Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eat This Book

a conversation in the art of spiritual reading
By Eugene H. Peterson
Publishes by Wlliam B. Eerdmans 2006.

I actually listened to this book rather than read it which seems a bit ironic for a book about how to read the Bible.  If you are just interested in reading it "lightly," audio is a fine way to go but if you are like me and and enjoy taking notes, underlining and rereading passages, then this book needs to be "eaten" in its printed form.
    The author, Eugene Peterson, is responsible for The Message, considered to be a paraphrase of the Bible,  mostly a translation, but putting Biblical scripture in vernacular or "everyday" English.  In Eat This Book a conversation in the art of spiritual reading, Peterson now teaches how to go about reading the Bible, no what translation you choose.
   The book, to me could be divided into three main parts. The first section explains how to read scripture  and could be applied to most other spiritual material.When we read the Bible, Peterson urges us to do more than just read the words, even to go beyond reading. The author uses a wonderful analogy to help us understand what he means by "eat this book." He wants us to read the Bible as a dog chews on a bone.  The dog holds the bone closely and gnaws it from every angle. He licks, chews, slobbers on and utterly relishes the bone, turning it in all directions to be sure that nothing is missed.  The dog chews the bone with its whole being, completely involved in the endeavor.
    The second part of the book delves into how the came Bible was written originally, translated into latin then  it touches on various translations and their translators.  Being a lover of history, especially history of language, I particularly enjoyed this section of the book.
    Peterson next explains to us how and why he came to write his own translation, The Message. While I don't necessarily disagree with with his reasoning, at times it does seem that, at this point, he is mostly promoting his own translation. I could have easily skimmed over this part if I were reading a printed book rather than listening to the audio version.
    The title of the book comes from the tenth chapter of The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible where the angel tells John, (its author) to "take it and eat it." when talking about the book the angel is writing.
   Peterson returns to the theme of "eating the book" with a good wrap up of what he has written. Once I had finished Eat This Book I was glad I had read it and I have found that I have quoted it several times. Whether you are experienced with Biblical scripture or are a novice, just discovering the Word, then you can get inspiration from Peterson's book.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Yellow House: A Novel

By: Patricia Falvey
published by: Irish Books LC 2006

    In my last entry I told you that I had started reading this book.  The great thing was that I put it on my Droid phone so I could read it whenever I was waiting in line, while Jeff filled the car with gas or while lying in bed, flat on my back.
As a disclaimer, I must tell you that I like history and I like reading about Ireland so The Yellow House already had a couple points in its favor.
    Very little of the book actually takes part in the yellow house that gives us the book's title. More than an actual place, the yellow house serves as a memory and a goal for the novel's main character, Eileen O'Neill,  inheritor of the tragic O'Neill history. Eileen sees herself as responsible for bringing honor to her O'Neill ancestors by bringing her family up out of tragedy.
    The Yellow House: A Novel is true to the larger Irish story, full of tragic disaster, passionate love and joyous music. Through it all we learn about County Ulster in Northern Ireland, first, as part of a united Ireland under British rule then as a central point for the violence of The Troubles as Catholic Irish people sought Home Rule and independence from Great Britain.
    Eileen loses her family to death, madness and dispersion. As she fights alongside her countrymen to win back the things she loves along with rejoining the character that defines her, she faces love and passion (not necessarily together) discrimination, hard work and true friendship. Through it all,  Eileen never let go of the music that is within her and ties her to her father and all the O'Neills that came before.
     I urge others to read The Yellow House: A Novel and to read it with a backdrop of Irish music to help set the mood for it seems that whatever the Irish do and wherever their descendants go, their music travels with them.
   As a follow-up I will soon read The Linen Queen also by Patricia Falvey for a more in-depth look into Protestant-Catholic relationships and a look at a predominant industry of the early twentieth Century in Northern Ireland, starting in 1913.


Monday, March 7, 2011

The Yellow House: A Novel

Author: Patricia Falvey

At my sister's reccomendation, I have just started The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey.  The Book's setting begins in 1902 in Northern Ireland. So far it is interesting, if a bit depressing.  I expect the novel to cover "The Troubles" on Northern Ireland with a focus on the relationship between Protestants and Catholics under British rule.

I am just beginning the third chapter and will write again once I've finished the book.  If anyone wants to read along with me, we can discuss it in the comment section of this entry.  Just don't give away future chapters or I will be sorely disappointed.