4 of 5 stars to Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
Like the first book in the series, Steal Like an Artist, this book is short, delightful, and challenging. The following quote from Alain de Botton is a great summary of Kleon’s message”
“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”
4 of 5 stars to Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
This is a small book, easy and enjoyable to read, with good reminders to keep looking and learning. I laughed at the following quote, used it in a talk already, and think it’s a good summary of the benefit of Kleon’s book. As the French author André Gide wrote,
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
5 of 5 stars to North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
Book #2 in the Wingfeather Saga was no let down, though it’s not quite as light a story as #1. The plot surprised me multiple times all the way to the end. At a few points in the middle of the book I’ll admit I was irritated, but in good ways, because I wanted to know what’s going to happen? but also knew that certain events meant that answers were even farther away. Excited to start #3 soon.
4 of 5 stars to Roaring Lambs: A Gentle Plan to Radically Change Your World by Robert Briner
A friend recommended this book to me a few months ago and it really was worthwhile. It was first published in 1993, so there are more chapters that could be added now, but I appreciated Briner’s encouragement for Christians to get out of boycotting and grumbling and into screenwriting (for movies and TV) as well as into journalism and other writing endeavors, along with visual arts and higher education. The biggest weakness, in my opinion, is that Briner doesn’t root his exhortations in the deep soil of God’s sovereignty over all the world, such as a Kuyperian would do. And I disagree with Briner that all of this is the church’s job to manage, though the church should be equipping and encouraging Christian disciples to work, which, I agree with him, the church has not done well. As he said early in the book, “Almost nothing in my church or collegiate experiences presented possibilities for a dynamic, involved Christian life outside the professional ministry.” That’s a need that this book seeks to tackle.
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.