About

My life’s passion has been to connect the love of learning and the love of God and I have focused my work in the arena of higher education.  I’m a voracious reader and love sharing the insights I draw from that reading via reviews and other posts on this blog as well as in the teaching that I do.  I read widely in areas of history, biography, literary and science fiction, science writing, mysteries, and even a book or two on baseball!  And I read deeply in the area of theology as part of my work in collegiate ministry.   Late in life, I’ve discovered an artist inside (not necessarily a great one!) who expresses himself in writing, photography, singing with with Capriccio Columbus, and participating in the Worthington Area Art League with my wife, a painter.  I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and have been posting a series on Saturdays on “Growing Up In Working Class Youngstown.”

While I am a person of faith as a follower of Christ, I hope the blog will be a meeting place for anyone who cares about good literature, who loves books and reading, and wants to talk about ideas that matter. We live in an amazingly diverse mosaic of peoples and ideas which can either be the source of endless conflict or the opportunity for rich engagement with one another across our differences in pursuing together goodness, truth, and beauty in our world. My hope is that this blog will contribute to the latter.

A note for those who would like me to review their book: First, I suggest reading my post, “How I Choose Books to Review.” At any given time, I have several books I’ve committed to review and a good number of others I’ve acquired because of my interests. Therefore, I say “no” to almost all requests for reviews, unless it is something I happen to be immediately interested in. It’s not about your book, it is just a case of too many books, too little time!

Finally, although this is probably self-evident, the views on this blog are my own (or those of the books, authors, and interviewees I feature on this blog) and do not represent the views of any organization with which I am affiliated including the collegiate ministry with which I am employed.

29 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Passages « Bob on Books

  2. Pingback: Where is “Miss Manners” When We Need Her? « Bob on Books

  3. Just wanted to say that I recently started following you and your articles which I thoroughly enjoy! I grew up in Wickliffe, the west side of Yo. Your blogs have brought back so many happy memories of growing up in Youngstown! I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • Thank you Ruth. I’ve enjoyed both writing the articles and interacting with so many Youngstown natives who have commented. They’ve reminded me of many memories as well. I grew up on the west side, off of Mahoning Avenue east of Belle Vista. Thanks for following me! –Bob

  4. Bob- I just found your blog. A quick scan brought back memories of Petrillos Pizza, the Schenley theater, Borts field and Rocky Ridge.
    I grew up on Burbank Avenue. How fortunate we were to grow up in Youngtown in those days.

    Please keep up the great work. John Rafeedie

    • Thanks, John. Those places were all a big part of my growing up years. I agree that we were fortunate–some look down at blue collar origins but I thought our lives growing up were incredibly rich and interesting.

  5. Hi Bob,
    I was wondering if you would review Enjoying the Book of Ruth: The Bible in Rhyme. It is the biblical book of Ruth written in rhyming couplets. I would send you the book by PDF or MOBI file.

    Thanks for your consideration,
    Marcia

  6. Hi Bob,

    My latest novel, Dawn of Deception, is a gritty thriller based in Kenya that delves into international poaching syndicates. The book is receiving good reviews in the UK & US but lacking exposure.

    The story focuses on a Kenyan Wildlife Service ranger called David Nbeke, a man troubled by personal loss & grief, who discovers an orphaned elephant with her butchered family. David makes it his mission to catch the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The villain behind the poaching is highly connected and a tough adversary, along the way David uncovers political corruption that leads to the very top of Kenya’s hierarchy.

    The book tries to bring attention to the international poaching crisis & problems in Kenya but the main focus is the story and characters.

    Would you be interested in reading & reviewing the book? If so please let me know in what format and where you would like the book sent to.

    Many thanks,
    Dan

    • Dan, thanks for the note. The challenge comes down to my TBR pile including the books I’ve committed to review. Although it sounds like an interesting story, I’m going to have to say no. But thanks for asking and best wishes in promoting the book! –Bob

      • Hi Bob,

        Appreciate that you must be inundated with requests so thanks for getting back to me & your well wishes. Good luck with the TBR pile!

        All the best,
        Dan

  7. Dear Bob
    I can see you are inundated with books to review. Still seeing your commitment to higher education and theology I am tempted to mention about my 2 books:
    How to Prevent Recession – using Ancient Wisdom and Management Idea
    Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – concluding sentence of Foreword: “This is a very profound concept put in a very simple and elegant format” It also carries a review by a former Director of one of Asia’s top most b-schools. It is about how Jesus’ Love can be the basis of business strategy using Harvard’s top Prof Porter’s work from business strategy of companies to competitive advantage of nations. I have given a talk to PhD students at a b-school with global ranking of 30 in FinancialTimes list
    The second book is titled: 156 Questions about How to Prevent Recession…a booklet in fact! A quick look can be seen at:
    http://www.bookfinder4u.com/IsbnSearch.aspx?isbn=9781482828207&mode=direct
    Book 2:
    http://www.bookfinder4u.com/IsbnSearch.aspx?isbn=9781482831634&mode=direct.

