What To Do When You Just Absolutely Hate a Book You’re Reviewing

It doesn’t happen very often.  I usually try to find at least some good point in any book I’ve been asked to review.  After all, every book has at least one good point, right?

Sure, some books are just unreadable and quite frankly I’ve only ever been asked to review a couple of them.  But honesty forbids me any false-ness when it comes to books and what I like and don’t like.  And this book, sorry as I can be IVP Academic (and especially Adrianna), is just purely annoying and nearly unreadable.

Not only have I found it unpleasant, I’ve found it downright appalling.  It made my head hurt and it nearly caused me to have an aneurysm.  The neo-pagan mysticism which its author seems to represent was to my spirit the equivalent of scrapping fingernails on the blackboard.

It’s not that I’m opposed to deep spirituality.  I’m not.  What I am opposed to though, because of my Reformed background, my love of Zwingli and Brunner, and my general personal disposition, is any drawing from or upon even remotely eastern-sounding practices married to Christianity.

When the author of the book in question (on whom see the link above for the title and author) described the sayings of Jesus as the equivalent of Zen Buddhist ‘sayings’ he lost me.  He lost me and he never regained me.

To be sure, he tells good stories.  But the stench of eastern philosophy so filled the air that my nostrils were stung and I just read along with a disposition best called unsympathetic.

I’m as sorry as I can be but I can’t recommend this volume.  Of late I’ve been a huge fan of IVP Academic as they’ve been putting out some quality stuff.  This volume, however, is better suited to HarperOne or Polebridge Press.

So what does one do when one cannot – in good conscience – commend a volume?  One doesn’t recommend it.  And this one, I don’t, and can’t.  My reaction to it, to be charitable, is the same reaction Emil Brunner had to the work of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher; with one difference- I’m not going to take this out and burn it.


4 thoughts on “What To Do When You Just Absolutely Hate a Book You’re Reviewing

  1. Michael Acidri 20 Sep 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Well, i am waiting to see the zwingli approval or disapproval icon…..im still waiting…..and iam still waiting.Okay, for crying out loud at least a dilly award will do. Waiting.


  2. JasonS 20 Sep 2011 at 3:53 pm

    When I read “Polebridge Press” I had to go back and read again, because I thought I read “pole cat.”


    • Jim 20 Sep 2011 at 3:58 pm

      same diff


  3. Jason 20 Sep 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Like smoke in the nostrils, eh? I remember reading Foster (whom I see wrote the foreword) years ago and feeling a bit uncomfortable while reading some sections of that book.


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