Books

Diary: A Novel

Publisher
Doubleday.

Publication Date
September 2003

Author
Chuck Palahniuk

Central Theme
The truth and your destiny may be stranger than you can possibly imagine, but play your part, fulfill your bizarre destiny and be amazed by what happens.

Overview
Chuck Palahniuk, the bestselling author of Fight Club ,Choke , and Lullaby continues his twenty-first-century reinvention of the horror novel in this scary and profound look at our quest for some sort of immortality.

Diary takes the form of a “coma diary” kept by one Misty Tracy Wilmot as her husband lies senseless in a hospital after a suicide attempt. Once she was an art student dreaming of creativity and freedom; now, after marrying Peter at school and being brought back to once quaint, now tourist-overrun Waytansea Island, she’s been reduced to the condition of a resort hotel maid. Peter, it turns out, has been hiding rooms in houses he’s remodeled and scrawling vile messages all over the walls an old habit of builders but dramatically overdone in Peter’s case. Angry homeowners are suing left and right, and Misty’s dreams of artistic greatness are in ashes. But then, as if possessed by the spirit of Maura Kinkaid, a fabled Waytansea artist of the nineteenth century, Misty begins painting again, compulsively. But can her newly discovered talent be part of a larger, darker plan? Of course it can ¢â‚¬¦‚© Doubleday.

Beliefs num
–There is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics.
–Yet at the same time there is a spectacular synchronicity that seems to have a meaning and purpose.
–The darkest trials can be persevered.
–The most meaningless events can sometimes be explained.
–Life though full of hardships is worth the struggle.
–In the end, all you love will disappoint you.
–Something wicked this way comes.
–If things don’t seem to make sense it is probably becuase they don’t.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this book?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this book?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this book tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Should we operate with a sense of doom?
–Does pain inspire creativity?
–What is behind life’s mysteries?
–Do you agree that there is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics?
–Do you expect the mysteries of life to be resolved? The injustices made right? The sorrow replace with joy?

Provocative Quotes byline
–The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing.
==Narrator.
–A man calls from the mainland, from Ocean Park to complain that his kitchen is gone.
== Narrator.
–set foot on this island and you will die¢â‚¬¦run as fast as you can from this place. They will kill all of God’s children if it means saving their own.
==Note on wall.
==This is Misty’s own personal coma. A couple drinks. A couple aspirin. Repeat.
== Narrator.
–We all want to explain ourselves. Nobody wants to be forgotten.
==Narrator.
–The only difference between Peter and a homeless outpatient with limited access to soap was his jewelry.
==Narrator.
–You’ll need to suffer to make any real art.
==Peter.
–Because her dear sweet stupid husband, he didn’t leave a suicide note. Because this is part of him she never knew. Because she wants to understand who he was. She wants to find out what happened.
==Narrator.
–If misery is inspiration, Misty should be reaching her prime.
==Narrator.
–So is this her? Is she the mystical lady?
==Peter’s friend inquires.
–I’m not having kids. I’m going to be an artist.
==Misty.
–The Jains were a sect of Buddhists who claimed they could fly.
==Narrator.
–There is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics.
==Narrator.
–you learn the symptoms of adult lead poisoning include tiredness, sadness, weakness, stupidity, symptoms Misty has had most of her adult life.
== Narrator.
–The weather today is partly angry, leading to resignation and ultimatums¢â‚¬¦Today’s weather is partly furious with occasional fits of rage.
== Narrator.
–For all his trademark toughness, Mr. Palahniuk has never sounded more like a latter-day Kurt Vonnegut than he does here¢â‚¬¦ he shares Mr. Vonnegut’s wildly inventive sense of doom… Yes, Mr. Palahniuk remains best known for the violent twists of “Fight Club.” And he is the popular novelist who would be most at home at the Bates Motel. But his use of singsong repetition, in the form of trademark tics or obsessively invoked subject matter, can be as soothing as a lullaby.
==Janet Maslin, NYT.
–Just for the record, Diary is as hypnotic as a poised cobra. Chuck Palahniuk demonstrates that the most chilling special effects come not from Industrial Light and Magic but from the words of a gifted writer.
==Ira Levin, author of Rosemary’s Baby

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Rumors of Another World

Publisher
Zondervan

Publication Date
September 2003

Author
Philip Yancey

Central Theme
We are missing the supernatural hidden in everyday life and nature and super nature are not two separate worlds, but different expressions of the same reality. To encounter the world as a whole, we need a more supernatural awareness of the natural world.

Overview
What on earth are we missing? Philip Yancey believes we are missing the supernatural hidden in everyday life.

In Rumors of Another World, Yancey investigates the natural world and discovers the supernatural hiding in plain view. He grapples with why God made the world and what our role truly is, and seeks to answer the question, “How do I live in the natural world while expressing the values of the supernatural?”

