Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Books read in September 2009 (3)

1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

This is a good read but it is no mere novel. The author seems to have produced something semi-autobiographical. Like his main character he is of Pakistani origin. went to Princeton and worked in New York. The story turns on 9/1 and reaction to it. I will not give away the plot. It seems to me that if you want to understand the reaction of westernised Muslims to 9/1i and the American response you should read this excellent book. Once again. a non-western novelist shows the way.

2. Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

I found the start of this fine novel to be crudely violent, but it is set in a violent age. It is also one dominated by the worldview of the Roman catholic Church whose priests are seen an both their best and worst here. Henry's great conviction is that God wants him to be king of France. This conviction spurs him on to victory against all the odds and the expectation of his depleted little army. Could God be on England's side when the French believed him to be on their?. This question is addressed and given a theological answer but here Cornwell does but some 21st century new age pantheistic words into the mouth of a 15th century priest. It is also evident that the author is now without sympathy for the martyred Lollards.

The book goes from the England of a common archer, Hook. who being outlawed by kis lord, joins the army in France, besieges Harfleur and participates in Agincourt's great victory. The battle is well related in all its gore but the real strength of the book is that it educates the reader on all aspects of the longbow, England's great instrument of victory. Here you will learn all thins long bow. A great read....unless you are French.

3. Preaching and Politics: Engagement Without Compromise by Tim J. R. Trumper

This book is a brave attempt to encourage expository preaching that engages with contemporary politics. The writer says preachers should not be apolitical, that is pietistic, nor party-political which means bias. He refrains from naming the outstanding British 20h century preacher who was totally apolitical. It is not an easy path to tread and I believe we would have been better helped by some examples of sermons not a mere presentation of his case. The author is British and works in America. The target reader is more American that British though if one like the author, has a foot in both cultures, it is not hard to read. I am afraid this book suffers from foot and note disease. Some of the best bits are in the footnotes which do abound and would better have been incorporated in the text. Also I believe there is no excuse in the age of computers for producing a book with no index. Finally we see the problem of proof checking with a spell checker. I think he meant that Mrs Thatcher was a lightning rod not a lightening one.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Tim J R Trumper said...

Thanks for reviewing "Preaching and Politics". V. interesting!

1. No Lloyd-Jones? Almost! P 4 fn 8
2. No examples? Almost! P 7 fn 16
3. Foot and note disease? Maybe, maybe not for the readership . . .
4. No index. Publisher's decision.
5. "lightening rod" ~ well spotted!

Thanks again.

TJRT (www.7thref.org)

3:47 am  
Blogger Graham Weeks said...

I am honoured to receive for the first time feedback from an author. It was through your generosity to our mutual friend that I got to read your book. The subject is close to my heart, The review is on Amazon.co.uk too. Tell your publishers that readers want an index.

6:55 am  

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