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A Generous Orthodoxy -- Brian McLaren

The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- Victor Hugo

Jayber Crow -- Wendell Berry

All three were worthwhile to very good, but I'll give the nod to Wendell Berry. Jayber Crow is one of the most moving and beautifully written novels I've ever read.

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All three were worthwhile to very good, but I'll give the nod to Wendell Berry. Jayber Crow is one of the most moving and beautifully written novels I've ever read.

I'm actually about a quarter of the way through Jayber Crow, and I agree wholeheartedly. What an amazing, stirring book.

I also just started Kevin Baker's Paradise Alley, the second in his NYC/fire-themed books. I also hope to dig into H.W. Brands (I think that's the name) biography on Andrew Jackson soon.

Also, I finished J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey. Loved it. I never made it all of the way through Catcher in the Rye, if only because it reminded me of every self-absorbed, angsty teen I've ever met. But these two stories were very moving, very well-written and very thoughtful.

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All three were worthwhile to very good, but I'll give the nod to Wendell Berry. Jayber Crow is one of the most moving and beautifully written novels I've ever read.

I'm actually about a quarter of the way through Jayber Crow, and I agree wholeheartedly. What an amazing, stirring book.

I also just started Kevin Baker's Paradise Alley, the second in his NYC/fire-themed books. I also hope to dig into H.W. Brands (I think that's the name) biography on Andrew Jackson soon.

Also, I finished J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey. Loved it. I never made it all of the way through Catcher in the Rye, if only because it reminded me of every self-absorbed, angsty teen I've ever met. But these two stories were very moving, very well-written and very thoughtful.

Heh...I saw a copy of Catcher in the workplace the other day. How I made it all the way through that tome of utter narcissistic pablum, is beyond my comprehension. 8O

Long days and pleasant nights.

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"I am Tyler Durden's raging spleen!"

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I'm nearing the end of What is the What by Dave Eggars, which finally came out over here last month, after being issued then withdrawn, for some reason.

I'm also reading a whole load of stuff for my PhD, but most interesting at the moment is Ricoeur's Time and Narrative, and related essays. Ricoeur is a bit boring, so I've always avoided him thus far, but boring or not, he seems to have nailed something, in my mind at least.

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I just finished reading a book about Savonarola: The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward.

I had run across Savonarola before in my Renaissance art history classes. He is usually depicted as a holdover, medieval thug standing in the way of progress and everything glorious and modern.

In fact, according to this book he was a godly, Dominican priest, a true prophet, and someone who got into a pissing contest with one of the most corrupt popes the world has ever known, Alexander VI. Off course he lost and was hanged and burned on May 23 1497.

One of the most amazing things that occurred as a result of his preaching was the formation of a republic form of government in Florence that lasted for three years until he was executed and the Medici regained control of Florence.

Botticelli and Michelangelo were also committed followers of Savonarola although this author contends no significant works of theirs was lost in the bonfire of the vanities as some claim.

This is once of those books that points out a hinge of history; if a slightly different path had been taken we would be living in a very different world today.

At one junction Savonarola had the ear of the Kind of France, Charles VIII. Savonarola prophesied that the Pope would be overthrown by the king of France and the church reformed. Charles, indeed had the opportunity to call a council and replace Alexander VI but decided not to at the last moment. If he had the Catholic Church could well have been reformed without the upheaval of Luther and Calvin and the Church might well be united today.

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I just finished reading a book about Savonarola: The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward.

I had run across Savonarola before in my Renaissance art history classes. He is usually depicted as a holdover, medieval thug standing in the way of progress and everything glorious and modern.

In fact, according to this book he was a godly, Dominican priest, a true prophet, and someone who got into a pissing contest with one of the most corrupt popes the world has ever known, Alexander VI. Off course he lost and was hanged and burned on May 23 1497.

One of the most amazing things that occurred as a result of his preaching was the formation of a republic form of government in Florence that lasted for three years until he was executed and the Medici regained control of Florence.

Botticelli and Michelangelo were also committed followers of Savonarola although this author contends no significant works of theirs was lost in the bonfire of the vanities as some claim.

