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Book Reviews and Reflections

 

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Welcome to the Reviews and Reflections page.  I am Larry the Librarian. I earned a bachelor of arts at Bethany Bible College.  I was a Theology major and a History minor. I first developed my love of research there while writing a paper on the early church's debates on the Trinity. (There is a certain irony that I am now the librarian at Trinity Library.)  I also received a Masters Degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary were I experienced and enjoyed the Graduate Theological Library in Berkeley. While at Princeton I was privileged to use the Wright Library to complete my Doctoral work on religious initiation from both theological and sociological perspectives.  We are a truly literary church.  We have a modest but mighty book collection. I will be highlighting aspects of that collection on this page. Books reviewed below deal with the issues of war and peace.

  

Review by Lilian Peirce 2020 Michigan Daily,

 

“Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now” is the second-shortest book my mother left me. It’s Maya Angelou’s first book of essays: a series of short, mainly autobiographical essays and two poems. Its small size does the opposite of diminishing the work; called one of Angelou’s “wisdom” books, “Journey” brings to life the experiences and philosophies of one of the most loved and celebrated female writers of our time. 

The essays range from one to 10 pages, and the topics include everything from fashion to sensuality to racism to death. For the majority of the essays, Angelou draws inspiration from her personal experiences to teach a lesson. They are written with a very reflective and direct style. Reading her essays gave me peace. 

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Arranged by theme and introduced with insight and historical context by Tutu’s biographer, John Allen, this collection takes readers from the violent apartheid clashes in South Africa to the healing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee; from Trafalgar Square after the fall of the Berlin Wall to a national broadcast commemorating the legacy of Nelson Mandela; from Ireland’s Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin to a basketball stadium in Luanda, Angola. Whether exploring democracy in Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, black theology, the inclusion of gays and

lesbians in the church, or the plight of Palestinians, Tutu’s message of truth is clear and his voice unflinching.

Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of the Brotherhood, and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty 

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This book was translated into an academy award winning documentary. To compose his stunning documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck mined James Baldwin's published and unpublished oeuvre, selecting passages from his books, essays, letters, notes, and interviews that are every bit as incisive and pertinent now as they have ever been. Weaving these texts together, Peck brilliantly imagines the book that Baldwin never wrote. In his final years, Baldwin had envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. His deeply personal notes for the project have never been published before. Peck's film uses them to jump through time, juxtaposing Baldwin's private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America.

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