This Week In Books and Tunes: Joyland, Crazy Busy, Derek Webb

I read a lot of books and listen to a ton of music. Here’s what I’ve been into lately.


Joyland by Stephen King – RATING (4.5 out of 5)

Stephen King books can be dicey. He is an absolutely fantastic writer. However, I’ve had to stop reading some of his books because they simply became too crude. I’m never quite sure what to expect when it comes to a Stephen King book. Sometimes I can give thanks to God for Stephen King’s amazing story telling and sometimes I have to put King’s books down.

His latest novel, Joyland, was a great read. It’s the story of Devin Jones, a young man who spends the summer working at an old time amusement park and trying to get over a broken heart. This amusement park has a haunted mansion ride. A young woman was murdered on this ride several years before and some people say her ghost still haunts the ride. Now, normally I don’t do ghost stories at all. I’m not into horror stories and I obviously don’t believe in ghosts. But this isn’t really a horror story so much as it’s a fantastic whodunit mystery. The longer Devin works at the park the more he gets wrapped up in the story of the murder. Him and a few friends try to determine who actually killed the girl which ultimately leads to a ver intense conclusion.

The cover of the book would make you think it would be full of sexual content but it’s not. The cover is more of a tribute to the 1940′s pulp novels. There is some sexual content and some profane language but not enough to turn me away from the book. I enjoyed this one a lot.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King – RATING (2 out of 5)

In contrast to JoylandThe Colorado Kid was not one of King’s better books. It just wasn’t a particularly interesting murder story. It’s the story of an unidentified body that washes up on the coast of Maine. The more the local newspapermen dig for clues the more mysterious things become. Without giving anything away I’ll simply say the ending left something to be desired. Not a huge fan of this one.

There was little or no sexually inappropriate content.

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung (RATING 4 out of 5)

This book was reviewed by my friend Sean McGaughran

Nowadays, if you ask someone how they are doing, a common response will be, “Busy.” Our culture is very much a crazy busy culture. We’re constantly plugged in and constantly available with email, social media, and our smart phones. We have a hundred and one commitments to honor throughout the week. If you have kids, you can’t be considered a “good parent” unless you’ve signed them up for soccer, piano lessons, jiu jitsu, and beginner’s pottery class. Within the church, many believers can become crazy busy trying to serve everywhere where there is a need.

In Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, Kevin DeYoung addresses why busyness can be a problem and why it even can be rooted in sinful desires. While it is clear in Scripture that God commands us to work hard and lay our lives down to serve others, we do have limitations to how much we can do. God gave us limitations to show us that He is God and we are not. In the book, Kevin gives seven diagnoses for why we could be busy for the wrong reasons, (pride, lack of priorities, doubt of God’s sovereignty). He also strongly emphasizes the importance of our God-given gift of rest and Sabbath.

Kevin is honest about his own struggles with busyness and he also freely admits that this is a simple and practical book. There is no magical five step plan for time management with a money-back guarantee. Rather, what this book offers is a biblical view of busyness with practical suggestions for using sanctified discernment in our work and our commitments. As usual, DeYoung is spot on in his theology, and his style is witty and easy to read. Also, as the title suggests, the book is mercifully short for those of us who have a very packed schedule. If, in the words of Bilbo Baggins, you feel “stretched liked butter scraped over too much bread”, I’d highly recommend this book.



I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & and I Love You by Derek Webb (4 out of 5)

While I don’t always agree with Derek Webb’s lyrics I almost always enjoy his songwriting. He is an excellent melody writer and his songs have a wonderful way of getting stuck in my head. This album is no different. I’m giving this a 4 out of 5 because of the excellent songwriting more than the lyrics themselves.

For a detailed review of the lyrics check out Mike Cosper’s review on The Gospel Coalition.


  • @mrlanser

    FYI, the last two sentences of your review of "The Colorado Kid" when read as one thought (as I did) sound really terrible. Then I realized you were going for two thoughts there.

  • ourtrove

    thanks for including fiction in your reviews. i've never read stephen king, but i think i will after reading the first review. I totally agree that good story can be God-glorifying whether the author is a christian, or not and whether the topic is religious or not.

    • Laurie

      ourtrove=laurie reyes