Monday, January 25, 2010

My Jesus Year

Book:  My Jesus Year
Author:  Benyamin Cohen

One day a Georgia born son of an Orthodox rabbi discovers that his enthusiasm for Judaism is flagging.  He observes the Sabbath, he goes to synagogue, & he even flies to New York on weekends for a series of "speed dates" with nice, eligible Jewish girls.  But, something is missing.  Looking out of his window & across the street at one of the hundred of churches in Atlana, he asks, "What would it be like to be a Christian?"  So begins Benyamin Cohen's hilarious journey that is "My Jesus Year" - part memoir, part spiritual quest & part anthropologist's mission. 

During his year long exploration, Cohen sees the best & worst of Christianity - from megachurches to storefront churches;  from crass commercialization of religion to the simple, moving faith of the humble believer; from the profound to the profane to the just laughable.  Throughout, he keeps an open heart & mind, a good sense of humor & takes what he learns from Christianity to reflect on his own faith & relationship to God.  By year's end, to Cohen's surprise, his search for universal answers & truth in the Bible Belt actually make him a better Jew.

I saw this book in "Entertainment Weekly" one day & though the idea of it was interesting... & interesting it was. 

I had NO IDEA how many laws the Jewish people follow still today & the ways of life that they follow. 

This book is Benyamin's journey - & it does have it funny moments, it does have its moments of insight & it definitely taught me alot - about Jewish culture & about Christianity from an "outsider's" view...

The way he saw Christian book conventions & the idea that Stephen Baldwin is big in the Christian world made me laugh out loud.  It was also interesting to see the take on Christmas - & it was a sad view to me - how it has become so commercial... something we know, but to see if from a fresh perspective was just a little eye opening...even the "Big" preachers of the day, this man left nothing out... visiting different demoninations, faiths, ways of worshipping, seeing what Easter is about...

I even had a chuckle at his visit to "Winter Jam" as I know exactly which year he went... I went that same year...

Makes me wonder who's in the crowd now too... someone who is trying to disect Christians?  Would that make a difference in how you act if you knew someone was watching to learn from you?

The book was a little long - but it is full of Jewish traditions & while interesting, it was a little long for me.  Especially because the print in this book was so small & still over 200 pages, it just seemed like a long book.

I did enjoy that in the end, this experience drew Benyamin deeper into his own faith... maybe I'm a Christian & I personally dont understand how you can deny the sacrifice of Christ... but I did appreciate his closing words of "Hanging with Jesus made me a better Jew"... that just shows a bit of how this book goes...

I did find it interesting - I did learn from it... so:
My Rating:  3 skeins

Friday, January 15, 2010


Book: Victoire - My Mother's Mother
Author:  Maryse Conde

Maryse Conde's personal journey of discovery & revelation becomes ours as we learn of Victoire, her white-skinned mestiza grandmother who worked as a cook for the Walbergs, a family of white Creoles, in the French Antilles.

This is a very interesting book... had me intrigued, confused, but drawn in. 

Conde researches her grandmother & the story that is her history is interesting.  It takes you back to a time where people's rights are not what they are today & where the abuse of women is normal & nothing to blink an eye at.

We see Victoire & how she is brought into the world, how she stands out from everyone else due to the color of her skin & how her grandmother loved & raised her.  We then see the journey of Victoire's life & the different paths it takes, good & bad... & ultimately leads to the birth of Conde's own mother.

Honestly, parts of this story sickened me at the way people were original treated & how belittled they were.  And I did find parts of the story hard to keep up with, only because it was originally written in French & this book is translated by Richard Philcox.  There are whole paragraphs that are still in French, so I was lost at these sections.  Even phrases used or certain words in French had me a little confused.  I even had to keep a sheet next to me with the names written down because they were so confusing & it was easy for me to get people mixed up...Dernier, Danila, Fulgence, Gaetane, Caldonia... all samples of names in the book...

If you are interested in history, you will appreciate this book.  And if you want to check it out further, or interested in purchasing it, check this link:

My rating: 2 skeins... & this is just because I had such a hard time with the names & the language.  The story was a 3 skein, but the whole package, for me, made it a little harder to enjoy. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Traveler's Gift

Book:  The Traveler's Gift
Author:  Andy Andrews

One a few months ago, he was a successful executive.  Now he's a desperate man.  But a divine adventure is about the unfold.  David Ponder is on an incredible journey that will help you discover the Seven Decisions for Success.

I am in love with the book "The Noticer" - even gave it out to a bunch of my reading friends for Christmas.  This book was before that book so I knew I had to pick it up & give it a go... Yes, I loved this book as well. 

David is on top of the world & then in a blink of an eye, the world turns upside down on him.  In the most desperate of hours, he soon goes through a time-travel adventure where he meets up with seven others who give him advice & wisdom. 

Each one of the these people have a scroll they hand him that has a lesson for his success - & while he is back in the various points in history, they have conversations that are just amazing. 

I can totally see King Solomon saying some of the words he says - or even Anne Frank being such a wise young lady...

You can go to see alot of the quotes I got out of this book... things that are so powerful & insightful...

The last visitor is with Gabriel & their visit just about killed me... SPOILER ALERT>>>>>> If you dont want to know... skip on down.... but Gabriel takes him into "..a place that never was"... the things that people give up or dont persue.  The blessings that God wants to bestow but people give up & dont have enough faith for.  Oh mercy - talk about eye opening!  The book describes it so beautifully.

Every conversation is done so beautifully...

As you can tell from all the quotes I have on my "Quote me on that" blog - it touched me to the heart..

My Rating: 5 skeins!!!