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I am in the middle of "The Time Traveler's Wife". Being in the middle of this book feels like I have read a whole one.

I'm really enjoying it so far but I'm a sucker for silly love stories.


"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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I have just started "The Universe Next Door" by James W. Sire and "How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil" by D. A. Carson. Both of these were Christmas gifts. I have also been spending a lot of time studying Genesis.

Both excellent. Sire has modified his views on worldview in the 30 years since the first edition of Universe Next Door. It's worth reading his Naming the Elephant to get the broader framework of thinking about worldviews.

I am in the middle of "The Time Traveler's Wife". Being in the middle of this book feels like I have read a whole one.

I'm really enjoying it so far but I'm a sucker for silly love stories.

Wonderful wonderful stuff. But so traumatic - you can see it looming from early in the book but it still had me in tears.


Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema now published - www.damaris.org/focus

Damaris: www.damaris.org CultureWatch: www.culturewatch.org Personal site: www.tonywatkins.co.uk

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I'm wandering my way through: Pynchon's Against the Day and the Penguin History of Europe by J.M. Roberts.

It might be a toss up as to which is denser and more packed with characters.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Plato

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I've recently finished reading The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, a novel about an adult autistic presented with an option to have a medical treatment to make him "normal", and the conflicts he faces in deciding. It's an absorbing character study.

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Just finished Walter Miller's Canticle for Leibowitz

Half way through Walker Percy's Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book and I LOVE it.

Just starting The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz.

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I've finally got round to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke. I've had it waiting for over a year with no time thanks to being immersed in a hundred books on film. I'm enjoying it so much - the evocation of Georgian England, yet while being such an inventive alternative history is a fabulous achievement.


Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema now published - www.damaris.org/focus

Damaris: www.damaris.org CultureWatch: www.culturewatch.org Personal site: www.tonywatkins.co.uk

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I have just started "The Universe Next Door" by James W. Sire and "How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil" by D. A. Carson. Both of these were Christmas gifts. I have also been spending a lot of time studying Genesis.

Both excellent. Sire has modified his views on worldview in the 30 years since the first edition of Universe Next Door. It's worth reading his Naming the Elephant to get the broader framework of thinking about worldviews.

I am interested in buying "Naming the Elephant", but fear that it is rather technical. Is it possible for the general reader (i.e. one who hasn't received a college education) to make sense of it?


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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I am interested in buying "Naming the Elephant", but fear that it is rather technical. Is it possible for the general reader (i.e. one who hasn't received a college education) to make sense of it?

Hmm, I think I would say that the level is about the same as Universe Next Door. Sire is a great communicator of ideas.


Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema now published - www.damaris.org/focus

Damaris: www.damaris.org CultureWatch: www.culturewatch.org Personal site: www.tonywatkins.co.uk

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At bedtime I'm working my way through Will Eisner's Contract with God trilogy.

At church I just started Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church.

Still have to finish off the Iraq Study Group Report.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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The Man Who Heard Voices, Or, How M. Night Shyamalan risked his career on a fairy tale.

About half way through. Frustratingly one-sided in it's praise of Shyamalan but still an interesting behind the scenes look at the process of trying to make a movie. Recommended especially for writers or anyone with a vision.


"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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A Tale of Two Cities. I don't know why, but I've been on a Victoriana kick lately. This means, among other things, that I'm finally getting around to some essential Dickens. This is my second Dickens novel after Oliver Twist (flawed, but enjoyable). I'm enjoying this quite a bit so far: sprawling, human, dryly funny, and melodramatic in a way that reminds you why melodrama was ever appealling.

The Innocence of Father Brown. Made me realize once again that I'm not so keen on the Murder Mystery as a genre. But, heesh. Chesterton can write.


Kent Brockman: Now, here are the results from our phone-in poll. 95% of the people think Homer Simpson is guilty. Of course, this is just a television poll, which is not legally binding. Unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.

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A Tale of Two Cities. I don't know why, but I've been on a Victoriana kick lately. This means, among other things, that I'm finally getting around to some essential Dickens. This is my second Dickens novel after Oliver Twist (flawed, but enjoyable). I'm enjoying this quite a bit so far: sprawling, human, dryly funny, and melodramatic in a way that reminds you why melodrama was ever appealling.

