Tag Archives: literary review

Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins

Note: I just added Part 5 of the Thieves documentary.

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those stories that warms its way into your brain, makes itself comfortable, and purrs softly for decades.

A brief synposis: When dishonest sea traders kill the men of the island tribe to which young Karana belongs, her tribe is forced to sail for the mainland or die from starvation. The day to leave comes and all the natives climb aboard the ship during the midst of a terrible storm. As they are sailing away Karana looks back and, with a great shock, sees that they accidentally left her little brother on the beach. Because of the storm the ship cannot return, and so, against the protests of her family, Karana leaps into the sea and swims to her brother to stay with him. Believing that everything will still be alright, she begins to set up a new life for herself in which she will take care of her brother, but it is not to be. A few days later, a pack of wild dogs—emboldened at seeing the adults gone—attack and kill her brother, leaving her all alone on the island.
Now on her own, Karana embarks on an inward-journey of self-discovery and survival that may last the rest of her life.

One thing I love so much about stories is how we can follow a heroine through trials which only she, and she alone, can face. Yet, in her heart she conquers the things that each of us must face on our own, too.
This is Karana’s story. I was touched by her search for a sense of inner-security, of self-worth, trust, and, eventually, a desire to share her love with others.

I recommend.

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Review: The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, 7 CDs [The Modern Scholar Series]

The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, 7 CDs [The Modern Scholar Series] by Peter Kreeft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The audiobook lecture series was a terrific introduction to the world and philosophy of theological giant, Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas is renowned for having reconciled the intellectual reasoning of the ancient philosophers, such as Aristotle and Plato, with the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He was so prolific at expounding on theological principles that the church ended up assigning several scribes to him so that he could philosophize verbally and allow them to record it for him––thus speeding up the process. In all, he made some one-hundred thousand pages of philosophical thought.

Four stars for such a great introduction!

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Review: The City of God

The City of God
The City of God by Augustine of Hippo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was totally worth the time it took to read it. Augustine’s understanding of the gospel and remarkable rhetorical skills make for a compelling breakdown of the fall of Paganism, the rise of Christianity, and the importance of gaining entrance into into the City of God by surrendering ourselves to God’s will.

I would heavily recommend reading it on audio first, because there are long sections of the book that, while germane anciently, are now completely irrelevant. The said sections concerned the political and philosophical questions of the fifth century and were difficult to endure. Reading it on audio enabled me to mentally ‘tune out’ until the narrator reached a more interesting subject. The sections would, however, be interesting subject matter to a serious student of history.

Many of Augustine’s insights were wholly new to me, such as his understanding of numerical symbolism. I’ll outline one example briefly:

‘God worked 6 days, then rested the 7th.
6 here represents completion of this mortal life. This is shown in that the fundamental base numbers of 1, 2, and 3, can be either multiplied together to reach the number 6 (1 X 2 X 3 = 6), or added together to also make 6 (1 + 2 + 3 = 6). Therefore, 6 is a number that is complete in this life.
7, then, is the transcendence of the number 6. Upon the finishing of this life, we then enter into the rest of the Lord (symbolized by the Sabbath Day), thus transcending at the completion of this life.’

He also explains the numbers 8 and 12, but in order to find out, you’ll have to read the book:)

Double five stars for Augustine’s theological understanding wisdom, and rhetorical mastery.

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