About Inez Tan

Inez Tan majored in English at Williams College and is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. She works with the Augustine Collective (http://www.augustinecollective.org), a student-led movement of Christian journals on college campuses.

That Is Very Christian of You

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My favorite character on The Big Bang Theory is Sheldon. How to summarize seven seasons of him? He’s a theoretical physicist at Cal-Tech who holds four graduate degrees and started college at age eleven. Spock is one of his heroes. He has trouble detecting sarcasm but has made progress in employing it. He drives the other characters crazy with his arrogance, fussiness, and compulsive need for routine, even though they concede that they probably wouldn’t all be such good friends without … [Read more...]

The Empathy Exams

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  Leslie Jamison’s essays in The Empathy Exams ask – and begin to answer – an array of important questions about pain, healing, and empathy. To list just a few: When does empathy actually reinforce the pain it wants to console? Can pain be actual and constructed at the same time? And how do we represent female pain without producing a culture in which this pain has been fetishized to the point of fantasy or imperative? Jamison frames her writing as “a search for … [Read more...]

When My Brother Was an Aztec

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  The title poem of Natalie Diaz’s first collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, introduces the book’s biggest subject: her eldest brother’s meth addiction and its impact on the family. “He lived in our basement and sacrificed my parents/every morning,” writes Diaz. “Neighbors were amazed my parents’ hearts kept/growing back – It said a lot about my parents, or parents’ hearts.” While some of Diaz’s poems confront their subjects straightforwardly, it’s her … [Read more...]

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

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  Paul Bogard’s The End of Night has as much to say about the night sky as it does about the people who live under it. In his search for the last of our nation’s natural darkness, Bogard makes room for everyone from the president of the unlikely Las Vegas Astronomical Society to a woman who, visiting a dark rural area for the first time, exclaimed, “What are all those white dots in the sky?” The sorry truth is that most of us are scarcely more aware of the night. Light … [Read more...]

Five Books to Read in College

This is a list of five amazing books. They come representing five noble genres: the novel, the memoir, poetry, the short story, and the essay. How good are they? This good: as I read, I often had to pause, put the book down, breathe or sigh or shake, and look around to see if the world was still there. It was – but each time, the way I viewed it had changed. This list is particular, not comprehensive. I did not assemble it from other people’s recommendations, I did not poll anybody; … [Read more...]

The Miniature Wife

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  The Miniature Wife, Manuel Gonzales’ debut collection of short stories, begins with a line by W.B. Yeats: “Things fall apart.” Those three words are a fitting introduction to the eighteen stories that follow, in which a plane is hijacked, a soldier is beset by swamp monsters and robots, and zombies descend on a mall. Whether you want to classify these stories as magical realist, speculative, or genre fiction, they certainly give us the pleasures of traversing well-worn ground … [Read more...]

Disappearing Bodies

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  Many atheists and agnostics hold that they would believe in God if he would only show himself to them. After all, why couldn’t he, if he is all-powerful? Why wouldn’t he, if he is kind and loving, and if he really wants people to believe in him as much as he says he does? In response, Christians point to God’s incarnation as Jesus Christ, a man who lived on the earth just as we do. The people who lived in Christ’s time walked with him, ate with him, and touched his scarred … [Read more...]


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