This is once of those books that points out a hinge of history; if a slightly different path had been taken we would be living in a very different world today.

At one junction Savonarola had the ear of the Kind of France, Charles VIII. Savonarola prophesied that the Pope would be overthrown by the king of France and the church reformed. Charles, indeed had the opportunity to call a council and replace Alexander VI but decided not to at the last moment. If he had the Catholic Church could well have been reformed without the upheaval of Luther and Calvin and the Church might well be united today.

Yes. Savonarola is a fascinating person, equal parts religious and political reformer, and he certainly prefigures the Protestant Reformation. I think you're absolutely correct that the Reformation might have taken a very different form, or might have been averted entirely, if history had taken a slightly different turn.

In Florence last September my wife and I visited the Monastery of San Marco, best known for the 43 Fra Angelico frescoes that adorn the cell walls (most famously, his Annunciation). What I didn't expect to find was Savonarola's cell, featuring a portrait of the good friar by Fra Bartolommeo. Apparently Savonarola spent eight years at the monastery, which was attacked in 1498 when Savonarola was arrested and forcibly carried away.

I note that there is an ongoing dispute (at least as of 1999) within the Catholic Church re: Savonarola's canonization. The Dominicans (of whom Savonarola was a member) are all for it; the Jesuits are against it. More than five hundred years after his death, the man is still controversial.

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I just finished reading a book about Savonarola: The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward.

I had run across Savonarola before in my Renaissance art history classes. He is usually depicted as a holdover, medieval thug standing in the way of progress and everything glorious and modern.

In fact, according to this book he was a godly, Dominican priest, a true prophet, and someone who got into a pissing contest with one of the most corrupt popes the world has ever known, Alexander VI. Off course he lost and was hanged and burned on May 23 1497.

One of the most amazing things that occurred as a result of his preaching was the formation of a republic form of government in Florence that lasted for three years until he was executed and the Medici regained control of Florence.

Botticelli and Michelangelo were also committed followers of Savonarola although this author contends no significant works of theirs was lost in the bonfire of the vanities as some claim.

This is once of those books that points out a hinge of history; if a slightly different path had been taken we would be living in a very different world today.

At one junction Savonarola had the ear of the Kind of France, Charles VIII. Savonarola prophesied that the Pope would be overthrown by the king of France and the church reformed. Charles, indeed had the opportunity to call a council and replace Alexander VI but decided not to at the last moment. If he had the Catholic Church could well have been reformed without the upheaval of Luther and Calvin and the Church might well be united today.

Yes. Savonarola is a fascinating person, equal parts religious and political reformer, and he certainly prefigures the Protestant Reformation. I think you're absolutely correct that the Reformation might have taken a very different form, or might have been averted entirely, if history had taken a slightly different turn.

In Florence last September my wife and I visited the Monastery of San Marco, best known for the 43 Fra Angelico frescoes that adorn the cell walls (most famously, his Annunciation). What I didn't expect to find was Savonarola's cell, featuring a portrait of the good friar by Fra Bartolommeo. Apparently Savonarola spent eight years at the monastery, which was attacked in 1498 when Savonarola was arrested and forcibly carried away.

I note that there is an ongoing dispute (at least as of 1999) within the Catholic Church re: Savonarola's canonization. The Dominicans (of whom Savonarola was a member) are all for it; the Jesuits are against it. More than five hundred years after his death, the man is still controversial.

I'm envious... totally green. If I ever get to travel again, Italy is at the top of my list, Florence to be particular and San Marco one of my first stops. When I entered the Catholic Church two years ago I took Beato Angelico as my patron saint. He is one of a few artist to be beatified. I just checked a book about Fra Angelico out of the library yesterday: Fra Angelico : Dissemblance & Figuration by Georges Didi-Huberman ; translated by Jane Marie Todd. I had a chance to read a bit of it this morning and it looks very promising. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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I just finished reading a book about Savonarola: The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward.

