Category: Books

The Language of Thorns and Why Christians Should Read Fairy Tales

The world of folk and fairy tales can be a harsh one. Whether you read the classic tales of the Brothers Grimm or modern adaptations by authors like A.S. Byatt and Kate Bernheimer, these stories are filled with neglect, abuse, starvation, murder, and more. This has caused some Christians to reject the genre altogether, but I think folk and fairy tales are exactly the sort of stories we should be reading. As C.S.…  [more]

The Calling of Flannery O’Connor

In its November issue, Image magazine will publish for the first time Flannery O’Connor’s college journal. Several previously unpublished photos will appear with the journal, including a riveting self-portrait taken as O’Connor stands before a dresser mirror. New subscribers to Image will get 25% off, as well as the O’Connor issue, if they sign up by Oct. 22. A treasure for O’Connor…  [more]

Getting Awkward with W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell’s voice rings in my ears. Literally. His big baritone and musical laugh travel through my earbuds each week via Politically Re-Active, the podcast he co-hosts with fellow comedian Hari Kondabolu. The pair nobly attempt to sift and sort American politics while having a few laughs along the way. The views expressed are not my own, at least not fully, but I always come away better, more humane, for…  [more]

Lindy West, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Embracing Our God-Given Bodies

“Is it a sin to be fat?” I asked my friend the question over a cup of Earl Grey and a fresh blackberry muffin. My friend is not fat in the least; she had merely expressed interest in my current writing topic. She laughed and asked how I planned to answer the question. I, having never been accused of being thin, replied: “I don’t know if it’s a sin to be fat, but let me ask another…  [more]

The Fairy-Tale Gospel of Tolkien’s Beren and Lúthien

Although J.R.R. Tolkien is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, these books were only a part of the world he created. We get another glimpse into that world with Beren and Lúthien. This collection of previously published and unpublished pieces, compiled and edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher, tells the love story of a mortal man and immortal elf. The book captures well…  [more]

George Saunders Imagines Life After Death

George Saunders has made a career out of telling stories about people who are caught in the gears of the universe. Ensnared in events and social systems far bigger than any individual, his characters either conform themselves to the machine or get ground up by it. That may sound like a recipe for a po-faced wallow in misery. But the magic of a Saunders short story—captured in his 2013 collection,…  [more]

Remembering the Eucatastrophe of Richard Adams’ Watership Down

Before I write these lines, I make eye contact with my rabbit. He sits on a shelf looking down at my desk, ears open like radar dishes. He’s a ceramic figurine in the likeness of Dandelion, keeper and teller of stories for the rabbits of Watership Down. In this beloved adventure novel from Richard Adams, Dandelion’s stories of the trickster called El-Ahrairah provide a sense of identity, purpose, and…  [more]

Celebrating 10 Years of The Language of God

During the summer of 2006, I was browsing at a bookstore when I came across a new book by renowned geneticist Francis Collins called The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. The book instantly grabbed my attention. I had just finished up my first year as a Ph.D. student studying paleontology and evolutionary biology at a major university, and I was only a few years removed from what was nearly a…  [more]

Bruce Springsteen’s Long and Noisy Prayer

Entitled Born to Run, naturally, Bruce Springsteen’s highly anticipated and completely self-penned memoir riffs on his roots, his family, the music that inspired him, the faith that emerged from the ashes of dominating religiosity, the demons that still haunt him, and the way he sees himself in the halcyon glow of stage lights, FM radio, vinyl, and today’s digital technology. Rock fans are certainly not…  [more]

What We’ll Lose with the Closing of Books & Culture

As a student at Westmont College, I would wait for professors in the small common area in the English building. Among the leather couches, creaking floorboards, and wardrobe items from C. S. Lewis’ estate were always copies of Books & Culture: A Christian Review. The magazine’s articles, including some by my professors, would flit from book reviews to cultural commentary to personal stories. The…  [more]

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