Into the Book

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General Non-Fiction


  1. Pope Francis may be one of the most unusual Popes of the modern era. He came into his role as Bishop of Rome only after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, something which had not happened for 700 years. Pope Francis also had the oddity of being born in Argentina, making him the first non-European Pope since the eighth century. However, Pope Francis has also caused a stir among the liberal and conservative sides of Catholicism. Firstly, through his radical mercy for those outside and estranged from the church, but also through his unwillingness to simply rewrite Catholic doctrine. In this time where the Catholic Church has faced so much scandal and corruption, Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job. Yet, who is he? Where did he come from, what has he done? Pope Francis, through no real effort of his own, may be the most well-known person on the planet right now, but I for one knew very little about him. Thus, what better way to learn about him than to read his biography?

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  2. Imagine a good man. Not Jesus, for he was both human and divine in one. No, imagine just a really, really, really good person. What would that man be like? How would he interact with our world of selfishness, poverty, evil, and hatred? And, while we’re thinking, what if Jesus were just a good man? What difference would it make if he were only a perfect man, teaching wonderful morals, who then died? These are the questions Dostoevsky explores in The Idiot.

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  3. Gwynplaine is not your normal guy. Sure, he was a child slave who was abandoned by his owners when he was yet young. Sure, he adopted a dying infant when he had no family of his own. Sure, he now lives with a misanthrope playwright who would prefer to talk to his wolf than another human. That’s a little out of the ordinary. Still, what is really different, what everyone notices about him, is his face: a cruel, lasting trick of his owners, setting his face into an eternal laugh. Of course, his face sets a stark contrast with his life. He tries to make the best of it, but it’s not easy. The infant he adopted, lovingly named Dea, is now blind. The three of them (Gwynplaine, Dea, and the playwright, Ursus) barely scrape by on the cash they bring in from Ursus’ plays. Unfortunately, after suffering through a miserable life for twenty some years, Gwynplaine is facing an even more difficult issue: one of the heart. For all of his life, he has been in love with Dia. Now, against all odds, Gwynplaine discovers he is the son of a Lord. Rightful husband of beautiful Duchess Josiana (who also loves him), he is given the chance to use his newfound power to fight for the poor. Yet, to do all of that, he must give up Dea. A chance to do what is right, or a chance for love. The choice is no laughing matter.

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  4. How do I review someone’s diary? What right do I have to judge a diary based on story structure? How can I critique the lack of flow or plot? A diary is not meant to fit within an outwardly logical structure, for it is meant for the writer alone. It reminds me of what the main character states in Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground: “I can ramble, because this is not meant for someone to read, it is meant for me.” While Augustine is meaning for others to read this, it is mostly for himself and for God. Augustine is writing out his prayers, his musings, his longings, and his confessions. As such, the ideas ramble and bleed together, some following to a logical conclusion and others being only touched upon. Yet, despite this occasional lack of coherence, Confessions should not be criticized, it should be applauded. Augustine, unlike Dostoevsky’s character, is a genius, and this is the story of his life.

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  5. There are those who say that television rots our brains. Neil Postman would disagree. Rather than rotting our brains, he would say, it removes the necessity to use them. Now, this isn’t some old crank arguing about kids not playing outside anymore, or that the violence on TV will make us murderous. No, Postman argues that the way television presents information is erasing our need to think. Books, he writes, are the solution. As a writer on a book review website, just allow me to adjust my monocle and I’ll tell you why.

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  6. College is a tough time. I am faced with deciding what I want to do with my life, forced to spend lots of money and study a smorgasbord of difficult topics, and try to sift through what I really believe. I’m faced with so many questions: how do I find God’s will for my life? How can I be sure I have the right motivations? How can I hear God’s voice in my heart? Philosophy Professor Phillip Cary noticed many of his students wrestling with the same questions, and becoming ever anxious in search of answers. However, as he spoke with his students, Cary realized that the issue was not with the students, but with their bad theology. So Cary decided to write a book showing the good news to those anxious Christians.

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  7. A Book for Creators

    As an artist, I’m suffering from several issues that have targeted my ability to create, including anxiety, and a disgust for anything I write (words are my primary artistic medium). If you can relate to this, or are feeling bogged down by the grittiness of life as an artist, listen. If you’re an artist of any kind, or want to be one, there’s a good chance you will benefit from the insight expounded here.
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  8. Enjoying God in Everything

    There’s a pattern among Christians where many will abstain from “the pleasures of this world” as a sort of attempt at “holiness”. And other Christians choose to live hedonistically, enraptured by the pleasures our physical senses can deliver, sometimes feeling guilty for doing so, and asking forgiveness later. If you are in either of these camps, or gravitate to either of these extremes, I’ve got a book recommendation for you. (more…)

  9. Navigating Trials in the New America

    Think it Not Strange is the latest short book from John Piper, on persecution in the Christian life. In 90 short pages, half a dozen authors from around the world study persecution. Piper and the others present this book as a short companion for American Christians: they take the Bible’s teaching on persecution and apply it to the American church and changing culture. Think it Not Strange is an excellent book that reminds us that the past – not the coming future – has been exceptional. (more…)

  10. The Christian church in the United States today faces a great challenge. No, I’m not talking about the attack on marriage or the “homosexual threat.” Instead, Christians are finally facing the consequences of lukewarm, cultural Christianity. Churches stand at a crossroads: either we can embrace the culture and stay in their favor, or we can seek to humbly stand for what we believe the Bible teaches, and face a decisive fall from their favor. Al Mohler’s latest book, We Cannot be Silent, presents a bold call as the culture shifts around us: how to speak truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, and the very meaning of right and wrong. (more…)

ABOUT ItB REVIEWS

Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.

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