Novels every Christian should consider reading

I previously blogged about my contribution–a review of Huckleberry Finn–to a blog series that Justin Taylor is running on “novels every Christian should consider reading.”  I urge you to read the whole series, which includes different Christians’ take on classic novels like Tom Jones, entertaining reads like Patrick O’Brian’s sea sagas, and finds that I, for one, hadn’t heard of but am now anxious to read, like Mark Helprin’s Soldier of the Great War.

And now I turn the topic over to you.  What do you think are some novels every Christian should consider reading?

My take on “Huckleberry Finn”

Justin Taylor, the publisher at Crossway and a notable blogger, is running a series on “novels that every Christian should consider reading.”  He asked me to write about the great American novel that is Huckleberry Finn.  Mark Twain fan that I am, I was glad to do so. [Read more...]

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s annotated autobiography

I remember well our teacher reading to us fifth graders the novels of Laura Ingalls Wilders, which were based on the author’s childhood on the American frontier.  Her descriptions in The Long Winter of the blizzards, the isolation, and Pa surviving in a snow bank by eating oyster crackers still come to my mind whenever there’s a heavy snow.  The series of novels on her family’s moves all over the West are classics of children’s literature and masterful works of art by any standard.

Her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, which tells about  the actual experiences that the novels were based on, was published a few years ago.  In November, it is coming out in an annotated edition, which will spell out all of the connections to the novels, as well as specifying the differences between the novels and the reality.  The edition will also include a wealth of pictures and unpublished material from her diaries and notebooks. [Read more...]

Why they cancelled “Longmire”

One of my favorite TV shows has been Longmire, an extremely well-done mystery series centering around a modern-day sheriff on the high plains of Wyoming.  It’s critically-acclaimed and one of the A&E Networks’ top-rated shows.  So the network is cancelling it.  The reason why–even though it is said that we are in a new “Golden Age” of TV drama–tells us much about network TV.  And why TV funded by subscription rather than advertising, such as Netflix and HBO, is coming into its own. [Read more...]

Reading on Kindle vs. reading on paper

The London Guardian reports on a study of reading on a Kindle as compared to reading a traditional book.   Readers of the paper version performed significantly better when it came to reconstructing the chronological order of incidents in the plot.  The story cites another study that found 10th graders had significantly higher comprehension rates when they read the paper version, as opposed to a digitalized text.

Read the findings after the jump.  I then give my experience (which is rather different from what the study finds) and ask about yours.

[Read more...]

What a child with a classical education can do

Last summer I blogged about what I consider to be possibly the best book on classical education, Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child (Memoria Press).  It’s by Cheryl Swope, my fellow board member on the Consortium for Classical & Lutheran Education (whose conference is next week in St. Louis–join us!).  Cheryl tells about how she applied classical education in homeschooling her daughter Michelle, a special needs child who is afflicted with autism and a number of other heart-breaking mental problems.  Whereas progressive education, with its reductionistic view of human beings, would have just tried to program her with some basic survival skills and stop there, the humane, personal, inspiring approach of classical Christian education caused Michelle to blossom.  To bloom.   Not only was she achieving academic levels that her doctors thought were impossible for her, she was awakening to the realm of the true, the good, and the beautiful.  You have got to read Cheryl’s account of her daughter, who emerges, despite her continuing difficulties, as a complex, accomplished, and compelling young woman.

Anyway, Michelle–now 19–has now published a book of her poetry.  It will blow you away.  By any standards, the poems are extraordinarily meaningful and touching, filled with vivid imagery and lovely language.   To know Michelle’s background, though, is to appreciate her all the more and also to appreciate the potential of classical learning for shaping a young mind and a young heart.  But that’s not all.  Her poetry is profoundly Christian.  She writes about the Law & the Gospel, about experiencing the Sacraments and what they mean, about the Cross, about Jesus and what He did for her.  She shows just how deep catechesis in God’s Word can go, even in someone whom we might not expect.  After the jump, I will give you two of her poems, quoted with permission, along with a link so that you can buy the whole collection. [Read more...]


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