0

Two amazing books inspired by the Bible

I usually read any book I review here on Sue’s Trifles from cover to cover before I write about it. The reason I am making an exception in this case is that the books are worth mentioning although I have not yet reached the end of them.

The books are The Infographic Bible and The Book of Psalms in Rhyme.

The Infographic Bible

Cover of The Infographic Bible in a brownish shade with gold writing and patterning
Photo of front of The Infographic Bible

I received The Infographic Bible: Visualising the Drama of God’s Word as a Christmas present soon after it was published in November 2018. Karen Sawrey presents an enormous amount of information from the Bible in a diagrammatic form. It is not for people, who find reading difficult, but is a useful way of seeing an overview of various aspects of, for example, Biblical history mostly in large double spreads.

Two examples of the sort of information collated in The Infographic Bible from input provided by a large team of experts are clean and unclean animals, and the good and bad kings with the prophets of their times.

I began reading it from cover to cover and reached pages 86/87 out of 224. Having picked it up again to write this review I am inclined to take a really good look at it to find out what is included, rather than reading every word. When I have learned my way around it, it will become a useful reference book.

I was interested to note that one of the contributors was Nick Page.

Back cover of the Infographic Bible with endorsements, blurb and list of contributors
Photo of back of The Infographic Bible

The Book of Psalms in Rhyme

The second book I am reviewing here is another rather ambitious project based on the Bible.

I received a .pdf Advance Review Copy of The Book of Psalms in Rhyme on the understanding that I’d post an honest review on goodreads and/or Amazon. The launch date of 30 August 2021 was too close to the date I received the ARC for me to be able to read the entire book.

Regular readers of this blog will know that The Psalms are one of my favourite parts of the Bible and writing rhyme is one of my interests. To render all 150 psalms in rhyme is a big project and Brendan Conboy has done well. His style is similar to rap, with some long rhyming lines and other lines with rhyming words in the middle and at the end.

Before the launch date I only managed to read about 20 of the rhyming psalms. They are true to the meaning of the English translations of the Psalms. David’s earnest rhyming prayers have an urgency and vibrancy, which might be missed in older versions.

I particularly like the rendering of Selah as (Pause in his presence). The Psalms are meant to be used to learn about and draw closer to God. This book will be helpful and I look forward to reading it to the end.

I have also reviewed it on Goodreads:

The book of PSALMS in RhymeThe book of PSALMS in Rhyme by Brendan Conboy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

5

Book review: Three trilogies by John Galsworthy

Among the books I recently inherited were three volumes by John Galsworthy, which had been passed down from a grandparent to my parents. These books are family sagas spanning the years from 1886 to the 1930s. John Galsworthy wrote them between 1904 and 1932. The language is somewhat different from modern UK English, especially where colloquialisms are used. Galsworthy lived from 1867 to 1933.

Three green volumes with gold lettering supported by bookends with globes depicting old maps of earth
Book covers have changed since the early 20th century

The Forsyte Saga is the first volume consisting of The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let, with interludes between each novel.

A Modern Comedy includes The White Monkey, The Silver Spoon and Swan Song , also with interludes between each novel.

End of the Chapter comprises three novels: Maid in Waiting, Flowering Wilderness and Over the River.

I began reading the series on 11 March, interspersing it with other books, and finished it towards the end of June.

This was my second attempt at reading The Forsyte Saga. During my teenage years a TV serialisation was broadcast, but we did not have a TV set at that time. A well-meaning friend of the family sent the first two paperback books as presents for the youngsters in our family. They sat reproachfully on our bookshelf for many years having been opened, but not read beyond the first few pages. I now realise that there was little in the content of relevance to such young people. What readers gain from any book depends to a large extent on the knowledge they already have. Court cases, marital difficulties and having a house built are outside the experience of teenagers. Indeed for many adults these are vicarious experiences.

The Forsyte Saga begins on 15 June 1886 and Over the River ends in the early 1930s. The many changes in attitudes, dress, transport and government are the background to these serious novels with some gentle humour, notably in the choice of some names. There is a strong awareness of the social problems of the times. Although the books are set mainly in London and the Home Counties, there is some travel and descriptions of the wider world. In The Forsyte Saga there is an extensive family tree, which folds out. An extra generation has been added to a similar one in A Modern Comedy.

By the time End of the Chapter is reached the central characters are no longer Forsytes, although they do have some interaction with members of that family. Forsyte is the surname of a family, but Galsworthy also used ‘Forsytes’ to represent all middle class persons with capitalist tendencies. The inheritance of family wealth has a strong influence on characters and events.

The religious views and changes in attitudes during the time span of the series are occasionally touched upon. Apart from one or two clergymen, who seem to act more from a sense of duty, and perhaps compassion for the underprivileged people in their parishes, than from religious conviction, there is little faith among the characters. At the time Christianity was often seen as something to agree or disagree with intellectually. The theory of evolution was used as a major argument against Christianity, not that it should have been in my opinion. There are one or two glimpses of characters, whose appreciation of spiritual matters is a little deeper than that of the majority. Several of the characters display a background knowledge of Bible stories. Church-going and teaching of scripture in schools was usual at the time.

As in any saga there is joy and sorrow. The character and decisions of older generations affect the lives of younger ones.

I found the series fascinating and well worth the trouble of reading three tomes with thin paper and rather unfamiliar language. There are many sentences, which are quotable even without their original context.

These books are available from the usual places and also on Project Gutenberg and Kindle.

Book review: The Voice

The Voice: A story about faith and trust by R.W. Metlen is a picture book for adults. A friend lent me a copy. It is a book, which can be read in a few minutes, but the message may linger in a reader’s mind for much longer.

The Voice well deserves the 5 star reviews it has on a well-known book-sellers website. As always I recommend buying books from ‘bricks and mortar’ bookshops!