Much to My Chagrin

…Oprah Winfrey, the queen of sappy, “you go girl” spirituality, has picked one of my favorite books for the ubiquitous Oprah’s Book Club. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has been chosen by the talk-show host as this summer’s selection for her club. The book promptly rose to number one on the bestsellers list. I guess this is … Read more

Summer Reading

I know summer is officially a month away, but in order to get the amount of reading I have planned completed (I never actually do), I thought I would get a head start. So, here’s what’s on the shelf… Currently opened and past the first chapter are Jackson Lears’ Something for Nothing: Luck in America, … Read more

A Mighty Fortress

I finished (finally) Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. The book was written in 1955, yet remains one of the most noteworthy English biographies of Luther. It is very readable, and is accessible even to someone without prior experience or knowledge of the 16th century reformer. I highly recommend the book. … Read more

Well Read? Well, Maybe Not

Here’s a list that’s floating around the internet. It’s a list of works considered to be classics. While all such lists are invariably lacking, they’re usually helpful in pointing us new and important works. The ones I’ve read are in bold typeface. As you can see, I have a good way to go on this list (though I have read other books by the authors listed). [hat tip: Collected Miscellany]

Achebe, Chinua — Things Fall Apart
Agee, James — A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane — Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James — Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel — Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul — The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte — Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily — Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert — The Stranger
Cather, Willa — Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales

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The Problem of Good

Normally, when we study theodicy, we think of the problem of evil. “How can a good and loving God permit evil?” we ask. What we often fail to realize is that theodicy has to deal with the problem of good just the same. Walker Percy has his slightly deranged lead character offer forth this in … Read more

Books as Periodicals

I’m not one to read many of the political books that are floating around out there, liberal or conservative. I’m not referring to books about political theory so much as I am to the ones that pepper the current events shelves at the bookstores. There are the usual lopsided titles by Ann Coulter, Al Franken, … Read more

Truth and Justice are Afoot!

Bill Wallo has good post on the sometimes conflicting virtues of truth and justice in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Wallo touches on how sometimes Holmes would sacrifice justice for getting to the truth, showing how this compares with our modern day conflicts of the virtues in things like illegal seraches and seizures. I began reading … Read more

Apropos of the Wet Snow…

I finished Notes from Underground tonight. After suffering through some maniacal ranting in the first third of the book, Dostoevsky emerges with force! A question posed by his Underground Man: And in fact I’m now asking an idle question of my own: which is better—cheap happiness, or lofty suffering? Well, which is better? Notes may … Read more

Bits and Pieces

Much to my chagrin, I’m always finding out that I’m more influenced by our culture than I thought. Here’s a case in point—last night while reading Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, I kept getting distracted by length of all the paragraphs—some spanning more than a page. We’re conditioned by a number of influences to partake of … Read more

The Vanishing Word: A Review

“In the beginning was the image, and the image was with God, and the image was God.” Of course, that’s not how it John 1:1 goes exactly, but considering how the visual image has replaced the written word it doesn’t sound so peculiar when aligned with today’s culture. This veneration of the visual image is … Read more