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The first part of the book is an introduction to Edwards's work, by Piper (a sort of commentary, if you will), and the later part is the actual work of Edwards's. Piper begins by expressing his concern about the issue at hand, and then leads into a discussion of not only Edwards's life but his work as well. Piper comments on Edwards's conclusions in relation to Piper's concerns in his current ministry and then allows the reader to take what Piper has discussed and make application of it through Edwards's original work.
The thing I find most interesting about this work is its relevancy. What I mean by this is the fact that Edwards's wrote this work 200+ years ago and it is still pertinent to our own culture today (sure proof that the Truths of God endure forever). This is a great text, solid theology, and extremely relevant reading for today. I heartily recommend this work!
Jonathan Edwards, primarliy known for his sermon, "Sinners in the Hand of An Angry God" goes beyond his sermon and eloquently states that we are here to fulfill a purpose... to glorify God and yet that one singluar purpose is the essence of our own joy and peace. What a place of rest this is.
Regardless of all the wonderful things Piper has written and, I love them all... this may well turn out to be one of Piper's greatest acomplishments: the reintorduction of Jonathan Edwards to the church.
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Access to Bunyan's scripture references gives the serious reader the opportunity to better his or her understanding of Bunyan's work while Hazelbaker's references and annotations also compliment the text. Hazelbaker, for example, elaborates on the importance of the seal that a Shining One (an angel) places upon Christian's forehead and on the Document given to him. Hazelbaker also offers his audience a clear and detailed understanding of the "Family" that resides in the palace called Beautiful. The reader will appreciate Hazelbaker's explanation of Bunyan's reference to "the goods of Rome" at Vanity Fair and why it would have been significant to the first readers of The Pilgrim's Progress. Hazelbaker also takes the time to explain to the reader why he uses the word "coat" for "bosom." These are only a few of the many helpful annotations Hazelbaker includes in his work.
In studying Hazelbaker's translation I referred to an early edition of Bunyan's several times. Each time I found Hazelbaker's translation true to Bunyan. Hazelbaker has made special effort to maintain the characteristic qualities and message of Bunyan's original work. In the translation process, he manages to preserve Bunyan's work by keeping himself removed from the text. This is his duty and obligation as a translator. His translation is, in all honesty, unabridged and non-paraphrased.
Of the 215 pages I have studied to date, I have found only one minor word choice in Hazelbaker's translation that I wish he would not have made. He translates Bunyan's "cartloads" with "truckloads" in the Swamp of Despondence episode. Although, by definition, "truckloads" is acceptable, it too easily causes confusion for the modern reader who thinks of pickups and tractor-trailers when he reads "truckloads." This is certainly a minor concern, but I mention it in an effort to objective.
Hazelbaker has done an exceptional job of making Bunyan's beautiful classic more appealing to the modern audience. This unabridged version is suitable for readers from middle and upper elementary ages to adults. I am glad to see that Hazelbaker has taken the time and made the effort to offer his audience a version of Pilgrim's Progress that is not watered-down and compromised. It definitely deserves a place in any library.
To which, Bunyan counters, "Then Christian said, 'Even a babe in religion may answer ten thousand such questions. If it is unlawful to follow Christ to obtain loaves, as shown in John six, how much more abominable is it to make of Him and religion a stalking-horse to get and enjoy the world?'" If you are interested in Protestant preaching as it existed in 17th century England, or you would like to understand what the Christian journey is about, this book will be interesting to you.
However, since beginning to really read it, I have found I was completely wrong. This is one of the most influential and captivating books I have ever read. The powerful allusions to the Bible are abundant and threaded in carefully. It paints a vivid picture of the Christian life and the struggles, temptations, and tests that come with that path.
Although it was mostly written for Christians, I am sure that this book can be enjoyable to almost anyone. To Christians, however, it is an encouragement. It helps you remember that there is a reason to press on and that you're not in it alone.
This book is an amazing illustration of a classic allegory. It is uplifting and inspiring. I am truly happy I read it.
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I grew up on that little island, barely 5 miles long and 4 miles wide, but a whole country unto itself! The place defies the physics of Geography! It's tiny, but it's vast too. Like the story of our friend Mr. Ebenezer Le Page, the simplicity of the lives of the inter connected characters, colourful and quirky, defies the closeness of the shores.
GB Edwards' posthumous writings capture the essence of the folk and the place as well, possibly better, than any book about anybody, anywhere. I highly encourage anyone who reads this story to find out as much about Guernsey as possible, perhaps even go there (visit Victor Hugo's house), then read it again for the first time.
Utterly enchanting! Haunting! Simply brilliant!
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The stories which are illustrated by these drawings are very creepy. Many of the stories are incredibly pointless. Some of them end awfully, others don't really end at all. Some aren't stories, but rather collections of poems with a title. At times, things get quite disgusting. For example, in one set of alphabetical poems entitled "The Fatal Lozenge," the last poem goes like this:
The ZOUAVE used to war and battle
Would sooner take a life than not:
It scarcely has begun to prattle
When he impales a hapless tot.
