Jonah: A Comedy

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Jonah: A Comedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Countless people are familiar with the biblical account of Jonah, the prophet who ran from his sacred duty and got himself swallowed by a big fish for his trouble. While I’ve always found enough in the story to take seriously, I’ve seen enough in there to shake my head at, too. But this may be the first time I genuinely chortled at it, reading Jonah: A Comedy, retold by Matt Mikalatos.

The Bible isn’t immune to the way that various ideas get lost in translation when writings in one language are written into another. So it was cool to read someone’s take on the book of Jonah in a version that brings out the humor that tends not to fully translate all the time.

That is, I’m not sure I would necessarily call this a translation, as I think there’s a difference between a translation and a paraphrase. Still, the storyteller’s notes on the matter are as interesting as the story itself.

For me, the experience was like a cross between reading the biblical book, reading an ancient tale in my World Lit class back in college, and reading a historical short story written in contemporary times. If you’ve got a few minutes and an interest in biblical themes, check this little book out—and don’t skip the notes in the back!

Oh, and, yeah. Don’t be like Jonah, either. In general.

 

Bears, Bobsleds and Other Misadventures by Gary Dyck

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Online Book Club provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Bears, Bobsleds and Other Misadventures by Gary Dyck

Humor

Here’s a batch of comical short stories, from Gary’s childhood mishaps with his young neighbors to awkward situations he faces as a married man. The humor is sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, can get a little irreverent at times, but Gary maintains a level of tact in his storytelling.

Of course, I’m referring to Gary, the main character, not Gary the author. But are these in fact true stories about Gary the author? Well, now. You’ll have to ask Gary about that.

Officially reviewed at OnlineBookClub.org with a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. Take a look!

 

How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. WaterBrook & Multnomah provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, for which I’ve given an honest review.

How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

I’d never heard of The Babylon Bee until a little earlier this year, and I had no particular inclination to read How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living. As much as I like to laugh, I’m not one who goes out of my way looking for satire.

But when the publisher unexpectedly sent me a copy, I figured, hey, why not take a look?

And, then, the book got me within the first few pages, letting me know how Christian culture can lead me to be “transformed day by day into the radiant image of the modern American Jesus.”

Hello. Sounds like a goal. Especially if He’s the Son of a Father “who sits on a cloud somewhere…and is suspicious of non-Americans and people with brown skin.”

Uh huh.

Now, do I totally agree with the attitude of the Bee at every point in this comprehensive guide? Nah. I think some of the Bee’s blanket jokes might overlook how issues like manipulation and abuse are very real problems in too many churches (what’s making folks feel horrible at church isn’t always holy conviction), and for a lot of people, matters of social justice aren’t merely “politics,” or concepts to debate. They’re real matters of life and death.

Still, I doubt the point of a book like this is to make you agree with all of it. Satire is supposed to make you think. Sometimes humor that’s unafraid to tackle what others are reluctant to speak up about can help you take a serious second look at something in life or society (or Christian culture) that’s backward or off. Not to simply laugh about it, or not to only be offended, but to really stop and think about it.

If you don’t seriously think, you can’t seriously grow.

Make no mistake, though. I did heartily crack up while reading this thing. And the conclusion is, well, beautiful, I must say.

 

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Terrence Morgan has no interest in investigating any more troubles of little importance at the Fargenstropple estate, especially since he’s been promoted to Chief Inspector at work. But when stolen family jewels factor into the estate’s latest disturbance, Terrence doubles down in The Fargenstropple Case by author Lia London.

Delightful! Simply delightful, this short and sweet mystery is. It has a positively British flair, complete with British spellings and characters with a pleasant bunch of surnames, such as Nigglesby and Crumfellow. There are also plenty of animals (including rodents, if you don’t mind those), and a jaunty thread of romance adds to the fun. I ran into a few minor grammar issues concerning dialogue tags, but it’s possible they’re there intentionally, for comedy’s sake.

I count it a boon to sometimes find mysteries that involve cases other than murder. Of course, murder-less mysteries don’t all have to be as quirky as this one, but if you’re looking for an hour or two of light and hilarious entertainment with clever twists, you’d do well to check out this little number.