Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Livedby Rob Bell
Search for ISBN: HCL  RCL  SPPL  MnLINK  WorldCat
Search for title: HCL  RCL  SPPL  MnLINK

Very good discussion of heaven, hell, God and Jesus.  A quick read - sort of a long multi-chapter sermon.  But a thoughtful work that will push people to consider what they really believe.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everythingby Joshua Foer
Search for ISBN: HCL  RCL  SPPL  MnLINK  WorldCat
Search for title: HCL  RCL  SPPL  MnLINK

Foer's unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives.On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.
Moonwalking with Einstein draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of memory, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human remembering. Under the tutelage of top "mental athletes," he learns ancient techniques once employed by Cicero to memorize his speeches and by Medieval scholars to memorize entire books. Using methods that have been largely forgotten, Foer discovers that we can all dramatically improve our memories.  ...

Great book!
I've been hooked on mnemonics for many years, so this is the sort of book I am a sucker for.   My own reading of The Memory Book (something like 30+ years ago) means I still remember the phone number of the pizza place we'd call from married student housing.

As a theater major (think memorizing scripts) and a fan of Bible memory (thank you, Navigators) I was already convinced we have the power to remember phenomenal amounts more than we do.  So Josh Foer's odyssey through the world of competitive memory, as well as the history of mnemonics and the science of memory was a delight to me - and I expect it would be for many folks.  Like AJ Jacobs and his project books, Foer gives us the inside view of his discoveries and his personal immersion in the subject.

Lorayne and Lucas's The Memory Book is still a nice, straightforward intro to memory skills.   I think Higbee's "Your Memory, How it Works and How to Improve It" is also good - giving the clinical psychology behind the tricks (while teaching the tricks too.)

I'm surprised that there was no mention of Bible Memory as practiced by Christians - I certainly recognize that Foer covered the Talmudic memory beat well - but I would have thought he'd have noticed things like the National Bible Bee.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart

by Peter J. Gomes

Search for ISBN: HCL  RCL  SPPL  MnLINK  WorldCat
Search for title: HCL  RCL  SPPL  MnLINK

From Publishers WeeklyGomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard and longtime pastor of Memorial Church there, has been cited by Time as one of the seven best preachers in America. He laments, however, that he and his fellow ministers across the nation "preach regularly from the Bible to congregations that know so little about it," despite the outpouring of biblical translations, exegetical books and other analytical aids. His mission in this cogent exercise in nonsectarian Christian apologetics is to help reverse the current decline in biblical literacy by reclaiming the Bible from theological stodginess and lay laziness. The book is divided into three parts called "Opening the Bible," "The Use and Abuse of the Bible" and "The True and Lively Word," which refer, respectively, to didactic, polemical and pastoral approaches. The unified result masterfully clarifies what the Bible really says about homosexuality (very little), women as full faith partners (much more), racial harmony (lots, both explicitly and implicitly) and anti-Semitism ("Christianity's Original Sin"). But, whatever the subject, Gomes wants Bible readers to think about intrinsic meanings in Old and New Testament scripture.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Really a delightful book.  The last line, in the last chapter sums it up:

"These lively oracles of God are a living word, from a living God for a needy people. It is indeed the Good Book."

Gomes speaks clearly, and winningly of the Bible's power, its provenance and its promise - recommended!