Movie Review: The Man Who Invented Christmas, directed by Bharat Nalluri (Five Stars)

the_man_who_invented_christmasMovie Review: The Man Who Invented Christmas, directed by Bharat Nalluri

Five Stars

“No one is useless in this world,”

Outstanding. A mashup of historical biography and fantasy. Nalluri, Coyne and Standiford take viewers into the soul of Charles Dickens as he almost doesn’t create A Christmas Carol in 1843. The pace and production values exactly match the theme. Dan Stevens is great; Christopher Plummer is incredible.

“We must not disturb the poet when the divine frenzy is upon him.”

Before seeing it, remind yourself of both the story and Dicken’s biography, otherwise nothing that follows will seem quite so wondrous. Before taking children to see this, adults should see it Continue reading

The Writer and the Magician

The Writer and the Magician. from Alton Gansky.

“The best tricks … don’t look like tricks.”

the best tricks are those that don’t look like tricks. – See more at:
the best tricks are those that don’t look like tricks. – See more at:

Book Review Ratings

Up front, I need to tell you: three stars is positive. Two stars is “okay.”

While I use the usual five star rating scale, I am more rigorous with my ratings in 2014. Previously, a book I liked got four stars, now it gets only three.

I made that alteration so that my four and five star ratings really meant something. I don’t want to be one of those raters who gives only 1 and 5 star ratings, then whines because the scale is so resistive.

I also apply what I variously call the 50-page and the 100 page test. As Frank Zappa said, “So many books, so little time.” Some books are so bad that I quit them within the first ten pages; those you’ll never hear about–I delete them from my database. But some books seemed to have enough quality that I soldiered through 50 or 100 pages (depending on the length of the book and the deepness of my exasperation) before I quit. Those I tend to write reviews on. (So far, those reviews are only posted on

I have no special credentials for reviewing books other than liking to read. I am a college graduate. I’ve read thousands (of documented) novels and hundreds of non-fiction books. I’ve attended half a dozen writing conferences as I struggled to learn the craft myself. I know from first-hand experience that it’s harder than it looks. Few of us can be Tolkiens or Rothfusses; in fact, I’d settle for producing the page-turning excitement of a David Weber space opera.

Likewise, I have no special credential for reviewing movies; I probably see many fewer than the average American.

So, my ratings are conservative but, I hope, informed.

A Book in Progress

Last year Gary Garner, senior pastor of Prevailing Word Ministries, Glen Allen, Virginia, asked me to develop a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans. He was so pleased with the result that he suggested we publish it, mostly to have it available to future generations of our members, not to make a big literary splash.

Because Living in the Spirit would have limited circulation, we contracted with a competent publisher of Christian books: CrossBooks. I’ve been working with their staff since January to bring the book to print.

Monday, February 17, I sent the manuscript to CrossBooks for their theological and editorial review.

Don’t expect to see it in print before this Summer.