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#21 SZPT

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:37 AM

Don't forget Mein Kampf, Moby Dick, War and Peace, and Prometheus Unbound.

#22 Persona

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:40 AM

QUOTE (stu @ May 11 2004, 03:09 AM)
the penultimate paragraph of douglas coupland's 'life after god' ...

I *Loved* Life After God. And Generation X, now that i think about it..

But Life After God was magnificent. And yes, especially the ending. I remember that i finished it in a park by a little pond, under a clear blue sky on a lazy, quiet Sunday afternoon. I remember that it struck a chord with me, and that it's stuck with me ever since. I remember thinking that i wanted to read more Copeland, but haven't really gotten around to it yet.

-s.

#23 Andrew

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 11:46 AM

This hearkens back to a former thread on Coupland (I'll leave it to Peter to do the 'ahem' thing). I'll just mention that, FWIW, I much preferred 'Girlfriend in a Coma' - I found its theme to be just as compelling, with a much stronger narrative accompanying it. Oh yeah, and I liked the sci-fi elements in it, too...

#24 stu

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 05:44 AM

Hmmm.

'Girlfriend..' I have read twice now, and I can't work out what my verdict is. I have a feeling that he tries to impose too much meaning on it all, if you see what I mean. I think maybe the story is a little too confused, and he felt he had to tell us a bit too much what it all meant. It's very interesting, mind, especially the very end - the idea that the redemption they are offered is conceived as a mission and purpose, it's not something self-centred. To put it in more obvious terms - they lose their lives and in doing so gain their lives. That said, I still think that the story as a whole has a slightly disjointed feel.

But lots of Smiths references, which is no bad thing.




'We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry, and talk about precious things.'

#25 Christian

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:05 PM

The recommendations are coming fast and furious, Ezz. If you need a few more, each week the Washington Post's Michael Dirda carries on an online chat with readers. These are chock full of recommendations, mostly for books I've never read. The link will take you to transcripts of all those conversations. You might want to bring along a notepad and pen, and keep a list of titles. cool.gif

Also, I've been thinking of picking up Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, which includes recommendations for the best books in each of several categories (Biography, History, etc.).

#26 ezz

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:27 PM

Good stuff, I'll be checking out that site, Christian.

Anyway, I just finished THEM: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson. I really recommend it! It's pretty funny and fascinating.



#27 SZPT

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:34 PM

I bought The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling to read to my 2 1/2 year-old son. Silly me, I thought that it would be similar to what Disney had made out of it.

Think of the animated film (and other adaptations) as the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The book is the Marianas Trench.

It's depth is so vast, and it is still a wonderful read - very adventurous and noble and thrilling. Mowgli is nothing like his Disney counterpart. Neither are any of the animals. It won't take long to get the Disney voices out of your head as you read.

I'm probably enjoying it more than my son is, but he loves it too.

#28 Mark

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 10:30 AM

Wow, you guys are so well-read it reminds me I have some serious catching up to do ...

But ezz, if you're still looking for suggestions and enjoyed Flannery O'Connor's short stories, check out her novel Wise Blood . Very powerful ... brutal stuff, like most of her stories, but wonderful reading.

Also, if you're interested in any other Philip Yancey suggestions ... have you read Soul Survivor ? I'm reading it now, and it's a great book for anyone who has struggled with the dissonance between Christian ideals and practices. He devotes each chapter to a role model who helped him through a particular challenge in his faith life.

And now for something completely different ... for sports and non-sports fans alike, check out a novel called Tyrus by Patrick Creevy. It gets inside the head of Ty Cobb in the period of time when he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and his mother was awaiting trial for killing his father. Fictionalized, obviously, but it reads like a suspenseful psychoanalysis of one of baseball's most hated characters.

#29 Becky_K

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 02:03 PM

QUOTE (Clint M @ Apr 3 2004, 07:50 PM)
I just finished Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It's nothing short of fantastic. The author spends the time telling his entire spiritual journey through Christianity as he's experienced it. It really comforted me to see someone else who struggles with his Christian walk in the same ways that I do.

Another good author is Harold Best. He only has two books, Music Through the Eyes of Faith and Unceasing Worship, but both are so mind bending that you have to put the book aside and think about what he's written.

I just finished Blue Like Jazz too. It is an amazing book. I recomend it to everyone.

#30 Spoon

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 08:17 AM

QUOTE (Becky_K @ Jun 13 2004, 02:02 PM)
QUOTE (Clint M @ Apr 3 2004, 07:50 PM)
I just finished Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.  It's nothing short of fantastic.  The author spends the time telling his entire spiritual journey through Christianity as he's experienced it.  It really comforted me to see someone else who struggles with his Christian walk in the same ways that I do.

Another good author is Harold Best.  He only has two books, Music Through the Eyes of Faith and Unceasing Worship, but both are so mind bending that you have to put the book aside and think about what he's written.

I just finished Blue Like Jazz too. It is an amazing book. I recomend it to everyone.

yes. i am about halfway thru it. i love it. two words: 'penguin sex'. two more, 'sexy carrot'. smile.gif

#31 BethR

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 11:59 AM

Yesterday on Fresh Air, I heard an interesting interview with Tony Hendra, author of Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul. Sounded like a very interesting spiritual memoir. I haven't read it myself, but Hendra sounded sincere.

#32 Andrew

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:05 PM

Hendra's book is on my must-read list - a couple of weeks ago, the New York Times' Sunday book reviewer gave it a glowing review.

Even higher on my list is Heidi Neumark's 'Breathing Space' - her memoir of 17 years as a Lutheran pastor in the South Bronx.

