Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Review: An A-Z of Critical Thinking

There is an urgent need for Christians to learn how to think carefully and critically. Too many are taken in by the latest fad or the oldest misinformation. If it is true that Christians are to love God with all their mind, theN learning to think well should be a top priority.

Beth Black and her co-author's have put together a very helpful dictionary of critical thinking that explains ideas clearly, accurately and with useful examples. They deal with controversial issues fairly (the definition of critical thinking being one of them!).

An A-Z of Critical Thinking will be helpful for lay people, teachers, students, and anyone else interested in critical thinking. Because it is a dictionary and valuable for dipping in to, those who have not read anything else about critical thinking would do well to get hold of a book that introduces critical thinking in a more structured approach. But Black's easy-to-read resource is a welcome reference to have on the bookshelf.

Book details: Beth Black et al. 2012. An A-Z of Critical Thinking. Continuum.


Book Review: The Valley of Unknowing

I really enjoyed Philip Sington's The Valley of Unknowing. Set in Communist East Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bruno Krug is handed an anonymous untitled manuscript for his evaluation which he later discovers is authored by a rival writer. The manuscript is excellent but its ambiguity can also be interpreted metaphorically as a strong critique of Workers' and Peasants' state. What should he do?

At the same time, he falls for an attractive music student from the West and somehow she may be tied up with the author of the manuscript. Bruno decides to engage in a small deception in order to have the book published - but deception is a dangerous game and can have devastating consequences in a state where the distinction between deceiver and deceived can be a life and death situation.

The Valley of Unknowing is a gentle, subtle thriller - unsensational but compelling. I kept turning the pages to see how it was all going to turn out. The author uses language beautifully and the story has been informed by his wife's memories of actually living in the GDR before the Wall came down with the collapse of Communism.

Definitely worth reading!

Book details: Philip Sington. 2012. The Valley of Unknowing. Vintage Digital.