Archives For Literary

 

Evoking a life of shalom

A Review of 

Telling the Stories Right:
Wendell Berry’s
Imagination of Port William
Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro, eds.

Paperback: Front Porch Republic 2018.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Allan F. Brooke II

 

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks. These are the instructions for telling our stories right, and stories told in this way compel us to tend the splintered life of goodness that shines through the cracks of our wounded world.
– “Introduction,” Telling the Stories Right, xiv

 

Wendell Berry, respected author and essayist, is also known for his fiction, including eight novels and over fifty short stories which form an overlapping composite history of the fictional Kentucky farming community of Port William, and the “membership” of individuals and families who have lived and died there since the Civil War. The narratives need not be read in order, and the reader will find accounts of the same events from different characters (or the same characters) at different times and with different emphases. Several of the novels focus on a single character (e.g. Nathan Coulter, Jayber Crow, Hannah Coulter, Andy Catlett), and track the whole, or a part of his or her life in the community. Berry’s first novel was published in 1960 and his most recent in 2006, though he has continued to produce Port William short stories up through last year. (Consider the breadth of a life of fiction spanning from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Dog Stars.)
Continue Reading…

 

Transformed by the Power of Words
 
A Feature Review of 

Book Girl:
A Journey through the Treasures
and Transforming Power of a Reading Life
Sarah Clarkson

Paperback: Tyndale, 2018.
Buy Now:
[ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]  [ Audible ]

Reviewed by Crystal Hurd
 
I have a rather large library in my home, and nearly all of the books I own were purchased upon the recommendation of a good friend whose judgment (and literary tastes) I trusted. Nothing is more pleasant than hearing a dear friend exclaiming that I “simply have” to read a new book. Nearly all of the authors that I adore now were at one time a suggestion. The same is true with Sarah Clarkson’s latest work Book Girl.

Continue Reading…

 

    

Enter to win a literary summer reading package of galleys of these three recent books!

 

One lucky winner will be chosen to receive a literary summer reading package that includes galleys of these recent books by Frederick Buechner, Malcolm Guite, and Michael Mears Bruner.

Enter now to for your chance to win this package!

 

Prize Package includes these galleys:

 

Enter now to win this package!

 (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :

Continue Reading…

 

Our Absurd and Grotesque
and Beautiful World

A Feature Review of 

A Political Companion
to Flannery O’Connor
Edited by Henry T. Edmondson III

Hardback. UPress of Kentucky, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Todd Edmondson

 

Upon hearing of Flannery O’Connor’s death in 1964, Thomas Merton famously wrote that when he reflected on her life and work, “I don’t think of Hemingway, or Katherine Ann Porter, or Sartre, but rather of someone like Sophocles.” It is perhaps unsurprising that Merton was compelled to draw connections between the mid-twentieth-century fiction writer from Milledgeville, Georgia and the most-decorated playwright of Greece’s Classical period. Both wrote works that occupied the threshold between violence and the sacred. Both depicted dysfunctional family dynamics and the perennial struggle between parents and children. Both confront and unsettle their audience with the oracular wisdom and obscure utterances of blind prophets, and both, in Merton’s words, show us “man’s fall and dishonor.”

Continue Reading…

 

 

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

Continue Reading…

 

Just in time for summer!!!

Whether strolling the beaches or lounging around the house, these literary t-shirts will be a delight to book lovers!

They make great gifts for graduations or birthdays!

Most of these shirts are available in styles for men, women, and youth…
Some are available in a variety of colors.
(CLICK IMAGE to see what options are available for each shirt)

 

1 – Hope is the thing with feathers

Continue Reading…

 

A Bounty of Literary Beauty
for Lent and Easter

A Review of

Between Midnight and Dawn:
A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide
Compiled by Sarah Arthur

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle
 
Reviewed by Alex Joyner

 

I can’t be alone in thinking that, when Dorothy discovers that her ruby red slippers have (and always have had) the power to take her home, it is one of the most profound theological insights in American pop culture.  Or that the death of Stringer Bell was a moment where the ability of the TV series The Wire to plumb the depths of the human condition was most on display.  I like my piety with a little artistic license.  “Tell all the truth,” as Emily Dickinson said, “but tell it slant.”

Sarah Arthur, who compiled the great new Lenten and Eastertide literary prayer guide, Between Midnight and Dawn, is a kindred spirit in this.  She introduces her collection by comparing the movement from Lent to Easter with night to dawn and winter to spring, but don’t believe her.  She’s got far more tender and terrifying territory to cover in this beautiful, bountiful book.

Continue Reading…

 

Today is the birthday of South African novelist Alan Paton (born 1903).

His masterpiece was the novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, which wrestles with issues of faith, race and class, in mid-twentieth century South Africa. The 1995 film adaptation, starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris, is extraordinary. I highly recommend finding it, if you haven’t yet seen it. 

Here is the trailer…

 
Continue Reading…

 

A Very Good Book.

 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Good Book: Writers Reflect on their Favorite Bible Passages
Andrew Blauner, Editor

Hardback: Simon and Schuster, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Jennifer Burns Lewis
 
 
It’s really a very good book, this anthology of reflections about the Bible. In some ways, it’s like having an amazing chat with friends about biblical texts about which they are passionate, except that these authors are far more eloquent and eclectic than my thirty-two closest friends. The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages is a wonderfully rich assortment of essays by an array of thoughtful, reflective, sometimes witty, often reverent writers. Representing a variety of faith perspectives or none at all, these essays offer the reader delicious morsels of goodness that invite the reader to question, ponder and consider the limitless ways in which readers encounter the Bible.

Continue Reading…

 

Light, Logos, Love.

A Review of

Tolkien’s Sacramental Vision: Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth
Craig Bernthal

Paperback: Second Spring, 2014.
Buy now: [ AmazonKindle ]

 

Reviewed by Alden Lee Bass

 
 
At an event in San Francisco in 2003, when literary critic Joseph Pearce explained to a gathering of Tolkien fans that the author’s Catholicism was an integral and crucial part of The Lord of the Rings, several members of the audience got up and left. Yet it’s not only casual readers who miss this obvious point – Tolkien scholarship is divided between those who emphasize the pagan elements of his great works and those who see an underlying Christian infrastructure. For those versed in Christian theology, the Christian elements of Tolkien’s epic are unmistakable: from Gandalf’s death and resurrection to Gollum’s failed redemption to Frodo and Sam’s march up Mount Doom to destroy the ring. Tolkien himself said in one of his letters, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”

Continue Reading…