Friday, August 8, 2014

Recommendation: Book of God by Kingstone Media

Book of God is my second review for Kingstone Media, whose comics, Jonah and Job, I recently recommended. I was provided a free e-book version of this graphic novel for the purpose of this article. 

If you know me personally, you know I have a few eclectic tastes--one of which is films that eschew standard narrative storytelling to provide a different viewing experience (Koyaaniquatsi and Slacker being the two best examples I can offer off the top of my head). Well, I would place Book of God in a similar vein.

The graphic novel is unlike any other I've encountered to date (though I'm hesitant to claim it's the only one of its kind). It's almost a docucomic--a seeming shot-for-shot storyboard outline for an interesting 4-part documentary series on Biblical historicity. And it works. The panel-to-panel movement creates an easy read, and the insert drawings of historical persons and events serve as perfect cutaways while narration continues.

Speaking of which, the narrator is an unexpected but welcome departure from the usual individual one might see in this type of thing--that of a silver-haired, white man in a gray suit. Rather, Book of God features a semi-casual but well-dressed African American who presents an avalanche of information without ever coming across as cliche, kitschy, or dull (not to say that an Anglo presenter would not work, but such a character would feel more obvious or assumed).

Inasmuch as I liked the look and feel of the narrator, I also loved the fact that he was both nameless and title-less (a choice I had used also for the protagonist of my novel, Stronghold). Doing this made the narrator truly feel like a sort of everyman or, at the very least, a layperson who could not only grasp and retain the information presented but also communicate it well. This is a subtle but powerful cue, because it informs the reader's feelings that they too can understand and convey the book's wealth of facts. We are not led to feel like the audience of a doctoral lecture but rather a presentation by a fellow student who is sharing with us some of what he has learned.

And make no mistake, Book of God teaches the reader a great deal. The presenter deftly covers dense information regarding the Bible's contents, its development over the ages, and its reliability as a truthful and well-preserved collection of documents. This not only gives one an interesting history of the Bible but also a strong foundation on which to build an apologetic for its value.

These multiple virtues--the unexpected but relatable narrator, the wealth of information, and the application of it to form a baseline apologetic make Book of God not only a old graphic novel but a wildly ambitious one. The result is a great primer on Biblical historicity, particularly for the reader who would be unwilling to dive into a more exhaustive, scholarly tome.

I find Book of God more endearing the more I think about it; and it's a book I'd recommend to anyone looking for a brief but informative look at the Bible and its path from ancient writings to modern collection. Beyond that, Book of God also explains why the Bible carries the weight and value that it does both as historical treasure and spiritual library. And that's something worth sharing as well.

You can buy Book of God in both paper and ebook formats, directly from Kingstone  or via the amazon link below:

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