In his debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner, author James Anderson presents readers with a suspenseful mystery, which takes place in a fantastic setting, and if filled with rich and interesting characters. The novel tells the story of Ben, a truck driver who runs a desolate route through the Utah desert. Alone and on the verge of bankruptcy, he encounters love, loss, accusation, violence, and even a chance at being on a reality tv show, all through interactions with his boss and his customers.
The story itself is very intriguing. The characters are well developed and the setting creates a mood that works very well to contain the story. My chief complaint with the book is that the main characters move in and out of relationships too fast and behave in unbelievable ways. I really had to suspend my disbelief to allow the characters to move through the story in the manner in which it is written. In addition, the dialogue was a little flat. There were times where the author had to tell me how a character was responding (angry, hurt, etc…) because the words on the page didn’t describe what the response was supposed to be. I believe that truly good writing doesn’t tell us, but rather shows us, what is happening.
Otherwise, I felt that this was a great first novel and would definitely consider reading additional releases in the future.
I recently received a review copy of I Don’t Wait Anymore: Letting Go of Expectations and Grasping God’s Adventure For You by Grace Thornton. The book itself is beautiful, with a thick, full color printed cover, glossy pages, and a ribbon bookmark. If you are familiar with the hardback version of Jesus Calling, then you know what I am talking about. Obviously, I lot of time and money was spent on producing this book, which I assume means that Zondervan expected big things.
In my opinion, the book falls a little flat. The language of the book is as gorgeous as the book itself, but it is too disconnected to follow consistently. The story tells of the author’s journey of releasing expectations and following God, but she tells it through stories of her own life (good idea) and those stories don’t follow any specific timeline or pattern and it ends up being very difficult to follow. In the end, there were several moments of brilliance that seemed to be pointing in lots of different directions and left me unsure of how she actually got there herself.
The conclusion of the book encourages the reader to delve more deeply into scripture and bible study (GREAT idea), but I can’t say that the story that the book told drove me to this conclusion. Reading this book was reminded me of several sermons that I have heard: Inspired, but Scattered, and in the end, me left wondering if I somehow missed the point.
As I was reading Proverbs 5 this morning, something in the footnotes caught my eye. You are probably familiar with 5:19b and 20 which read “be intoxicated always in her love (the wife of your youth). Why should you be intoxicated my son, with a forbidden woman…” The thing that caught my eye was that the ESV study bible says that the literal Hebrew that is translated “intoxicated” is “to be led astray”.
The image that comes to my mind when i think of someone being led astray is always negative. I certainly understand why Solomon would warn his son to avoid the forbidden woman, as many a young man has brought unnecessary pain into his life through the pursuit of momentary pleasures.
But to be led astray by and through the love of the wife of your youth. It is such a beautiful picture. To truly forsake all others and everything else because you know that this one love will fulfill your human hearts desire above all others. To be led astray and love every minute of it. And for God to be smiling over it as well.
Too often, men are led astray by work, sports, or pleasures that ultimately lead to stress, loss, and ruin. My prayer today is that I will continue to be led astray and intoxicated with Jackie, and let all of the other stuff fade to black.
A parting thought…God desires for us to be led astray and intoxicated with Him above all. To be so in love with the creator of the universe and the redeemer of our souls that we are led astray from thoughts and cares of the world and only pursue Him, with the love of our life by our side.
That my friends, is a life worth living.