Quick Hits: A few short Book Reviews

Some quick hits on some books I've read this summer. . .

Cache Lake Country: Life in the North Woods by John J. Rowlands
While I quite enjoy hiking, camping, and generally being in places of natural beauty as much as the next person, I am not and will not embark on the type of outdoor experience documented in Cache Lake Country.

John Rowlands details his life in the deep north woods of Maine with only a sketch artist and an "Indian Chief" as his companions. Rowlands works for a timber company, thinks no man is meant to live alone, and has a deep appreciation for Native American culture despite the outdated language he uses throughout this 1957 book. He particularly admires "the Chief", who he says has taught him everything about living the great north.

There's no high drama here, just a practical and enjoyable guide to living in the wild. Here, you'll find recipes for raspberry drinks, fishing tips, a guide on how to sleep outside in the middle of winter, and how to make your own snowshoes. And much more. Rowlands is in tune with nature, and his descriptions of the changing seasons and the local wildlife are insightful. I recommend this book if you have any interest whatsoever in the outdoors, even if that interest is as fleeting and shallow as mine. PS: As a bonus, there are fantastic illustrations throughout:

Brain Droppings by George Carlin

George Carlin is hilarious, and hates just about everything. He hates groups and worships at the altar of individualism, prefers New York to Los Angeles, and comes off as cynical and cruel. This book provides light entertainment.

Zealot by Reza Aslan

In Zealot, religion scholar Reza Aslan details the politically tumultuous period in which Jesus and his divinity emerged. Aslan presents Jesus as a more political figure who was later deemed divine as a way to rally Jews and Gentiles alike behind the cause of expelling Romans back west. As a Christian, I appreciated the historical context that Aslan provides, which sheds light on just how radical Jesus' message and serves as a reminded of the fact that Jesus himself was a Jewish teacher, reflecting on Jewish laws, that was later bastardized by Greek and Pagan influences.

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