Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Category: books (page 1 of 27)

Book Review: Harvey’s Hideout

Harvey’s Hideout, Russell Hoban, Plough Publishing, 2018. 

Harvey Muskrat and his sister, Mildred, find themselves in a continual feud.

Originally published in 1969, Russell Hoban’s classic, much like Bread and Jam for Frances or Charlie the Tramp, Harvey’s Hideouthas a hint of realism. Whether muskrats or humans, siblings fight. Both siblings have their lesser qualities, which seem to be the entry of frustration with the other. Harvey is inconsiderate, while Mildred is bossy.

But, as Father Muskrat reminds them, it does not mean that they are “stupid and no-good” or “mean and rotten.”

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Book Review: Liam Takes a Stand

Liam Takes a Stand, Troy Wilson, Owlkids Books, 2017.

Liam loves his older brothers, Lister and Lester. The brothers are twins who are competitive with one another. They strive to outdo the other.

Liam, however, just wants to play.

Liam wants to be with his brothers so badly, that when they each open their own lemonade stand, he offers to work for them. Even for free. But his brothers reject his offer.

Instead, Liam takes on various odd jobs in the community, from walking dogs to cutting grass. When Mrs. Redmond pays him with a basket of apples, it inspires an innovative idea. While his older brothers were trying to attract larger crowds, Liam opens an apple juice stand.

Pretty soon, Liam’s stand takes all of his brother’s business, and they go into debt. They end up coming to their little brother asking for a job. Liam hires them to work and to play.

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Giveaway: Colors/Numbers in the Bible

WorthyKids/Ideals and the Museum of the Bible are partnering together to put out some new and creative books.  The Museum of the Bible is one of the newest museums in Washington, D. C., just a few blocks from the Capitol. The Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution with the goal of inviting people to engage with the Bible.

The newest additions to this collection are Colors in the Bible and Numbers in the Bible, ideal for little learners.  Both of which Toddler J enjoys.

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What I’ve Been Reading: From Batman to Michelle

I read a lot! From Batman comics to works of theology, current events to historical reflections. Here is a sampling of what I have read over the last several months.

The Time of Our Lives: Collected Writings (Peggy Noonan, Twelve Books, 2015).

A former speechwriter for President Ronald Regan, Noonan has been a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Her book pulls many of her pieces together in one collection. A gifted writer, Noonan is able to share critical observations about current realities without being overly political. But don’t let that fool you. She praises Regan as one of the best presidents and is overly critical of the Clinton’s and Obama. That said, it is important to remember that this collection of essays is being read out of context. Weekly columns deal with the present. Perhaps the best part of this book is the introduction. Noonan offers a glimpse into her writing process. For any person whose main form of communication is the written word, Noonan provides a primer in writing.   (3 out of 5 stars.)

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Book Review: The Lost Art of Good Conversation

The Lost Art of Good Conversation: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life, Sakyong Mipham, Penguin Random House, 2017.

Have you noticed in this highly politicized time that it’s hard to have a good conversation? Among family members, in the workplace, and in churches, having a good conversation has become challenging. When you consider the conversations that the United Methodist Church is (and has been) having, particularity about human sexuality, it becomes even more challenging to have a good conversation.

Sakyong Mipham, head of the worldwide Shambhala community, uses his book to remind readers that in this hyper-connected time in which we live, we do not always communicate well. It is easier to make our point and refuse to hear another’s on Facebook and Twitter than it is sitting at a table, face-to-face.

By doing so, we no longer rejoice with those who rejoice or cry with those who cry. We lose any intimacy that a conversation would normally have. As Mipham writes, “We are at a dangerous crossroads because when we lose feeling, our exchanges with others lose value.” (11)

“It is a warrior practice of kindness using words.” -Sakyong Mipham (16)

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