30/05/2008

I was just Wondering (by Philip Yancey)

Philip Yancey is one of my favourite modern Christian writers. As usual, when I really like an author, I try and collect all their works. And while not everything Yancey wrote is in print, I have found some second-hand as well as new, and have enjoyed them all.

'I was just wondering' was first published about ten years ago, and is a series of short articles rather than a book on one theme. As such, it was good to read just a couple of chapters at a time. It attempts to slightly unusual questions about the Christian life, such as: Where did racial hatred come from? What is the value of reading fiction? Why aren't there more miracles? Why are dogs easier to train than cats?

Actually he doesn't address these exact questions one at a time. He has a whole list of related questions on six themes at the start of each section of the book, and then proceeds to write about them - or roughly about them - peppered with anecdotes and insights, that sometimes look at the questions, sometimes look around them, and sometimes look through them to something much more significant.

Yancey's writing is usually thought-provoking, and I found that to be the case with this, although not as much so as in his later books. He has an excellent, readable style with a surprising amount of irony for an American writer, which is much appreciated by this British reader.

Having said that, I don't know that I recall much of the book, having finished it. Nothing struck me so deeply that I'm still pondering it. I liked it while I was reading it, and sometimes took something from it into my day. It was an interesting diversion - but nothing life-changing.

Recommended in a low-key sort of way, if you want something light with plenty of variety.

Review copyright © Sue's Book Reviews, May 30th 2008.

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