This is accompanied by an illustration of a baby pinned through its abdomen with a sword and blood dripping down. But no matter what, everything in this collection is interesting and unique. This book is at no time dull or boring. Plus, it makes a great conversation piece. I love showing people my Amphigorey book! Most people have never heard of Edward Gorey and are entirely surprised that such a bizarre book even exists.
In any case, if you don't already have it, you should definitely get this book! It's such a great thing to have around the house, you'll never regret owning it!
Edward Gorey's work is at times subtle or broad, ironic or slaptstick, and always brilliant. How dare this man call himself a children's book author! His books are for everyone, not just tots. Startlingly funny and morbid, the books in this volume (and his other collections) will make the reader laugh and snicker until they are sick. The dark humor of "the Gashlycrumb Tinies", the burlesque of "the Curious Sofa", the absurdity of "the Doubtful Guest", the dry wit of "the Unstrung Harp", every story is different. Every story is a gem. Gorey's books are a must-have for absolutely everybody.
With it's delightful pieces of artwork and sometimes unintellgible use of verse Edward Gorey's first fifteen books come together in what I would call a brilliant spectacle of cloaked and sometimes deceased spectres.
With stories such as The Hapless Child a story my fifty year old father described as sad and twistedly morbid (needless to say he never asked to look at the book again) and The Curious Sofa a story that hints pornographic ideals but does not detail or embellish them will revoulting sex scenes...the story's lines just merely plant naughty thoughts in your head and your brain travels on from there, it is a classic book, a book I've cherished for years and would love to see referred to as a classic work of art rather than mere fiction and humor!
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Do yourself a favour and take a trip back into Nineteenth century where technology is just a blink in everyone's eye. What you will discover, however, is that human beings have not really changed, just the conventions have.
Trollope presents a dilemma for most readers. On the one hand, he wrote an enormous number of very good novels. On the other hand, he wrote no masterpieces. None of Trollope's books can stand comparison with the best work of Jane Austen, Flaubert, Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoy, or Dostoevsky. On the other hand, none of those writers wrote anywhere near as many excellent as Trollope did. He may not have been a very great writer, but he was a very good one, and perhaps the most prolific good novelist who ever lived. Conservatively assessing his output, Trollope wrote at least 20 good novels. Trollope may not have been a genius, but he did possess a genius for consistency.
So, what to read? Trollope's wrote two very good series, two other novels that could be considered minor classics, and several other first rate novels. I recommend to friends that they try the Barsetshire novels, and then, if they find themselves hooked, to go on to read the Political series of novels (sometimes called the Palliser novels, which I feel uncomfortable with, since it exaggerates the role of that family in most of the novels). The two "minor classics" are THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and HE KNEW HE WAS RIGHT. The former is a marvelous portrait of Victorian social life, and the latter is perhaps the finest study of human jealousy since Shakespeare's OTHELLO. BARSETSHIRE TOWERS is, therefore, coupled with THE WARDEN, a magnificent place, and perhaps the best place to enter Trollope's world.
There are many, many reasons to read Trollope. He probably is the great spokesperson for the Victorian Mind. Like most Victorians, he is a bit parochial, with no interest in Europe, and very little interest in the rest of the world. Despite THE AMERICAN SENATOR, he has few American's or colonials in his novels, and close to no foreigners of any type. He is politically liberal in a conservative way, and is focussed almost exclusively on the upper middle class and gentry. He writes a good deal about young men and women needing and hoping to marry, but with a far more complex approach than we find in Jane Austen. His characters are often compelling, with very human problems, subject to morally complex situations that we would not find unfamiliar. Trollope is especially good with female characters, and in his sympathy for and liking of very independent, strong females he is somewhat an exception of the Victorian stereotype.
Anyone wanting to read Trollope, and I heartily believe that anyone who loves Dickens, Austen, Eliot, Hardy, and Thackery will want to, could find no better place to start than with reading the first two books in the Barsetshire Chronicles, beginning first with the rather short THE WARDEN and then progressing to this very, very fun and enjoyable novel.
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Like Gahan Wilson (q.v), Gorey looks at the world in a slightly skewed manner; much of his work consists of showing or telling us something that sounds perfectly rational but does not, in fact, quite compute, leaving our own minds to struggle with the cognitive dissonance he creates.
Probably my favourite bit in this collection is "The Gilded Bat", which is a sadly perceptive story of perception and reality in the life of a prima ballerina -- even after litle Maudy Splaytoe has progressed to being enigmatic star Miriella Splatova, her life is still pretty much the same as it always was, a round of rehearsal, performance and boredom. (In a wonderful example of something or other, there was a ballet based on this work; i have never seen it, but heard an interview on PBS with the choreographer, who had had to create excerpts from three OTHER, fictitious, ballets referred to in the text...)
