Hike Books Forward – August 17

Two audiobooks appear in this week’s recommended folder. One work of fiction that reads like a true story and one memior that is filled with realism and the realities of World War 2. Neither book is very lengthy and yet the messages made me think and ponder on the depravity of man. I completed both books reflecting on the grace and mercy of God.

Safely Home – by Randy Alcorn 2001

Two college friends, one from America and the other from China, lose track of one another for 20 years. The American lives in corporate America with eyes set on the company’s CEO office. The company has major interests in China and the American travels to China and makes arrangements to reunite with his friend. The major contrasts between the two men are stark indeed including family, economic wealth, faith, and priorities  

This novel holds a powerful message for the comfortable church in the land of the free. The believers in China and many other countries around the world are not free to worship Jesus, but face persecution, opposition, and violence for their faith. It is so easy for me to focus on my first world problems (the price of gasoline, the coldness of air conditioning in fast food restaurants, and the speed on my internet connection) and forget that so many Christians around the world face imprisonment, ridicule, and joblessness because of their faith. This novel is an easy read without graphic violence or profanity or sensationalism, but with the faithful testimony of those who love God and live for the gospel of Jesus despite the cost and sacrifice.

It is a sobering book that made me think and pray and evaluate.

The Boy on the Wooden Box – Leon Leyson 2013

Leib Lezjon was only 10-years-old when Nazi Germany invaded Poland and uprooted his family to the Krakow ghetto. And the Plaszow concentration camp. One of the significant aspects of this memoir is that Leib (whose name was changed to Leon Leyson) was one of the holocaust survivors that found his name on Schindler’s List. Leon worked in Schindler’s factory and had to stand on a wooded box to perform his job. Schindler saved not only Leon Leyson’s life, but also the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings. Although the insanity of the Nazi soldiers is not withheld from the memoir, there is a spirit of hope throughout the storyline.

This audiobook is short and yet, the length was a perfect fit for Leon’s remembrances.  The narrator, Danny Burstein, did a fine job in maintaining a good pace and providing an excellent interpretation of the author’s work. This might be aimed at the middle grade level (and an excellent consideration for the classroom), I found it interesting and unique.    

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