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I'm finally reading Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, so when the movie comes out, I can say "Oh, the book was so much better!" The book is, actually, quite awesome, so I am looking forward to the movie, which I have to see anyway, because it's directed by Mira Nair--say no more.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Off the immediate thread topic but I wanted to put it out there: I just finished Morton and Whitten's Secrets of the SuperOptimist, which I thought people on the forum would love. I wanted to know if anyone else had an opinion on it?

For those who haven't read it: it's a self-help book masquerading as a parody of a self-help book, or maybe the other way around. It's unique in the way that it's both over-the-top satirical and really wise with the philosophy it gradually outlines.

I got the book as a gift during a difficult time, and I wish I'd read it back then instead of just now - it made me laugh and it honestly made me look at negative situations a little differently. Anyway I recommend it, and it's a quick read. I'd be interested to know if anyone else liked it or didn't.

Edited by Sara Inwald
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I am currently reading Reinventing Jesus: What The Da Vinci Code And Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You by J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer and Daniel B. Wallace. This is a truly wonderful book which discusses the "primary evidence for Christianity's origins" and how we are all being hoodwinked by popular culture.

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 just finished a really taut, literary noirish novel called The Art of Losing by Keith Dixon. Since I kind of know Keith, I got to interview him for my blog - here.

Great if you find yourself short on reading time or energy - it's super fast and very cinematic. Also a good gift for dads and brothers, probably. It's a very masculine, muscular kind of story.

Sara Zarr

author, person.

sarazarr.com

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I just finished a really taut, literary noirish novel called The Art of Losing by Keith Dixon. Since I kind of know Keith, I got to interview him for my blog - here.

Great if you find yourself short on reading time or energy - it's super fast and very cinematic. Also a good gift for dads and brothers, probably. It's a very masculine, muscular kind of story.

Thanks for the recommendation. I just finished Jeffry Morrison's "Jonathan Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic" and could use some good fiction. I find myself drawn to "masculine" stuff by Richard Price and George Pelecanos (but not Cormac McCarthy).

I'll do a library check.

Oooo. Lookee there: Guess what's on the "Hold" shelf? Alternadad : the true story of one family's struggle to raise a cool kid in America. I also just picked up Larry Miller's Spoiled Rotten America, a collection of humorous essays. So maybe I need to focus on amusing books about culture and parenting, and then move on to Dixon.

UPDATE: I see Dixon's "Ghost Fires" in the library system, but not the book you mentioned. Any thoughts on "Ghost Fires"?

Edited by Christian

"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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UPDATE: I see Dixon's "Ghost Fires" in the library system, but not the book you mentioned. Any thoughts on "Ghost Fires"?

Ghostfires is very different. The prose was a little thick for my taste, but another interestingly tragic story. Based on your post here I think you'll prefer The Art of Losing. It literally just came out, so you might request it at your library (authors really appreciate it when you do this!) or wait to see if it turns up.

Sara Zarr

author, person.

sarazarr.com

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  • 5 months later...

I am currently reading "Biblical Theology" by Geerhardus Vos and it is knocking my socks off.

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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Just finished:

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley - I'm amazed this was written in 1818. I didn't care for Shelley's penchant of telling a story by having a character tell a story of a story told to them...or some such. Just like many movies, there were some too obvious plot devices that distracted from the very powerful themes. Still, having seen and read so many retellings of this story, in one form or another, it was good to get the original under my belt. I did not realize before I read the forward that she was the wife of poet Percy Shelley as well as the daughter of anarchist William Godwin.

Confessions of a Street Addict - Jim Cramer - a revealing look inside the hedge fund world..I recommend this quick easy read, especially if you trade/invest stocks or other securities. It amazes me just how blatantly corrupt financial institutions are and how easily they get away with things as the authorities turn a blind eye.

Just starting:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred Taylor - prereading for my daughter's homeschool curriculum next month. I'm interested as it is apparantly set in the deep south of Mississippi where my ancestors are from.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling - Can you believe I haven't read any of these yet? Starting at the beginning, at the advice of my daughter. Should keep me busy for a while!

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Italy, bambino. One month from today.

To that end, I'm immersing myself in travel books (Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Fodor's, Michelin's), hefty books full of pretty pictures (The Art and Architecture of Venice is my favorite), and two volumes of Will Durant's The Story of Civilization, specifically, Volume 3, Caesar and Christ, which is a nice 700-page overview of the Roman Empire, and Volume 6, The Renaissance, for some historic background on Florence and Venice.

I am also making a half-hearted attempt to listen to tapes that claim to teach me Italian in 21 days. I'd rather listen to music and, for the most part, I have been. That's not good.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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I've just finished reading The Shack (website here), by William P. Young. I read it because a friend sent it to me, but truthfully I may not have except for this rather stunning quote on the cover:

When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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After spending the summer getting through six of the eleven novels I have to read for this coming semester, I decided to spend my last couple weeks of the summer reading something just for pleasure (such a rare occasion!). My brother recommended Jasper Fforde to me, and now I am neck deep in The Eyre Affair and I am loving every minute of it!

This book (and subsequent books in the series) is like Douglas Adams for literature geeks. The story revolves around Thursday Next: a literary detective on the trail of Acheron Hades who has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. As the title suggests, Jane Eyre is one of the ones to go...

It's the type of book that completely renews my love for reading.

