Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rednecks redacted

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War by Joe Bageant

I found this book completely by accident. I was looking for Paul Fussell's Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, which had been discussed on the Basement Tape on "class". Fussell wasn't there, but this book was, and it looked interesting. It's a review of right-wing working-class white American (i.e. redneck) culture, written by a liberal for liberals, presumably so they can better understand their fellow countrymen. An excellent summary of the ideas in the book is in Bageant's article, "Why rednecks may rule the world."

Most of the book is about redneck poverty: many have unrealistic mortgages weighing them down, and many have to contend with enormous medical bills. But the most interesting chapters are the ones about guns and religion - which form, of course, the inspiration for the book's title. Unfortunately, Bageant lumps together premillennialists and reconstructionists, dismissing the differences with an airy "I will spare you the agony of fundamentalist taxonomy." But he makes an amazing claim about R. J. Rushdoony: if the United States experiences a fourth "Great Awakening", historians may one day document it as beginning in 1973 with the publication of The Institutes of Biblical Law.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Kara's Reading Goals for 2012

Here are twelve books which I hope to read this year.

Two books outside my comfort zone:

The Elements by Theodore Gray

The Histories by Herodotus (or something else about ancient history)

Two memoirs:

An American Childhood by Annie Dillard Finished in May

Finding God Beyond Harvard by Kelly Monroe Kullberg Finished in January

Two books about parenting:

To Train Up a Child
by Michael and Debi Pearl Finished in February

Instructing a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp

Two books out of curiosity:

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

My brother-in-law, and now my sister, keep talking about this! Finished in February

God So Loved the World by Elizabeth Goudge Gave up!
Maybe this will help me understand her theology.

Two books by Wilsons:

Mother Kirk by Douglas Wilson Finished

Notes from the Tilt-a Whirl by N.D. Wilson
Finished in January

Two lonely books in need of a mate:

Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon Gave up.

The Green Earth by Luci Shaw Finished

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 In Books (Kara's List)

These are the books I read this year, with occasional comments in italics.

Brave New Family by G. K. Chesterton

Three Men on the Bummel by J.K. Jerome
I didn't find this as funny as Three Men in a Boat. But it was pleasantly diverting.

Maggie's Harvest by Maggie Beer

Why Johnny Can't Preach by T. David Gordon

Untune the Sky: Occasional Stammering Verse by Douglas Wilson

Jeeves in the Offing by P.G. Wodehouse

Finding God at Harvard, ed. by Kelly Monroe

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

There is a lot to be said about the things one sees down at the creek, evidently. As I read this, I began to see the outdoors in a different way. Highly recommended!

Better Birth by Lareen Newman and Heather Hancock

Four Faultless Felons by G. K. Chesterton

Redwall by Brian Jacques

I read this when I was feeling a bit sick during early pregnancy. A fun story, with short chapters.

What to Expect When You're Expecting

The New Experience of Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
I liked her emphasis on joy.

Multiple Blessings by Jon and Kate Gosselin

The Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

The middle book in "The Eliots of Damerosehay" series, and the best. Also known as "The Herb of Grace".

I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy

A silly historical romance, part of the Scarlet Pimpernel series.

To a Thousand Generations by Douglas Wilson

I found this a very helpful explanation of infant baptism. It's written with a Baptist audience in mind. I came away remembering that baptism is more about God than me.

The Case for Covenant Communion, ed. by Gregg Strawbridge

A mixed bag of essays in favour of paedocommunion. The most helpful one for me was an exposition of I Corinthians 11:28 by Jeff Myers. I'd recommend that, even to people not interested in the larger subject of the book.

Jamie's America by Jamie Oliver

An English chef travels through the U.S. in search of new recipes.

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Julia Eccleshare

Edith Head by Jay Jorgenson

Appallingly edited bio of the costume designer.

The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge

The first book in "The Eliots of Damerosehay" series.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Maybe I should have read this as a child. As it is, I found Toad completely annoying.

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

I found this so helpful that I'm re-reading it. Maybe a review will follow.

In Xanadu by William Dalrymple

This sort of travel is fun to read about, but not the sort I'd attempt myself. Sneaking into Communist China sounds a bit too risky to me! The author retraced the steps of Marco Polo, in the 1990's.

The Water Birth Book by Janet Balaskas

Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize

Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge

Goudge has her ups and downs, but this is the first time she's made me mad. The first half of the book is a lovely tale with wonderful, humorous characterization of small children. Then suddenly we find that all the plot tension is the result of voodoo. Why?! It was completely unnecessary. This isn't the only thing--one of her characters, an Anglican priest, tells his young relatives that they are free to believe in the "old gods". (Pan, etc.) He would like to, but can't because of his position. Bad advice!

The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge

The last book of "The Eliots of Damerosehay" series.

