Archives For Biography

 

Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

  

What Will Soon Take Place: Poems

Tania Runyan

 

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

   

Sacred Strangers: What the Bible’s Outsiders Can Teach Christians

Nancy Haught

 

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Here are our favorite biographies and companion guides to C.S. Lewis’s work.

Compiled by Marina Konow


 

Though the celebrated C.S. Lewis, didn’t necessarily have a long life, he managed to accomplish a great deal with the time he was given. In his 65 years on earth, Lewis went from being raised Christian to later becoming atheist; only to be brought back to the Christian faith later. His famous friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, played a key role in his return to the faith.

Lewis created a world near and dear to many hearts through his well- known Narnian stories, which continue to influence our culture, over 60 years after the last book was published, For instance, three of the seven books have recentlybeen turned into major motion picture productions. Since 1950, (the year The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was published) The Chronicles of Narnia series has sold over 100 million copies and has been published in 47 different languages.  

Lewis continues to inspire all Christians through his essays and novels. Besides the Narnia series, his novels Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce are but a few of his insightful works.

With all the wonderful stories and perspectives Lewis gave us, many authors have tackled the challenge of writing about him and his work. Through these books, one is able to gain more perspective of Lewis’s character and backstory; as well as an understanding of his faith journey.

Listed below are some of the works that help us better understand C.S. Lewis.  We’ve included excerpts from the books where available via Google Books.

 

1)   Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis
by George Sayer

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A Hero On and Off the Diamond
 
A Review of

Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero
Michael G. Long and Chris Lamb

Paperback: WJK Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Jeff Crosby

 
 

Just two years prior to Jackie Robinson’s death, New York literary giant Random House turned down the chance to publish the retired Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer’s memoir. Why? Because he insisted the book address not only his career as a professional athlete but also his work beyond the ballpark.

Based on that factoid alone, it’s safe to say that the principled Jackie Robinson would highly approve of this appreciative new biography by Michael G. Long and Chris Lamb.

Surprisingly, Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography devotes just one chapter to the iconic Brooklyn infielder’s nine seasons with the Dodgers. In contrast, the authors devote four full chapters and portions of several others to Robinson’s work in civil rights, politics and business.

It’s undoubtedly as Robinson would want it.

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A Love Beyond Religion
 
A Feature Review of
 

Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love
Brad Gooch.

Hardback: HarperCollins, 2017.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewd by By Erin Ensinger
 
 

FIVE of our Favorite Poems by Rumi

 
Rumi has always been a miracle and a mystery to me. Like many other Americans, I first met Rumi in the dark days after 9/11, when this poet from the Muslim world made his unlikely ascent to the top of the best-seller charts. Raised in conservative circles, I ferreted his poems away from critical eyes, savoring them with all the relish of a guilty pleasure. His spiritual hunger, reckless love and tolerance of people no matter their faith or ethnicity spoke to me almost against my will.  In his new biography, Rumi’s Secret, Brad Gooch captures all of these elements that have caused some to place Rumi in Walt Whitman’s family tree. At the same time, Gooch remains true to his title, preserving an air of mystery around the divine secrets Rumi himself found expressible only through poetry, music and the whirling dance of sama.

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Excoriating Christendom
—and Suffering for it

 
A Feature Review of
 

Kierkegaard: A Single Life 
Stephen Backhouse

Hardback: Zondervan, 2016.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by James Dekker
 
 

In an entry of less than 300 words, the then peerless Encylopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, calls young Søren Aaby[e] Kierkegaard “delicate, precocious and morbid in temperament” (vol. 15, 788). One hundred five years later, I am sure that Kiekegaard maven Stephen Backhouse would agree, probably extending Britannica’s estimation to the maverick philosopher’s entire life.

Dying after a series of seizures in 1855 at age 42, Søren—as Backhouse calls him throughout this concise, yet full biography—was not merely precocious, but enormously productive and often acerbic in in his writing. As well, he was beset with intractable paradoxes that both attracted and repelled friends, family and colleagues. During his life he reaped few accolades and much scorn for his relentless, often slashing criticism of leading Danish literati (among them Denmark’s hitherto untouchable Hans Christian Andersen) academics, political theorists and state church leaders. After being ignored by his family pastor and erstwhile mentor, Bishop Jakob Peter Mynster, Kierkegaard added him to his phalanxes of targets. Calling Mynster a “poisonous plant . . . a colossus,” he concluded, “Great strength was required to topple him, and the person who did it also had to pay for it” (148).

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Kate Hennessy.cred Gary Jones

We recently had the opportunity to interview Kate Hennessy…

the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, about her new biography of her grandmother’s life: Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty(which releases next Tuesday, Jan 24).

The full interview will run in our Lent 2017 magazine issue, but we wanted to offer you a taste here in anticipation of the book’s release.

SUBSCRIBE NOW to our magazine
(in print or digital format) 
and don’t miss this interview!

 

Dorothy Day:
The World Will Be Saved by Beauty:
An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother

Kate Hennessy

Hardback: Scribner, Jan. 24, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
Interviewed by
Erin Wasinger

 
 

ERB: Why did you feel you needed to write this book? What was your vision?

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The Notion of a Liveable City
 
A Review of

Eyes on the Street:
The Life of Jane Jacobs
 

Robert Kanigel

Hardback: Knopf, 2016.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Jeff Crosby
 
 
 
When she was choosing a school for her undergraduate studies a decade ago, New York University in lower Manhattan rose to the top of my daughter’s list of options. The vibrancy of a world-class city, the exposure to the arts and the melting pot of global cultures, and the imprimatur of a diploma from NYU, all lured her to New York.

The cost of her matriculating there for four years and the relative lack of financial aid (apart from the kind that has to be repaid!) prompted me, on the contrary, to suggest that a well-known southern school – a similarly well-endowed but financially generous university in Nashville – just might be the sensible way to go.

NYU and my daughter won.

Financially prudent dad lost.

But really, we both won in the end, for had my daughter not attended New York University I might never have explored Washington Square Park in all the seasons of the year, or partaken of the delightful galleries on Broome Street in SoHo, or the eateries and street music of the cobblestone walkways around Greenwich Village.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

   

Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity

Katherine Willis Pershey

 

Read a review from The Christian Century

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St. Catherine and
the Turmoil of the World

A Review of 

Setting the World on Fire:
The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena
Shelley Emling

Hardback: St. Martins, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Christiana N. Peterson

 

A few nights ago, before I turned off my lamp to go to sleep, my iPhone screen lit up to the news of another mass killing. In Nice, France, a man used his truck as a weapon to murder over 80 people who were celebrating Bastille Day. The next morning, there was news of a military coup in Turkey.

My heart dropped, my anxiety rose, the tears flowed. I turned to my husband and asked him, “Is this it? Is this the end?”

Many of us who are Christians, even if we aren’t apocalyptic leaning, find ourselves wondering–in the rising grief of the last few months of mass shootings, unarmed black men killed by police, the killing of policemen, and political strife–if the end is nigh. In our terror, we even seem to long for it, calling, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Lately, when I am torn up with grief, when I wonder when God will make all things new, I have been reaching for the Christian mystics, who have been able to offer me a little humility, solace, and perspective.

Shelley Emling’s book Setting the World on Fire: the Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena, is a highly readable introduction to the life and times of the saint and mystic, Catherine of Siena, whose Medieval world was as turbulent (if not more than) ours. Emling carefully weaves together a narrative of this complex patron saint of Italy along with details about the political and social contexts that shaped and moved her.

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