Myths in Adventism: An Interpretive Study of Ellen White, Education, and Related Issues

0828024510-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Myths in Adventism: An Interpretive Study of Ellen White, Education, and Related Issues by George R. Knight
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Myths pop up everywhere from history, to religion, and in the understanding of someone’s writing. George R. Knight writes in Myths in Adventism: An Interpretive Study of Ellen White, Education, and Related Issues about numerous issues that influence the thinking of Adventists educators and administrators.

Knight tackles 19 “myths” related to Adventist education, institutions, and thoughts over the course of 250 pages. Beginning with myth related to “Historical and Philosophical” issues including those surrounding Ellen White, Knight clears up historical inaccuracies and puts Mrs. White’s writing not only in the context in which lines are written but what was going on at the time that made her write certain statements. Knight then turned his attention to “Institutions and People” focusing on such issues the interplay between home and school, human nature, and intellectualism in Adventist education. The largest section of the book about “Curriculum and Methods”, Knight focused on sacred and secular topics, Bible as textbook, literary subjects, religious instructions, in-classroom environments, and recreation and manual labor.

As a child of a retired Adventist teacher, I appreciated this book in seeing what my mother had to face over the course of approximately 35 years of her career. Knight’s research and writing are fantastic throughout the book giving the reader amazing insights in how myths are given life in numerous fields and situations. However, my problem with this book is not with Knight but with the publishers who in designing the book and blurbs made this book something it wasn’t. The front cover blurb literally says, “A thoughtful look at misconceptions about Ellen White and Adventist life that have long caused controversy in the church” but nothing about education which is what the book is about and instead makes it appear it’ll be about numerous other things about Adventism. Though Knight attempts to shield the publishers for their decision in the preface, it’s unfortunately makes the reader realize they might have gotten hoodwinked.

Overall Myths in Adventism is an insightful look at the cultural clashes in Adventist education by a writer that knows how to do research in Adventist history and education. However even though George R. Knight is fantastic, the decisions of the publishers to make this book appear to be something that it’s not is very annoying and future readers need to know about it.

Book Haul, or Why Do I Do This To Myself?

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16 new additions for my TBR pile

Yesterday, I went to McKay Used Books and sent over two hours there looking over all the floor at all the books on display and came out with 16 new additions to my To Be Read (TBR) pile putting my total up to 269… *sigh* when will I get to all of them?  So let me give you a preview of the books I’ll be reading in…2022?

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Philosophy

I began in the Philosophy section where I immediately came across Classics of Western Thought I: The Ancient World and Classics of Western Thought II: Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation each only $0.75.  As I have the two other volumes from college way back in the early 00s, I decided to complete my collection.  These books will be “home” reads sometime in the coming years along with the two I had already.

Next is The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant, I purchased Durant’s The Story of Civilization a year ago and this book kept on popping up in my recommendation on Goodreads and Amazon.  This book won’t be read until I’ve read all the philosophy books I have on my reading list for the coming years, including Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard.  This book will cause me to reorder my reading list, but I’ve had in mind getting Kierkegaard and so it would be worth it.

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Biography and History

I hit the biography section next starting at the end of the alphabet and immediately came upon Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul by John M. Barry.  This was a very welcome find because it was recommended on the Current Reading: May 2018 in the LibraryThing forum History Fans by rocketjk and suddenly there it was in front of me.  Expect to see this book read sooner than all the others.

Then a few aisles down was the history section, which I looked at intensely through all categories–World, African, Asian, British, French, German, U.S., etc.  It was in the British section that I found the complete trilogy of James Morris’ (though Goodreads and LibraryThing has the name as Jan Morris…interesting) Pax Britannica trilogy (Heaven’s CommandPax Britannica, and Farewell the Trumpets).  For the last three or four months, I have been teased with only the last two volumes on the shelves but yesterday the first finally showed up on the shelves and I couldn’t help myself.  This series will probably be a “home” read in the coming years.