#33 Mark

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:09 PM

QUOTE
Yesterday on Fresh Air, I heard an interesting interview with Tony Hendra, author of Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul. Sounded like a very interesting spiritual memoir. I haven't read it myself, but Hendra sounded sincere.


I just read a review by Andrew Sullivan and was wondering about this book, too.

http://www.andrewsul...artnum=20040601

Sounds like it could be wonderful, although it might also fall into the "feel-good spirituality" trap ... has anyone read it?

#34 Christian

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:46 PM

I first heard of Tony’s book on the Don Imus show. The host promotes books relentlessly, then brags when they hit the New York Times Bestseller list – and it’s true, ever since he promoted “I Was Amelia Earhart,” his show HAS become one of the few venues that can actually push books onto the bestseller list. Rather remarkable, considering his radio show, even when combined with the ratings for MSNBC (which televises the morning radio show), is not top-rated in most of the major markets.

Anyway, he started pumping the Hendra book a few weeks ago. It got to number 4 on the bestseller list the next week, and Imus kept grumpin’ that the publisher was unprepared for the publicity and therefore didn’t print enough copies of the book. Otherwise, Imus said, the book would’ve been number one.

But back to the content of the book. Imus wouldn’t go into detail about the plot; he kept saying people would have to read it for themselves, and be surprised. But he mentioned something about an affair with an older woman, and a priest.

So I tuned in to “Fresh Air” yesterday to listen to the interview. First, I was surprised to learn that Hendra is the guy who played Spinal Tap’s manager in “This Is Spinal Tap.” So I DID know who he was. Anyway, he claims the book is autobiographical. It tells of when he was 14 years old, and an affair he had with an older married woman. The woman’s husband had decided to have sex only for procreation, and even then, he had been taught that sex should never be enjoyable. The frustrated wife found some solace in the arms of the (barely) teenage Hendra, but when the husband discovered the affair (he walked in on them), instead of flying off the handle, he calmly instructed Hendra to go visit Father Joe, a Benedictine monk.

So far, so good, I thought. But that’s where the interest ends for me. Because Hendra’s spiritual teacher informs him that his sin is one of selfishness, and, as Hendra describes it in the interview, that selfishness is the root of most sins. I suppose there’s something to that, although I think it might have been a bit clearer to say to Hendra, “You violated one of the Ten Commandments – the one that forbids adultery.” But such directness is so unfashionable in this day and age.

I wish Hendra well on his spiritual journey, but I'll skip the book. I've got lots of other stuff queued up for the summer.

Edited by Christian, 15 June 2004 - 01:49 PM.


#35 Mark

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:52 PM

Christian, I was troubled by exactly the same stuff. Andrew Sullivan writes in his review,

QUOTE
"You've done nothing truly wrong, Tony dear. God's love has brught you here before any real harm could be done. The only sin you've committed is the sin of ... s-s-selfishness." Tony's sin was not the groping or the lust as such but the subjection of a "hungry, trapped, unhappy woman" to his own narcissistic pleasure and needs. Father Joe, in one swoop, both undermines the current hierarchy's obsessive horror of sex itself and illumines the real point of Catholic sexual ethics: the respect and love for another human made in the image of God.


That's a lovely thought, but shouldn't there be some mention that adultery is, like, really bad? Or that this "hungry, trapped, unhappy woman" should be held to some accountability herself, or at the very least needs some serious counseling?

Still, I'd like to read it. Maybe some of this is explored more deeply than the reviews indicate.

#36 becca

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE (stef @ May 13 2004, 09:39 AM)
I remember that i finished it in a park by a little pond, under a clear blue sky on a lazy, quiet Sunday afternoon.

i read the end of life after god in a swimming pool in florida surrounded by screaming kids and water splashing everywhere. which felt a little rude considering the intimacy of the scene....

i read coupland's most recent one this year -hey nostradamus- which i can really recommend. its really moving, incredibly spiritual and very disturbing in the best possible way...and actually quite different to his other stuff....

becca



#37 becca

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE (ezz @ May 18 2004, 12:26 PM)
I just finished THEM: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson. I really recommend it! It's pretty funny and fascinating.

i read that too...and it scared me how easy all that is to believe.
the bit that really scared me was how the Al Queda guy in Finsbury Park really didn't realise why people might hate him!
becca

#38 rm39

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 06:38 PM

Here are some of my favorite works of strong Christian fiction:

Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen
Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos
Therese by Francois Mauriac
The Vipers' Tangle by same
Woman of the Pharisees by same
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The "Adultery Trilogy" of novellas by Andre Dubus: "Adultery", "We Don't Live Here Anymore", and "Finding a Girl in America."
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton


#39 BethR

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 10:43 AM

This one sounds good. Description from A Common Reader, which is a bookseller with almost unerringly good taste (forgive the shameless plug):

> Nancy Malone's "Walking a
> Literary Labyrinth A Spirituality of Reading," which reveals, in Elie's
> words, how reading is "a lifelong adventure, a drama in which the self
> is lost and found." Charting her reading life through the works of
> Virginia Woolf and Patrick O'Brian, Saint Augustine and Sue Grafton, e.
> e. cummings and George Eliot (to mention just a few of the authors she
> attends to in these pages), Malone, a Catholic nun, has composed a sort
> of spiritual autobiography that examines -- and celebrates -- the
> intimacy and soulfulness the act of reading nourishes.

#40 Christian

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:04 AM

QUOTE (rm39 @ Aug 21 2004, 06:37 PM)
Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen

Nice choice. I'm partial to "Atticus," also by Hansen, but I loved "Mariette in Ecstasy."

"Hitler's Niece" was a crushing disappointment, but I'm hopeful Hansen will return with something better next time.

HOLY SMOKES! Anyone read it???

Edited by Christian, 30 September 2004 - 01:12 PM.