How fun. I thought I was permanently soured on Dickens after premature exposure (it is criminally malevolent to inflict Great Expectations on most fifteen-year-olds), but I was wrong. Coming back to him as an adult has been a great delight. His characters are so memorable, and his prose is so well crafted. I actually ration my Dickens reading because I want to savor every melodramatic chapter.

I'm now into the second tier of his novels (currently Bleak House), having worked my way through the acknowledged classics. But I tell you, an English literature major is wasted on the young. So many of the great authors I read thirty years ago -- Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, and certainly Charles Dickens -- were simply beyond my comprehension, both literarily and in terms of life experience. Rereading them a generation down the line has been one of the highlights of my interior life. I hope you enjoy your journey.

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Over the past few weeks, I've read:

--World War Z, by Max Brooks. I liked this a lot. It's the rough sequel to Brooks's Zombie Survival Handbook, and while his previous work was very tongue-in-cheek, World War Z is much more serious. It's a fictional collection of oral interviews with survivors of the great zombie war. It's chilling, surprisingly touching and well-written; the characters all have unique voices, and some of the segments will haunt me for years.

--the Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Loved it. I'd say it's one of the best novels of the past decade.

--Subversive Orthodoxy, by Robert Inchausti. A look at "avant garde Christians" who defied the times while remaining fairly orthodox at heart. Very eye-opening. Inchausti had a tendency to string together sentences that ruptured my mind, but I at least understood some of it.

Now I'm on the Spirit in Public Theology, by Vincent Bacote. It deals with the Holy Spirit's work in creation (as in the biophysical world), public theology, and Abraham Kuyper. Despite Bacote's deft writing, I'm scare this will go over my head.

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But I tell you, an English literature major is wasted on the young. So many of the great authors I read thirty years ago -- Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, and certainly Charles Dickens -- were simply beyond my comprehension, both literarily and in terms of life experience. Rereading them a generation down the line has been one of the highlights of my interior life. I hope you enjoy your journey.

I'm no English Lit major, but I couldn't agree with you more. I've really taken to reading the *classics* on my own, slow and savoring every word and thought. Books take a lot of time and energy to read worthily, so I've taken to the notion of reducing my reading of modern fiction books. It is just a big risk of wasting time and energy on a newer book that you aren't sure if it is worthy, but I'm rarely disappointed in a book that has survived at least 50 years or so.

Also, I just see so much more and deeper than I did reading as a student. Having a well of life experiences to draw from and compare and contrast to really make literature so much more meaningful. As a young student, reading was just more of an academic exercise.

Take for instance this past month, in a truly remarkable coincidence I was

reading both Huxley's Brave New World *and* The Tempest by Shakespeare. And I noticed this phrase, "O Brave New World that has such people in it!", in both books. Huxley obviously using Shakespeare's line, only I believe he substituted the word "creatures" instead of "people".

Then I was struck with the comparison of how both writers used weather and the control of it in similar ways. It made for a fascinating thought, especially considering the current global warming debates. In both books, bad weather was used for good...in Shakespeare, Prospero used the tempest to redeem both himself and his enemies from past wrongs...in BNW, bad weather was used to remind Bernard of the missing pieces of humanity in his utopian world of perfect tropical sunsets projected on domes and outdoor city

electric lighting to keep out the "outer darkness" of the night.

These types of thoughts would never had occurred to me, when I was younger. And had they, I would have viewed them with academic coldness, and not the kind of emotional connections that would have made me consider changing my own views and perspectives.

It also even further made me appreciate both Huxley and Shakespeare for their ability to transcend time and cultures with their art.

regards,

-Lance

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How fun. I thought I was permanently soured on Dickens after premature exposure (it is criminally malevolent to inflict Great Expectations on most fifteen-year-olds),

That is so true. I must have given that book a go at least three time between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, and I could never make it past the first London chapter. If only someone had told me, and my teachers, that just because a classic novel has a young hero, it doesn't necessarily mean the ideal audience is a young reader.

