Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Some good books (including one for fans of the Black Panther movie)

Here are a few examples of good books I've read recently. I'd like to have a site just devoted to book reviews from a Christian perspective, because there is a real scarcity of such sites out there. (Are there any at all, in fact? Let me know if you are aware of any.) But I'm too busy to start a new site, and "Voracious" and "VoraciousReader" are both taken as site names (bummer!). So I'll just put some recommendations on this blog from time to time, for movies and music as well as books, and hope somebody benefits from them.

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Hardware: The Man in the Machine, by McDuffie and Cowan

This is a really cool graphic novel, by African-American creators, collecting a comics series from years ago that only lasted about 10 issues. But it's got great art by Denys Cowan and beautiful coloring (a rather unique look), and the extra bonus that makes this book special is the theme of revenge vs. justice. The hero, who is more of an anti-hero at first, actually progresses in character development as the story goes, with the arc coming to a satisfying conclusion, especially for those who care about the truth. If you like the Black Panther movie and want to check out some more popular art by African Americans, or if you just like a good story with cool art, you can get Hardware here or here.

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Moby Dick Graphic Novel, by Chaboute

I asked for this book as a Christmas present, because the art looked cool and I've had difficulty getting through the whole original text of Moby Dick, so I thought a graphic novel version would be more doable for me. It was, and I found both my imagination and my soul stirred by this classic tale. It struck me that it's essentially an Old Testament story, complete with portentous prophecies, God's judgment on idolatry (in various forms), and, of course, a whale (but it's not the Book of Jonah). Melville's religious syncretism bleeds through at times, but so does the biblical truth he was steeped in, and there's much more of the latter in the story. French creator Chaboute doesn't bring out even close to all of the Christian elements of the original book, but he can't be faulted for that because of the abridgment. Some of it is there, though, and that along with the beautiful art--effective in black and white--makes this a worthwhile read. You can get it here.

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Monstrum, by Donald James

This is a "normal" book (not a graphic novel) that I bought at a thrift store because I thought the cover looked good and it sounded like an interesting premise...a future Moscow ravaged by civil war and a serial killer who may be more than he (or she) seems. The author is a historian who is an expert on Russia, so all that happens in the novel is probably possible. If you can stand the constant profanity (Russian style) from some of the characters and the anti-hero's often anti-heroic actions, an illustration of God's grace emerges eventually as He uses an unlikely and undeserving tool to save the country. Along the way, twists and turns keep you turning the pages. You can get it (for really cheap) here.

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