Jump to content
Andrew

What we're reading

Recommended Posts

Has Freakonomics been mentioned in this forum? I set my Peter Rollins book down for it because of the upcoming documentary, which looks like a great deal of fun. Now that I've read a little bit, I can't tell if it's the kind of book I'll read all the way through. You can almost pick it up and open it to anywhere and just read what's there. You always find it interesting. It might make a good bathroom book, although I got it from the library so I'm going to need to make up my mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has Freakonomics been mentioned in this forum? I set my Peter Rollins book down for it because of the upcoming documentary, which looks like a great deal of fun. Now that I've read a little bit, I can't tell if it's the kind of book I'll read all the way through. You can almost pick it up and open it to anywhere and just read what's there. You always find it interesting. It might make a good bathroom book, although I got it from the library so I'm going to need to make up my mind.

Which Rollins book are you reading? I was interested to see that he showed up at Mars Hill recently. I find it a little surprising, actually, because so far as I can see, most of what he is saying is quite a lot further away from Rob Bell's approach to faith than might be apparent on a first look. He is a fascinating guy, and has an incredible gift for communicating exciting ideas, but I increasingly have some quite major reservations about some of his assumptions, espcially the trajectory his interaction with Zizek/Lacan seems to be taking him on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Fidelity of Betrayal.

To be honest, his live speaking seemed very close to things we hear every week at Mars Hill, but I think he likes to throw out more bits for opponents to latch onto than we're used to in listening to the Pastoral teaching each week. For instance, when the words "post-modern" or "emergent," and probably now "hipster" were being used, Rob always steered clear. Quite enough controversey without letting those fly out. So there is a guarded language at times even though on the outside you might not see it that way. But Rollins seems to look for opportunities to let it fly. The messages feel very similar to what we've already experienced on a weekly basis, but when Rollins speaks, he doesn't care about any outside reaction. In fact, I think he likes it when he brings critique and upsets people's notions.

FWIW, I think the two largest accuasations against Rob in the past have been universalism and pantheism, and last Sunday his message in Ezekiel 1 really blew these accuasations out of the water -- again. Bell is no universalist or pantheist, but the gospel he believes in is a bit larger than those who oppose his view.

PS I don't know what this is

interaction with Zizek/Lacan
Edited by Persona

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm about halfway through THE FIDELITY OF BETRAYAL as well. (I really liked HOW (NOT) TO SPEAK OF GOD). What I like about Rollins so far is that he seems to anticipate the questions I have about some of the ideas he's bring up. I hope the book continues in this vein. Personally, I'm happy to see a Christian writer who is at least engaging with Lacan/Zizek. Have you read Milbank/Zizek's THE MONSTROSITY OF CHRIST.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Fidelity of Betrayal.

To be honest, his live speaking seemed very close to things we hear every week at Mars Hill, but I think he likes to throw out more bits for opponents to latch onto than we're used to in listening to the Pastoral teaching each week. For instance, when the words "post-modern" or "emergent," and probably now "hipster" were being used, Rob always steered clear. Quite enough controversey without letting those fly out. So there is a guarded language at times even though on the outside you might not see it that way. But Rollins seems to look for opportunities to let it fly. The messages feel very similar to what we've already experienced on a weekly basis, but when Rollins speaks, he doesn't care about any outside reaction. In fact, I think he likes it when he brings critique and upsets people's notions.

FWIW, I think the two largest accuasations against Rob in the past have been universalism and pantheism, and last Sunday his message in Ezekiel 1 really blew these accuasations out of the water -- again. Bell is no universalist or pantheist, but the gospel he believes in is a bit larger than those who oppose his view.

PS I don't know what this is

interaction with Zizek/Lacan

Slavoj Zizek is (at present)a prominent philosopher/theorist, who has interacted with Christian ideas a fair bit. If you google him you'll find a bunch of videos of interviews, which would probably give you a better idea than I can of what he's on about. Jacques Lacan - big influence on Zizek, psychoanalyst, don't know much about him, to be honest.

Pete's blog has some entries that might help explain why he thinks Zizek is interesting/useful.

I'm about halfway through THE FIDELITY OF BETRAYAL as well. (I really liked HOW (NOT) TO SPEAK OF GOD). What I like about Rollins so far is that he seems to anticipate the questions I have about some of the ideas he's bring up. I hope the book continues in this vein. Personally, I'm happy to see a Christian writer who is at least engaging with Lacan/Zizek. Have you read Milbank/Zizek's THE MONSTROSITY OF CHRIST.

