Cluny: In Search of God’s Lost Empire by Edwin Mullins

Cluny: In Search of God’s Lost Empire by Edwin Mullins is the fourth book I’ve read for the Dewey Decimal Challenge though I’m still in the 200′s. The 200′s are all about religion with a tight focus on actual religious texts, so it was a little hard for me to find something this time around. Cluny: in Search of God’s Lost Empire promised to tell the story of one of the largest empires in Medieval Europe, now largely forgotten. Sounded interesting to me.

I knew of the Cluny only as the location of a wonderful collection of Medieval art in Paris. (If you ever get a chance to visit, you really should.) The Paris Cluny was built very late in the story. The Cluny Abbey lies farther south and was once the largest church in the world as well as the seat of the most powerful abbot in Europe, some would argue he was more powerful than the Pope.
The Cluny monastery began as part of a reform movement within the church during the 10th century. Their order had the very good fortune to receive a grant of land that specifically placed them outside the existing feudal system. Their order would owe fealty to no lord but God. They received similar status from the Vatican, so they were free to grow their order without interference from anyone. This was not easy to do at first, since the existing Bishops were very jealous of the Cluny’s special status and worked openly against them. But the monks of the Cluny were true to their faith and true to the monastic ideals set down by Saint Benedict which inspired many lords to grant them land and to support them through donations. The lords themselves often ended their lives by joining the Cluny as monks.

During the 11th century the Cluny was led by only two abbots who remained in power for over 50 years each. One of these was Hugh who became a major power broker in the struggle between the church and the kings of Europe over the question of lay investiture. Unless you have been a seventh grade student in California during the last ten years, you may not know about this struggle. (Even if you were, you’ve probably forgotten all about it.) But the question of who would appoint bishops was the major controversy in the struggle over who would rule Medieval Europe, the church or the state. The debate led to the excommunication of the Holy Roman Emperor, to the forced removal of the Pope, the sacking of Rome, and to a schism within the church that left Europe with two rival Popes, one in Italy and one in France. Because the Cluny was seen as free of corruption, as true to its religious calling, Abbot Hugh was able to negotiate a truce between the Pope and the renegade Emperor, which eventually gave the church the sole ability to appoint bishops and led to the separation of church and state. It also led many more people to give the Cluny land and other forms of support which made the Cluny the largest land holder in Europe.

But things change. The Franciscan orders, which promoted the idea that monks should be engaged with the world through charitable works instead of living cloistered lives, came along and reduced the popularity and influence of the Cluny. The order eventually became known not for its religious faith but for the lavish lifestyles of its members. It was during this period that the structures in Paris were built as home for the abbot who soon moved there permanently. Eventually the French revolution came along, disbanded the order completely, and used the great abbey church as a stone quarry for new construction. Only a small portion of it, seen in the photograph pictured here, remains.
Cluny: In Search of God’s Lost Empire provides a good overview of the Cluny’s history. As a general survey of history, it’s a good book. However, it does not go into great depth like many other histories I’ve read. We get to know the major players, like Abbot Hugh, but there is a dearth of minor ones, the smaller roles that can help bring a history to life. I was expecting more information than I got. This, of course, may be the result of what has been lost over time or any number of things beyond the author’s control, but at just over 200 pages one feels that there must be more to say.


This review first ran on my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B.  I’m re-running it here as part of Non-fiction November.  C.J. and I will be visiting New York next week, to celebrate Thanksgivingwith family and to see the parade. While there we will visit The Cloisters museum of Medieval art, the next best thing to visiting the Cluny in Paris.  We visit The Cloisters every time we go to New York.  It’s C.J.’s favorite museum.

Posted in Book Review, History, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Ken Lui vs. William Roughead: A Deal Me In Short “Story” Challenge

classic crimesFor this, my second round/deck in the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge,  I‘m going to continue my bonus challenge of selecting two stories per draw, reading both, and then trying to come up with a way to connect the two.  This may prove an even more difficult challenge in the long run since I’ve selected so many non-fiction pieces this time around. I’ve been inspired by Non-Fiction November.

This time I drew a piece of science fiction called “The Gods Will Not Be Chained” by Ken Lui from The End is Nigh: The Apocalypse Triptych and “The Ardlamont Mystery” by William Roughead from Classic Crimes.  

