Category: Books

Instead of Facebook, a book of faces

A book of photographs titled Face elicits obvious comparisons to the social media giant. The latest from photographer Bruce Gilden, the collection of portraits might be more appropriately titled Mug Shot. If these folks filled your Facebook news feed with selfies, you’d probably be tempted to click the “hide” option. In a world overflowing with Photoshopped and filtered images, Face stops our…  [more]

You named your kid Atticus?! Relax

We knew we wanted our son to have a Swedish first name. One that would balance out the very Spanish last name he’d carry through life and would pay homage to the Swedish half of his gene pool. And so my husband and I created a list, culled from the Internet and my grandmother’s family records. We weeded out ones we couldn’t pronounce or spell and ones deemed just too weird. (Sorry, Torbjörn.…  [more]

The withering witness of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child

In a recent Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, Toni Morrison remarked that her age has brought her to reflect on her life, and in so doing, her regrets. “It's not profound regret,” she said. “It's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on.” In a way, this illuminates the emotional turmoil that marks the lives of her…  [more]

Little libraries and loving your neighbor

Were I not so lazy, I’d have a Little Free Library perched on my front lawn. Instead of running books I no longer have space for over to the local used bookstore, I’d walk across the lawn to share the “wealth” of a great book with neighbors – with anyone, really, who wanted to take, or leave, a book from my little library. But alas, perhaps it’s best I am lazy and never learned to…  [more]

Finding communal comfort in David Zahl’s Mess of Help

I would say that books like David Zahl’s A Mess Of Help make me feel less alone in the world, if there were any other books like David Zahl’s A Mess Of Help to be found. The fact is, there are not. Conversations such as these are too often relegated to pubs, festivals and backstage green rooms. Few are we who equally obsess over things cultural and theological with this level of passion and borderline…  [more]

The boy who cried heaven – and the belief industry that encouraged him

Last week, Tyndale House Publishers stopped production of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven after Alex Malarkey, the boy in question, announced that he had made up the tale. Cheeky jokes about the family’s surname aside, this is a serious matter that shouldn't go gently away, but rather stand as a reminder of what it means to speak for and about God, the Christian life and the kingdom at hand. Years…  [more]

Station Eleven and hope amidst apocalypse

Post-apocalyptic literature assumes the worst: pestilence, viruses and zombie uprisings fill the pages of many top-selling books, television shows and video games. It is also a genre that immediately forces questions of meaning onto its readers. What does it mean to survive? What is worth holding onto? To what lengths might people go in order to preserve what they see as good, pure and honorable? In Emily St. John…  [more]

What happened to The Hobbit?

Now that Peter Jackson has concluded his three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, I think it’s fair to say that the entire experience has been underwhelming. Yes, the movies continue to rake in money at the box office. Yet as a group, these films have received mostly mixed reviews, weathered their fair share of jokes about elf love triangles and…  [more]

Honoring complexity in Marilynne Robinson’s Lila

In her New York Times review of Lila, Diane Johnson commends the book’s author, Marilynne Robinson, for writing about faith. It’s an act she describes as downright “courageous” given the violent and negative associations with religion today. While Robinson has never been one to shrink from writing about matters of faith, she is hesitant to describe herself as “a religious…  [more]

The liturgical nature of National Novel Writing Month

My name is Chad Comello and I am a failed novelist. I’m in the midst of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which issues a lofty goal for aspiring literary types: write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days, no matter what. Budding scribes of every stripe participate in this movement throughout the month of November, all with the goal of a first draft by Dec. 1. The point is not to make it good, only to…  [more]

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