I've not read it. I feel like I've read enough Milbank for the moment, and as I get to hear him constructing his mammath arguments (sometimes whilst eating a muffin) at my department every now and again, the book doesn't appeal that much. I've read Zizek's The puppet and the dwarf. Ended up feeling like there was a lot of bluster, and that I'd need to read Hegel and Lacan properly to understand where he's coming from. Which is not that enticing a prospect!

I felt quite disappointed by The Fidelity of Betrayal, to be honest, although it did have some great moments. I've posted some of my thoughts about Rollins on his blog, but basically, I feel as though there's no space for a positive sense of divinity left in his work. It seems the things that make us human - group belonging, formation through language - are nothing but hindrances, so there is no chance for any mediation of God through these things. It ends up that God is always found through some kind of negative collapse.

I read a post of his the blog recently, and realised something about how I think about God that seems fundamentally different to Rollins: I think that God-talk has something to do with beauty, so that God is the direction in which we turn when we feel joy. But in Pete's work I get the impression that the suspicion towards positive belief is so strong that this seems to disappear. 'God' is only a cover for the desire to evade the world, or a far too comforting Father figure, or authority figure that comforts even as we rebel against it. Religion as such only hides, never mediates, so that the gospel community just ends up as a constant remembrance of how bad all cultural and religious formations are.

That's a bit vague, I know...

p.s. Marcus Pound has a book on Zizek (here), and there's also Adam Kotsko's Zizek and Theology.

Edited by stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stef: I liked Freakanomics, which I read in audio form. The sequel made less of an impression, but I can't remember why. And don't knock bathroom reading! It's where much of my "quality reading" gets done these days.

Looks like American Fantastic Tales Vol. 1, which I'm 100 pages into, will be my Book Club's next selection, so I'll be pressing ahead with that. I got my copy signed today by Peter Straub. He uses his introduction to comment on the Puritans, and how he imagined them staring into the forest beyond their villages, imagining great terrors. That fear of the Other stoked the stories collected in Vol. 1, he surmises.

I think there's probably some truth to that, just as there is to all allegations that are mostly hooey, so I had him sign my book, "To my Puritan friend, Christian." He smiled when he saw it, and I used it as an opening to explain that I was skeptical of his intro, but grateful for the collection and for his attendance at the festival.

He signed the first volume, "To my Purtain buddy, Christian," and the second volume as I'd requested. I kinda like "buddy" and wish he'd signed both that way.

Edited by Christian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found an obscure Dostoevsky, Humiliated and Insulted, through a used bookseller - quite an engrossing read thus far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dabbling in various books:

Spirit of Food edited by Leslie Leyland Fields

Apparitions & Late Fiction by Thomas Lynch

Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing edited by Marilo Moore

Inside Out which is a book of poems by l.l.barkat

Just finished Angel Time by Anne Rice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found an obscure Dostoevsky, Humiliated and Insulted, through a used bookseller - quite an engrossing read thus far.

Andrew, I read that one a couple of years back (under an alternate English title, The Insulted and Injured) and remember thinking that it might make a suitable introduction to Dostoevsky for the uninitiated. It's mostly straightforward structure, manageable length, typically Dostoevskian themes, and affecting relationships (esp. between Vanya and the child) make for, as you say, an engrossing read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you hit the nail on the head, John. I picked up the book as part of my Kurosawa research, having read that the Yelena character formed the basis for Otoyo the child prostitute in 'Red Beard.' But I've been very pleased to read it for its own sake. The compassion, mingled with the expansive if not overwrought characterizations and dialogue, makes it clear that we're in Dostoevsky-land. But whereas I don't think my brain could handle the convolutions of 'The Idiot' or 'Karamazov' at the moment, 'Humiliated and Insulted' feels quite accessible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Inside Out which is a book of poems by l.l.barkat

Laura is fantastic, both as a poet and a person.

Right now, I'm reading:

-The Confusion (Baroque Cycle Part 2), by Neal Stephenson. I'm STILL working on this, a little every morning with my breakfast. I'm about 2/3 done, so I'm hoping I'll finish before Thanksgiving.

-The Barfighter, by Ivan Goldman. It was an uncorrected proof I got to review a while ago and never got around to it. Surprisingly good so far, in a slummy sort of way. Lots of little vignettes about boxings and the weirdos of that world.

-A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, part 2), by George R.R. Martin. Gloom and doom! I love it.

-The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje. Just put it in my 'now reading' pile this morning, so I'm excited to dig in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up the book as part of my Kurosawa research, having read that the Yelena character formed the basis for Otoyo the child prostitute in 'Red Beard.'

Well isn't that interesting. I'll have to keep it in mind the next time I cross paths with either the film or the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laura is fantastic, both as a poet and a person.