Ken Lui’s story, set in the near future, is about a young woman whose father, a world renowned computer scientist has recently died.  Her father was working for a company that wanted to upload human personalities in order to use them to further develop more advanced technology.  After some time passes, the girl begins to receive messages on her computer that seem to be a little too close to the messages her father used to send.

Roughead’s article is a novella length piece of crime reporting about a man accused of a murder he probably didn’t comment.  The accused is essentially condemned by the court of public opinion because he really is a very unpleasant scoundrel, though he is also most likely innocent of this particular murder.

So what does a very hip, modern bit of science fiction have in common with classic late 19th century crime reportage?

One thing that struck me was how both pieces rely on quoted text to tell their stories and that both forms of quoted text are outside the realm of more day-to-day text, at least the day-to-day text that I read.

Lui’s heroine meets her father’s ‘ghost’ through the messages he sends via her computer. These messages consist entirely of emoji’s.  For example:

ID  ?

You’ll have to use a bit of your imagination since I cannot figure out how to make WordPress type proper emojis. The above message means “who are you?”  I’m pleased to say that it didn’t take me long to figure out how to read the emoji texts, at least not with the help Mr. Lui’s narration supplies.

William Roughead, the introduction informs me, was an early pioneer of crime writing.  His work influenced most of the early crime writers– Dorothy Sayers was a big fan.  “The Ardlamont Mystery” integrates newspaper coverage, eyewitness testimony and court transcripts to explain how John Alfred Monsoon came to be accused of murdering his student, Cecil Hambrough while out hunting on the Hambrough’s rented estate.  Although Monsoon was eventually acquitted, he later ended up suing Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum which had featured a likeness of him in their chamber of horrors.  Monsoon didn’t object to being reproduced in wax, but he felt it was libelous to put him in all the other villains who populated that particular room.

It’s a fascinating account of the “murder of the century.”

I’m sure there’s a proper graduate school term for this use of quoted texts to tell a story, but I don’t know what it is.  Probably  “something-glossia.”  It’s a very common device but one that both Lui and Roughead use quite well.  I think someone should write a paper on it.

Posted in American Fiction, Book Review, Classic, English Literature, Fiction, Noir, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

art of warThe Art of War by Sun Tzu has been heralded as the book everyone in both the military and the business world should read.  Adopt the principles of Sun Tzu and you will always win, or so we are told.  Some even suggest it will help the average person with daily life.

I bring neither experience as a soldier nor as a business person to the table, so I can’t really say for sure, but I found most of what Sun Tzu says in The Art of War to be painfully obvious.

Use spies in order to know your enemy.  Stay flexible, able to move to suit the situation.  Avoid attacking if you cannot be certain of victory.  Use overwhelming force whenever possible.  Understand the terrain of battle before the battle begins. Attack from higher ground. etc. etc.

This all seems like tactics 101 to me.  Of course one has to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any to start, I suppose.  But I was expecting something more unexpected from a 2500-year-old text.  Of course, someone had to put down all the basic rules first.

It’s probably useful to have a comprehensive set of tactical rules catalogued in a slim book like this one.  But I found The Art of War too close to the sort of advice books that used to be popular on daytime television shows.  Lisa Adams and John Heath describe this sort of book in Why We Read What We Read.  Here’s how they describe The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Sean Covey:

His treatment of each habit can be monumental; for instance, his presentation of the fourth habit, “Think Win/Win,” reaches nearly mock-epic proportions. To the uninitiated, this practice would appear to need little defence, but Covey spends thirty pages arguing that win-win is generally superior to other possibilities, such as, for example, lose-lose. There are charts listing all the possible permutations, with analyses of the pros and cons of each. Clearly, Covey often doesn’t quite know when to stop (he is the father of nine, in case one is looking for further evidence). And he’s got graphs and pictures. This is a project born for the boardroom, with enough diagrams to inspire even the most ineffective middle-management wannabe.

Take away the charts, the graphs, the pictures, the mock-epic proportions and you have The Art of War –a series of propositions about how to engage in or to avoid combat that seem so obvious they need little defence. So little that Sun Tzu offers none.  Maybe I should say “to his credit Sun Tzu offers none.

James Clavell’s edition contains the examples set down in one of the early mass produced versions of The Art of War. The examples do serve to prove Sun Tzu’s point, but I kept thinking that the question was just more complicated than either Sun Tzu or James Clavell was willing to admit.

