Friday, February 29, 2008

February's Farewell to Feckless Furrowed Foreheads

February of 2008 was longer by one day than is typical for this the shortest month. I doubt that's the reason, but for whatever reason, I was able to enjoy quite a few great books this month.

Grendel-John Gardner

This retelling of Beowulf from the monster's perspective is something that I had read about 10 years ago. Yes, it was because I had read an interview with Jeremy Enigk where it was stated that this book was the inspiration for the eponymous song title. No, that does not mean it wasn't worth reading. It was great. The more I grasp our connection to the classics the more I can see how one's attempt to interact with them by considering them in light of our modern society can produce harmony and dissonance at the same time.

Leepike Ridge- N.D. Wilson

N.D. Wilson first captivated my heart with his wonderful smashing of the fictitious heresy that is fictionalized in the drivel referred to as "Left Behind". His book, "Right Behind", is definitely a funny read. I had heard that this man, who was born in the same year as me, has now moved on to work that is less derivative and parody-based, and now more fantasy-focused. To analyze things from a "worldly" perspective, his publisher is Random House! This definitely piqued my interest, so I bought Leepike Ridge. It is a rich, imaginative book that is good for arousing awe and terror in a young child. Jonathan Xavier enjoyed it, and I did too!

100 Cupboards-N.D. Wilson

This second book by N.D. Wilson was released around Christmas of 2007, and is the first of a series. This first novel set an exciting stage for a somewhat confusing and terrifying world of parallel worlds. Also great for parents and children to read together. I can only hope that this series blossoms into something special--it definitely seems like that may happen. We'll have to wait for the second installment due out in 2008.

The Man Who Was Thursday-G.K. Chesterton

This is one of my hero Gilbert Keith's most famous novels. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It tells the tale of an anarchist society that wants to stand for nothing and yet realizes its own dogma that is the basis for its opposition to dogma. The conflict that occurs as the members of the society realize that there are moles who have infiltrated is fascinating, and as always with Chesterton, true to this day. I must listen to Orson Welles' rendition of it.

Heretics-GK Chesterton

This book, which was written prior to Orthodoxy, is a great collection of thoughts on people and notions common in Chesterton's day. I found myself stopping to reread or e-mail or call people, for his ideas should be relished by all. There are so many great thoughts that resonate with my own, whether it be in the realm of science, family, government, theology, or beer. I will definitely read this one again, as I have vowed with practically everything of his that I have read.

Manalive-G.K. Chesterton

I put this novel last on the list of books by Chesterton that I read this month, though I read it prior to reading Heretics. I do so because this book is the cream of the crop. The paradox of serious whimsy is breathed to life by Chesterton's pen, as a man named Innocent Smith flies into the lives of prosaic people. The change that ensues shows the often violent truth that we live in a stagnation which must be stirred, and ended for good. I want to be like the man portrayed in that book. Make sure I am on the road to such greatness, will you please?

Science and Grace-Tim Morris and Don Petcher

This last book was one that I'd blogged about quite some time ago. I wanted to read it, so I checked it out from a library and found the general idea of how as a Christian in science one should feel great awe to discover the secrets of the universe. It is true to form in that it doesn't look at things from the standard question of "Oh golly, what should I do about a professor who is not a believer?" and "In how many minutes did God create each individual species?" But at the same time the book is more for those who are contemplating a life in science, for those who haven't yet thought about the philosophy of science. Where they wrote to me, I read closely and agreed mostly. Where they were laying down the basics, I was a bit bored. But that's probably because the sources they were citing were often ones that I had read on a primary level.

So February is gone and I am fearful about March. I don't think I'll be able to beat this month, but we'll see!

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