I'm now into the second tier of his novels (currently Bleak House), having worked my way through the acknowledged classics. But I tell you, an English literature major is wasted on the young. So many of the great authors I read thirty years ago -- Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, and certainly Charles Dickens -- were simply beyond my comprehension, both literarily and in terms of life experience. Rereading them a generation down the line has been one of the highlights of my interior life. I hope you enjoy your journey.

An excellent observation. It's truly a testament to how much the reader brings to the equation of reading--the book stays the same, but the experience is different every time.

Also, I just see so much more and deeper than I did reading as a student. Having a well of life experiences to draw from and compare and contrast to really make literature so much more meaningful. As a young student, reading was just more of an academic exercise.

Hehe, funnily enough, it was your namesake who gave me more trouble than anyone when I was a young student. I remember writing a persuasive speech on why Walden should be struck from school curricula forever, for the crime of being insufferably boring and wrong. I'd be interested to see how Thoreau reads to me today (especially now that I'm no longer the neoconservative young capitalist I once was.)


Kent Brockman: Now, here are the results from our phone-in poll. 95% of the people think Homer Simpson is guilty. Of course, this is just a television poll, which is not legally binding. Unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.

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The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. Fast but absorbing read about the search for Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ, which turned up in a Jesuit house in Dublin a few years back, after being mislabeled and then lost for centuries. Saw the painting at the National Gallery in Dublin, so naturally I had to read the book.

About to dive into The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder by Daniel Stashower, and am hoping it's better than the last Poe-related book, Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. Fast but absorbing read about the search for Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ, which turned up in a Jesuit house in Dublin a few years back, after being mislabeled and then lost for centuries. Saw the painting at the National Gallery in Dublin, so naturally I had to read the book.

That's a very enjoyable book. Did you see today's NY Times article about the hunt for a lost Leonardo?


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Hehe, funnily enough, it was your namesake who gave me more trouble than anyone when I was a young student. I remember writing a persuasive speech on why Walden should be struck from school curricula forever, for the crime of being insufferably boring and wrong. I'd be interested to see how Thoreau reads to me today (especially now that I'm no longer the neoconservative young capitalist I once was.)

I have really grown to love Thoreau's narratives. His ability to capture the divine in the smallest bean plant. Walden (and some of his other nature writings) really make one realize just how much our lives are cluttered with non-essentials that overly complicate our lives rather than enhance them.

On the topic of reading when younger, versus re-reading when older, there is an interesting article posted today here: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?%20i...9j592kh45vr2553

where the author makes the case that we read too fast, and indeed are taught to do so from early age in school and in culture at large. In our quest for theme and morality, we miss out on deeper meanings and the simple pleasure of just reading.

Here is a quote:

Thematic approaches to literature have triumphed, emphasizing the moral of the story over formal and aesthetic analyses. At the college level, earnestly moral or political readings have pushed aside the pleasure of waywardness in plot and rhyme.

and another

I have increasingly come to believe that the key to reading is rereading. Paradoxically, rereading a literary work is not a quick business, but usually slower than the first time round. We learn that the first time we read too fast, and in a complicated feedback mechanism what was deeply buried in the text can emerge.

and another

That takes me back to literary studies. The problem with reducing books to themes and morals is that it slights the experience of reading. The problem with outsourcing reading by reducing it to graphs and numbers is that it involves no experience at all. In my theory of reading, we have an emotional experience before we come to understand what happened, before we can draw any abstractions out of it. And then our consciousness plays the role of observer, recreating the experience, seeking to understand it, in different ways in different times.

Interesting thoughts.

regards,

-Lance

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500 pages into "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by W. Shirer. What is missing in analysis is made up for in breathtaking scope and immediacy.

Whenever anyone compares any American government as "Nazi-like" you can be assured that they are most definitely wrong.

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--Subversive Orthodoxy, by Robert Inchausti. A look at "avant garde Christians" who defied the times while remaining fairly orthodox at heart. Very eye-opening. Inchausti had a tendency to string together sentences that ruptured my mind, but I at least understood some of it.

Jason, I reviewed this book last year for a class. It was a good read for the most part, but I had a few bones to pick with it.

