A Little Bit of Everything

A Little Bit of Everything

By Gini Rainey

“Killing Jesus” By Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Order KILLING JESUS here)

Following the success of “Killing Kennedy” and ”Killing Lincoln,” both page-turning works of non-fiction that have changed the way we read history, O’Reilly and Dugard have taken on the historical events that led up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth.

Bill O’Reilly, the anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the highest-rated cable news show in the country, writer of a syndicated newspaper column, and author of several number-one bestselling books and Martin Dugard, New York Times bestselling author of several books of history, have partnered to co-author this book that recounts the seismic, political, and historical events that made Jesus’ death inevitable.

From the outset the authors make it clear that though they are Roman Catholics they are not writing a religious book. Rather, they are writing a historical account of a historical figure “and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause.” They necessarily rely on the four gospels for their source material and often tell their story by directly quoting the Bible.

They begin, though, by setting Jesus firmly in his historical context and skillfully telling about the rise and fall of Julius Caesar and the subsequent ascension of Caesar Augustus. They introduce a cast of characters who each make an appearance in the pages of the Bible: King Herod who would hear of a potential challenger to his throne and order the slaughter of innocent children, Herod Antipas who would behead John the Baptist and later refuse to deal fairly with Jesus, and Pontius Pilate who would cave in to pressure and order the execution of an innocent man. Each of these men becomes a living and breathing character in the narrative.

Even though the authors clearly stated this is not a ‘religious’ book, rather an ‘historical’ work, you will not be offended by the way Christ and his followers are portrayed. As with any study of history one must rely upon the research and intellect of the writer. It seems to me the ‘homework’ was done. While drawing heavily on the first four books of the Bible’s New Testament, the historical details that are tied to each event provide a realistic view of the life and times of the man whose beliefs continue to influence millions of people two thousand years after his death.

Rating 5 of 5

Copyright 2013 – Henry Hold and Co.

“What Do You Do All Day?” By Amy Scheibe

In Amy Scheibe’s first novel she explores the tears and joys of the stay-at-home mom. This book is one that just about any mother who is immersed in the world of small and precocious children and struggling to be the perfect parent will be able identify with.

This is a story that is centered around the life of Manhattan mom Jennifer, who’s struggling with trying to be the best mom on the block, her husband Thom, and their two children, Georgia and Max. In what has been referred to as a Bridget Jones diary for the modern mother, Scheibe lays it all out there for those who have not had the honor of being a stay-at-home mom and feeling as though she must account for every minute of their day to justify their existence.

Jennifer’s character is fully developed as a mom who could spend the whole day looking at her children and marveling at their amazing gifts and talents one moment and the next moment wanting to ship them off to a foreign country in a crate labeled “beware of the monsters!”

This book, complete with an absent husband, an over-bearing mother-in-law, and sophisticated friends who spend a great deal of time at the country club and getting manicures, is a reality check into the lives of the stay-at-home moms who are constantly asked “do you work?”

This novel has all of the qualities that I love in a book where the heroine is funny, angry, potty-mouthed and lovable all at the same time. Reading it is like spending time with an incredibly cool new mommy friend – like one of those playdates you dream of where you let the kids play with old cheerios, while you and the other mom fall in love with your similarities, watch the kids play and drink wine together.

Rating 4 of 5

Copyright 2006 – St. Martin’s Press

“The Wild, Wild Cookbook – A Guide for Young Wild-Food Foragers” By Jean Craighead George; Illustrated by Walter Kessell

Now, just when the guys think there isn’t going to be anything interesting for them on the cookbook aisle, along comes this keeper. However, my husband just said, after leafing through the book, “there isn’t anything in here that sounds good.” If I hadn’t been deep in creative thought process at the time, I would have reminded him that he probably would never be caught dead foraging and if he were, this book would come in mighty handy.

Written by noted naturalist Jean George, this book is divided into seasonal foraging sections. He has listed plants alphabetically in each season and they are identified by description and habitat, and with recipes for cooking them. The beautifully detailed drawings of the plants by Walter Kessell make this a field guide everyone should carry in his pocket whenever the urge to go hiking and foraging strikes.

I’m telling you, the next time I come across some milkweed buds and pods, the first thing I’m going to do is gather up a boat load of them and make up a Milkweed Pod Pie. Also, in the fall, when all those acorns start to litter your yard and you just don’t know what to do with them, this book will tell you how to make acorn flour and then give you the recipes for Acorn Pancakes and Acorn Bread. Problem solved.

The last time I was in Minnesota, I couldn’t help but notice the promising stand of staghorn sumac bushes near the cabin. If only I were there now to harvest them and make Stewed Sumac. Now, that’s living. On a more serious note, however, there are recipes included for Gooseberry Pie, Sassafras Tea and Sunflower Bread that do sound pretty good and not quite so radical.

I realize that you might think this is just a really weird cookbook that I dragged into the book review process. Yes, in a way it is, but it’s also a great reference book that is full of a lot of information. I will say, though, that if you’ve ever been out in nature and wondered what the different plants are, this book will help you identify them. Also, the drawings, which are lovely to look at, help to make this little book a fun and interesting read.

Rating 3 of 5

Copyright 1982 – Thomas Y. Crowell Junior Books