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Fantasy

I spent an equal amount of time in the fantasy aisle as I focused on finding books by women authors–look for a post tomorrow or next week related to this topic–that I feel that my former reading is seriously lacking.  After some near misses, I finally found J.V. Jones’ Book of Words trilogy (The Baker’s BoysA Man Betrayed, and Master and Fool).  If not for the missing of book 4, I would have purchased her Sword of Shadows series of six books.

After some more searching I came across C.S. Friedman’s The Coldfire Trilogy (Black Sun RisingWhen True Night Falls, and Crown of Shadows).  Honestly I had to be reminded by another book of Friedman that she was an actual woman author when I read the “about the author” because I knew the name but couldn’t remember her gender.  So I was glad I took the time to investigate.

My final book from the section was The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, at this point I was feeling lucky and began looking for well thought of books regardless of the writer.  Kay has always been a author I’ve seen well thought of as is Al-Rassan, so finding this book made it a must buy (at this point it was why not I’ve already had 14 books what is one more?).  When will I get to these books?  Good question, I’ve got to redo my schedule to add in numerous fantasy books I’ve purchased the last six months.

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Modern Literature

While Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison should not follow the phrase, “I’ve gotten 15 books, what’s a few more?” there is no other way to put it.  I’ve been thinking about grabbing this book for months as I’ve seen it on the shelves–the last few months up to almost two dozen stuffed on a shelf–so I figured I need to get it now no matter what.  Like some of the other books listed above, no idea when this will be read but it will be.

So there you have it, 16 more books that you’ll be seeing me review in the next four to six years.  Let me know what you think.

Orbit of Discovery: The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission

1937378721-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Orbit of Discovery: The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission by Don Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the beginning of the 20th-Century the state of Ohio has seemingly been on the forefront of manned flight from the Wright Brothers to Neil Armstrong to the flight of an “All-Ohio” crew of STS-70 aboard the shuttle Discovery. Don Thomas in Orbit of Discovery relates the entire history of the mission from his assignment to the crew to the post-mission events as well as the event that is it best known for, the woodpecker attack that delayed the launch.

Thomas begins his book with the sudden halt in his pre-flight routine when a love sick woodpecker drilled holes in the foam of the external tank forcing weeks of delays that put him and the other four members of the crew spinning their wheels. This pause allows Thomas to give an account about how he personally got to this point through his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut to his course of study in school to achieve that dream then his three time failures to join the program until finally succeeding on this fourth try. He then goes into his time in the program before his flight on the shuttle Columbia and quick turn assignment to Discovery soon after his return. Thomas then related the year long process of training and preparation for the mission until the sudden halt in the process when a woodpecker used the external tank to attract a mate. After NASA was able to repair the foam, the mission returns to normal save for the humor inclusions of Woody Woodpecker throughout the flight in space and the numerous post-mission events that Thomas relates in detail.

The uniqueness of the mission’s delay as well as the fact that the crew was entirely made up of astronauts from one state—well one was given honorable citizenship—made for a good hook for any general reader who might have an interest in the space program. Thomas with the assistance of Mike Bartell gives a very reader friendly look into what it was like to be an astronaut and the course of shuttle missions from assignment to post-flight events without becoming bogged down in technobabble. At the end of the book is included an appendix for profiles for all the astronauts that came from Ohio which is in the spirit of the book and adds a nice bit of history for those interested.

Overall, Orbit of Discovery is a well-written and easy to read book that gives a first-hand account of everything that went into a space shuttle flight. Don Thomas’ own story of his journey to finally getting to the program adds to the account in allowing the read to see how much dedication goes into becoming an astronaut. For those interested in any way in the space program, this is a highly recommended book.

Genesis Revisited (The Earth Chronicles #4.5)

Genesis RevisitedGenesis Revisited by Zecharia Sitchin
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

How advanced in thought and science were the ancients? And is modern science catching up on what they knew? These questions are the basis of Zecharia Sitchin’s Genesis Revisited in which he looks back at the scientific developments since publishing of his book The 12th Planet (up until 1990) to show that his finds in that and subsequent books are being proven.