I had run across Savonarola before in my Renaissance art history classes. He is usually depicted as a holdover, medieval thug standing in the way of progress and everything glorious and modern.

In fact, according to this book he was a godly, Dominican priest, a true prophet, and someone who got into a pissing contest with one of the most corrupt popes the world has ever known, Alexander VI. Off course he lost and was hanged and burned on May 23 1497.

One of the most amazing things that occurred as a result of his preaching was the formation of a republic form of government in Florence that lasted for three years until he was executed and the Medici regained control of Florence.

Botticelli and Michelangelo were also committed followers of Savonarola although this author contends no significant works of theirs was lost in the bonfire of the vanities as some claim.

This is once of those books that points out a hinge of history; if a slightly different path had been taken we would be living in a very different world today.

At one junction Savonarola had the ear of the Kind of France, Charles VIII. Savonarola prophesied that the Pope would be overthrown by the king of France and the church reformed. Charles, indeed had the opportunity to call a council and replace Alexander VI but decided not to at the last moment. If he had the Catholic Church could well have been reformed without the upheaval of Luther and Calvin and the Church might well be united today.

Yes. Savonarola is a fascinating person, equal parts religious and political reformer, and he certainly prefigures the Protestant Reformation. I think you're absolutely correct that the Reformation might have taken a very different form, or might have been averted entirely, if history had taken a slightly different turn.

In Florence last September my wife and I visited the Monastery of San Marco, best known for the 43 Fra Angelico frescoes that adorn the cell walls (most famously, his Annunciation). What I didn't expect to find was Savonarola's cell, featuring a portrait of the good friar by Fra Bartolommeo. Apparently Savonarola spent eight years at the monastery, which was attacked in 1498 when Savonarola was arrested and forcibly carried away.

I note that there is an ongoing dispute (at least as of 1999) within the Catholic Church re: Savonarola's canonization. The Dominicans (of whom Savonarola was a member) are all for it; the Jesuits are against it. More than five hundred years after his death, the man is still controversial.

I'm envious... totally green. If I ever get to travel again, Italy is at the top of my list, Florence to be particular and San Marco one of my first stops. When I entered the Catholic Church two years ago I took Beato Angelico as my patron saint. He is one of a few artist to be beatified. I just checked a book about Fra Angelico out of the library yesterday: Fra Angelico : Dissemblance & Figuration by Georges Didi-Huberman ; translated by Jane Marie Todd. I had a chance to read a bit of it this morning and it looks very promising. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yes, by all means (and I realize that the means are sometimes a problem), go. I cannot tell you how meaningful that trip was to me. But I suppose I could try if you're interested.

I see a lot of Fra Angelico in your paintings, Jim. In fact, his was the name that came to mind when I viewed your recent painting of Jesus carrying the cross (which was quite wonderful, by the way). The frescoes at San Marco were incredibly moving for several reasons, not the least of which was that the good brother/saint spent several decades of his life creating superb art on walls that were never intended to be viewed by the general public. Not a lot of ego there, which is something that I could stand to emulate.

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I just finished reading a book about Savonarola: The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope by Desmond Seward.

I had run across Savonarola before in my Renaissance art history classes. He is usually depicted as a holdover, medieval thug standing in the way of progress and everything glorious and modern.

In fact, according to this book he was a godly, Dominican priest, a true prophet, and someone who got into a pissing contest with one of the most corrupt popes the world has ever known, Alexander VI. Off course he lost and was hanged and burned on May 23 1497.

One of the most amazing things that occurred as a result of his preaching was the formation of a republic form of government in Florence that lasted for three years until he was executed and the Medici regained control of Florence.

Botticelli and Michelangelo were also committed followers of Savonarola although this author contends no significant works of theirs was lost in the bonfire of the vanities as some claim.

This is once of those books that points out a hinge of history; if a slightly different path had been taken we would be living in a very different world today.

At one junction Savonarola had the ear of the Kind of France, Charles VIII. Savonarola prophesied that the Pope would be overthrown by the king of France and the church reformed. Charles, indeed had the opportunity to call a council and replace Alexander VI but decided not to at the last moment. If he had the Catholic Church could well have been reformed without the upheaval of Luther and Calvin and the Church might well be united today.

