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Posts tagged ‘travel’

Rapture Ready

Cover art for Rapture Ready by Daniel Radosh

Image via DangerousMinds.net.

Title: Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture

Author: Daniel Radosh

Year of Publication: 2008

Genre Keywords: Bibles, business, Christianity, conservatism, creationism, cultural anthropology, music, non-fiction, politics, religion, theatre, travel.

Summary: Daniel Radosh – a non-believer of Jewish extraction – travels across America to investigate the far reaches of Christian culture. The result of his journeys is this collection of loosely-linked adventures. Meet the sellers of kitschy “Jesus junk”; learn how the Bible continues to be a best-seller even when every Christian’s got one; dance the night away at a Christian purity ball; rock out to the best of contemporary Christian music; investigate the historical anti-Semitism of the Passion Play; ride a dinosaur at Kentucky’s Creation Museum; and get the hell scared out of you (literally, the Christians hope) at a Christian haunted house where evangelizing gets graphic. While many people in the book come across as rigid and doctrinaire, the warmth of the story comes from the few genuine, thoughtful individuals Radosh meets: Christians genuinely grappling with the realities that accompany their beliefs, and trying to engage with broader culture through a Christian lens.

Who’ll Love It: This is a fantastic introduction to fundamentalism, and I say that as someone who has been following Christian culture in America with some interest. If you’ve never encountered the God Squad in the U.S. of A., you’ll get a broad-based view of them here. The book may highlight some of the kookier elements (like the Christian variant of World Wrestling Entertainment!) but it does so in a light, mostly-loving way. Judgment isn’t Radosh’s aim here, which is what gives the book its charm. Avid fundamentalist-watchers will find lots to love here as well, even if they’re already familiar with Answers in Genesis, Christian music, or Left Behind. The conversations with more nuanced thinkers within Christian culture will both inspire and challenge the reader. And I was absolutely riveted by an intensely personal scene in which Radosh, whose children were born through IVF, confronts a pro-life pamphleteer after reading his argument against artificial insemination.

Want More? Christian culture is so fascinating, it can get pretty addictive. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of it on the Internet. If you want to get to know the Creation Museum, check out their ministry at Answers in Genesis. If you liked reading about the Cornerstone music festival, you can find out more about this year’s event. If you were fascinated by the alternate realities of Left Behind and Hell Houses, you should know they were ripped straight from the pages of Chick Tracts. Keep up with the chastity movement at Chastity.com, get political about abortion at LifeSite News, or get it on – but only if you’re married! – with sex advice from the Christian Nymphos. Then, once you’ve found your favourite flavour of fundamentalism, hit Google to see what else you can find out there! (Be sure to comment, so everybody at Bookshelf of the Mind can follow what you’ve found.)

The “Eat Pray Love” Booklist

By now it’s no secret that I’m not too interested in seeing Eat Pray Love, and I’m not sure I even want to put the time into reading the book. Memoirs really aren’t my cup of tea in any case. But that doesn’t mean I can’t pull together a bundle of reading recommendations and suggestions for people who want more of the Eat Pray Love phenomenon.

If you loved Eat Pray Love, what was it that captured your heart? It could be the exotic settings. Maybe it’s the idea of a woman finding freedom or self-discovery. It could be the romance, or the spiritual seeking. Or maybe you’re a foodie at heart. There’s no doubt that Eat Pray Love is a multi-faceted concept that could draw people in on a lot of different levels. So I’ll try to recommend a few volumes to appeal to any Eat-Pray-Lover. (more…)

Found Wanting

Cover art for "Found Wanting" by Robert Goddard

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction UK.

Title: Found Wanting

Author: Robert Goddard

Year of Publication: 2008

Genre Keywords: action/adventure, corporate thriller, corruption, espionage, explosions, financial thriller, friendship, politics, revenge, suspense, travel.

Summary: Richard Eusden has a dull and predictable civil servant’s life, until he discovers that his estranged best friend is dying. As part of Marty’s last wish, Eusden finds himself tracking a briefcase across Europe – a briefcase containing evidence that could prove or disprove the survival of Anastasia, daughter of Russia’s last tsar. Apparently, it’s information worth a large amount of money to the right people, even information worth killing for. He never intended it, but Eusden’s life is about to get a lot more interesting.

Who’ll Love It: Anybody with an affinity for stories of corporate wheeling and dealing. There are a lot of characters to keep straight and a lot of double-crossing, lying, and game-changing to track. The story reads like an action-packed film; be ready for high-speed travel, bullets flying, and explosive death scenes. Literally.

Bookshelf Cameo: Surprise! This isn’t the first time Found Wanting has appeared on this blog. It came up in passing when I talked about Book Crossing; it was the book my uncle-in-law’s girlfriend gave me that prompted me to reflect on how books get shared between reading fans.

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