Category: Book Reviews


Here is a short post on how I used books that aren’t devotionals as devotionals. I apologize for the length, but I do not have a SIM card at the moment.

Enjoy

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While The World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry centers a personal story around the 16th Street Baptist church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963. I don’t want to go too much into the history of that bombing because I’d like for you to read it for yourself, but I will go into details surrounding other events. This book is written as Carolyn McKinstry as the narrator. The four girls killed in the bombing were friends of hers, and it took years for her to learn how to cope with this murder because she was a little girl herself during this time. She tells of how black neighborhoods were bombed frequently by the Klan. Most of the bombs were meant to scare blacks, but many of them killed blacks. She said that it was rumored that that bomb that went off in church went off at the wrong time because those who set it didn’t mean to kill anyone.

One thing that stuck out to me was her descriptions of the water hoses used on protesters. I didn’t know how strong they were, but they were strong enough to break a man’s bones. She mentioned how one was turned on her, causing a patch of her hair to be ripped off of her scalp. It also had blown a hole into her sweater. She talked about how experiencing that bombing caused her younger brother to become quieter than usual. She also went through depression that she tried to numb with heavy drinking. Her doctor gave her five years to live. What got her out of the drinking was the fact that one of her daughters had almost been ran over in traffic because she was not paying attention to them when they were outside. Throughout the years her and her husband live in Miami, Atlanta, and then back to Birmingham. She said that race relations were slow to change. In Miami and Atlanta they lived well for themselves. When they moved back to Birmingham, it still felt segregated.

This book goes over the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr, J.F. Kennedy, and other civil rights leaders. She said that the death of whites who tried to help blacks made them feel helpless. Many of those who grew up around these issues developed depression and became emotionally distant as a way to cope. It made me wonder if that is why mental health issues in the black community aren’t talked about. She herself had to call a suicide prevention hotline because she felt as if she had no one to talk to. Overall I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, race relations, or mental health. It has many layers packed into a book that can be read in a weekend.

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Fast Girl A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton is a book that caught my eye a while back, but I never bought it. What caught my eye about it is from a glance it mentions a professional runner who turned into an escort. I was curious as to how someone could go from that to escorting, but I wasn’t ready for the depth of the book which is what drew me in.

Suzy starts out by speaking about her family, how she grew up, and how she discovered her love for running. Then her book took an interesting turn as she spoke about her brother’s bipolar disorder diagnosis. She later on spoke on how she was one of the top runners in the country and even ran internationally eventually appearing in the Olympics.

After a suicide attempt she was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medicine. It wasn’t until after she started escorting that she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I don’t want to spoil the book because I think people should read that story. I recommend it to anyone who is interested and/or struggling with mental health. I recommend it to anyone who looking for a good story to read. It really helped me to understand what goes on inside of the head of those who struggle with mental illness.

101 Secrets For Your Twenties by Paul Angone is a book that lists things that are useful for your twenties. Even though it references your twenties, I think it can be used for life. It’s practical as well as witty. It has tips on how to develop yourself personally as well as professionally. I like how it has tips on developing boundaries with those who call themselves your loved ones but often dismiss you as a person. Five of my favorite quotes are as follows:

  1. “Know when your sad season is over and you just need to stand up and dance” pg 130
  2. “Be wary of Reality Checkers” The explanation to this point includes, “They lather you in their own fear and insecurities, and call it sound advice” pg 151
  3. “Don’t go into the wild all by yourself” pg 140
  4. “Being lost might be the exact spot that you will be found” pg 181
  5. “God wants writing partners” pg 143

The last one really stuck out to me because he explained that sometimes we need to just sit in a quiet space and really think about the things we want in life instead of asking God to bless us with this or that. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for some inspiration or wants to read something that they can relate to.

Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke is a book about how Jesus came to reform religion. Bethke points out a lot of misinterpretations made by Christians when it comes to what the Bible is saying and who Jesus was during His time on earth. He points out how Jesus had no respect of persons. I like the fact that he attacked the anti-gay agenda of many churches, and explained how we should love people even though we may not love the same way they do. He broke down a lot of the things that Christians are uptight about including dancing, secular music, and alcohol. There’s no where in the Bible that says any of those things are wrong, and yet Christians tend to demonize those instead of having a good time.