Yes. Savonarola is a fascinating person, equal parts religious and political reformer, and he certainly prefigures the Protestant Reformation. I think you're absolutely correct that the Reformation might have taken a very different form, or might have been averted entirely, if history had taken a slightly different turn.

In Florence last September my wife and I visited the Monastery of San Marco, best known for the 43 Fra Angelico frescoes that adorn the cell walls (most famously, his Annunciation). What I didn't expect to find was Savonarola's cell, featuring a portrait of the good friar by Fra Bartolommeo. Apparently Savonarola spent eight years at the monastery, which was attacked in 1498 when Savonarola was arrested and forcibly carried away.

I note that there is an ongoing dispute (at least as of 1999) within the Catholic Church re: Savonarola's canonization. The Dominicans (of whom Savonarola was a member) are all for it; the Jesuits are against it. More than five hundred years after his death, the man is still controversial.

I'm envious... totally green. If I ever get to travel again, Italy is at the top of my list, Florence to be particular and San Marco one of my first stops. When I entered the Catholic Church two years ago I took Beato Angelico as my patron saint. He is one of a few artist to be beatified. I just checked a book about Fra Angelico out of the library yesterday: Fra Angelico : Dissemblance & Figuration by Georges Didi-Huberman ; translated by Jane Marie Todd. I had a chance to read a bit of it this morning and it looks very promising. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yes, by all means (and I realize that the means are sometimes a problem), go. I cannot tell you how meaningful that trip was to me. But I suppose I could try if you're interested.

I see a lot of Fra Angelico in your paintings, Jim. In fact, his was the name that came to mind when I viewed your recent painting of Jesus carrying the cross (which was quite wonderful, by the way). The frescoes at San Marco were incredibly moving for several reasons, not the least of which was that the good brother/saint spent several decades of his life creating superb art on walls that were never intended to be viewed by the general public. Not a lot of ego there, which is something that I could stand to emulate.

Andy- Thanks for the link to your reminiscences - beautiful. Sounds like the kind of trip I want to take.

You know, I would be happy doing what Fra Angelico did. If someone would pay me to paint, day after day, the walls of a monastery, I'd die happy. It would sure beat sitting at this desk like I do all day, every day. I'm not complaining, just thinking out loud.

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My wife and I read aloud after dinner (about half the nights). We just finished Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (4.5/5). We've decided to do Mregory Maguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister next. We both read and enjoyed Wicked (which is why I steadfastly refused to see the bastardization of the story on stage).

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I've recently finished Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski, a book I picked up at the Calvin Festival and Faith and Writing, and have finally gotten around to reading.

It's a richly detailed novel that explores the experience of two kinds of Americans discovering a new and strange world in Northern Thailand. An evangelist comes to the native land to set them free from their animist religion and tries to persuade to follow Christianity. An anthropologist comes to this land to learn the curious ways of this people. When a member of the evangelist's family is discovered to have been murdered by this anthropologist, an American journalist doing odd jobs in Thailand digs into the past histories of these two families to try to uncover the truth. Yet this murder mystery isn't the main point of the book, and the book is not a thriller. Rather, it explores what it's really like to be an anthropologist and to do slow painstaking fieldwork. The book covers the family histories in vivid detail, as well as the culture of this tribe of Thai natives, and holds all the mystery and fascination of an off-the-beaten-path travelogue. Well worth reading, as it presents the human and religious drama in all its messy complexity.

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I've recently finished Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski, a book I picked up at the Calvin Festival and Faith and Writing, and have finally gotten around to reading.

I picked up Fieldwork at the FFW too, but have yet to read it. Soon, I hope; Berlinski's session was one of the best I went to this year, and parts of it still flit around my head.

