Books Feed

Outline

OutlineOutline by Rachel Cusk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I devoured this book. Rarely have I underlined so many sentences in a novel. There are so many insightful and profound ideas. I also found it incredibly funny. Often cackling out loud, which I also don't often do reading a novel.

By the halfway point I felt this novel a better representation of the genre than those I've read by Karl Ove Knausgaard to which they are often compared.

However, by the end, my view had slipped a little bit. Throughout she dropped hints about some of her own thoughts, but they never really appeared in any satisfactory form. Are they in the rest of the trilogy? Knausgaard almost overwhelms with his own thoughts.

By the final chapter, when one more dialogue partner was momentarily introduced, I was annoyed, which is not how one wants to feel at the end of a novel they have enjoyed.

View all my reviews

Whence and Whither

Whence and Whither: On Lives and LivingWhence and Whither: On Lives and Living by Thomas Lynch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A collection of lectures, essays, and stories and, as such, varied in quality. There are some witty, provocative, insightful images and phrases, but not the overall substance I had hoped for.

His discussion "Red Wheel-Barrow" by William Carlos Williams is itself worth the price of the book. That discussion made me cry.

View all my reviews

God and the Pandemic

God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its AftermathGod and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath by N.T. Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A quick read. The first few chapters weren't as substantive, but the last two were filled with good bits.

The book includes some interesting and provocative reflections on the doctrine of God ("Might we then say that God the creator . . . has no appropriate words to say to the misery when creation is out of joint?"), which then lead to fascinating ideas in pneumatology and ecclesiology. The church should be present where people are in pain and our first task is lament.

In his final chapter he expressed some of what have been my concerns in recent months. He calls the church to take safety seriously and not do stupid things, while at the same time lamenting that the church is being left out of its traditional role of being present with sick, dying, and grieving people. He also worries that "faced with a major crisis, [the Church] has meekly followed what seems to be a secularizing lead." That we have reinforced the idea that worship is a personal hobby we share with like-minded people.

View all my reviews

The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my list for years. It's even sat on our shelves for a couple, as I ordered it for a Christmas gift for my husband and kept waiting for him to read it first. Finally I gave up waiting.

And it lives up to all the press and expectations. What a rich, imaginative, wonderful story. I was captivated immediately and read it quickly. Now I've ordered volume two.

View all my reviews

The Half-Finished Heaven

The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas TranströmerThe Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer by Tomas Tranströmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"But the journey visits me. In these days when I am pushed farther and farther into a corner, when the tree rings widen, when I need reading glasses. Many more things happen than we can carry. There is nothing to be astonished about."

I wish I'd read this volume back in late March or the month of April because I think it's meditations would have resonated more deeply with the experiences of the time. Consider a line such as "the deep that loves to invade humanity without showing its own face."

But I think I'm not in as heavy a mood right now.

View all my reviews

Proverbs and Ecclesiastes: A Theological Commentary

Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.(Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible)Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. by Amy Plantinga Pauw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been using this commentary while teaching a church Bible study on the Wisdom Books. This has been a very helpful guide, particularly in Ecclesiastes. Pauw brings to her commentary a rich theological understanding of the tradition, so that the ancient Hebrew work is in dialogue with Augustine, Luther, Kierkegaard, Barth, and Niebuhr, while also drawing insights from a wide set of references including the Epic of Gilgamesh, the poems of Wendell Berry, and the philosophy of Martha Nussbaum.

View all my reviews