tudor’ by Ruth Goodman

‘How to be a Tudor’  A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Everyday Life    by Ruth Goodman

This turned out to be one of the best books I have read on daily life in the late medieval early Renaissance period. Ruth has many years of living and researching this period, you might have seen some of her TV shows about life in different periods.

Although she only deals with one day the depth of information is massive.  From getting up and wither to wash or not and how to dress to breakfast, education, dinner, work, play, supper and then to bed. It covers so many things, from brewing, sex, faith, dancing and games.

This has to be a must read for anyone wanting to understand the mindset of the people living in the Tudor age. How they thought, their daily concerns ect. This is a good source book for all fantasy Role Playing games set in this type of period.

I have really enjoyed reading this book and collecting new information on Tudor people. Finding out that people washed more often that is often thought and that clean under clothes was very important to them. Why men spent so much time ploughing the fields leaving the women to do so much else around the home and farm. How important it was to have a wife and family to help with the work on the fields and around the home.

Well worth getting and reading, a classic.

Review of ‘Conclave’ by R Harris

CONCLAVE by Robert Harris

A interesting if strange idea for a book, my friend Mat gave it to me for Christmas.

It is about the Conclave in the Vatican to elect a new Pope, as I said a odd idea for a book. However Harris does a good job with it, mind you I had worked out the twist before getting halfway, however I will be careful not to give anything away. It has some tension and drama in it but most of all it gives a interesting insight to a hidden organ of power.

Now as a Christian if not Catholic I am not particularly interested in how things go in the Vatican, but I was impressed at the detail Harris put in, I did like that he understood how the Holy Spirit works and that some Catholics do experience it.

A good easy read it took me a bit longer than the afternoon I had in hospital to read it. A good read.

Review of ‘A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity’

‘A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity’

Being a history of 2000 years of Saints, Sinners, Idiots and Divinely-inspired Troublemakers

by Nick Page

I have not really been one to read church history, even though I do love history. However this was one I saw and got for Christmas I also got other Nick Page books review of another one I have read here.

I must say I did enjoy this book it is full of humor as well as facts, it confirmed some of my own views and made me think about others. It is a brief history, over 400 pages, of the rise of the Christian church and its long journey to today. I enjoyed the small block insets about a particular person, in particular the Could you have a drink with him down the pub? line each had.

It was interesting to see how different ideas came and sometimes went for Christians. How a lot of what we do in church now has had a very odd journey. How we came to have bibles in our own language and why some clergy dress as they do.

However mainly for me it shows that no matter how mixed up the people might get and the leaders in particular God always is talking to enough people to keep the church on some sort of path. People might try to make the church their own, trying to use it for there own benifit but God always seems to raise up Troublemakers to shake it up again.

I was reassured from reading this of my own path with Jesus and for the future of His people.

A humorous easy read taking you on a 2000 year journey.