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I've just finished reading my The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde and found it an amusing light read, taking what appears to be the same approach of The Eyre Affair and applying it to nursery rhyme characters. Speaking of which, from the description on Amazon, I'll have to dive into the The Eyre Affair in the near future. It sounds quite intriguing, as it looks to have a little more substance to it. If only I can catch up to reading the unread books I already have on my bookshelf.

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I've just finished reading my The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde and found it an amusing light read, taking what appears to be the same approach of The Eyre Affair and applying it to nursery rhyme characters. Speaking of which, from the description on Amazon, I'll have to dive into the The Eyre Affair in the near future. It sounds quite intriguing, as it looks to have a little more substance to it. If only I can catch up to reading the unread books I already have on my bookshelf.

I haven't read The Big Over Easy, but, taking your cue, I looked it up on Amazon and it indeed looks similar. I just finished The Eyre Affair last night and I have to say that it was a completely enjoyable read. And I zoomed through it quickly too. Though now I'm in a bit of a pickle because my semester starts next week, and, well, there are three or four more books in the series that are just begging to be read. :) Looks like I'll be on to Lost in a Good Book tomorrow...

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I love most things about Eugene Peterson, but one thing I really don't like about him and J.I. Packer: they're "blurb whores." Those guys get around on Christian book covers. It's hard for me to take their recommendations seriously because it seems like they're recommending everything!

It's interesting that you posted this as I recently came upon a post at the Better Bibles blog which implies that Packer doesn't even bother to read the books he recommends. Very troubling...

See the end of the first article.

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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Reading: Auralia's Colors. I'll let you know.

Listening: A Thousand Splendid Suns, by author of The Kite Runner

Very different books. About the only things they have in common are female protagonists and oppressive regimes--similarities just occurred to me now.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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It's interesting that you posted this as I recently came upon a post at the Better Bibles blog which implies that Packer doesn't even bother to read the books he recommends. Very troubling...

See the end of the first article.

I was talking in an e-mail to Shane Hipps, a pastor in Phoenix. Zondervan published a book by him last year, and Brian McLaren, gave it an endorsement blurb on the back. I asked him, "Do you know McLaren?" He answered that he had not, and that he was suspicious as to whether McLaren had read his book. He explained that those endorsement are coordinated by the publishing company.

Another blurb whore is Walter Brueggemann.

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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... blurb whore...

I know exactly what you mean, but I feel very uncomfortable with terms like this.

The reality is that the people whose commendations count for most on the cover of a book are the 'big names'. But those who are best known in the Christian world are also among the busiest, having to field many demands on them for this kind of thing. There are some who know (often reluctantly) that their name on a book will really help sales and cannot bear to withhold a little support from someone who could do with it. It's not always about getting their name seen everywhere.

The other side is that time is very limited for spending on someone else's book that may not otherwise be something to be read. A significant number of people in such a situation will take a good look at the contents, read the introduction and conclusion and skim the rest to get a feel for the book without examining its details. I don't think that is too reprehensible. Though I also know of at least one of two who, when asked for a commendation, will either put their name to something suggested by the publisher or make something up on the spot. I would be very surprised, knowing Packer's reputation for integrity, if he was in this latter category, though I can well believe that he may skim them.

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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The reality is that the people whose commendations count for most on the cover of a book are the 'big names'. But those who are best known in the Christian world are also among the busiest, having to field many demands on them for this kind of thing. There are some who know (often reluctantly) that their name on a book will really help sales and cannot bear to withhold a little support from someone who could do with it. It's not always about getting their name seen everywhere.

The other side is that time is very limited for spending on someone else's book that may not otherwise be something to be read. A significant number of people in such a situation will take a good look at the contents, read the introduction and conclusion and skim the rest to get a feel for the book without examining its details. I don't think that is too reprehensible. Though I also know of at least one of two who, when asked for a commendation, will either put their name to something suggested by the publisher or make something up on the spot. I would be very surprised, knowing Packer's reputation for integrity, if he was in this latter category, though I can well believe that he may skim them.

I don't know, Tony, it feels like you are letting Packer off the hook on this. According to Suzanne McCarthy, Packer doesn't just say that "The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Controversy" is a fine book, he goes as far as to call it "the best book on its theme". How on earth can he say such a thing if he hasn't actually read through it properly? Packer's behaviour is downright dishonest, in my view.

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 don't know, Tony, it feels like you are letting Packer off the hook on this. According to Suzanne McCarthy, Packer doesn't just say that "The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Controversy" is a fine book, he goes as far as to call it "the best book on its theme". How on earth can he say such a thing if he hasn't actually read through it properly? Packer's behaviour is downright dishonest, in my view.

Maybe I am, but the man has a towering track record (if you can cope with the mixed metaphor) of integrity, and while it seems at first sight that he may not have acted in such a way this time, I'm not sure we should start saying in public forums that his behaviour is downright dishonest.

I also want to be careful knowing how questions such as the one posed to Packer can be understood differently. In the context of a specific reference in the book, if I recall correctly from my quick skim of the blog, he may have understood the question to mean 'Did you read this book in detail from cover to cover?' For all I know he may have read drafts of some of the material, or heard lectures by the authors presenting material that he knows has gone into the book. And these are authors he knows and trusts, and he may have felt confident enough in what he knew of them and had heard from them to know that the book was better than anything else on the subject. How many books are there on the subject, as a matter of interest? If the field is a small handful, it makes such a statement easier to make than if there are hundreds.

Is it not more gracious to suggest that Packer may have made an error of judgment?

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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