Archives For Essays

 

The World As a Waiting Room

A Review of

Be Still!: Departure from Collective Madness
Gordon Stewart

Paperback: Wipf & Stock, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Madeline Cramer

“For a split second, I imagine the world
as a waiting room.”

 

“Strange as it may seem, I often feel the way John Lennon did. I dream of a different kind of world…” the Presbyterian minister and social commentator Gordon Stewart says in “Creating Hell in the Name of Heaven”—one of a collection of brief essays in his book Be Still: Departure from Collective Madness. And, considering the timeless popularity of John Lennon’s song “Imagine,” don’t we all long for something more than what we see in front of us? Don’t we all envision a better world? If not, what would motivate us? Who would want to raise children in a world doomed to fail? Who would go to church believing that God’s kingdom would never come? But, of course, as his essay notes, that’s the Catch-22. As humans, we continue to imagine because we want a better world, but our desire for “better” also breeds anxiety. Why aren’t things already better? Who stands against us? Against our children? Is it ISIS? Is it the Republicans? Is it you?

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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…)

   

The Seventh Function of Language: A Novel

Laurent Binet

Read a review from THE GUARDIAN… 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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The Power of Myth
in the Human Spiritual Experience

A Review of 

A Well of Wonder: Essays on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings
Clyde Kilby

Loren Wilkinson and Keith Call, Eds.
Hardback: Mount Tabor Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle  ]

Reviewed by Warren Hicks
 

 

“Clyde Kilby was fundamentally a teaher, but what he had to teach was not a collection of facts, rather, he taught an awed, thankful, and joyful stance toward creation and Creator.”  – Loren Wilkinson, from the foreword (.xiii)

 

A Well of Wonder introduces the reader to the relationships that Mr. Kilby had with Lewis and Tolkien that led him to pursue the project of gathering their papers and that of other of the Inklings into what would become the Marion F. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. This repository of primary source material including manuscripts and handwritten and typed correspondence among and by Lewis, Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield and G. K. Chesterton has become the fruit of what Kilby describes as, “nothing less than a movement of the Holy Spirit.”

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Still Miles to Go

 
A Feature Review of 

The Fire This Time:
A New Generation Speaks about Race

Jesmyn Ward, Ed.

Hardback: Scribner, 2016.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle  ]

 
Reviewed by Amy Neftzger
 
 
The Fire This Time is a collection of essays compiled by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, who received that award in 2011 for her novel Salvage the Bones.  Both the contents and title of The Fire This Time are a response to James Baldwin’s book The Fire Next Time, but this response is one that has been a long time coming. One need only turn on the evening news to see that not much has changed since Baldwin published his book in 1962. This new collection of literary work has taken up the baton in the relay marathon for racial equality. It seems that each generation has hoped for progress, and perhaps sometimes it feels as if we’re getting somewhere, but as soon as we turn around we see that we’ve taken very few steps from the starting line and there are still miles to go.

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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…)

A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014 and 2015

Wendell Berry

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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David Foster Wallace

Sunday (February 21) marks the birthday of David Foster Wallace, one of the most important American writers of the last quarter-century.

Although Wallace’s masterpieces are his novels, including Infinite Jest (1104 pages), these mammoth works can be intimidating for new readers, so we offer here a selection of his shorter works, for readers who want to immerse themselves slowly in Wallace’s work.

Also, for our readers who are fans of DFW’s work, there is an important new book that will be released next week:

The Gospel According to
David Foster Wallace:
Boredom and Addiction in an Age of Distraction
Adam S. Miller

Paperback: Bloomsbury, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

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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…)

 

> > > >
Next Book

On Such a Full Sea: A Novel

By Chang-Rae Lee

Read the New York Times review of this novel…

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is offering their C.S. Lewis ebooks for only $2.99 NOW $2.24 each for a limited time.

Here are the thirteen Kindle ebooks that are on sale:

 

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

 

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

 

A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C. S. Lewis

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Marilynne Robinson is one of the keynote speakers at next week’s Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. We are very excited about her newest book, which was reviewed by David Johnson in our current print issue. We will be giving away a few copies of her book at our booth at the Festival, so if you are going to be there, stop by and enter to win a copy, or a number of other excellent new books. For those who are going to the festival (and those who are not), here is a taste of her excellent new book:

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The Humane Vision of Wendell BerryCreating a Humane Vision for Our Places.

A Review of

The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry

Mark T. Mitchell and Nathan Schleuter, eds.

Hardback: ISI Books, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Scot F. Martin

What a wild ride it has been these past couple of years.  First, Wendell Berry was appointed as special counsel to Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and convinced him that soil conservation should be the number one U.S. agricultural goal.  Then following the advice contained in a white paper authored by Mr. Berry the State and Defense Departments have begun shuttering numerous U.S. military bases overseas and we are moving from a bellicose foreign policy to one more in line with George Washington’s non-interventionist stance toward most world events.  Lastly, nearly every state capital has created infrastructure to assist interdependence between urban and rural citizens.  Not only have farmer’s markets displaced many large regional and national grocery store chains, but there are multiple sustainable economies developing in rural areas and small towns across America.  This is due, in no small part to the stumping of Wendell Berry.  We still have problems in 2012, but thanks to this veritable Berry-palooza we are nurturing healthier communities along with cleaner ecosystems.

…And then I woke up.

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