The Fish-Eat-Fish World of CBS’s “Under the Dome”

Third fisherman: Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.First fisherman: Why, as men do aland: the great ones eat up the little ones. William Shakespeare, Pericles 2.1.27-29When I'm teaching ancient literature, one of the most frequently repeated patterns I encounter is the love of law and civilization.  Whether it be in a mythical work like Gilgamesh, a legal text like the Law Code of Hammurabi, or a religious text like the Bible itself, one need not look far to find praise of … [Read more...]

Why ‘Farm Lit’ Is the Best

Last weekend I moved just outside city limits, to 2.3 acres of Indiana farmland. On summer break from our teaching jobs at the university, my husband and I have been busy attending to our new brood of chickens, constructing large compost bins, and harvesting mulberries. Perhaps this helps explain why I’ve been drawn to memoirs of city-girls-gone-country—books like The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Katie Kimball. But as it turns out, the rest of the country shares my fascination with f … [Read more...]

Living the Gatsby Life

Were I filthy rich and not a Christian, I would definitely pattern my life after the culture of The Great Gatsby. Go ahead and judge me, I know it’s shallow. Lavish carousals, debonair fashion, flashy cars, imposing rococo, orange-dyed poodles -- bring it on. I’ll sometimes entertain this delusion for a few seconds, recall the commitment I made to die to the world and live to Christ, and move on. I’ve read The Great Gatsby twice, and my wife and I recently saw the new Luhrmann movie (well done, … [Read more...]

Podcast #120: Gatsby, The New Wave Of Complementarianism, and Bangladesh

Click here to listen!This week, editor-in-chief Richard Clark, associate editor Ben Bartlett and writer Lauren Rambo (As well as Lauren's husband Tye) take time to explore the issues surrounding the "New Wave of Complementarianism", the events surrounding Bangladesh and the modern rendition of The Great Gatsby.We love feedback. If you’d like to respond, you can comment on the Web site or send an e-mail to We’re also on Twitter and Facebook. We would love to … [Read more...]

Once upon a Time and the Redemption of Fairy Tales

On Sunday, ABC aired the second-season finale of its popular series Once upon a Time, with a third season confirmed for Fall 2013.  Capitalizing on the recent vogue for updated fairy tale treatments, Once upon a Time is set in the quaint town of Storybrooke, Maine, a town with a curious secret: it is populated by residents of other fantastic realms who were transplanted into our world as part of a curse by the wicked queen, who rules the town as the ruthless Mayor Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla).  S … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Re-reading Gatsby (Careless People and Beautiful Little Fools)

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I re-read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby this week in anticipation of seeing the new Baz Luhrmann film. The last time I read the book, I was 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, and I didn’t much care for the American classic. Reading the text again and seeing the film changed my opinion -- not because the essentials of Fitzgerald’s story have change … [Read more...]

The Revolting and Honest World of The Great Gatsby

Recently I bought a copy of The Great Gatsby at a thrift store. I found it, with a smeared strip of masking tape marring the front cover, for a mere $3. This fit nicely into the vow of simplicity my family and I recently undertook when we joined a Christian order among the poor. You see, we have been trying hard to untangle ourselves from all that has brought us meaning and distraction before. We are trying to eat more vegetables, take long walks on the cracked sidewalk, write our thoughts into p … [Read more...]

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

If you haven’t yet read Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (Little, Brown and Company 2012; out in paperback this month) it will likely be your favorite beach read this summer, so I won’t give away the ending.  It’s the beautiful and hilarious story of 15 year old Bee Branch’s attempt to understand what happened when her mother disappeared without warning on the day before they were set to leave for an Antarctic vacation. A modern epistolary novel, the book is Bee’s organization of the p … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Dreher Responds to Our Review of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

Not to play a game of blogger's call and response, but over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher interacts thoughtfully with my review of his book, explaining more about the way he views church and sainthood. … [Read more...]

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Lesson in Community

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun, died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.  She lived what she called a “little” life. But because of the influence of her memoir, “The Story of a Soul,”  Thérèse quickly became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century. Canonized in 1925,  Thérèse inspired thousands to follow her “little way” of commitment to love the tasks and people we meet in everyday life. It’s no wonder, then, that Rod Dreher refers obliquely to St. Thérèse in the … [Read more...]