2 of 5 stars to Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
There used to be a short answer to the problem posed by Newport that he takes almost three hundred pages to answer. What should we do about all the time-wasting, social-media-hyped, internet-exacerbated problems in society? We need self-control. So all he really needed was a hyphen, not hyperventilation. Though I thought Deep Work was a smidgen too precious, this book is supersized precious. There’s very little fun, though there are occasional common sense reminders about the benefit of focus. The primary way Newport suggests getting better at social media is to avoid it. And it goes against something I wrote recently about carrying my own digital man purse. As I said in that post, I don’t love FB at all, but I wouldn’t recommend this book by Newport as the antidote, to FB, Twitter, email, or to a wealth of online opportunities which also carry some risks.
4 of 5 stars to Men and Marriage by George Gilder
Men and Marriage is both perfectly obvious and eerily prophetic, especially since it was published in 1986. Because Gilder doesn’t work from the Bible’s revelation, he can’t celebrate fatherhood as a reflection of the Father, and he misses the purposeful and powerful call to men to be fruitful. Gilder sees marriage as a good thing for men (and women), but mostly as women tame the barbarians. Nevertheless he painstakingly shows how ugly and dangerous and sick societies get when they don’t promote and protect the bond of one man with one woman in marriage with kids to come and care for.
5 of 5 stars to The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
This is some next level temptation insight. I don’t like demons, but I do like snark, so there is a lot to enjoy, even to learn from snarky Uncle Screwtape. Lewis is really good at nailing slippery sinful inner inclinations to the wall, and in this book he does so while also making our spiritual enemies look silly.
3 of 5 stars to The Aeneid by Virgil
2018 – Read the whole epic thing this time around for our Tenebras class. The gods do not agree, Turnus is mad, and watch out for Camilla.
2013 – Read much of this poem, but not all, this time through with the Omnibus class. Shows the power of story, and the power of art to tell a story, for providing purpose to a people’s culture.
No fiction writer could have imagined the following exchange I recently heard, and I’m thinking about making it my bio:
“Why do you want to keep a moldy Spice Girl?”
“Because that’s what I do.”
3 of 5 stars to Worldview Guide for the Aeneid by Louis Markos
Great introduction to the Aeneid especially if you know nothing about it, written from (and how the epic fits into) a Christian worldview.
5 of 5 stars to On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
I’m sure there was a day when I would not have enjoyed this book at all. TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY! I thought the names were playful and many of the footnotes were fun (I’ve always wondered how to make booger gruel) and I care about what happens to the Igibys. I’d start rereading it tomorrow if there weren’t three more books in the Saga.
3 of 5 stars to Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus / Antigone by Sophocles
Sometimes in Greek tragedy you lose, and sometimes you lose big. Spoiler: Oedipus loses BIG.
5 of 5 stars to The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
2019: I had to do it, I’m now giving 5 of 5 stars. I reread it because I’m talking about it at our upcoming Fiction Festival, and enjoyed it more than ever.
2018: (4 of 5 stars) There is one page in this book that is the worst. The rest of it creates the right kind of longing to fight, and if necessary die, for Aslan. There is a better home where we belong.
2010: Alright, again, I enjoyed the fiction. What is this world coming to?
Also, I choked up a couple times especially near the end.
3 of 5 stars to The Bacchae and Other Plays by Euripides
2015: We only read The Bacchae (not the “and Other Plays”) but I quite enjoyed it. My pleasure wasn’t in the idolatry, or the madness, or the savagery, but rather the opportunity to celebrate how the Triune God of the Bible is so much more glorious than Dionysius and how He provides true, everlasting joy. Our Lord gives rather than takes, He shares His glory rather than hoards it, He gives wine to gladden hearts rather than deaden hearts, and He forgives the repentant rather than punish all without mercy. This play also makes Lewis’ inclusion of Bacchus as a servant of Aslan in Prince Caspian no small coup.
2019: Read again for Omnibus Tenebras.