Here's a teaser, from my review, for those that might be interested:

"Inchausti originally intended the book to be an introduction to the thought and action of numerous significant individuals whose lives were unrelated save for their Christian worldview, but as he did his research he

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It was Jane Daggett Dillenberger's article 'Jesus as Pop Icon: The unknown religious art of Andy Warhol' in the October 1996 issue of Bible Review that convinced me that that magazine might be open to running an article or two on biblical themes in film. And thus it was that I wrote one of my first magazine articles ever, on Jesus in film, for their February 1998 issue.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Jason, I reviewed this book last year for a class. It was a good read for the most part, but I had a few bones to pick with it.

Here's a teaser, from my review, for those that might be interested:

"Inchausti originally intended the book to be an introduction to the thought and action of numerous significant individuals whose lives were unrelated save for their Christian worldview, but as he did his research he

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Warhol is a complex, highly contradictory figure, but I don't know that I'd call him "Christian" per se, given the persona he presented to the world (and that's seen in most of his work). That's not meant to be judgmental, as I don't think he's like the label himself, nor do I think his "worldview" was "Christian." (Though you could certainly get an essay or two out of old/new "iconography" as seen in his work - Jackie O and Marilyn instead of the kinds of images you find on holy cards, for example.)

Nardis, while I'm no Warhol scholar I am somewhat aware of the controversial persona he presented to the world, but I still felt comfortable mentioning him because of his Catholic background and the author's inclusion of the also questionably Christian Jack Kerouac.

I'd also love for you to elaborate on the idea of one's presented persona being an indicator of Christianness. If I am "more sinful" than Warhol yet present a "more Christian" face to the world--observing all the particularly scary taboos that Christians elevate to a place of ultimate importance--can I wear the label Christian but not him? Or is it willful and obvious reluctance to repent that disqualify one? I think I could buy that, but where does one draw the line? Certainly no one's willingness to repent is unbroken, so how long must one's rebelion endure to forfeit the title 'Christian?'

I'm mostly playing the devils advocate but I think it is an interesting and important line of questioning. For someone to be a disciple (which, by the way, is, I think, a better term for what we're talking about) their life ought to be characterized by a movement toward Christ and a movement with Christ. But I think sometimes we (being Western, mostly Protestant Christians, as I can't speak for others) are too sure of what that movement looks like, and typically it is a very modern conception, chock full of manners and niceties rather than a biblical conception replete with the bumbling misunderstandings and bloopers of a Peter, for example.

I probably should talk more specifically of Warhol's actual actions but to be completely honest I can't think of many specifics. I more have a vague sense of his Warehouse as a place full of misfits and characterized by licentious sexuality and drugs, but I guess in my mind that doesn't disqualify him from being a Christian. I certainly wouldn't hold up his life as exemplary, but perhaps all his folly and iniquity are the genuine bumblings along a movement toward Christ. I think a strong case could be made for much of his art being prophetic, even in a somewhat Christian way.

I can't remember where I first heard Warhol was a pious Catholic, but as the public Warhol is such an enigma, carefully constructed as a work of art to confound its viewers, I was in no position to dismiss the claim. I thought it might be more fruitful to tentatively accept the claim and then try to figure out HOW it might be so, rather than determining IF he was indeed a Christian.

Well, I didn't really look into it further. But I still would like to. Does anyone know of any good books on Warhol? Paricularly any that look at his religious underpinnings or lack thereof.

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It was Jane Daggett Dillenberger's article 'Jesus as Pop Icon: The unknown religious art of Andy Warhol' in the October 1996 issue of Bible Review that convinced me that that magazine might be open to running an article or two on biblical themes in film. And thus it was that I wrote one of my first magazine articles ever, on Jesus in film, for their February 1998 issue.

Thanks for the link! Just read the article. I'll be looking for the author's book.

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So maybe further investigation is in order on both our parts, no? :)

Definitely. In fact, I read the article PTC linked to and I went to my local bookstore and libraries today to see if they had anything promising. But I don't want to wait until I'm an expert about a subject before I get to talk about it.

based on many things that they espoused, along with many things that they did/said in their work.

What is it that he espoused or did/said that disqualifies him, in your opinion, from being Christian?

PS- maybe this should split off into its own thread in Visual Art or ?. How does that happen?

Edited by yank_eh

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