Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible: From the Weird to the Wonderful by Stephen M. Miller


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Stephen Miller, bestselling author of Complete Guide to the Bible and Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible, compares reading the Bible to driving a country road. “We’re cruising along reading a fine little story when suddenly we hit a jaw dropper of a narrative pothole. Right out loud we might say, ‘What on earth is this doing in God’s holy Word?’”
You can’t read far in the Bible without being jolted by an account of polygamy, slavery, or gender inequality. Other stories read almost like comedies—like the one about a dead man springing to life when his corpse touches a prophet’s bones.
How do you face these things honestly? With a touch of dry humor, Miller identifies bumps in the road, briefly offers popular interpretations, and leaves you with food for thought. This is a fast-paced, fun, and reliable guide for your tour through the Bible.

MY TAKE:
As a fan of trivia books, I couldn't pass up this one.

In Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible: From the Weird to the Wonderful, readers are shown stories and other things written in the Bible and presented with what they could mean, their context, and their relevance and possible interpretations.

The book has 250 entries and each one is quite short, no more than 2-3 pages each, with some of them being less than a page long. This reminds me a little bit of the style of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. Each one is a quick read, and they are written in a funny and accessible way so you don't lose interest.

I liked that it's kind of like a history lesson as well as it tries to match some of the things to real-life people, events and places, where relevant. Including the biblical place's modern name (country) makes it easier to imagine how it all ties up geographically and historically.

I did notice, however, that some topics were connected or almost similar but they were placed far apart in the book. Perhaps it would be better if they were closer together or there was a clearer order to the entries.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harvest House Publishers for the e-ARC. Publication date of Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible From the Weird to the Wonderful is on September 1, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. The entries are funny and interesting.
  2. You'll learn a lot, even if you think you already know a lot about the Bible.
  3. It's well-researched. 

THE BAD:

  1. It may benefit from a clearer order of entries according to chronology in the Bible, for example. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The story leaves some readers thinking of Esau as dumber than a bag of peas and of Jacob as an exploitive, price-gouging jerk of a brother (and probably a good cook). 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like trivia books.
  2. You want to know more about the Bible.
  3. You've ever wondered what things that appeared in the Bible have a historical basis. 

RATING:
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SOUNDS INTERESTING?

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