2-sentence book reviews, part 4 (youth ministry, fiction, and ‘other’)

back in the day, i used to post a full review in an individual blog post for every book i read. after rebooting my blog in the late fall of 2009, i changed that practice to posting 3 or 4 “mini reviews” at a time — one paragraph each.

but in 2011, i’ve gotten behind, and haven’t posted any reviews. i kept meaning to, but just didn’t get around to it. so, i’m catching up. and i’ve decided to do it in a different way, since i have 27 to post.


for each review, i only allowed myself two sentences. in each, the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of the book. i’m still giving 1 – 5 stars (5 means “excellent”, 4 means “worth reading”, 3 means “ah, take it or leave it”, 2 means “take a pass on this one”, and 1 means “do NOT buy or read this book – it sucked, imho).

up first was 7 young adult fiction books, and second was memoirs and graphic novels. the third collection covered leadership/marketing and theology/christian living.

this last installment (for now!) has five reviews over three categories, including youth ministry, fiction, and ‘other’:

Youth Ministry

Worlds Apart: Understanding the Mindset and Values of 18-25 Year Olds, by Chuck Bomar
5 stars
(Breaking from my 2-sentence pattern, here’s the endorsement I wrote)
We — the church — haven’t had a clue how to connect with college-age students for a long time. Peek inside an average church and it shows; 20somethings are the missing decade in otherwise robust and healthy churches. Before we race off to construct lame programs and structures that miss the mark, we could all benefit from increased understanding. Thankfully, Chuck Bomar has arrived with this book that offers just that.
(note: this book releases on august 30, 2011)

Redefining The Win For Jr High Small Groups: Strategies, Tips, and Encouragement for Leaders and Volunteers, by Johnny Scott
4 stars
A quick and encouraging overview of what middle school small groups can really be like. The perfect book to give out to all your middle school small group leaders (it even fits in your back pocket!).


Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk
5 stars
A poem that can kill, merely by its recitation, wreaks havoc on the lives of the few who know it. My favorite Palahniuk read so far.

Jesus Boy, by Preston Allen
2 stars
A hyper-conservative Christian teenage boy falls into a decade-long affair with the middle-aged widow of his mentor, and struggles to live a double life. With potential for so much more, this story is, in the end, just depressing – not cautionary, just depressing.


Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, by Chuck Klosterman
3.5 stars
A collection of essays on modern culture, filled with wit and occasional insight. Some interesting thoughts, but the book had been so built up to me that I was actually a little disappointed.

6 thoughts on “2-sentence book reviews, part 4 (youth ministry, fiction, and ‘other’)”

  1. Hey Marko,

    I saw the book “Middle School, the worst years of my life” by James Patterson in the store today. Have you seen or heard of this title yet?

  2. hey kevin — no, i hadn’t heard of it. just looked it up on amazon. strange to me that patterson, a HUGE selling author, would write this. i looked at the content, and it looks REALLY juvenile, like something i would give to a 4th or 5th grader. looks like it might be trying to capitalize on the success of the “diary of a wimpy kid” books; but even the point size and writing style feels younger than that. strange.

  3. Yeah, I just flipped through it. Felt the same as you as far as it appearing very much like “wimpy kid”. Middle School is getting much more attention in the main stream these days though. I like the cartoon/text method of the wimpy kid books and this one but it would strike me as odd if it is at a 4th or 5th grade level speaking about 6th-9th.

  4. well, it’s really common for children and teens to want to read about the level above where they are. middle schoolers like to read about high school characters. pre-teens like to read about middle schoolers. so, i don’t know if the publishers intended that and were savvy, creating a book for pre-teens, or if they were stupid, failing at a book for young teens. either way, it’s still strange that patterson is involved! :)

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