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Monday, October 13, 2008

reading, lately

One of the biggest stings of leaving the "Greater Prague Area" community was losing touch with my deep and fruitful pool of interesting readers. Thankfully, there are interesting readers all over the world, including little Auburn, California. Here's some of the books they've given me lately.

Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf
I tried to read this without an Aaron Williams or a resistant C.A. team to keep me on track and gave up quickly. Somehow I found three other guys who wanted to pick this one up and are good filters. This is a very difficult read, but is has lived up to the acclaim so far.

Watchmen by Alan Moore
So it was the chance to hear a lecture about this well-regarded graphic novel (by the graphic novelist who wrote V for Vendetta) at a L'Abri conference that got me interested, and then seeing this movie trailer sealed the deal. This is a comic book for the literati and for people who think books need more pictures, and it's a more interesting way to see how the fall of modernism and the postmodern connundrum can be discussed than from reading wikipedia. Plus, the blue guy is naked all the time.

The Shack by William P. Young
I don't really get the controversy on this one. Again, this novel is a more entertaining distillation of a broad swath of theological meditations. Some of the metaphors are initially surprising, but a few turns of the pages lets us know that surprise is a critical part of our encounter with God. This book is not the Bible, but not since Rick Joyner's The Final Quest has a work of theologically-driven fiction struck a deeper chord in my heart. I already understand why people have been grateful for this one.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Long after its fifteen minutes of fame have passed, I finally read Life of Pi. If you haven't read it, read it for the first section---when he's growing up in India---which is one delightful scene after another. The ocean crossing is the heart of the story, but becomes tedious towards the end. And---spolier!---the epiphany at the end both satisfied and disappointed me. While I fully agree that telling the story of life is "a better story" when God is behind and at the center of everything, by the end of Pi's interview we are left to believe that the incredible story of a boy and a tiger is just an aesthetically superior interpretation of very different events. That, according to Pi, faith may be compelling and satisfying, but it is a leap from reality.


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