I generally don’t want to publish reviews of religiously affiliated literature on my blog because I believe that this blog is not about issues that are of interest to any particular group of people. Everyone is welcome to read my blog, and I don’t want to give it any particular affiliation. I have received this book to review without realizing that it is religious literature, and therefore I apologize if it is not something you are used to seeing on my blog. This is, in fact, not what I generally like to write about.
However, the book “Hope – Anchor of the Soul” by Michael Gifford is quite interesting to read. I like the format that it is in. There is a chapter followed by true and false questions, then multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks questions, and discussion points. This book would be perfect for a Bible study group, or for anyone who would like to think about the issues, and talk about what is written in the chapters. I will not be writing a lot about the book itself because then it is me just retelling the contents, summarizing the book, and I find that in a review, by telling in short what is inside the book, may make readers not even be interested in getting the book to read, but rather just reading my description of the book, and that’s it. I like to write a bit about the book, and then about how this book applies and is relevant to my life and situation, and why I think it should be read, and what lessons can be taken from it.
The book explores hope related quotes from the Bible, and the author discusses issues that are related to hope. There are a lot of true statements in the book that have nothing to do whether you are religious or not, and have nothing to do with belief. They are just true statements that anyone would agree with, and they can certainly help one, and motivate one to do great things in life looking forward to what can be there for her/him. Here is one sentence from the book, “When the angry waves of trial beat against us, hope keeps us looking up toward heaven instead of around at our troubles.”
I remember myself back in 1994. I didn’t get into University as I flunked my entrance exams, and had to live in a cold city without a job, and very little money, and trying to learn English to try my luck getting into school next year. My whole existence was around a few Grammar textbooks, and books I read to try to improve my grammar, writing skills, and reading. I had to essentially brush up my knowledge, refine everything I learned before, and get into the nitty-gritty details of proper writing rules. You will say that my writing is still horrid, but it is much better, and that whole year of continuous cold winter, solitude, and poverty paid off. Now I can at least say I have a hard earned University degree, in fact two of them, and what I had to go through back then was worth it.
One thing I was looking forward to every few months were little booklets I got in mail that consisted of very similar stories, and questions after the stories discussing different Biblical quotes and subjects. Those little booklets really gave me hope, and I thought that if I could just get through that Bible study course, my English would get better. I would have loved to have this book of Hope with study questions to be able to read English, and think about the topics, and then write about hope, and fill up my miserable existence in an unwelcome city with some sort of sparkle to look forward to.
One thing I noticed is that this book leaves the reader open to interpret what was read without providing specific answers. It is probably intended more for group study lessons rather than for self-guidance reading. Sometimes I wish there would be answers to chapters in the book, as it would help readers understand what they have read better. It is also very helpful for non-native speakers for learning purposes. The course that I took was very similar to this one, and that was one of the issues with it – I didn’t know whether my answers were correct.
This book is available from Hopkins Publishing, and can be purchased in a hard cover, paperback and electronic formats. I prefer an actual book myself to be able to make notes and highlight things, and bookmark things easier. I am sorry, I am so old-fashioned.
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