The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

5 of 5 stars to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

2018 – Now my favorite book in the series.


2009 – 3 of 5 stars.

This was my first time on the Dawn Treader, and it was as fair a journey that I imagine I would like from fiction. I do mean that to sound positive.

I enjoyed the end the best, not because it the book was finished, but because the imaginative description of the place nearest Aslan’s land made me eager for heaven, whatever (and however much better) the non-fiction version will be like.

I was sad for both Lucy and Edmund that they would never return to Narnia. I was glad that Eustace changed for the better, even though it took seeing himself as a dragon. I always get excited (for the kids, you know) when Aslan shows up.

One Friend at a Time

“I can only handle one friend at a time.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that. Not all friendships are equal, not all require the same amount of attention or effort or time, but the nature of friendship does not limit anyone to only mono-friendship any more than the nature of a flower limits how many can make a bouquet.

My point is not about friendship, but about reading, and fiction especially. In the podcast I mentioned yesterday, the Admiral said he tries to only be reading two books at a time. I frequently hear people say that they can only handle reading one book at a time. It may be true for the moment, but also not necessary.

It is possible to increase your capacity to hold on to multiple story lines. I read two to four pages of The Pilgrim’s Progress to my kids during breakfast on Sunday mornings. I read one to two hours of The Fellowship of the Ring to Mo and the kids on Sunday afternoons (often with a Mariner’s game playing on the TV on mute). I was reading The Last of the Lost Boys some evenings for the kids (until we finished that a week ago). And I was plodding through Moby Dick on my own for 10 minutes a day while running on my treadmill.

I never confused Ishmael for Sam, or Sam (Miracle) for Sam (Gamgee) for that matter. I did not forget that Hopeful and Christian were not on a ship, or that Ahab’s journey was aimed away from the Celestial City.

Do you need to read more than one book at a time? No. Does each book require the same amount of attention and effort? Of course not. Can you hold on to a plethora of plots and characters at the same time? Maybe not as easily at first, but you definitely can increase your capacity if you want to and get to work.

12 Rules for Life

4 of 5 stars to 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

This book contains a lot of pointed, profitable counsel for people to take responsibility for themselves, especially since, not in spite of the fact that, we live in a world of suffering. It also references a lot of teaching from the Bible and biblical stories, though Peterson talks about it as if it could be a helpful framework but not as if it were actually true, and that all men must believe in God through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. I’m still thankful for the provocation to see, regardless of how ugly it might be, so that we might actually envision how to make (some) things better.

The Leader’s Bookshelf

I listened to this Art of Manliness podcast on The Leader’s Bookshelf. The host was interviewing Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (that really is some title) who had surveyed a number of generals and admirals to find out their recommendations for books on leadership and then written about the top 50 results.

Earlier this year my friend Jonathan recommended the episode to some school parents since their students were assigned to read Killer Angels, a historical fiction piece about the Civil War. In the top 50 there is a surprising amount of fiction and, less surprising, a lot of history. In the interview itself there are some easy tips for reading more, such as carrying/reading Kindle copies and using small segments of time rather than waiting for big blocks. The episode isn’t groundbreaking, but it is worth a listen for the reminders/encouragement.

Cognitive Productivity with macOS

4 of 5 stars to Cognitive Productivity with macOS: 7 Principles for Getting Smarter with Knowledge by Luc Beaudoin

We must process a lot of information, and this book provided some useful (cognitive) categories for sorting and prioritizing and reviewing knowledge using Apple products. I am thankful for the terms and for the many screencasts linked to in the book. I already use some of the apps he recommended and will be adding OmniOutliner and a flashcard app to my arsenal.