non fiction

Review: God is Disappointed in You

God Is Disappointed in You by Mark Russell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first thing readers of this book should know is that it really is an abridged version of the Bible and not a mockery of it. The title and the funny doodle might turn some away who’re looking for a serious work that tells you the stories in the Bible without patronization but I think the author does a good job here of striking a balance between appreciation for and examination of the lessons the old Book has to teach us.

I’d forgotten many of the stories (not being a Christian and having read it out of curiosity at sixteen) but with the illustrations and the funny narrative it’ll be a long time before I forget them again. This is a book that’ll tell you the stories simply, keeping the essence of the morals from the original. But readers should be warned that the author has not only rendered the stories in modern tongue but retold them through the lenses of modern sensibilities a well.

My history professor tells us that we shouldn’t judge actors of times past from contemporary perspective just because we know what turn history takes subsequently. While I agree with him completely, in a book like this that very same ‘fallacy’ makes the narrative even more relateable to a reader like me who is less interested in the spiritual value of the tales and more focused on the bits of history that is hidden between the lines.

For instance I’m looking into this online course on the Rise and Fall of Jerusalem and reading the Old Testament was excellent preparation for it. I’ll have to refer to the unabridged version to study quotes but as far as well connected narrative goes, I’m keeping God is Disappointed in You right beside me.

The final word of appreciation I can give this book is the effort made by the author to keep the stories flowing and somehow preventing them from mixing up in my head. The personality he gave the well known characters was absent when I’d read my school’s hard-bound copy of the Bible. This is also the reason that certain momentous hours held more meaning and evoked more emotions in me than the original ever did.

This book is by no means the best abridged version out there, but it’s one of the more entertaining and therefore more engaging retelling of the old parables.

Now, a short note on the only thing that seriously annoyed me: The illustrations (doodles?). Sometimes they were funny and worked in concert with the text and sometimes they were just random and seemingly unconnected with the story the author was telling. I wish a different artist had been chosen or a better job of editing had been done. They added very little to my enjoyment of the book.


The waiting books in my Kindle

I recently made a semi-serious promise to myself that I will read nothing but non-fiction for the next one month.

Semi-serious only because I didn’t believe I was actually going to do it.

Do you know how addicts crave their drugs till they can think of almost nothing else? Reading popular fiction has become a similar sort of addiction for me.

I can seriously think of nothing else when the craving for one of those books start. My cravings are genre-specific too. Sometimes I need a Regency romance a la G. Heyer; sometimes it’s YA, particularly of the high school romance variety; often I really need to read an action packed Urban Fantasy [think: Dresden Files, Kate Daniels] – (never paranormal romance, thank you, I’ve learnt my lesson – there are no high standards in that world); and then there is the odd craving for the quirky contemporary romances and mysteries; also sometimes I notice a really awesome looking cover – most probably in High Fantasy – and run towards it heedlessly. (more…)

Catch that train!

We had a return ticket booked on the Doon Express and we knew we had plenty of time to catch it. *Sigh* Right. Plenty.

Papa and I had trekked in the Panchachulli mountains and spent several days in the tiny village of Datun breathing cold, fresh, late autumn air and taking photographs of the famous five peaks at sunrise and under the moon.

The trek had been rated medium in difficulty level by avid trekkers, but we had to face some sections made almost un-crossable (mark the almost– we crossed them with some help from the local people, who seemed to have magical goat-like feet) by landslides that disrupted the metal roads as well as our trek routes.

Getting to the base of our route, Papa hurt his knees while slowly crossing a twenty foot gouged out section of the mountain road on an extremely narrow path, consisting of shifting earth and falling boulders.

We made it and after the night’s rest he said he was Okay to go.
The trek was absolutely fantastic! It was our third trek in the Himalayas and we were already planning to come back next year. Papa was walking slightly slower than usual but he made good use of his fancy trekking sticks. ;])

On our way back from the peaks, we hurried our descent. To enjoy the trek we had taken seven leisurely days to get up there but now almost ran down the mountains in three. We wanted meat and fast! (You try living for ten days on rice and varieties of boiled grass. [Though the surprisingly good cooking almost made up for it.] ) (more…)