    • Thank you for your recommendations. You are correct that I have many books in the queue to review. Thank you for calling yours to my attention. I hope you will not take it as an affront if I do not get to these, which is likely the case.

  8. I moved away from Youngstown in 1968. I grew up on the Westside, Kirkmere; my wife near St. Benenns. Your blog brings so much nastalgia and focus to an “old man’s” past. Youngstown had a remarkable past. The Mill Creek Park–Ice skating on Glacier, Newport Lake. Baseball at Borts, Rockyridge. As well as Pizza. At my wedding Frank Leone , Conersburg Pizza, gave us as a wedding gift, the instructions on how to make his pizza and sauce. Our parties in Oregon and Idaho were renown.
    When asked if this was New York or Chicago pizza, the answer was always “it is Youngstown pizza. Thanks for the memories anew.

    • Bill, thanks for writing and sharing your memories. People often look at Youngstown and its troubles and do not realize what a rich life so many of us enjoyed there, and hopefully will be possible for a new, rising generation in the city.

  9. Title: A Danger to God Himself
    Author: John Draper
    Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
    Publication date: Nov. 2015
    Genre: Literary fiction
    Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Danger-God-Himself-John-Draper/dp/1518881092/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447252340&sr=8-1&keywords=a+danger+to+god+himself

    Hello.

    My name is John Draper. I’m hoping you might be willing to review my first novel, A Danger to God Himself. Considering your background, I think it would be a great book for you to review. It is not a religious book. It is literary fiction and a satire of religious certainty. It’s the story of a Mormon missionary who goes insane on his mission. Here is the back cover blurb:

    Mormon missionary/onetime hedonist Kenny Feller has realized that God isn’t about to give him an ounce of the miracle power he needs to succeed on his mission—as promised! What’s more, he’s concluded that, frankly, people aren’t worth the trouble. Then his new junior companion shows up—the wisecracking Jared Baserman—and immediately starts hearing heavenly voices and seeing fantastic visions. For Kenny, it is immediately clear that God has sent Jared to propel him into Mormon Manhood.

    But Kenny’s not the only person who takes note. Interests both virtuous and malevolent cozy up to Kenny and Jared, eager to make use of Jared’s gifting. At first, Kenny takes this as a sign that his perceptions of Jared are spot on. God is using Jared.

    But something’s not quite right.

    Specifically, why in the hell would God choose someone as slope-shouldered as Jared—someone so unreligious, so strange—to be a channel for His supernatural power? He doesn’t even read the Book of Mormon. Plus he smells funny. As their tracting grows fruitless and Jared’s messages grow more bizarre, Kenny begins to wonder: Is Jared really touched by God?

    And, if so, does God know what He’s doing?

    A Danger to God Himself is a scathing takedown of religious certainty, a life-affirming tale set in 1970s Washington state—equal parts spiritual road map and coming-of-age tale.

    I’d be happy to send you a copy for your review.

    Thanks for your time.

  10. Hi Bob, I think you might be interested in “Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda.” It’s a collection of 15 true, coming-of-age stories by African women who explore the many ways traditional culture shaped their lives — and how they are struggling to balance their old culture with their own modern values and aspirations. The reason I think you might like it is because many of the stories have a strong spiritual quality to them: In today’s Africa, religion is a palpable and important part of most people’s lives, and I personally found the women and their stories renewed my own faith. You can learn more at http://www.uganda-crossroads.net. If you’re interested, I’d appreciate a reply to ugandacrossroads@gmail.com. Many thanks and best wishes.

  11. Hi, I’m Anne Brenner of the Brenner Jewelry store family and my sisters and I (3) have so many wonderful memories of Youngstown, working at my Dad’s store. Thanks for writing the blog and keep it going!

  12. Hi Bob,
    I am looking for reviews for my non-fiction book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview. It’s about my struggle with doubt during a search for truth and a reasonable defense of the Christian faith.

    Please let me know if you would be interested in receiving a copy and providing a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I can provide the ebook in Kindle, ePub, and PDF format, and softcovers on request.

    Publish Date: November 2015
    Publisher: Boone Shepherd
    Genre: Christian non-fiction
    Page count: 318
    Accolades: #1 Bestseller on Amazon, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist

    http://www.OneoftheFewBook.com
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016X0HL84/
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26253930-one-of-the-few

    I look forward to hearing back from you!

    Sincerely,
    Jason B. Ladd

    • Jason, thanks for contacting me. This actually sounds interesting. I prefer print copies for reviews. Could you email me at rtrube54 at Gmail dot com (trying to circumvent the bots) and I’ll send my address. Thanks for your service, which means something in my family.

  13. Just released a book that’s getting great reviews entitled: Seeing Christ in the Old Testament Genesis by Lyle L Hutchins published by Christian Faith Publishing.

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