500 Days and a Morman Girl memoir ensure we're Searchers this side of a Cold Grave

Welcome back to Creaview, as we take a look at the weekend's book reviews from major publications across the globe. This week we'll drop in on the book sections of The Washington Post, Christianity Today and The Canberra Times.

500 Days by Kurt Eichenwald was reviewed by Dina Temple-Raston of The Washington Post. The book looks at the Bush administration's handling of the 18 months following September 11, 2001. Temple-Raston thought most of what the book covered was familiar ground, but she was won over and 500 Days compelling due to Eichenwald's “journalistic attention to detail.”

The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith by Joanna Brooks was reviewed by John G Turner of the Post, who simply summarises the book, an autobiography by Morman Joanna Brook. Turner gives little indication as to his thoughts regarding the content or the quality of the book until the conclusion of his review: “Brooks’s sprightly yet thoughtful prose, her carefully constructed narrative and her passionate yet forgiving activism make hers a rare memoir that ended too soon.”

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson was reviewed by Justin Moyer of the Post. Moyer opens with an expression of his reluctance to review what he describes as a “worthwhile tome,” due to his fear that the hackers that are the subject of the book will make him their target. Beyond that, he also worried “that I will be unable to sufficiently explain Anonymous and LulzSec’s motivations and modus operandi in a short space since Olson, London bureau chief for Forbes, struggles to do so in 500 pages.”

The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt by Joseph Loconte was reviewed by John Wilson of Christianity Today. The reviewer opens with an anecdote which he uses to highlight the contrast between misconceptions about religion with what the book offers in its discussion of the Christian faith. He thinks it “a good book to give to someone who is looking at faith from the outside, but it will also be helpful to believers who have been led to expect tidy answers and neat resolutions and have come up hard against disappointment, absurdity, and loss.”

Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies by William D Romanowski was reviewed by Alissa Wilkinson of Christianity Today who thinks it highly readable. She explains the book is one that “recognises the profound contribution that Protestants have made to the shape of the American film industry.”

The Midnight Promise by Zane Lovitt was reviewed by Owen Richardson of The Canberra Times – finally a fiction novel amongst the ranks. This book is crime mystery written as a series of stories, “not quite entwined but meant to be read sequentially,” which – Richardson remarks – moves about Melbourne leaving impressions of various places. He comments also that the book is relentless with its thrills and twists, although “some of the stories move a little too briskly - they sit between being chapters in an ongoing narrative and stand-alone pieces.”

Cold Grave by Kathryn Fox was reviewed by Ross Southernwood of The Canberra Times, who summarises the crime mystery succinctly before briefly praising Fox's handling of the various plot lines, and admiring the effectiveness of the characters' interactions towards building the story. Interestingly: “According to the publisher, Fox, an Australian doctor with an interest in forensics, has extensively researched what they say is the 'truth behind [cruising] shipboard life', revealing a 'murky world of sexual assault, drugs and violence'.”

- Josiah Hallett


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