Monday, 29 June 2015

How I was confused by a seal

In previous posts I've talked about The Jungle Books which I am currently reading and how I ,intake lay thought that they were novels and not the collection of short stories that they are. An honest mistake - could happen to anyone. Anyway this is how I came to be surprised by a seal and why I firmly believe in reading books more than once.

The short story that follows the ones about Mowgli is called The White Seal. It was the fact that as a story it had no relevance to the previous three stories that alerted me to the fact that I wasn't reading a novel. As such I spent the entirety of the story inwardly grumbling about the randomness of the book that I had picked up and how I was sure I wasn't going to like the rest of it. Which is a disappointing response because in hindsight I think that it was rather a good story, but I missed it because I was in too much shock to notice.

Worth a second read I think.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Jesus and History

One of the chapters that I wanted to read in Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ was chapter four which was looking into if there was evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament. As someone who enjoys history I looked forward to a chapter that looked into the period of history that Jesus was a part of and also that of early Christianity.

What I liked in this chapter, apart from the fact it had history in it, was the honesty of the interviewee. This time Strobel went to see Dr Edwin Yamauchi. From what Strobel says about him in the book he has an interesting background and has come along way from where he started out in life. In the chapter Strobel and Yamauchi talk about historians such as Josephus and Tacitus. Reading this chapter helped me to get a grasp on some stuff that I vaguely knew about but didn't really understand, like how reliable is Josephus really? But now I have a better idea of that so glad I read it.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

It's All in the Language

That is what I have learnt anyway. My favourite story so far in The Jungle Books is called Rikki-tiki-Tavi. Let me just tell you now that is brilliant. Worth buying the book for. The title is the name of a mongoose who protects a family from a pair of nasty Cobras. Heartwarming doesn't do it justice. There is everything in this story and the tension really got to me. Thankfully being aware that it was written for children helped me out because those kinds of stories have to end well so no matter how tense it gets you know it will come good.

Anyway Rikki-tiki is now my favourite mongoose. It may be true that I am not aware of any other mongoose but something about the story makes me think that he is not your average mongoose. Either way the thought of a sensible down to earth mongoose willing to fight for those he loves makes for a good story and I well recommend it.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

How I like my short stories

It's like asking the question, how do you like your eggs? I like my short stories to be just that; short and with a good story. Once I had recovered from the shock of discovering that The Jungle Books were not in fact novels, but a collection of short stories, I soon found that they fitted my categories for a good short story. On the whole. ( I just read one that I didn't like that much.)

The book starts off with a couple of stories about Mowgli, who I was pleased to discover has little in common with the Mowgli from the Disney adaptation. My favourite character is Kaa, and I may not like his method of killing his prey but I did enjoy the way that Kipling described it. Shere Khan also makes his appearance and ultimately meets his demise, but what I like about this book is the way it portrays the relationships between animals and man. No animal can meet Mowgli's gaze and no matter what animal you may be you have to follow the law of the jungle (well apart from the Bandar-log). 

Reading this book is making me think about God's creation and how unrandom it is. I'm not saying that Kipling is right all the time in how he portrays the animal kingdom but it has got me thinking. And they say that's what makes a good book. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

What does Archeology have to say?

Archeology isn't something that I've given much thought since I saw a live dig in York once. I think I must have been about 14 and my memory of it was that it looked like s very slow, tedious kind of job. Exciting when they find something, but the thought of having to do all that slow work and not have the guarantee that you would get an exciting find didn't inspire me to become an archeologist. Also my objection to getting rained on ruled out any outdoor kind of jobs. So no archeology for me.

But in his book The Case for Christ Strobel interviews Dr John McRay, who when Strobel interviewed him was professor of New Testament and archeology at Wheaton. The interview was about whether or not archeological evidence confirmed or contradicted the accounts of Jesus in the Bible. Again Dr McRay was very honest about the findings, and I actually enjoyed it - probably because someone else had done all the archeological work for me. 

Friday, 5 June 2015


If you've been reading previous posts you will know that I am reading The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I'm currently about half way through and so far I would say that it is worth a read. In previous posts I've talked about how the book starts but here is what I've found as I've worked my way through some of the early chapters.

If you've ever wondered if the accounts of Jesus' life in the Bible have been reliably preserved then the chapter is the one to read. Strobel interviews Dr Bruce Metzger, who has written books on the text of the New Testament. When Strobel went to interview him he was professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. In the book Strobel gives an overview of the work of Dr Metzger which shows why he thought him a good person to interview on the subject of the reliability of the New Testament. 

For me when I read it a lot of what I read wasn't new information but I enjoyed refreshing my memory with it, and some stuff I didn't know so I learnt something too. Bonus. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

What do you think of murder?

I'm reading The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. I wasn't sure about it at first because it took me a while to get into it. However when I was on the train getting to the mid way point of the book I was well and truly hooked.

What I have noticed in the book is that there are varying opinions about the morality of the murder. Perhaps the funniest for me is the sympathetic Dr Haydock who doesn't think to badly of whoever killed Colonel Protheroe, until the killer strikes again, this time choosing a victim who is much nicer than Colonel Protheroe. Apparently your opinion of the victim can influence your opinion of the murderer. 

And then of course there is Miss Marple. My opinion of her changed throughout the book. I started off not being sure I liked her - she wasn't what I imagined Miss Marple to be like. That's the curse of watching an adaptation of the book before actually reading it. But my opinion is changing.

Monday, 1 June 2015

What's your favourite?

I recently went on the Agatha Christie website and they are having a global vote to find out what the world's favourite Christie is. I'm still thinking about mine but what would yours be?

I have to decide between:

The ABC Murders
Murder in Mesopotamia
The Murder at the Vicarge
The Body in the Library

Those might be my choices but then I keep thinking of others and I have to work hard not to add them to my list of favourites. 

Anyway have a look at the global vote at