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Recent Reviews

  1. Silence is the most well-known novel by Japanese writer Shūsaku Endō. As a Catholic, Endō tells the story of Portuguese missionaries, on a mission to Japan during the time of persecution. Fathers Rodrigues and Garrpe have gone to Japan to find out if Japanese Christians still exist, to convert new believers, and to learn what has happened to Father Ferreira, a well-known priest who is said to have apostastized and has disappeared. Endō’s novel attacks questions of faith, trust, and manages to show a deep personal conflict in the life of Father Rodrigues. Read on for more (some spoilers): Continue reading »

  2. When I first read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek nearly five years ago, I was struck by how Annie Dillard wrote about the natural world with such a powerful voice, seeing creeks as if they held the secret to life. Her trademark has always been a wonder at the natural world that catches you up in “seeing with a sense of urgency, as if when you blink the entire elaborate picture will have vanished” (Read my review of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek). Teaching a Stone to Talk is a book that doesn’t change her core focuses, yet feels incredibly different from Pilgrim. Read on for more: Continue reading »

  3. Anthony Marra’s first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is so full of twists that it’s a difficult story to pin down. How many other novelists have written a novel that is about wartime Chechnya, jumps through twenty years of time, and features seven or eight main characters? Not too many that I have seen. Marra’s strange blend of omniscient storytelling and chronological looseness plays with a beautiful writing style and makes A Constellation of Vital Phenomena one of the best books I have read this year. Continue reading »

  4. I picked up At the Back of the North Wind at Half Price Books for 3 reasons: 1) It’s George MacDonald 2) Andrew Peterson’s house is named after this book (North Wind Manor), and 3) the book is simply gorgeous in the Everyman’s Classics edition. Those are reasons of varying solidity, but here are my reasons for why you also should pick up this book. Read on for more: Continue reading »

  5. It’s time for another update on the ItB New Year’s Reading Challenge. Modeled after Tim Challies’ challenge, the idea is to read a certain number of books over the entire year. We had several options to choose from: The “Normal” Reader, the “Fast” Reader, and the “Insane” Reader. Here’s an update on how the “Fast” tier has been working out for me: Continue reading »

  6. C.S. Lewis never ceases to amaze. Not only did the man write a well-known fantasy series, a superb (and under-appreciated) sci-fi trilogy, and multiple theological fiction books (Till We Have Faces, The Great Divorce), he also wrote some fantastic, straight-up theology. The Four Loves is everything you would expect from a Lewis book: it’s personal and warm, direct and unassuming even as it tackles huge topics and arguments, and even entertaining as Lewis walks us through human and divine love in his own trademark style. There’s a lot to, erm, love about this book. Continue reading »

  7. It’s really hard to pick up a story that’s been dead for months and try to breathe life into it. I read over the twenty or so pages that are on paper so far, and that helped me a little bit to remember where I’m going with “All Right.” I also had my trusty outline, which has continued to be really helpful (All Right is the first story I’ve ever made a master outline for). But as I sat down this week to write, looking at the blank page was overwhelming. The story still felt dead. Continue reading »

  8. When he was nine-years-old, Matthew Gallatin experienced God. He grew up in a Christian family, so he always knew of God. However, it was on that day that he truly experienced God. The rest of his life would be spent figuring out how to respond to it.

    Continue reading »

  9. I have an unsurprising admission of failure for you: I haven’t been writing. Not for a few months at least. It’s why Writing Life was so sporadic over the summer — there just hasn’t been any writing to have a life about. It’s ok, months (years?) like that crop up; but as a writer, how can we combat them? Read on for more: Continue reading »