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Books with a Beu

Jamie Beu, owner and co-author (with his wife) of CatholicFamily.info, is a "cradle Catholic", devoted husband, and father of two girls. He is a regular contributor to his parish newsletter, as well as an impassioned defender of the faith who is able to both support and challenge others as necessary -- all in an effort to build-up Christ's Kingdom on Earth. To this end, he does a lot of reading - not just of religious books (for education and research), but also of secular books, both to decompress as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture (the better to relate to others, as well as to help restore the culture).

Currently reading

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
Meg Meeker, Meg Meeker
Dan Simmons
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
'John Townsend', 'Henry Cloud'
Boundaries Face to Face: How to Have That Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding
Henry Cloud
Jesus of Nazareth
Pope Benedict XVI, Adrian J. Walker
Permutation City
Greg Egan
Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions
Pope Benedict XVI
Is Jesus Coming Soon?: A Catholic Perspective on the Second Coming
Ralph Martin
Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1)
Isaac Asimov
Autobiography of a Saint: Therese of Lisieux
Thérèse de Lisieux, Ronald A. Knox, Vernon Johnson

Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, as You've Never Seen Him

Being George Washington - Glenn Beck This book is part-history, part-self-help/motivational, part-adventure. It tends to blur the line a bit between history and non-fiction novel.

The good thing about reading a history book like this is that it is nowhere near as boring as a text book from a history class in grade school or college. It's a quick read, you'll learn some new things, and you'll retain more because it is a chronological narrative (i.e., the connections from one point to another are easily made and kept in your mind).

The bad thing is: it's a quick read. Since you'll be done reading it quickly, you'll feel like stuff has been left out (something, perhaps, that your history teacher would have gone on about for days but would have bored you stiff).

It should also be noted that this is not, strictly speaking, a history book or straight biography. As I said before, it is part motivational reading. Every other chapter is Glenn's interpretation of what you just read in the previous chapter and how it relates to our times and to the person reading the book (i.e., "lessons to learn from this"). Even if you agree with Beck, it can make the book feel, at times, like an after-school special or a "one to grow on" PSA in the middle of Saturday morning cartoons.

That said, it'll whet your appetite to learn more about Washington, the founding of our country, and the people involved - much like when you first meet someone and start dating them to get to know them better. However, I imagine most of the other books about Washington (or history in general) may seem even more dry and boring than before - kinda like wanting to know more about your dream girl just to discover that her family and friends are the most lame people in Dullsylvania. This book, her family has interesting stories to tell, but they also get preachy after each story, telling you what they think you should take away from each anecdote they share.

Maybe I'm just jaded by hating history class in high school, only to become really interested in history and politics in my 30s, but that's how I feel about this book. It seems like a great introductory book (perhaps a bit too homiletic), but I'm afraid of being let down by other books.