Philip writes, “I have come to understand faith as the highest form of integrated encounter. Faith puts together, assembles, re-orders, accepting the entire world as God’s handiwork. We live among clues, like rescuers sifting through pieces of stained glass shattered by a bomb, and only with a blueprint or some memory of original design can we begin to connect the shards, to assemble them into a pattern that makes sense of our world.

“Nature and supernature are not two separate worlds, but different expressions of the same reality. To encounter the world as a whole, we need a more supernatural awareness of the natural world.”

Yancey invites readers to join him on a journey of discovery. He challenges us to tune into “rumors of another world,” and connect the seen with the unseen. He promises that the grace-filled result will be a life of beauty, purpose, freedom, and faith.

Beliefs num
–The supernatural is hiding in plain view in the natural.
–To see the connection between the natural and supernatural we simply need to pay attention.
–Sin is an unsaid word that explains our longing for grace and forgiveness.
–Only in seeing the connection between seen and unseen, natural and supernatural, can we find the wholeness we seek in life.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this book?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this book?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this book tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–How do you see the natural and supernatural world connected?
–What does it mean to ‘pay attention?’
–If this is God’s world, why doesn’t it look more like it?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Throughout its pages, the Bible presents a wholistic view of reality that encompasses both the familiar visible world and an invisible world that coexists as a kind of parallel universe.
==PY.
–I find more of a spirit of reverence among secular science writers than in some theologians.
==PY.
–No society in history has attempted to live without a belief in the sacred, not until the modern West. Such a leap has consequences that we are only beginning to recognize.
==PY.

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The Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends

Author
Richard Lamb

Publisher
IVP

Publication Date
September 1, 2003

Central Theme
We are attracted to pursuing God and to being part of a company of friends as separate enterprises, the truth is that each is best accomplished when joined with the other.

Overview
We want a deep, personal, satisfying relationship with God and we long for closer friendships when too often both elude us. We will find both when we pursue God in the company of friends. This requires moving from: individualism to community, privacy to openness, superficiality to authenticity, and from justification to sanctification, or put another way, from I’m in and ¢â‚¬Ëœin the know’ to I’m growing. This growth happens best in the company of people who are different from each other. Those differences can bring out our best in the refining “tumbler” of relationships.

Beliefs num
–Pursuing God in the company of friends involves fellowship, mission and accountability.
–Jesus brought together seekers and stumblers to help each other grow.
–We grow best when we are in friendships with people who are different from us.
–The Michelangelo approach to discipleship involves and expert shaping another.
–The rock tumbler approach to discipleship polishes stones by adding water, grit and time in a tumbler; friendships are the tumbler!
–In a company of friends we can find intimacy, healing, counsel and forgiveness.
–Road trips accomplish a lot for friends in a short period of time.
–Competition and comparison are threats to friendship and are often an inevitable part of the package.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this book?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this book?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this book tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Are you currently pursuing God in the company of friends?
–What inhibits you from going deeper in friendship and with God?
–What is a next step you can take towards pursuing God in the company of friends?

Provocative Quotes byline
–There are three qualities enjoyed by friends: friends enjoy one another’s company, are useful to one another and share a common commitment to the good.
==Aristotle.
–One aspect of Jesus’ strategy can be summarized by a single word; time. Time with purpose. Quantity time. Quality time. There is no replacing it. Shortcuts do not exist.
==RL.
–If you want to go fast. Go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
==African Proverb.
–Man seeks, in his manhood, not order, not laws and peremptory dogmas, but counsel from one who is earnest in goodness and faithful in friendship, making man free.
==Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Friend.”
–Like Tolkien’s fellowship taking the ring to Mordor, one senses here nothing short of meaningful adventure, of joy in the journey, of the kind of life Jesus made possible for those who love him and who love life.
==Kelly Monroe, founder, The Veritas Forum, and coauthor, Finding God at Harvard.

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The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking with Jesus

Publisher
Zondervan

Author
Joni Eareckson Tada

Posted in Books, Staublog in August 1, 2003 by | No Comments »

Seizure

Publisher
Putnam

Author
Robin Cook

Posted in Books, Staublog in July 14, 2003 by | No Comments »

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Publisher
Thomas Nelson

Author
Donald Miller

Posted in Books, Staublog in July 1, 2003 by | No Comments »

The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix

Publisher
Piıon

Author
Chris Seay

Posted in Books, Staublog in June 15, 2003 by | No Comments »

Aging Gracefully: Keeping the Joy in the Journey

Publisher
Broadman & Holman

Author
David Petty

Posted in Books, Staublog in May 1, 2003 by | No Comments »

Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child’s ATM

Publisher
Wiley

Author
Nathan Dungan

Posted in Books, Staublog in May 1, 2003 by | No Comments »

Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time

Publisher
InterVarsity

Author
Greg Ogden

Posted in Books, Staublog in May 1, 2003 by | No Comments »