Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reading Right Now ...

All are highly recommended.

Sucker Punch by Marc Strange
This book grabbed me right from the beginning. A hardboiled detective novel, it is told by Joe Grundy, a former prize fighter, who is the head of hotel security for the Lord Douglas Hotel in Vancouver. A hippie inherits billions of dollars and his plans to give the money away to anyone who asks, a hundred dollars at a time, is a threat to the people running the trust which used to receive the money. Naturally, he stays at the hotel and is killed. Grundy must track down the killer to clear one of his security men of murder charges. I am a sucker for these hard boiled detectives as y'all know and Strange writes characters just enough out of the ordinary without being annoyingly quirky. I'm about halfway through and it is a page turner.

The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
This is the sequel to Stross' The Atrocity Archives. The premise puts me in mind of Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos stories about an alternate reality where werewolves and witches are the norm. In this scenario there are numerous parallel universes, some of which contain extremely hostile alien entities who would like to reach through any open portals and wreak havoc. They often reach our world through the inadvertent use of complex math, which we know as "magic." Bob Howard is a computer nerd assigned by the Laundry (secret British agency) to contain these incidents. Along the way he encounters exotic women and situations while saving the world. Call it "Chuck" meets "Operation Chaos." Entertaining and often highly humorous. I'm also about halfway through this one.

The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ by Lee Strobel
My current "serious" book. Lee Strobel visits various scholars and experts in order to take a closer look at six modern challenges to traditional Christianity's understanding of Jesus. The Amazon summary of the challenges:
  • A different Jesus is seen in ancient documents that seem as credible as the four canonical gospels
  • Tampering by the church has damaged the Bible's portrayal of Jesus
  • New explanations refute Jesus' resurrection
  • Christianity copied pagan religions regarding Jesus
  • Jesus didn't fulfill messianic prophecies
  • Contemporary people should be able to choose what to believe about Jesus
As always, Strobel approaches this from the angle of an investigative reporter, though I, for one, could do without his sudden seeming doubt in his faith. He seems to begin every book this way and if he hasn't come to a personal relationship with Jesus then the guy has a bigger problem than The Gospel of Thomas. However, that is a small quibble and it comes from one who is a fan of his other books (my review of Case for a Creator).

Strobel always provides a good overview of any topic with plenty of references so that the reader can do their own digging in the direction that intrigues them most. This book is no exception and I was particularly interested in the look at pagan religions versus Christianity since that is an argument I had never heard refuted. This book would be an excellent gift to that person who is always bringing up the current day objections to Christianity. (Yes, I have a couple in mind.) I'm about two-thirds of the way through this one.

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