Organized in a well throughout manner, Sitchin begins each topical chapter—save the final two—looking at the scientific consensus and findings that have been advanced since the 1976 publication of his first book. Then after laying the foundation going back to the Sumerian texts that he first wrote about to show that modern science is now replicating the knowledge of the earliest civilizations that was brought to them by the Anunnaki of Nibiru. The last two chapters were focused on more “recent” developments, particularly the Phobos 2 incident and the sudden cooperation between the United States and the USSR in space particularly in regards to Mars.

Obviously the biggest flaw of this book is that it was published in the fall of 1990 meaning that there has been almost 30 years of advancement of scientific knowledge that has made some of this science discussed in the book outdated. Yet I have to give Sitchin credit for keeping things simple when explaining his theories by only hitting the high points and then referencing the reader to his earlier books for a more in-depth look. This allowed Sitchin to focus on the modern science more in each chapter as a way to compare it to his theories of Sumerian knowledge. Although the last two chapters contain some speculation of (then) current events they don’t diminish from Sitchin the achievement of staying focused so as to bring new readers to his books.

Essentially Genesis Revisited is a book that allowed Zecharia Sitchin to reach new readers who had not heard of his previous books as well show is long time readers new evidence that confirmed what he had been writing about. Although the book’s science is now dated, for those interested in ancient astronauts it’s something they might want to check out.

The Earth Chronicles

A (First) Read Through of Discworld

For a little over four years I’ve been reading one of the longest series in fantasy humor we might ever see, Discworld. Beginning with The Color of Magic on May 23, 2014 and finishing The Shepherd’s Crown on June 12, 2018 I read 41 books (plus a short story in an anthology) with a lot of laughs and a lot of interesting takes on the cliches of fantasy and real life issues.  But now it’s over and I’ll just be retreading old territory now when I read them again, and there will be an again.

So now that I don’t have any more Discworld books to look forward to, only look back on, I’ve decided to type out some of my thoughts.

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Image Courtesy of Epic Reads

I read the series in order, the outer in the image above, though from the beginning I was looking forward to the Death installments (blue) because it was the TV adaptation of Hogfather that interested me in the series in first place and wasn’t disappointed.  Yet the biggest surprise enjoyment was Sam Vimes when I read Guards! Guards! and I looked forward to every Watch (green) book that followed.  The biggest disappointments was the slow decline of Rincewind throughout his series, Wizards on the above image, and that the Witches (pink) series really didn’t feel quality until after Magrat became Queen and was no longer an official witch only to become a better character.

Well that’s what I think after my first read through those 41 books and frankly now that I’ve done that, I know I have to go back and read them again now that I know what happens “in the future” to these characters.  Maybe my opinion for the first three Witch books will improve, maybe my opinion of The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic will go down, and maybe I might hate Eric even more.

Those are all possibilities for whenever I begin my reread of Sir Terry’s fantastic series.  But maybe this time I might do add the various visual adaptations to review along side the books, something I failed to do with Hogfather and still fail to with Deathly Hallows.  Maybe I can get my act together?

However before any reread of Discworld begins, I’ve got a few more series to cover again including a reread of The Wheel of Time as well as reading the around 250 books I still have on my book shelf and any new ones that get published in the upcoming years.  In the mean time if you want to look at all my reviews of Discworld to go my series page that has links to each book’s review, which can be accessed at the SERIES tab above or at this link here.

Feel free to make any comments you want about Discworld in the comments below.

The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld #41, Tiffany Aching #5)

0062429981-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Endings are sad no matter if it happens suddenly or you know it’s been coming for some time, but all good things come to an end. The Shepherd’s Crown is the final book of Tiffany Aching journey into mature witch as well as the 41st and last Discworld book by Terry Pratchett. Not only was this the last book, finished before Pratchett’s death, but saw the biggest development in the series ever—warning spoilers below.

