Archives For Essays


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.

Continue Reading…


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


Continue Reading…


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 ]

Continue Reading…


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…

Continue Reading…


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

Continue Reading…


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:

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading…


“Amateur Reading”

A review of

The Achievement of Wendell Berry:
The Hard History of Love

by Fritz Oehlschlaeger.

Review by Ragan Sutterfield.

The Achievement of Wendell BerryThe Achievement of Wendell Berry:
The Hard History of Love

Fritz Oehlschlaeger.
Hardback: UP of Kentucky, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Hardback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

I must admit, I haven’t yet finished Fritz Oehlschlaeger’s The Achievement of Wendell Berry: The Hard History of Love. Though I have been busy with a number of projects, I have had enough time in theory to read the book, so time hasn’t been the hold up. I can also say confidently that the other reason I haven’t finished the book isn’t the usual reason I abandon a volume midstream—it’s simply unreadable. Instead, I haven’t finished Oehlschlaeger’s book for two reasons—Wendell Berry has indeed achieved and written so much and second, Oehlschlaeger is such a wise and careful conversation partner with Berry’s work that I can’t help but constantly want to bring Berry more deeply into the conversation by going back, again and again to his work. So if you read this book, and you really should if you care for all things good and holy, set aside some time for it—a year or so perhaps.

Continue Reading…


An excerpt from the lovely new book

In Earshot of Water:
Notes from the Columbia Plateau
Paul Lindholdt.
Paperback: U. of Iowa Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

[ Read our review above… ]


865069: Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities A Brief Review of

Against the Tide:
Love in a Time of Petty Dreams
and Persisting Enmities

By Miroslav Volf.
Paperback: Eerdmans, 2010.

Buy now: [ ]

Reviewed by Stephen Lawson.

Since the publication of Exclusion and Embrace in 1996, Miroslav Volf has been one of the most influential theologians in America. Originally from Croatia, Volf is now professor of theology at Yale. His influence can be seen in both the academy (where After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity was hailed as one of the most rigorous theological defenses of “free church ecclesiology” to date) and the church (where his more accessible books such as The End of Memory and Free of Charge have received a wide readership). Despite the undeniable distinction between his work for the academy and his work for the wider church, there is a remarkable consistency in the themes he explores. He is committed to a theology that both speaks the truth and calls for total reconciliation between enemies.

Continue Reading…