CHRISTIAN BOOK REVIEW, In the Heart of the Sea

South Sea Whale Fishery, published 1835
      • TITLE:  Heart of the Sea.
      • AUTHOR: Nathaniel Philbrick
      • YEAR: 2000
      • PUBLISHER: Viking Penquin
      • PAGES: 320
      • GENRE: Non-fiction, historical
      • INTENDED AUDIENCE:  Readers who are interested in a seafaring story in the early 19th century, packaged with a lot of action and drama. The details of the crew’s survial in the open sea is brutal, and may not be appreciated by all.
      • MAIN POINTS : This story follows the final voyage of the whaleship, Essex, in 1821.
        At this time, whale oil was an important commodity. Petroleum products had not yet replaced whale oil for lighting or lubrication. So the demand was vast. As whales were hunted down, the Atlantic Ocean proved insufficient. Ships from the United States traveled around the Southern tip of South America to increasingly remote locations in the Pacific Ocean.
        The Heart of the Sea is a history book, telling us about the whales, the whale trade, and whaling ships. It is an action story, telling us about the incredible disaster that befell the Essex (Hint: if you ever read the novel, Moby Dick, the story of the Essex may sound familiar). And it is a study in human behavior, telling us how the crew of the Essex reacted to their predicament; and how they survived. The book concludes with the short biography of each of the survivors.
      • REVIEW: The story of the of the whaleship, Essex is a compelling story, well told by Nathaniel Philbrick. If you are squeamish, the details of the sailors’ survival may be told a bit too vividly.
      • RECOMMENDATION: Highly recommended to those for whom it is intended (see above).
      • RATING (out of 5 stars): 



Most everything you might want or need to know about the Moon.

  • TITLE: The Book of the Moon
  • AUTHOR: Maggie Aderin-Pocock
  • YEAR: 2019
  • PAGES: 240
  • GENRE: Non-fiction
  • INTENDED AUDIENCE: Everyone interested in the Moon.
  • MAIN POINTS (If non-fiction): This book covers the basics of the Earth’s one and only Moon–where it (possibly) came from, what it is, how it works, and the many ways in which it influences our lives. The book also includes a good deal of history of the way human beings have interacted with the moon, in science and literature. Hard to put the book down, once you get started.
  • REVIEW: I was interested in this topic because my grandmother used to show us the moon phases on our calendar, after which we’d take a look at the night sky. When my grandma was young, in the late 19th Century, a moon lit sky had more significance than today, when artificial lighting means every night can be illuminated. The author, is “an honorary research associate in University College London’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.” She explains the topic in a clear, logical, and interesting way.
  • RECOMMENDATION: Highly recommended.
  • RATING (out of 5 stars):


The movie reviewed here is definitely NOT for children, and probably not for many other people either.

  • GENRE: Thriller / Action
    • ACTORS: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, and Alexandra Daddario
    • RATING: PG-13
    • LENGTH: 1 hour, 54 minutes
    • PARENTAL NOTE: Not intended for children. Violence. Lots of implied killing–mostly non-graphic.
    • INTENDED AUDIENCE: This movie is intended for fans of the genre, and may not be appreciated by others.
    • GENERAL PLOT: (No spoilers) The San Andreas Fault makes a major split, devastating big parts of urban California. A helicopter pilot rushes to save his daughter and almost ex-wife.
    • REVIEW: One word for this movie: Ridiculous. OK, two words: Ridiculous, ridiculous. Many movies ask us to suspend the normal rules of heaven and earth. For example, to pretend that zombies or ghosts exist. Such an exercise seems a reasonable tradeoff for watching a fictional story. But this movie suspends the rules of human nature. That is, human being don’t behave (I hope) as suggested. To summarize, with a few spoilers included, Dwayne Johnson’s character apparently abandons his job as a rescue pilot to go in search of his daughter and almost ex-wife. He steals his work helicopter, a truck, and airplane in search of his family. The scenes of earthquake and tsunami disaster look convincing to me. But watching the portrayal of thousands (or maybe millions) of people being killed in a natural disaster isn’t what I consider wholesome entertainment.
    • RECOMMENDATION: This is a thriller movie. Many people will be highly offended by every movie in this genre because of the violence, and other questionable elements. Good computer generated imagery (CGI). Too good, really.
    • RATING (out of 5 stars):