The two versions of "The Chinese Obelisks" present us with an opportunity to see the author's mind at work, comparing sketch and draft of text to the finished work.
The only reason not to immediately purchase this work would be if you could only afford one of them and hadn't already got the previous volume. If you DO already have "Amphigorey", then you absolutely must have this collection to go with it.
THE BEASTLY BABY (a definite Gorey favorite!) about an absolutely abominable baby, you'll be glad to see the end of!
THE NURSERY FRIEZE: Features odd strips of rhino-like animals saying words like "Archipelago" & "Quodlibet" which could very well be used as a frieze for a very unique nursery :-)
THE PIOUS INFANT: About little Henry Clump, who is completely unselfish and charitable, and always concerned about the salvation of everyone elses soul!
THE EVIL GARDEN: About a families visit to an ominous garden, where there is no way out!
THE INANIMATE TRAGEDY: A dramatic tale featuring inanimate objects as the characters, such as pins & needles (who appear to represent the chorus) a penpoint, glass marble, two-holed button, thumbtack, & a piece of knotted string (as the villain)
THE GILDED BAT: About a little girl who grows up to be a very distinguished prima ballerina.
THE IRON TONIC: or "A Winter Afternoon"- "The people at the grey hotel, Are either aged or unwell" "The guests who chose to stay aloof, Lie wrapped in carpets on the roof".
THE OSBICK BIRD: About Emblus Fingby and the osbick bird that chooses one day to live with him, as his loyal friend.
Two versions of THE CHINESE OBELISKS, one version that looks like a sketch or rough draft, and then the better known one in typical Gorey style- All about an author who goes for a walk, and the many things he encounters.
THE DERANGED COUSINS (one of my favorites!): About Rose Marshmary, Mary Rosemarsh & Marsh Maryrose, three cousins who all live together in a rose covered house at the edge of a marsh. "Since they were orphans and there was no one to stop them, they were often merry far into the night"!
THE ELEVENTH EPISODE: Starts when a woman hears a scream apparently coming from a well, when she goes to investigate she falls in and enters a world that changes her life.
[THE UNTITLED BOOK]: Charming piece, that features a little child looking out the window as strange creatures come to play in the garden. Hippity Wippity!
THE LAVENDAR LEOTARD: An early Gorey tale, in which the author introduces two small, distant, ageless, and wholly imaginary relatives to fifty seasons of the New York City Ballet!
THE DISREPECTFUL SUMMONS: A tale of the occult!
THE ABANDONED SOCK: All about the saga of a sock that decides it's life is tedious and unpleasant, and goes for an adventure.
THE LOST LIONS: About a handsome man named Hamish, whose life is suddenly changed when he one day opens the wrong envelope!
STORY FOR SARA: A cute story about a slightly wicked little girl, who captures two little birds in her small bag, and her meeting with a very large prowling cat!
THE SALT HERRING: An odd tale written to make all serious men mad, mad, mad!
LEAVES FROM A MISLAID ALBUM: A wordless collection of interesting pictures.
A LIMERICK: Absolutely cute, very SHORT limerick about poor little Zooks, of whom no one was fond.
Edward Gorey one of my favorites, whose darkly whimsical and macabre tales (that he sometimes writes under pseudonyms) are sure to offend the overly-prudish, luckily I'm not one of them. Should Gorey be classfied as a writer or Illustrator? He so obviously possessed talent in both fields, I cannot imagine his fantastic drawings without the odd amusing little quips. The people in his illustrations usually resemble silent movie stars, the women always look elegant and mysterious, the men dashing and stately. His stories also include lots of fanciful creatures and adorable (but usually hapless) children.
Gorey is strange and wonderful, and I am VERY proud and absolutely happy to be fan!
Get all three collections!
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What you may not know is that even before becoming the Chief Justice, Marshall had a very distinguished life. Officer in the Continental Army of George Washington, member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and one of the key orators who convinced the Virginia Assembly to ratify the Constitution, Congressman, U.S. Secretary of State. He took a principled stand and became a minor hero for his role in the famous "XYZ Affair." His life is basically a phenomenal history of the early U.S.
Adams appointed him as Chief Justice almost as an afterthought, and Marshall succeeded by brilliantly uniting the court and always keeping an eye on the larger political winds.
As wonderful as this book is in covering his tenure on the Supreme Court, though, I found it most entertaining covering his earlier roles.
This is as good as it gets in a biography. You really feel like you know the man and his times.
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'The House with a Clock in its Walls' is a genuinely creepy story with strange, likable characters. Several humorous, light touches run throughout the book, but the scary scenes really deliver. Any kid (or adult) who enjoys the Harry Potter books will find this book a welcome addition to their reading while they wait for the next J.K. Rowling outing. Although the book is for both boys and girls, the book will especially attract boys who may not be interested in sports. Highly recommended.
179 pages with great illustrations by Edward Gorey