Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game

Posted: November 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , | Comments Off on Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game

With the recent release of the movie, and the current discounted price of the Kindle version of Ender’s Game being only $1.99, I thought it was time to share my review of this sci-fi classic.  Don’t bother with the movie, it was a major disappointment, but if you haven’t read the book snag it now. It’s a fun and easy read.

Orson Scott Card - Enders Game

I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

This is an incredibly engaging story. One of the best science fiction books I’ve read. What sucked me in was the dynamic and complex character of the young Ender Wiggin. It was really fun reading this for the first time almost 30 years after it’s original release. This book definitely was a pre-cursor for a lot of current and popular dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games series. And his understanding of what the possibilities for the future were with the internet was pretty incredible. A big component in the story was their “desks” which functioned very similar to how our tablets or laptops function today. But more than that it was a really fun story with a pretty satisfying ending, that leaves you with some interesting thoughts/questions on how much control you have over your influence on the world. Are you me

rely a by-product of your circumstances? And the theme of “games” is a pretty fun one to chew on. Like is it ok to be cruel to others, in the context of a game? Which is a stance that I have always taken. Anyway, it’s a real fun read that I definitely recommend
.


John Sowers “Fatherless Generation”

Posted: November 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

John Sowers - Fatherless Generation

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Fatherless Generation, which is the product of the author’s graduate studies on the topic, makes a strong argument in the first half of this short little book, that “fatherlessness is plaguing this country.” Having lost my father to meningitis at the age of 6, it didn’t take much for Sowers to convince me of the profoundly negative impact of growing up without a father. Even though I didn’t have to live with the hurt and rejection that most kids growing up without a dad face, I still found myself constantly seeking the approval that I wasn’t able to get from my dad. Fortunately I had a family that loved me and encouraged me to look to God to fulfill that void, and I was blessed to have a mentor enter my life when I started the 7th grade, who stuck with me till I graduated high school and consistently modeled for me what it meant to be a husband, and a father and a friend. But even with a loving family, and a consistent mentor, it was and is still difficult. So I wasn’t surprised at all to read some of the statistics that were shared in this book, such as these: “Fatherless homes account for 63 percent of youth suicides, 71 percent of pregnant teenagers,…(and)85 percent of all youths sitting in prison.” Along with his research, Sowers also shares from his own experience of growing up without a father, as he makes a compelling argument that this is an issue that needs to be addressed or it will only get worse.

Fortunately he doesn’t stop there. The latter half of the book, he shares not only his ideas for how to tackle this huge problem, but also what he and his organization, The Mentoring Project, are already doing to make a difference. Adhering to the belief that it is “better to build boys than mend men.” Sowers proposes that the unconditional love and acceptance from our heavenly Father is the answer, and that the best tactic to help the fatherless generation receive and accept that love is through mentoring. He makes the assertion that “a mentor’s presence in the life of a young person declares to him or her, ‘You are not rejected. You are important and valuable – you matter.'” And he finishes the book with some good info on how to be a good and effective mentor.

I was hoping for a little more depth on the problem of fatherlessness. Would have liked to have seen more of his research or more details on what his organization is doing to make a change. Having already been convinced of premise of this book before reading it, I found it to be a little underwhelming. But if this is an issue you haven’t put much thought into, or if mentoring isn’t already a big part of your life, I can’t recommend this book more.


Matthew Berry “Fantasy Life”

Posted: November 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: | Comments Off on Matthew Berry “Fantasy Life”

Matthew Berry - Fantasy LifeI give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. 

This was an enjoyable read…most of the time. I love fantasy sports and enjoy hearing stories of the fun and craziness that can come with participating in fantasy sports leagues. I love hearing stories of how it can bring people together and strengthen relationships. But unfortunately, for every story about the community building power of fantasy sports, there was another that would reveal the power of addiction to destroy relationships. Too often as I was reading, there would be stories that Berry clearly included because he thought they were funny, but I often had a hard time seeing the humor in the story, because I couldn’t help but see how their addictive behavior was hurting them and those around them. Berry often talks about how addictive fantasy sports is and about the obsessive behavior of the fans. And he talks about it like it’s this great thing. And for him it is. Because he is profiting off their addiction. And for him, his obsession paid off, because he worked hard and made a career out of it. But towards the end, even he writes that in the end, after working his way to into arguably the highest position in the fantasy sports, he was still left feeling empty. And he shares how it wasn’t until he met his wife and started investing in his new family that he felt fulfilled, or “happy” as he puts it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fantasy sports and it has been a really fun hobby that has definitely helped strengthen relationships with guys that I love but am not just going to run into as I live my life. But I have also had to work hard at not making it more important than it should be. I have an obsessive personality and if I’m not careful fantasy football can keep me from spending quality time with my family.

It’s a fun read, if you like Berry’s style. Lots of hilarious stories, and some really encouraging ones too. I just had a hard time not feeling burdened by the sin and addiction that was evident in the lives of so many of the people that shared their stories.