Supper of the Lamb by Rober Farrar Capon

The Road to Yesterday by L.M. Montgomery

Greenmantle by John Buchan

The Moon by Night by Madeleine L'Engle

Eggs, Beans, Crumpets by P.G. Wodehouse

A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle

Not recommended.

The Waiting Place by Eileen Button

Operation Black Fang by Jake MacKenzie

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

The Baptized Body by Peter Leithart

I particularly liked the essay in the appendix, "The Sociology of Baptism".

The Titian Committee by Iain Pears

Biggles of 266 by Capt. W.E. Johns

The first Biggles I've read. This is one time my little brother is ahead of me!

Realms of Gold by Leland Ryken

A discussion of classic literature which rehashes arguments which are made much better elsewhere, such as Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories". However, it does contain a provocative chapter on what a Christian classic is.

What to Expect: The First Year

The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena: The Secret World of Optical, Atmospheric and Celestial Wonders

I really enjoyed reading about things like lunar eclipses, superior mirages and will o'the wisps.

20 books John plans to read in 2012

I wrote similar lists in 2010 and 2011, although last year I managed only twelve books on my list. The Ink Slinger and Money-Saving Mom also have good lists.

Four novels:
A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge 3rd June - 22nd August

Kara really likes Goudge, and recently re-read this novel. I really enjoyed the excerpts she read to me. 

Joy in the Morning by P. G. Wodehouse 6th - 17th February

This is one of the fifteen Jeeves books in the Wodehouse canon, and will be the ninth one I've read. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of many books on my shelves that I've been meaning to read for ages. 

War in Heaven by Charles Williams 26th October - 20th November

Along with Lewis and Tolkien, Williams was one of the so-called Inklings, but his work hasn't achieved the fame of some of his colleagues. 

Four books of theology or Biblical studies: 

Literary Criticism of the Old Testament by Norman Habel 2nd - 21st January

It's my opinion that the recent trend of literary approaches to the Old Testament has been generally helpful. This is an older book, however, and still caught up in source criticism. 

Religion and Empire: People, Power, and the Life of the Spirit by Richard A. Horsley 29th May - 4th June

This isn't quite a biblical studies book - instead, it looks at an issue that forms an important part of the historical and cultural background of the New Testament: imperial religion. The early Christians understood that Caesar's claim to be Lord was a religious one, and incompatible with Jesus' lordship. 

The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher 8th January - 27th May

This book was controversial in its day, and has become a classic in reformed theology. 

The Structure of Matthew's Gospel: A Study in Literary Design by David R. Bauer 30th January - 9th March

I have been preaching through Matthew off and on for the past three years, and have got up to Matthew 15. For a long time I've been interested in the structure of Matthew's gospel, particularly whether it can be regarded as a covenant document. It doesn't seem to address the issue directly, but maybe this book can help me think through this. 

Four books to help me in my work as a pastor:

Comfort those who grieve: Ministering God's grace in times of loss by Paul Tautges 20th August - 11th September

This will be the fourth book I will have read in the Ministering the Master's Way series. The last one was on handling a new call. 

Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy 26th March - 10th June

I think that Goldsworthy's Gospel and Kingdom is a modern classic, and I am in fundamental agreement with his approach to the Old Testament. This looks like it will be a helpful book. 

Tell it Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers by Eugene Peterson 21st October - 20th November

This is the fourth volume in Peterson's "spiritual theology" series. I read the first two, and skipped the third. They don't seem quite as good as his books on pastoral theology, but Peterson is usually insightful. 

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry by John Piper 22nd January - 24th February

My friend Mark Smith reviewed this book several years ago, but I never got around to reading it myself. 

Four more Christian books:

Literary Companion to the Festivals by Mark Pryce 2nd January - 16th December

This book mostly contains hymns and poems by great saints of old, arranged according the day of their commemoration. It starts tomorrow with Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, and his "Hymn to God". 

The Consolations of Imperfection: Learning to Appreciate Life's Limitations by Donald McCullough 21st July - 22nd August

This book is all about human limitations. Sounds like it might contain some lively wisdom. 

So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin 27th January - 8th March

This book has received ridiculously polarised reviews on Amazon. I wonder what the fuss is all about. 

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber 12th March - 15th April
Kara reviewed this book after receiving a copy through Booksneeze, and my brother Tony has also read it. 

Four other books: 

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon 25th May - 30th June

This is another book that Kara has already read, and thoroughly enjoyed. 

The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena: The Secret World of Optical, Atmospheric and Celestial Wonders Commenced 9th November

This will come in handy when we teach Galilee natural history. 

Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign by Stephen Talty 24th September - 17th December


At Large and At Small: Confessions of a Literary Hedonist by Anne Fadiman 4th - 25th May

I loved this author's book Ex Libris, which I read several years ago. This volume looks fun as well.