Poetry and I have a rocky relationship, but I'm enjoying her work. :)

I'm also reading "The Best American Short Stories"--moving between the 1999 and 2010 editions, while still dipping in and out of the earlier books I mentioned. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ANY OLD IRON by Anthony Burgess

Lovely so far. Why don't folks talk about Anthony Burgess more often? It seems to me that A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is all folks bother to talk about, when, as far as I'm concerned, it's not the best he has to offer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Both of them are meticulous and well-done character studies that jump back and forth in time, like puzzles that resolve into a richly detailed portrait of an interconnected group of people bound by the times in which they live and the choices they make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter and I both enjoyed Michael Gruber's dark fairy tale The Witch's Boy, so I've just dived into one of his adult novels, The Book of Air and Shadows. I'm only 30 pages into it, but it's already promising - a suspenseful tale involving forgers and a Shakespeare folio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Twenty pages into Endo's The Samurai. I have a pastoral transition book on tap. Yay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter and I both enjoyed Michael Gruber's dark fairy tale The Witch's Boy, so I've just dived into one of his adult novels, The Book of Air and Shadows. I'm only 30 pages into it, but it's already promising - a suspenseful tale involving forgers and a Shakespeare folio.

I read The Book of Air and Shadows awhile ago. It's not life-changing or anything, but I liked it. I thought of it as "The Da Vinci Code for people who can read."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter and I both enjoyed Michael Gruber's dark fairy tale The Witch's Boy, so I've just dived into one of his adult novels, The Book of Air and Shadows. I'm only 30 pages into it, but it's already promising - a suspenseful tale involving forgers and a Shakespeare folio.

I read The Book of Air and Shadows awhile ago. It's not life-changing or anything, but I liked it. I thought of it as "The Da Vinci Code for people who can read."

Funny, a similar analogy went through my head today. And earlier this week, the hyperfragmented breathless narrative style of 'The Devil and the White City' triggered a flashback to the Frank Peretti books I read 15 or 20 years ago. I'll now go hide my head in shame for that ugly bit of personal history...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter and I both enjoyed Michael Gruber's dark fairy tale The Witch's Boy, so I've just dived into one of his adult novels, The Book of Air and Shadows. I'm only 30 pages into it, but it's already promising - a suspenseful tale involving forgers and a Shakespeare folio.

I read The Book of Air and Shadows awhile ago. It's not life-changing or anything, but I liked it. I thought of it as "The Da Vinci Code for people who can read."

Funny, a similar analogy went through my head today. And earlier this week, the hyperfragmented breathless narrative style of 'The Devil and the White City' triggered a flashback to the Frank Peretti books I read 15 or 20 years ago. I'll now go hide my head in shame for that ugly bit of personal history...

No shame, please. Your admission may be personally painful, but I hope you don't mind me saying that I find it about as shameful as admitting to listening to Amy Grant about 15 or 20 years ago. Didn't we all -- even those of us who post in the Literature forum?

As for books, I had graduated from Stephen King and Clive Barker 20 years ago and was finally being introduced to Raymond Carver, Tim O'Brien and other authors who showed me different ways to write and tell stories. And yet, all those authors made my "15 Books" meme, having been "important" to my development, for better or worse, over the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your words, Christian. The link in your last post doesn't seem to be working - if you get a chance to fix it, I'd be curious to check it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your words, Christian. The link in your last post doesn't seem to be working - if you get a chance to fix it, I'd be curious to check it out.

Thank you for alerting me to the link problem. It goes to my Facebook "Notes" page, where I'd posted the following:

15 Books

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. The fifteen books which have most influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose.

The Stand, Stephen King

Books of Blood, Clive Barker

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

Where I’m Calling From, Raymond Carver

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson

I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe

The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright

Dutch, Edmund Morris

Have You Seen? David Thomson

A History of Narrative Film, David Cook

Movie Wars, Jonathan Rosenbaum

Doctrine of the Christian Life, John Frame

Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Christian’s Daily Walk, Henry Scudder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two books going right now:

- The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, by Jane Leavy - just started it, after reading the rave review in the Sunday NYT. I have a soft spot for biographies of baseball players, and so far, this looks like a peppy appealing blend of Mantle's lifestory, Leavy's fan-worship juxtaposed with meeting her hero, and a look at why Mantle has carried such a lasting allure for so many

- The Discovery of France, by Graham Robb - an ideal bedtime reading book for me, engaging yet relaxing. Quite an eye-opening look at non-urban French culture from the 18th to early 20th Century, and the myth of French national identity in the face of multiple cultures, languages, and belief systems. Who knew mountainous France once had a language consisting solely of whistles, sophisticated enough to convey newspaper stories, yet loud enough to be heard two miles away?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...