Another thing that I liked about the fact is that he pointed out that sometimes Christians need to close the Bible and open our eyes to what’s going on in the world. One of his examples was how churches harp on tithing and yet we may know single moms who are struggling to pay their bills. I like the fact that he said that when some people are going through hard times, the last thing that they need is a sermon. After each chapter, there are discussion questions that you can answer. These questions can be good for daily devotions or a book club.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the writing style. While it was relatable and conversational like it should be, it seemed like the reading level was preteen even though it spoke about adult issues. Other than that I recommend anyone whether Christian or not to read it.

You may recognize this author from his viral Youtube video shown below:

If this starts to sound like I’m rambling, I truly don’t mean to. This book has many layers to it.

Masters of Sex is a book that explains the personal life, love life, and professional life of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson. It shows the dynamics of dating relationships, marriages, professional lives, legal liabilities, and personal revelations. It starts out explaining Virginia’s life. She grew up in a small time in the midwest to a conservative family. It speaks about how she became sexually active at the age of 15 and how she had many flings throughout her young life. Virginia has been married 3 times with the 2nd one resulting in 2 children, and the only man she ever loved married someone else. She vowed to never marry anyone that she cared about to prevent getting hurt ever again.

Dr. William Masters grew up with an emotionally, physically, and verbally abusive father who instilled fear into his family. His father’s actions were later found out to have been caused by a brain tumor. Dr. Masters have also had 3 marriages with the 1st one resulting in 2 children. He eventually became addicted to his work and cold towards his family. His last marriage was after he left Virginia for his first love.

The team along with physicians and therapists studied sex using dildos, cameras, medical monitors, prostitutes and surrogates. They released three books that included their findings, and they were popular worldwide. They helped couples who suffered from sexual impotence, and Dr. Masters even aided in fertility.

One thing I noticed in this book is that towards the end it mentions the AIDS epidemic. It seems like the public was not concerned about AIDS until it started showing up in heterosexual couples. When it was in homosexual couples, it’s like no one care. Another thing that stuck out is how they said that Masters and Johnson were said to have been feminists because women can orgasm multiple times while men have to wait longer. A dynamic that I loved was how perfect their public lives were while their personal lives often crumbled. It was sad how in the end Virginia Johnson grew bitter because of the love she had not found in her life.

I think that this was a good book. It was long, but it was worth the emotional roller coasters. The tangled love lives of the two main characters made me have to put the book down a few times because the motion conveyed was a little heavy. I encourage this for anyone that’s into medicine, feminism, relationships, or even just sex. As indicated by the title, it is for mature adults only.

Numerology Reveal Your Life Numbers is a book that gives a short history of the use of numbers and their significance. It also takes you on a step by step process on how to figure out what different numbers in your life means. Different types of numbers in here use various combinations of your birthday and/or your birth name. The various history that it explains includes the Bible, I-Ching, and Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.  Then it takes you through a journey such as finding your destiny number, life path number, personal year number etc then it explains the good and bad side of these.. At the end of the book, it provides a space for you to work out these numbers so that you can have a personal record for yourself.

I really like the fact that this book acknowledges the fact that many beliefs  and systems are based on or heavily reliant on numbers such as how Jesus had 12 apostles, we have 10 fingers and toes so we use a base 10 system, and there are 12 astrological signs. I’d recommend this book for anyone who is interested in numerology. It was interesting that I found this book because I was looking for something in the book store that’d give me some inspiration and a little pick me up. I was feeling kind of blah yesterday, and this book did it. It’s straight to the point, and I didn’t have to turn 50 pages to get to the good parts. I also caught it on sale for $5.98 so it was a bargain.

This is the book review I turned in for my Principles of Administration class. 

 Ethics is doing what’s right professionally. Morality is doing what is right according to your personal beliefs. Can the two be combined? Are they mutually exclusive? Samuel Freeman Miller believed that they can go together in his practice. The purpose of Justice of Shattered Dreams: Samuel Freeman Miller and the Supreme Court during the Civil War Era by Michael A. Ross is a book to show the leadership of former Supreme Court Justice Samuel Freeman Miller during a turbulent time of a divided nation. This purpose was fulfilled by a narrative of a Justice’s live by showing his career change, his faith, and his Supreme Court opinions.

