Sunday, January 12, 2014

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

I really wish the people that criticize this book would read it.  It is not a theological piece, but rather tracks the historical Jesus of Nazareth through the political, religious, and social times that he lived in.  If you are not well versed in biblical history and the evolution of the synoptic gospels, much of the first part of this book will be really useful to you--as Aslan traces the gospels through "Q", a source that several of the writers probably used as their original source for information about what Jesus said.  Then Aslan proceeds into helping the reader get a deep understanding of the times and troubles that Jews faced and how Jesus was looked upon through the lens of his time.  Lastly, Aslan basically summarizes the conflict between James (brother of Jesus) and Paul and how that led to the Christology that permeates the New Testament.  A terribly wonderful and useful read!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Man in the Window by Jon Cohen

This unusual love story centers around Louis and Iris.  Louis, a complete recluse who was burned as a teenager in a tragic accident at his father's hardware store, has not left his house in 16 years.  Iris is a hospital nurse that sees nothing physically beautiful about herself.  Through a course of fortuitous and unusual events, they meet and quickly realize that they should be together.  This story was simply beautiful and left me championing the two untouchables throughout the book.  All of the "normal" characters in the story pale in comparison to the central characters.  I highly recommend this quick and quirky read.