Book Review: The Shack, by William P. Young

I love critiquing books, but I don’t feel I can review this book by providing the usual opinions on the story line, characters, grammatical structure, etc. Nor do I care to touch on whether the book threatens the theology of orthodox Christianity, a major complaint I’ve read in other reviews. Instead, I’d like to share the experience I had while discussing the book with my book club (South Denver Book Club).

In March, I had to find a number of new bestselling fiction titles for the book club to vote on for our April and May reading selections. When I came across “The Shack” I was intrigued by the book the instantly interested in reading it, so I added it to our list of candidates. I was even more enthusiastic about reading it when my fellow book club members voted “The Shack” as our next read. When I read the book, I absolutely loved it, and it became a new favorite of mine. Then the day of the book discussion arrived. Four other people, whom I had never met, joined the discussion group. We shared a morning discussing the profound affects that this book had on each of our lives. Each of us was at a different points in our spiritual journey, but that made no difference. Together we spent two hours contributing to the discuss and connecting in such a heartwarming way that we could have continued our discussion through the afternoon. I’ve never enjoyed a book club discussion group more! The book was an inspiration to us all, but best of all five people grew both together and as individuals during that morning. Any book with this sort of influence deserves notice. I highly suggest that if you do decide to read this book, read it with a friend or two, and take some time to come together to share your thoughts and experiences with “The Shack.”

RATING: 5 out of 5

Book Review: Blaze, By Richard Bachman

People always assume I’m a Stephen King fan because I write Horror and love Horror movies. Well, I’m not exactly a fan. I’m a critic. Like many of his readers, I either love his stories or hate ‘em, and have mostly disliked his work. For example, I hated “The Stand” finding it long and boring (a book considered one of his best works and a must read), but I absolutely loved “Pet Cemetery” (my favorite King novel) for its depiction of desperation and fear. So, I have to admit that I haven’t read very many of his books.

Now, since reading “Pet Cemetery” many years ago, I can finally say I found another King book I absolutely LOVED reading!! The only reason I grabbed “Blaze” (he wrote it under Richard Bachman) was because I hadn’t read anything off the bestseller shelf for years, and I needed to reconnect with the public’s favorites, especially authors in genres in which I prefer to write. I’m so glad I picked it up! Everyone always talks about King’s ability to create strong characters in his works, and Blaze is no exception. The main character, Clayton “Blaze” Blazedell Jr. is a villain you have to force yourself to hate. Stephen King actually wrote this book back in the 70s, and archived it because he didn’t care for the outcome. It was obvious he made updates before Blaze was released, and I wonder how much he changed, because he forwards the book with an apology to the readers. Mr. King, remove the apology! This was a great book!

RATING 5 out of 5

Book Review: The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

I just finished reading The Secret History, a book that took me a month to get through. My sister gave me the book at least three years ago, and I’ve noticed it sitting in my “to read” pile at least a hundred times since. Why has it sat for so long? Well, my sister and I have completely different taste in books. She rarely suggests or gives me books, and the ones she has, I’ve faithfully suffered through. So I’m now a bit hesitant to pick up anything she suggests. “The Secret History,” however, was different. I remembered that she suggested the book because she felt it was dark, and expected that I would enjoy the story line considering my love of all things horrific. She was 1/2 right about my liking the book. I developed a love/hate attitude toward the book while reading it. This was one of those books you read and can’t wait for it to end but at the same time, can’t put it down. Over and over again I wanted to throw it aside and start reading something new, only to have another side of me take over, determined to finish the read. What did I love; what did I hate? I loved the author’s incorporation of ancient Greek studies, including ancient text. However, I didn’t like that the Greek portion started strong in the beginning of the book and dropped off as the story progressed. This novel is long and drawn out, but I got the feeling that the author was forced to condense it or dumb it down from possibly twice the size. I felt that some of the more intellectual portions of the novel were cut out, including essential information about the college professor. As much as I hate reading thousand page books, I think it may have been better if longer. I loved that the author gave away the ending in the beginning of the book, but…when the details of the murders were revealed, the plot was predictable. Now, despite the negative comments I’ve made, I suggest reading the book. Just be prepared to spend some time getting through it.

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