Justice Samuel Freeman Miller started out as a doctor in his hometown in Barbourville, Ky. While he was still at home, he became a member of the Barbourville Debating Society. He was openly opposed to imprisonment for debt, opposed to property restrictions on the right to vote, and opposed to exterminating the Seminole Indians. He said that there is no “moral justification for capital punishment”. Miller spoke against Southern censorship of anti-slavery documents petitioned by abolitionists because of the violation of the First Amendment. Back in Kentucky he followed many of Cassius Clay’s rhetoric about freeing slaves. Even though Miller was a slave owner himself through marriage, he thought slavery stifled the economy. As a lawyer in Keokuk, Miller rarely made legal decisions based on precedent. He was more concerned about reason and law. One lawyer attributed Miller’s legal view to his lack of training.

Miller’s faith could be seen in his law practice. His beliefs were based on Unitarianism which taught the Bible using logic rather than faith.  He was against capital punishment and slavery because they violated Christian humanism. Miller became one of the best known Republicans in Iowa. He also earned a place on the Republicans State Executive Committee by the summer of 1859 right before having to deal with the John Brown’s raid in Harper’s Ferry. When it came time for President Lincoln to need to fill a spot on the Supreme Court, he received an overwhelming response from those that knew Miller. Lincoln received support letters from both Democrats and Republicans. Even Judge James Love who was politically against Miller supported the nomination.

Because of the decision of Leffingwell v Warren, Miller suggested that there be two courts “sitting within the same jurisdiction, deciding upon the same rights, arising out of the same statute, yet always arriving at opposite results”. This case resulted in the holding that the “federal courts were bound to follow the most recent interpretations given to state statutes and constitutional provisions by the highest court of that state”. He supported the Leffingwell doctrine which said that the U.S. Supreme Court has to follow the state courts when dealing with cases based on state laws. Even though he was an influential member of the Supreme Court, he often found himself writing the dissenting opinions of the court. Other policies that he supported during his time on the court were the Eleventh Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifteenth Amendment, the Military Reconstruction Act, the Habeas Corpus Act of 1867, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

I haven’t read many other books on leadership besides My Grandfather’s Son A Memoir by Justice Clarence Thomas. If I were to compare the two books, I’d say they are both well written narratives about two Justices in the same political part. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in politics around the time of the Civil War. It is also a good book to read to compare the precedents of current court decisions to how the judicial system makes decisions today.

In conclusion, while he was a proponent for social equality he realized that the Supreme Court could not ultimately protect Blacks and women from inequality. Most of the things that he believed in did not actually come into practice until the mid-1900s. Because of his determination of social equality, it was not uncommon for justices to have to refer to his previous work for precedents regarding current cases. He became one of the nation’s leaders for social equality.

Bibliography

Ross, M. A. (2003). Justice of Shattered Dreams: Samuel Freeman Miller and the Supreme Court during the Civil War Era. Baton Rouge: Louisian State University Press.

I’m trying to think about a book I love that I haven’t already reviewed. I need to update my reviews btw. I’m going to take it back to old school and say Green Eggs and Ham is a book that I love. It’s one of the few books I read as a child that I pretty much have memorized. I remember my senior year in HS, I had an English teacher that read some lines from the book and the class finished the pages in verbatim. We were all giggling like we were all 5 years old again. I love this book.

Working Class White by Monica McDermott was a sociological observation on racism, sexism, and classism when it comes to certain geographical locations. Her study was done while working jobs in Boston and Atlanta in lower income areas. She observed how people of different races interacted which each others in these areas. She spoke with people about their views of US born citizens and foreigners.

I didn’t get past chapter two of this book because it was hard for me to get into it. Usually if I don’t read a book within 2-3 days then it just won’t happen. Her observations may have been good, but it seemed as though she tried too hard. She wrote from the perspective of how whites aren’t expected to be poor or broke. This approach was fine, but she tried too hard. I understand that all ethnic groups have those that are in the lower income brackets; however, it seemed as though she was trying to prove that whites can relate to the struggle of blacks. History has shown that the struggles can’t be related.I’d recommend this book to anyone that would want to know how it ended. I’d recommend it to those that are studying sociology or economics.