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Posts Tagged ‘bram stoker’

Books I briefly review in this post (click to jump to a specific book):

My Top 6

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

Future Men by Douglas Wilson

CrossTalk by Michael Emlet

The Cure of Melancholy by Richard Baxter

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Dracula by Bram Stoker


Other Interesting Reads

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Tipping Point/Blink/Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis


Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

Give me priests. Give me men with feathers in their hair or tall domed hats, female oracles in caves, servants of the python, smoking weed and reading palms. A gypsy fortune-teller with a foot-pedal Ouija board and a gold fishbowl for a crystal ball knows more about the world than many of the great thinkers of the West.

What more can I say about this book than what I’ve said in this post? This is easily the best book I’ve read all year, a profound read that has impacted my theology, how I view creation, how I trust God in hard circumstances, and the very vocabulary I use now. Wilson’s book is an absolute must-read that has blown away everyone I know who has read it.

Future Men by Douglas Wilson

Great lessons can be acquired by small boys in a small garden. A rich farmer was once rebuked for having his sons work in the fields when they didn’t have to. His reply was apropos to this discussion. He wasn’t raising corn, he explained, he was raising boys. Boys therefore should be learning to be patient, careful, and hard-working.

Doug Wilson, N.D. Wilson’s father, has tremendous thoughts here for dads of sons, as well as daughters. Wilson’s wit always cracks me up and it’s always directed with a purpose. I appreciated the amount that he has to say here but also how well Wilson simplifies things and doesn’t merely give a recipe. Wilson is centered on the gospel and the centrality of God’s glory and it taints all his writing here about guiding sons into becoming men.

The point of discipline with boys is to channel and direct their energy into an obedient response to the cultural mandate. It is not to squash that energy, destroying it or making it sullen.

CrossTalk by Michael Emlet

We confess that all of Scripture is helpful for all of life, but that’s not the way the Bible actually functions in our lives and ministries. The challenge is not just in moving from present-day problems to the Scriptures. Many modern-day struggles and problems don’t seem to be addressed in the Scriptures.

I’ve already written a review here but I’ll just say again not to be intimidated by a book that seems to be more geared towards being an effective counselor for others. The first 6 chapters are extremely helpful in understanding and studying the Bible and see the Word with new eyes.

The Cure of Melancholy by Richard Baxter

And so, if he[Satan] can cast you into melancholy, he can easily tempt you to overmuch sorrow and fear, and to distracting doubts and thoughts, and to murmur against God, and to despair, and still think that you are undone, undone;

This is an excellent book, written in the 1682, by Richard Baxter, in which Baxter shows remarkable understanding of depression and deep discouragement. Read my thoughts here and here.

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may as well walk at Liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any Lock in Doubting Castle.

I finally got around to reading this classic this past summer and I was not disappointed. Bunyan wrote the book in the mid 1600s and, through the help of John Owen, it was published in 1678. It is still one of the bestselling books of all time, second only to the Bible! Yes, the English is old and it starts a bit slow but give it a shot and you will find yourself encouraged by it. When you read it, remember that Bunyan likely wrote it while languishing in prison for 12 years because he refused to stop sharing the gospel.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

My friends, this is much, it is a terrible task that we undertake, and there may be consequence to make the brave shudder. For if we fail in this our fight he must surely win, and then where end we? Life is nothings, I heed him not. But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut, for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all, a blot on the face of God’s sunshine, an arrow in the side of Him who died for man. But we are face to face with duty, and in such case must we shrink?

I wrote about this book not long ago here and here and I’ll say it again: I loved this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, loved the thrill, the characters and their love for one another, the masculinity and femininity displayed, Van Helsing, and theme of the sovereignty of God grounding everything. The last quarter of the book is such a ride.

Other Interesting Reads

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Why don’t we just call plans what they really are: guesses. Start referring to your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, and your strategic plans as strategic guesses. Now you can stop worrying about them as much. They just aren’t worth the stress.

I read this book most recently out of any of the books on this list and I’m still processing the paradigm shift Fried and Hansson present here. I don’t like most business philosophy “most effective people” leadership type books but I enjoyed and was stirred up by this one. From their thoughts on professionalism to changes in the workplace to trusting employees to encouraging inspiration, you will not be disappointed in taking the time to read this. I started reading this on a Friday afternoon and finished it about 24 hours later!

What is it about growth and business? Why is expansion always the goal? What’s the attraction of big besides ego? (You’ll need a better answer than “economies scale.”) What’s wrong with finding the right size and staying there?