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It's funny that you're talking about Fieldwork, since it's basically a fictional account about some of the real missionary families that I've met here in Chiang Mai in the last month. My mother in law is reading it at the moment, and thinks it's really interesting. I haven't read it myself, but I might.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm slowly reading Peter Watson's A Terrible Beauty: The People and Ideas That Shaped the Modern Mind - A History. It's utterly brilliant, ranging so far and wide across the development of ideas in science, arts, social sciences, politics, economics and all sorts of things. I dabble in lots of areas and know bits of pieces of a variety of things, but Watson has researched so hard to write this book, I'm astounded. It's always fantastic to put things into their historical context. I think this is one of the best books I have ever read. I'm loving it so much I'm tempted to start again (I'm at about page 370, still in the Second World War - and it's taken me since the beginning of September as I get so little time to read!) so I don't forget what I've already read.

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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  • 4 months later...

- Misquoting Jesus - by Bart Ehrman

Andrew (or listeners)

I confess I keep scanning message boards in the hopes that someone more educated about early church hisory than I and who has a bit more background on this topic than my own (which consists pretty much of Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict) will read this for me and tell me that it is a hyperbolic reframing of arguments I've heard before and not some new examination of Dead Sea Scrolls or some other, you know, actual evidence, that the scriptures aren't actually trustworthy accounts of the writings of the people to who they are historically attributed (link to that other thread whose name I can't pronounce).

Have you checked out MLeary's blog? (Sorry no link but its in his sig file). And consider joining in on the featured book discussion, still not started (beyond my comments on chapters 1-4).

Ben Witherington III has been handily deconstructing Ehrman's Jesus, Interrupted on his blog, starting here. Links to parts 2-5 (so far) on the right. Worth a look:

It is understandable how a textual critic might write a book like Misquoting Jesus, on the basis of long study of the underpinnings of textual criticism and its history and praxis. It is mystifying however why he would attempt to write a book like Jesus, Interrupted which frankly reflect no in-depth interaction at all with exegetes, theologians, and even most historians of the NT period of whatever faith or no faith at all.

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 been a while since I updated anything here!

Not too long ago I finished up a post-apocalyptic novel about two people trying to find salvation on the east coast of what's-left-of-America. No, not that one. The other one, Jim Crace's The Pesthouse (4.0/5). It actually was a really good book, and while similar to McCarthy's award winner superficially, that's where any comparisons end. What actually drives America into the ground? They never say, but it seems like the country basically collapsed economically and then just withered away. The two characters find love in each other (another similarity, I should say, with The Road

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I just finished George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, the last major Eliot novel I had to tackle, and one I had put off for some time. I love Silas Marner and The Mill on the Floss, and was mostly pleased with Adam Bede and Middlemarch, but Daniel Deronda was a tough slog, primarily because of its fascination with Jewish ephemera and its non-stop apologetic for the need for the nation-state of Israel, an event which, of course, occurred some 61 years ago, and which now renders Ms. Evans' argument largely superfluous. Why did I force myself to read 850 pages of tiny print? Because I'm that kind of guy. God only knows why I do the things I do.

I'm now reading David Dark's latest book The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. It is not a slog at all, and, as is the case with every David Dark book, it is thoroughly challenging and thought-provoking in all the best ways.

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I just picked up Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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Same deal for me with the hyperactive goldfish; I'm in the middle of about 20 books right now (underestimating).

But the one that needs mentioning right now is Orthodoxy (Chesterton), for the third time. I cannot over-emphasize how amazing this book is, and that it would be the mistake of your life not to read it if you care about books, faith, words, boats, stories, God, Britain, humanity, childhood or adventure. I love G. K. Chesterton's capacity for wonder. He's not stopped being in love with the world 'round him.

Am also reading: Good Omens (Pratchett & Gaiman: Hilarious), The Road (little by little), Eugene Peterson's Tell It Slant (which I highly recommend; it causes me to stop and pray more than any book I've read recently) and Mark Helprin's Solder of the Great War. Not as arresting to me as some of his other stuff, but still very good.

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson

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i

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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LOL... I feel shallow. I'm currently reading Truth, Lies and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning by Jon Steel and Making Money by Terry Pratchett (the most recent Discworld novel).

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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  • 4 months later...
Link to President Obama's vacation reading list.

"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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