Mr. Clavell claims that had the generals involved read The Art of War then the U.S. would not have engaged in Vietnam nor would we have lost in Korea.  Both world wars would have been avoided and the English would still have their empire.  This presupposes that the generals involved did not read Sun Tzu, but do we know that?  Weren’t there simply forces involved in these situations that were beyond the scope of China in the 5th century B.C.E.?

As for whether or not Sun Tzu really applies to the boardroom, I have no idea.  I suppose it does, but I can’t see this as a sign of a healthy society.  Corporations have been annihilating their competition for some time now, and I’m not convinced that the world is a better place as a result.

It may be that The Art of War is still a very useful little book.  I guess I just wish it weren’t so.



Posted in Book Review, Chinese Literature, Classic, Non-fiction, Translation | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Sunday Salon: One of those rambling shambling messes of a post

You can tell it’s Sunday morning in our house because C.J. has Baroque by the Bay playing on the radio, we’re both drinking coffee and I’m typing up a Sunday Salon post.

Sunday Salon has become my Sunday morning paper.  I used to get two huge stacks of newspapers every Sunday morning: The San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner and The New York Times Sunday edition.  Between the two, I would spend all morning, sometimes part of the afternoon reading and drinking coffee.

Those were the days.

I haven’t been able to seriously read The New York Times since they helped push the country into war with Iraq through their inaccurate coverage of Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s and The Sunday Chronicle/Examiner is a slim shadow of its former self.  It’s really like the current publisher just puts it out each week to rub it in the noses of long-time readers.

So I read book blogs on Sunday mornings instead.  I haven’t been following you all during the week like I used to, but I do make it a point to spend at least two cups of coffee, sometimes three, every Sunday morning reading over my blogroll.  I have my blog roll set to randomly select a reasonable number of the many, many blogs I follow, so I can usually read through twenty to thirty blogs each Sunday.  I figure I get to all of them at least once a month which is about how often I wrote to my grandmother back when I was a kid and people still wrote letters to their grandmothers.

Email is great, but I’ve never gotten and email with a five dollar bill inside it.

I’ve got a small stack of reviews to write, which I may do this afternoon.  I really should go do the treadmill sometime today. Afterwards, I’ll stop in for a coffee and an hour of blog writing as a reward.

I need to review Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death Revisited which I read for Non-fiction November.  I thought it was terrific and that everyone should read it, but it’s going to take some time to review.  It’s really made me rethink a lot of opinions I have about the subject.

Notice how I wrote ‘a lot’ as two words there.

I read three different Facebook posties that misspelled ‘a lot’ as one word this week. I don’t know what you’re supposed to call those little inspirational pictures with sayings over them, typically suggestions about how to better get through your day or musing about why the government doesn’t function properly.  ‘Posties’ would be a good name for them.  I guess they’re ‘memes’.

Whatever they are called, please remember to spell-check before you publish.

No see how many errors you can find in my post.

I also have to write up reviews for two short pieces I read as part of The Deal Me In Short Story Challenge.  I‘m doing another round of cards since I had so much fun with the first one.  And, I’m almost through with The Art of War, also for Non-Fiction November.

I don’t like it.  I’m not impressed by it either.

Should be a fun review to write.

I turned 51 this week with little fan-fare.  C.J. invited a couple of neighbors over for dinner and Baskin Robbins ice-cream cake.  We had fun.  He got me this very cool antique coffee box.  I looked up the company name the next day to find they were in operation from the 1880′s to the 1920′s, but we think the box is 19th century due to the style of the graphics on it.  It barely weighs anything.  You can tell wooden antiques are very old by their weight.  Wood weighs less and less as it gets older.

I wish the same could be said for me.

Dakota is starting to show signs that she is not feeling well, but she’s still doing pretty good.   Since the weather here in Northern California is looking like it might be good this afternoon we’ll probably take her out somewhere fun this afternoon.  She really has surpassed the doctor’s July prediction of six to eight weeks.

We’re basically counting the days before we leave for New York City.  In eleven days we’re heading for Manhattan to spend Thanksgiving watching Macy’s blow up their balloons in Central Park before the big parade.  We’ll watch the parade, too, of course, then we’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner at The Tavern on the Green.