The Tipping Point/Blink/Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Out of the Gladwell triumvirate, my favorite was Blink. Gladwell’s writing is very easy to read and the research he chooses to pull together is very fascinating. Why did I like “Blink?” The best thing that I took from this book is how we can transform our involuntary responses by training and by what we think about. This book is a demonstration of Romans 12:2 and power of our minds. We cannot overcome sin apart from the Holy Spirit’s power working in our hearts but the Holy Spirit will not work against us – we need to be diligent.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

Could I really call this an enjoyable read? Not really, but I both identified with CS Lewis in how his grief is displayed as well as many places where his grief seems wholly his own. That’s why this book is so valuable and worth reading – CS Lewis’ processing of the death of his wife displays what a fog grief can be, how it is truly different for everyone and yet how there are commonalities for all of us who have deeply grieved. If grief is relatively foreign to you, read this book and immerse yourself in the chaos and process that Lewis goes through and so vulnerably displays. If grief is fresh for you, read this book and let Lewis help you walk through it.


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Given the vampire movies, and books beyond the insane over the past 20-30 years with a focus on vampires as either the cool guys, Dr Evil types obsessed with world domination, gang members, or emo teens, this book was not even close to what I expected. I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had wanted to read the original, this 1896 masterpiece, but I still did not have a clue as to what to expect. Forget all that you have ever seen in a vampire movie or book in our lifetime, Stoker’s Dracula does not compare.

Dracula as a powerful and mysterious evil

The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command; he is brute, and more than brute; he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not; he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small; and he can at times vanish and come unknown.

Dracula is written as a series of letters from one character to another or as a character’s journal entry. It makes for change from the norm as you get each character’s perspective as they walk through these events and their eventual quest to defeat Dracula. This perspective only adds to the evil and mystery of Count Dracula. He is no joke and barely even human in this book. You get to know him first through the eyes of Jonathan Harker but from that point on, he is more of a dark foreboding shadow. He is everywhere and he is nowhere. He is cunning and powerful and yet limited by his condition. How did he come to be? How old is he? We’re never certain. But he is a sheer force of relentless and remorseless evil, more of a demon or beast than a man. Dracula is no Edward or Louis or even Lestat for that matter. Once certain things happen and the professor, Dr. Van Helsing, connects the pieces of who and what Dracula is, there is only one choice – to find a way to destroy him.

He [Dracula] can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell.

Men being men and women being women

“And now for you, Madam Mina, this night is the end until all be well. You are too precious to us to have such risk. When we part tonight, you no more must question. We shall tell you all in good time. We are men and are able to bear, but you must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are.” All the men, even Jonathan, seemed relieved, but it did not seem to me good that they should brave danger and, perhaps lessen their safety, strength being the best safety, through care of me, but their minds were made up, and though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me. – Mina Harker

I went with the party to the search with an easy mind, for I think I never saw Mina so absolutely strong and well. I am so glad that she consented to hold back and let us men do the work. Somehow, it was a dread to me that she was in this fearful business at all, but now that her work is done, and that it is due to her energy and brains and foresight that the whole story is put together in such a way that every point tells, she may well feel that her part is finished, and that she can henceforth leave the rest to us. – Jonathan Harker

Count Dracula is really not even the central focus of this book. The central focus on the book is the group of men and women who band together to destroy him; risking their lives, their own humanity, their loved ones, and their sanity. Men being noble, fighting, wise, empathetic, courageous risk takers honoring and protecting wise, beautiful, sweet, nurturing, supportive, trusting, fighting, courageous, and submissive yet not passive women. This is a fantastic story in how Stoker does not water down evil nor water down courage & goodness. I loved it. After finishing reading this book, I watched the trailer for the 1992 Hollywood version of Dracula based on this book as well reading some reviews. I was not surprised. They seem to just take out the genuine love and nobility of these characters. The 1992 movie makes Dracula the main focus and tries to give him motivation and make him more human and humane. Dracula in Stoker’s book made my hair stand up. I doubt I would feel that way seeing the movie version. On top of that, it looks like they just added a ton of sex and innuendo that’s not even in the book apart from the simple metaphor. Lucy, Mina, Jonathan, Van Helsing, Godalming, Quincey, and Seward are characters you are rooting for, and pulling for. You feel their loss. You feel their sacrifice and reasonable fear. You feel the darkness pressing in as they do.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the theme of a sovereign God in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and show my favorite passage.

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