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2018 Reading Journals

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Here we go again. Nonfiction in bold. Usual caveats about time-finished rather than time read.


James, Henry. The Aspern Papers (novella)

Bloom, Harold. The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime

Baptist, Edward E. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.

Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux.

Woods, Gregory. Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World.



Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare.

Edited by NBooth

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- Why Liberalism Failed (2018) - by Patrick J. Deneen

- Prince Caspian (1951) - by C.S. Lewis

- The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods (1921) - by A.G. Sertillanges

- Paris in the Present Tense (2017) - by Mark Helprin

- Four Quartets (1943) - by T.S. Eliot


- Some Permanent Things (2014) - by James Matthew Wilson

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Jesus was a Liberal by William McLennan  (2009)

Devotions:    Selected poems by Mary Oliver (2017)

Magdalene:   Poems by Marie Howe (2017)

Edited by phlox

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Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel Kate Bowler, 4.5/5

Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste: Aesthetics in Religious Life - Frank Burch Brown, 4/5

Anarchy and Christianity - Jacques Ellul, 3/5

Animal Farm - George Orwell, 5/5

The Girl I Left Behind - Shusaku Endo, 4/5

Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion - Dana L. Robert, 5/5

The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith - Andrew F. Walls, 4/5

Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology - James K.A. Smith, 3.5/5

Being Disciples: Essentials of the Christian Life - Rowan Williams, 4.5/5

To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity - Allan Heaton Anderson, 5/5

Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish - David Martin, 4/5

Anglican Evangelical Identity: Yesterday and Today - J.I. Packer and N.T. Wright, 3/5


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January 2018

Antony and Cleopatra - This might be, as many critics (like Harold Bloom and Harold Goddard argue), Shakespeare's most kaleidoscopic and opulent play. And Cleopatra, as Shakespeare imagines her, might be Shakespeare's best woman character after Rosalind, Cordelia, Juliet, and a few other of Shakespeare's tragic heroines (including his most beautiful and fragile, Ophelia)

Twelfth Night - my favorite Shakespeare comedy next to The Merchant of Venice

Macbeth - ever since I read this in senior year of high school I've always had a special fondness for its imaginative, troubled, and tormented hero-villain. Plus it has a great use of poetry by almost all the characters, but best of all Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lots of memorable phrases and sayings come as a result of Shakespeare's linguistic creativity here.

King Lear - this might be Shakespeare's greatest play. Of course Hamlet is the other candidate

The Oresteia by Aeschylus - this is my favorite Greek work after The Iliad

Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus(?) - this is like the Ancient Greek version of King Lear, it's so cosmic and sweeping even though it's set in one place and focuses on a hero who's bound to a rock

Pericles - part of it is awful, but the stuff that Shakespeare wrote (from acts 3-5) is great and looks forward to the other 'late romances' he writes.

Cymbeline - overstuffed but still great; a lot of fantastic poetry, and the self-parody of King Lear, Measure for Measure, Othello, and more is so palpably entertaining and breathtaking that I couldn't help but be amazed. And Imogen is as good as the Romantics thought she was. 

The Winter's Tale - my favorite of the Shakespearean 'late romances,' and I actually like the tonal shifts from semi-tragedy in the first 3 acts to a kind of romance in the next two acts. Leontes is a madman, but I find his poetry, contorted and complex and turbulent, to be some of the best Shakespeare wrote, and his change to repentance feels believable and representative of how true repentance and sorrow works. I think I like this late romance the best because it allows for a providential happy ending while not neglecting the costs of jealousy and irrational sin. Plus, it has the Exit, pursued by a bear stage direction (memorable alongside Enter Lear with Cordelia in his arms)

The Tempest - still the great final play that I remember it being. 

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - interesting for the first half, the next part becomes quite tedious to me.

February 2018

War and Peace (still reading this since last year)

The Iliad by Homer (in Caroline Alexander's translation)

Sanctuary by William Faulkner (the "potboiler" that Faulkner wrote for money and which Harold Bloom considers quite good)

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald (reading this for the first time)

Electra by Sophocles (not as great as some of Sophocles' other dramas, but still great)

Walden by Henry David Thoreau - has tedious sections but is overall a wise, reflective work of American literature

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