I’m hoping to see Santa Land the next day.  A friend of mine who grew up in New York says the Christmas windows at Macy’s are a must see.  They’re free, and our hotel is not too far away from Herald Square, so this could work.  But what C.J. and I really want to do is “stand on the magic square so  we can see Santa.”  I may even take my old copy of Santa Land  Dairies along, just for fun.

I’ve made it clear that I’ll be cooking dinner next year.  I haven’t cook Thanksgiving dinner in years now.  I mean no disrespect to anyone when I say this, but my turkey is the best.  It just is.  Everyone who has had it agrees.

Or they’re never invited back.

I’m going to run spell-check now and them I’m off to read what you all have been writing about this week.

Happy Sunday.

Posted in Ramble | Tagged | 10 Comments

Why We Read What We Read by Lisa Adams and John Heath and an Interview with the Authors

Why We Read What We Read by Lisa Adams and John Heath is the second book I read for the Dewey Decimal Challenge  back in 2009 and the first one I could recommend. Ms. Adams and Mr. Heath have read a wide range of best selling books and come up with an entertaining and enlightening overview of what Americans read most.

Why We Read What We Read is divided by genres. The authors take a look at diet and self-help books, religious and spirituality books, relationship guides, romance novels, political nonfiction, adventure thrillers, literary fiction, Oprah books and, of course, The Da Vinci Code. While their book is a serious study, their approach is humorous, much like that of a very smart student who prefers to sit in the back row passing notes. For example their take on Sean Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

His treatment of each habit can be monumental; for instance, his presentation of the fourth habit, “Think Win/Win,” reaches nearly mock-epic proportions. To the uninitiated, this practice would appear to need little defence, but Covey spends thirty pages arguing that win-win is generally superior to other possibilities, such as, for example, lose-lose. There are charts listing all the possible permutations, with analyses of the pros and cons of each. Clearly, Covey often doesn’t quite know when to stop (he is the father of nine, in case one is looking for further evidence). And he’s got graphs and pictures. This is a project born for the boardroom, with enough diagrams to inspire even the most ineffective middle-management wannabe.

One of the good things about reading books about books is that you can become familiar with so much without actually having to read it all. I do read bestsellers, though not many best selling self-help books, diet books, or relationship books. Why We Read What We Read is certainly one way to fill in this hole in one’s education. Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Grey, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura and Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phil, and so many other titles are all summed up as follows:

They may be physically dissimilar brothers, but the DNA nevertheless proves their connections; a preference for celebrity authorities; simple analyses of problems; quick and relatively easy, comfortable fixes; and an appeal to our deepest preconceptions (and fears) about the roles of men and women. The multicolored messiness of real-life partnering is filtered through nature’s (or God’s) chromosomal prism to prove that only the ends of the spectrum actually exist, red versus blue; Mars versus Venus; male versus female. The differences between genders are exaggerated and caricatured to the point where surrender is the only reasonable response.

The authors examine two sub-sets of books on spirituality: Christian books and books on New Age Spirituality; two genres that are often at war with each other. The arguments each set of books present is examined fairly, if a bit snarkily, but as the authors conclude it is impossible to prove an argument about spirituality–one either believes or one doesn’t. Even if the Bible or some other text is quoted as evidence, one must believe that text and also believe that it is being interpreted correctly, often by someone who cannot read it in its original language.

The book concludes with a look at literary fiction and non-fiction and at Oprah books. I admit that I was surprised to find that there really is no “Oprah book.” Ultimately, the authors find no real difference between the books on Oprah and the rest of the best selling literature of the day. What they did find was that Oprah and her audience read for one main reason, realness. They all wanted a story they could identify with, place themselves inside, as though it could or did happen to them. This may be one reason why Oprah became so angry with James Frey once he admitted that his memoir A Million Little Pieces was largely fictional. (For the record, I read it and I knew it! No one gets a root canal without anesthetic.)

If you’re looking for a book that will add a few titles to your TBR stack, I don’t think Why We Read What We Read will help you. But it will give you some insight into what’s on the best seller list and to why so many people are buying a reading the same books. It may also give you some food for thought and more than a few laughs on the way.