While Tiffany Aching continues work as the Chalk’s witch both see and Jeannie the kelda feel something is about to happen, which it does with the death of Granny Weatherwax in Lancre that sets off a chain of events. Granny leaves everything, including her steading, to Tiffany thus making her be seen as “first among equals” amongst witches. But the death of Granny results in a weakened barrier between the Disc and Fairyland as many elves seeing the Queen as scared and cautious after her defeat by Tiffany years before and it only grows when they learn goblins have been accepted in human society and that iron—railways—now rule the land. The Queen is usurped by Lord Peaseblossom who begins raiding into Lancre and the Chalk, which adds to Tiffany’s burden of covering two steadings in to locales that becomes a bit easier when a Geoffrey leaves his noble family and travels to Lancre to become a witch and turns out to have some talent—for a man. Gathering together witch allies, the Feegles, elderly men looking for a fight, and the deposed Queen to battle an invasion, Tiffany uses the power in the Chalk to defeat Peaseblossom—who killed the Queen in battle—then summon the King of the Elves—who kills the usurper for killing his wife—to prevent them from ever returning. Afterwards Tiffany knowing no witch can replace Granny give the Lancre steading to Geoffrey then builds herself a hut from the bones of her own grandmother’s hut to have an official residence of her own.

Pratchett did not complete this book as he would have liked to as Neil Gaiman stated in a later interview and the clues were there for a more emotional ending and closure for fans, but this unfortunate missed opportunity does not detract seriously from the book. On the whole, the plot and character developments were nearly perfect with the only except of Mrs. Earwig who felt like she had more to be developed but that Pratchett hadn’t had enough time to provide it.

The Shepherd’s Crown is a book of endings for numerous reasons and because of that some people do not want to read it, especially those who have been fans longer than I have. However eventually I hope those people will eventually read Terry Pratchett’s last Discworld book and see that even right up to his own meeting with Death that he strove to create something that made you think and show your emotions.

Discworld

Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life

0140434887-01-_sx450_sy635_sclzzzzzzz_Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life by Herman Melville
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

While known today for vengeful captain chasing a white whale, Herman Melville’s writing career began with a travelogue of his adventure on the Nuku Hiva and was his most popular work during his life. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life is a semi-autobiographical book that Melville wrote about his approximately 4 week stay that he “expanded” to 4 months in the narrative.

Melville begins his narrative when he describes the captain of the “Dolly” deciding to head to the Marqueas Islands and then events surrounding the ship’s arrival at the island as well as the actions of the French who were “taking possession” of it. Then Melville and a shipmate named Toby decide to ‘runaway’ to the valley of the Happar tribe and execute their plan when they get shore leave. Climbing the rugged cliffs of the volcanic island, they hide in the thick foliage from any searchers but realize they didn’t have enough food and soon Melville’s leg swells up slowing them down. Believing they arrived in the valley of the Happar, they make contact only to find themselves with the Typee. However the tribe embraces the two men and attempt to keep them amongst their number, but first Toby is able to ‘escape’ though Melville can’t help but think he’s been abandoned. Melville then details his experiences along amongst the cannibalistic tribe before his own escape with assistance of two other natives of the island from other tribes.

The mixture of narrative of Melville’s adventures and the anthropological elements he gives of the Typee make for an interesting paced book that is both engaging and dull. Though Melville’s lively descriptions of the events taking place are engaging, one always wonders if the event actually took place or was embellish or just frankly made up to liven up the overall tale. The addition of a sequel as an epilogue that described the fate of Toby, which at the time added credibility to Melville’s book, is a nice touch so the reader doesn’t wonder what happened to him.

Overall Typee is a nice, relatively quick book to read by one of America’s best known authors. While not as famous as Melville’s own Moby Dick, it turned out to be a better reading experience as the semi-autobiographical nature and travelogue nature gave cover for Melville to break into the narrative to relative unique things within the Typee culture.