Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book Review: The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn

The Message: “This book teaches you to recognize the logical fallacies which you meet every day in the street, or in the newspaper, or in your work. Thousands of years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle began to study and categorize these common errors in reasoning. Ever since that time, people have found this branch of logic to be the most interesting and useful in ordinary life.” ~ Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn

My Thoughts: As the Bluedorn brothers say in their introduction to this book, “many Christians adopt beliefs and practices without evaluating the arguments that are used to support them,” so being able to assess all things logically and identify errors in reasoning is a necessary skill for Christians. Will this book help you attain this skill? While it’s far from an exhaustive study of the subject, the lessons in this book are a fun and practical way to learn the basics of how to identify logical fallacies. It’s an excellent resource for children and teens, whether to read on their own or in school. Adults who want an introduction to logic are likely to enjoy it as well.

Content Overview: Safe for all readers old enough to be interested in it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Are Your Favorite Beatrix Potter Books?

I've enjoyed Beatrix Potter's animal tales ever since I was a small child. While the stories are sometimes silly, many of the beautiful illustrations she made to accompany the stories are artistic masterpieces.

Have you read any of Beatrix Potter’s books? If so, what are your favorites?

My favorites are:

The Tailor of Gloucester

The Tale of Jeremy Fisher

The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Movie Review: The Raven (1963)

The Story: A mild-mannered sorcerer lives a quiet life with his adult daughter, mourning the death of his second wife. Then a raven who is actually a sorcerer turned into a raven by another sorcerer comes to his window and shakes up his otherwise normal night, sending the two sorcerers and their children on a wild quest to battle a powerful enemy.

My Thoughts: As you may have guessed from the synopsis, this is a horror comedy. Horror and humor is perhaps one of the rarer genre mixes, and not one of the easiest, but this film pulls it off pretty well. A few moments are perhaps a bit too over the top, and there’s not much laugh out loud comedy, but it’s consistently amusing. A good, well-presented message keeps the story from being mere fluff.

Cramming classic horror actors Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre all into one movie would be hard to mess up, since they are all pros at this sort of thing, and a young Jack Nicholson also appears. Anyone who enjoys horror, fantasy, comedy, or light-hearted adventures will probably like this movie.

Content Overview: There’s quite a bit of violence, but it is generally cartoonish, and the scary scenes are likewise usually goofy rather than frightening. There is also a mild swear word or two. Adult subjects are referenced, but appropriately and in a family-friendly way. Perhaps most notable is the high level of magic-related content, which might bother some people.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review: Z for Zachariah by Robert O’Brien

The Story: After nuclear and biological warfare destroys most of America and perhaps most of the world, a teenage girl survives all alone in a small valley that was shielded from radiation and poison, wondering if anyone else is alive somewhere. One day, a man with a protective suit arrives in her valley after a long search for a haven in the wasteland. She hopes that together they can turn the valley into their own Eden, but slowly realizes he has sinister plans for her.

My Thoughts: While this science fiction novel does not appear to be written from a Christian perspective, it is respectful of Christianity and has strong moral themes. It brilliantly and movingly illustrates the importance of loving others and the horrific consequences that can arise from selfishness. I was also pleasantly surprised that the novel does not have a single instance of foul language or other problematic content.

This tale excels, however, not just with its exploration of morality, but in all aspects of storytelling. The two characters are vividly representative of opposing worldviews, yet they are fully-developed and believable. The way tension rises and eventually leads to violence between them keeps things suspenseful. It all adds up to make this a science fiction classic, one that has earned a place high on my list of favorite science fiction novels.

Content Overview: Some mild but intense violence.