I read this book as part of the Dewey Decimal Challenge back when I was keeping my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B. and was still doing lots of challenges.  The idea was to read a book from every century of the Dewey Decimal System.  Why We Read What We Read was my book for the 200′s.  I really enjoyed the Dewey Decimal Challenge because it forced me to read from the parts of the library I usually don’t enter, and becuase it forced me to spnd time browsing those parts of the library.  In fact, I had so much fun with it that I decided to ask the authors for an interview.  Ms. Adams and Mr Heath proved to be one of the better interviews I did, back when I was still doing interviews.  They were lots of fun and very easy to work with. Here’s the interview:

I usually don’t ask this but what was the inspiration for Why We Read What We Read? Were you regular readers of best sellers before you started this project? Did you discover any authors you intend to keep reading?

We’re pretty big book nerds. While hunting for a book we could write together, we realized we were both fascinated by the bestseller lists (which we knew little about) and would enjoy writing snarky reviews of popular titles. Voila! While we haven’t followed the lists as intensely as we did while researching our book, we definitely keep an eye on them. We discovered several authors whose work we plan to keep reading, such as David McCullough, Malcolm Gladwell, Eric Schlosser, Jonathan Franzen, Joyce Carol Oates, Andre Dubus III, and Audrey Niffenegger.

I tried to find out if the two of you are married via Google. (They say everything can be Googled these days.) I found only one source that answered this question; it said yes. I hope it was correct because I’m going to plunge in and ask this question. What can you tell us about working as a married team? How do you divide the job? Do you think your experience would make you good guests on the Dr. Phil show?

We have been hitched in spirit for some time, though we are actually getting legally married in three weeks! While we have written books alone and co-written books with others, this was actually our first book together. It was a wonderful experience (and we’re not just saying that to avoid getting the silent treatment). One of the most enjoyable parts about it was that we could write with the other in mind, adding in phrases and jokes that we knew the other would love. We motivated each other to keep writing; we cheered each other up when we felt overwhelmed. It all worked because we were committed to the same vision of our book and could both write in the same style. That’s not to say we didn’t have any frustrations, but overall the experience was extremely positive, and we definitely plan to do it again.

In general, Lisa read and wrote about the fiction books, and John read and wrote about the nonfiction books—though in some cases we swapped or both read the same book. After writing a portion of the book, each of us would have the other read and edit that section. Then we worked on weaving the various sections together to make cohesive chapters.

As for Dr. Phil—the answer is yes, we would make great guests on any talk show! (wink wink)

In your chapter on relationship advice books you sum them up as all having the same basic characteristics: “a preference for celebrity authorities; simple analysis of problems; quick and relatively easy, comfortable fixes; and an appeal to our deepest preconceptions and fears” which I think also applies to the diet and exercise books and possibly to the books on religion and spirituality. I recently attended an inservice, I teach middle school in the North Bay, and found what the two presenters were saying fit this description almost to a “t”. This did not exactly inspire hope for improving education any time soon, but it did give me a critical framework to work from when evaluating their presentation. What do you hope readers take away from your analysis of self-help and relationship books? Were you concerned that your readers might end up thinking they should simply “trust no one”?

Ultimately we hoped that people would understand the ways that many self-help, inspiration, relationship, and diet books keep readers in the same vicious cycle, providing temporary comfort without actually solving problems. While self-help books can truly be helpful and inspiring, reading alone is far from enough: it takes significant action on the reader’s part to make genuine, long-term change.

Yours is the best, most enlightening, evaluation of Oprah’s Book Club that I have read to date. I was surprised to hear you say that there really isn’t an “Oprah Book” since it’s a term that is used so often and everyone seems to have agreed on what it means. With that in mind, do you have a favorite Oprah book? I imagine there are people out there who mainly read the books she recommends. What do think of the experience her regular readers are having?

We were surprised by the overall high quality that we found on Oprah’s list. Before reading any of the books, we had understood them to be maudlin and poorly written—most people we knew (snobs, it’s true) referred derisively to “Oprah books.” And while we did find some of her selections to be the weepy tomes we originally expected, we were generally pretty impressed. Oprah’s choices tend to be the best on the bestseller lists—so her regular readers could do much worse. Our personal favorites are House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

In chapter 5, “Soul Train: Religion and Spirituality” you hit two nails on the head as far as I am concerned. One, that the readers of religious writing must trust that the writer is correct since there is no way to prove anything he or she says. This is true even when the writer is interpreting scriptures. And two, that trusting the word of someone who interprets the Bible without the ability to read it in it’s original language is like trusting a Shakespeare scholar who cannot read English. In light of that what do you think of the growing political power of people like Rick Warren who recently used his interpretation of the Bible to help pass California’s Proposition 8 which discriminates against lesbian and gay people? (In fairness I should tell you that my marriage is one of those that will be ended if Ken Starr has his way in court.) Have you come across any books on religion or spirituality that sincerely deepened your understanding of either?

