The Acts of the Apostles (Conflict of the Ages #4)

aotaThe Acts of the Apostles in the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Ellen G. White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Upon the ascension of Jesus Christ, the focus of sacred history turned to the men he entrusted with spreading the message of the Kingdom of God to Jew and Gentile across the world. The Acts of the Apostles the penultimate volume of Ellen G. White’s Conflict of the Ages series in which the rest of the New Testament through the lives of the Apostles in how they were transformed into preachers and leaders of the new church and how they spread the World, upheld faith, and corrected error. In a little over 600 pages, the events in the book of Acts and the circumstances surrounding the writing of the Epistles and the book of Revelation are revealed in the context of sacred history.

The Acts of the Apostles presents the events of the book of Acts in an in-depth in how the Disciples of Christ became Apostles for truth and how Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle. As in in the Bible, the focus for much of the book is on the conversion of Paul and his ministry to both Jews and Gentiles on various missionary trips. At the beginning, the Church focused on presenting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to the Jewish community as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy until the stoning of Stephen and shift to the Gentiles through the Holy Spirit and total rejection of the Jewish leadership. Throughout the discussion on Paul’s ministry to Jew and Gentile alike, the events surrounding and leading to his writing the Epistles that are contained in the New Testament are examined and the principles and lesson within them expounded upon. After Paul’s death, the lives of Peter and John are examined to enlighten the reasons surrounding and the lessons taught in their own Epistles to the church. And John’s time on Patmos in which God revealed to him through prophecy the culmination of sacred history.

The Acts of the Apostles is the fourth volume of the five-book Conflict of the Ages series and the last to fulfill cover Biblical events. This book shows the change in the character of the disciples to become champions of Christ and how a persecutor was transformed into proselyte, both show to believers raised in the Christian faith and those from without that Christ works to change everyone willing. In the last chapter, Ellen White transitions the scope of the Christianity from the Biblical record of sacred history to the events after the life of the Apostles done to her own day and then the climax of The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.

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Don Quixote

Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The first true novel, Don Quixote, has impacted not only the literary world but culture and society the globe over for over 500 years. The masterpiece of Miguel de Cervantes blends fantasy, romance, sarcasm, and parody in such an amazing way that it has captured the imagination of generations over and over again no matter where they lived. The adventures, or misadventures, of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza have made them icons for beyond anything Cervantes might have thought possible.

The narrative of the events of the knight-errant Don Quixote’s three sallies is widely known, though more so those in Part I than those of Part II. However, while the adventures of the windmills and the battle of the wineskins and Sancho’s blanketing are the best known it the events in Part II that truly show the modern narrative arc that Cervantes was only beginning to display in Part I. While Quixote and Sancho’s hilarious misadventures are just as funny in Part II as in Part I, through the challenges for Bachelor Carrasco to snap Quixote out of his madness and the machinations of the Duke and Duchess for their entertainment at their expense a narrative arc is plainly seen and can be compared to novels of today very easily.

Although the central narrative of Don Quixote is without question a wonderful read, the overall book—mainly Part I—does have some issues that way enjoyment. Large sections of Part I contain stories within the story that do no concern either central character but secondary or tertiary characters that only briefly interact with Quixote and Sancho. Throughout Part II, Cervantes’ rage at another author who published a fake sequel is brought up again and again throughout the narrative arc that just lessened the reading experience.

The cultural footprint of Don Quixote today is so wide spread that everyone knows particular scenes that occur in the book, mainly the charge towards the windmills. Yet Cervantes’ masterpiece is so much more than one scene as it parodies the literary culture of Spain at the time in various entertaining ways that still hold up half a millennium later. Although reading this novel does take time, it is time well spent follow the famous knight-errant Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza.

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2017 Reading Plan

Hello everyone,

With the start of a new year, it’s time to make some resolutions. My first resolution for the past several years is to whittle away at my personal TBR mountain without adding to said mountain, unfortunately the last several years that has been a failure. However this year I know that is not going to be a problem for a variety of reasons, but mainly I’ve put myself on a very tight budget for everything. My second resolution is to examined my presence on various forums like here on WordPress and on LibraryThing. The third is to write more, both on my practice novel and on various blog entries here.

As for the titular reading plan, below is the list of the 40 books I that want to finish this year in the order I plan on reading them with ONE caveat, The Reformation by Will Durant. With the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation this October 31st, I’ve selected Durant’s work as a specific read for that particular moment in time. I did something similar in July 2014 with the start of World War I by reading Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August and Peter Hart’s The Great War.

Each month I’ll update the list below in regards to how I’m doing and add anything that I’ve read in my spare time at home (when I probably should be writing). Also expect some blog posts about certain things I’ll be reading, *cough*Zecharia Sitchin*cough*, as to why I’m reading them. So without further adou, my list…

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavendra
Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer
Dangerous Women edited by George R.R. Martin (The Princess and the Queen)
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 2 by Edward Gibbon
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld #28) by Terry Pratchett
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea (Hinges #4) by Thomas Cahill- REREAD
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 3 by Edward Gibbon
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Night Watch (Discworld #29) by Terry Pratchett
Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin (The Rogue Prince)
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer
The Wee Free Men (Discworld #30) by Terry Pratchett
Mysteries of the Middle Ages (Hinges #5) by Thomas Cahill- REREAD
Heretics and Heroes (Hinges #6) by Thomas Cahill
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Monstrous Regiment (Discworld #31) by Terry Pratchett
The 12th Planet (Earth Chronicles #1) by Zecharia Sitchin- REREAD
Christianity by Roland H. Bainton
The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela
A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld #32) by Terry Pratchett
Op-Center (Op-Center #1) by Jeff Roven- REREAD
The Republic by Plato
Gilgamesh
Going Postal (Discworld #33) by Terry Pratchett
The Stairway to Heaven (Earth Chronicles #2) by Zecharia Sitchin- REREAD
Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron by Nicholas Fraser
Beowulf
Thud! (Discworld #34) by Terry Pratchett
Mirror Image (Op-Center #2) by Jeff Rovin- REREAD
A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists by George R. Knight
Foundation (Foundation #1) by Isaac Asimov
Wintersmith (Discowrld #35) by Terry Pratchett
The Wars of Gods and Men (Earth Chronicles #3) by Zecharia Sitchin- REREAD
Politics by Aristotle
Foundation and Empire (Foundation #2) by Isaac Asimov
Making Money (Discworld #36) by Terry Pratchett
Games of State (Op-Center #3) by Jeff Rovin- REREAD

The Reformation by Will Durant (October 31, 2017)