While we are not religious people, we are fairly interested in and educated about religion—so it is fair to say that we were pretty appalled by much of the bestselling religious writing we reviewed. Fans of Rick Warren we are not, and the fact that he and other bestselling authors of his ilk have any political power is both alarming and mind-boggling.

However, we did truly enjoy exploring the spiritual/religious genre. This was the area of the bestseller lists with which we were least familiar; and in reading these books, we discovered a whole fascinating world of arguments and sniping that we never knew existed. Delving into the ongoing battle between the fundamentalist Christian and New Age viewpoints opened our eyes and taught us a lot about American readers.

I want to ask at least one question about the Left Behind series, of which you both read all 5000 plus pages, but I don’t think I can without being overly snarky. Have you seen any of the movie versions? Which do you think are better, the books or the movies?

We considered watching the first movie, but honestly—we like to keep our memories of Kirk Cameron safely in the Growing Pains years where they belong! It would be hard to imagine the movie being worse than the book…but somehow we think it probably is.

Much has been written lately about the decline of the printed book review and the rise of the web review. Have you been following the book blog scene? Do you think it will eventually have an effect on the best seller lists?

Perhaps the greatest irony in the two of us writing Why We Read What We Read is that we rarely read book reviews! We’re kind of anal people who prefer to let a book unfold on its own rather than read too much about it prematurely. That said, we’re certain that online book reviews will continue to grow in readership. The truly talented reviewers will find an audience, whether their work is digital or printed. Personally, we think it’s a good thing that the field is expanding. We have experienced how a printed review can make or break a book—from both sides—and it’s a little alarming how much power a few people can have.

Lisa, I did spent some time reviewing your website, and came away from it admiring you as a sort of writer/gun-for-hire. You write press releases, brochures, fiction, non-fiction, web site content, technical manuals, just about everything one can name; offer a full range of editing and proofreading services; and even offer on-line courses in writing and grammar. It seems like a heck-of-a-way to make a living. Is this typical for writers these days? How did you become a writer? How do you like it? Have you any advice for people looking to make money writing?

Business writing is definitely a way for any talented writer to make a good living these days. In college I majored in English with a writing emphasis and, after graduating, got a job as a marketing writer with a media production agency. From there, I launched my own consulting business. As you can tell, I enjoy variety!

I don’t think there’s any one “typical” path for writers. Sadly, very few make a living writing books alone, but it’s certainly possible to support oneself by writing for companies, advertising agencies, and PR firms. Excellent writers are always in demand!

Because I regularly feature posts about my dog, a Basset named Dakota who likes to eat my books, I like to end each interview by asking if you have any pets and if they have ever gone after your books? If so, do they prefer best sellers?

Yes, we love our pets! We have a two-year-old black lab/border collie mix named Lu (short for Emmylou) and a chubby black cat named Vetta (short for Svetlana). Lu is pretty good as far as dogs go, but she did—in a rare burst of ferocity—destroy our copy of A Brief History of Time. If you’re interested in the heinous details, Lisa actually wrote an article about the event.

I’d like to thank Lisa Adams and John Heath for participating in this little project. And I like to wish them the best of luck and congratulations on their upcoming wedding.

Since this review and interview were both publishe on my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B., I have read and seen the movie version of Left Behind and I can honestly say that the movie is better.  I know.  It’s a bit of a shock, but it’s true.  The book just went on and on, dreaming up scenarios of what would happen after the Rapture–planes without pilots that crashed, impossible traffic jams in baseball parking lots where every other car no longer has a driver–it was a bit fun at first but got old fast. The movie covered this territory fairly quickly and got on with the story.  Plus the movie avoided all that business about the unborn being raptured which left behind some very upset women.  That was creepy.  All the kids under 13 were raptured in both the movie and the book which always got me thinking…..what if you were two thirds of the way through your Bar Mitzvah when the Rapture came.  Would you still be raptured, or would you be officially a man and therefore old enough to know that you should convert and therefore left behind because you hadn’t converted?  The books may have addressed this in a later volume, but I didn’t read the rest of the series like Lisa Adams and John Heath did.

Posted in Book Review, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment