Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 2)

three parts dead

This is the second part of my interview with Max Gladstone, the author of Three Parts Dead. You can read part one of the Q&A here, and stay tuned for the review of his newest novel Two Serpents Rise tomorrow.   In Three Parts Dead, you reframed parts of our complicated financial system through a theological lens.  Is there any theological practice that your think the financial world should steal?  Are there any places where the financial world has appropriated priestly qualities … [Read more...]

Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 1)


On October 29th, Max Gladstone will release his second novel, Two Serpents Rise.  His first novel Three Parts Dead got him nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and also caused me to share a very enjoyable bookclub brunch with friends in DC.  Three Parts Dead, the first book in his Craft series, reframes some of the peculiarities of the modern, entangled economy in a fantastical and theologically rich world.    In his novels, the power of prayer is often regulated by … [Read more...]

Christianity in Three Books

three books

Rod Dreher has asked his readers, and the internet at large, what three books they would recommend to provide a basic familiarity with Christian theological ideas to someone with little background on the topic.  Here's the challenge as he laid it out. So, what’s your Religious Literacy 101 Reading List? To restate the rules: No more than three books on the list. List them in order of preference. Keep them restricted to a single religion (i.e., no volumes comparing the various major … [Read more...]

What ornate vestments you have, Father! All the better to…


Because my computer has shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, the Atheist round results from the Turing Test will probably run Friday or Saturday, once I've got a replacement. Over at Fare Forward, I've taken a crack at reviewing Gary Wills's book Why Priests? A Failed Tradition and, if you want a very quick glimpse of how I felt about it, here's how the review kicks off: The first priest that Garry Wills takes aim at isn’t a man in a … [Read more...]

Recommendations for the Lives of the Saints


I've just finished reading Sigrid Undset's life of Catherine of Siena, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that most of my knowledge of the lives of the Saints comes from Wikipedia.  Admittedly, Catherine was no less terrifying at book length than in a short article, but sitting down with Undset's book helped me take her in a bit more in toto, instead of as a timeline of miraculous acts and grotesque suffering. But I haven't read many other hagiographies.  I've read G.K. Chesterton's … [Read more...]

The Strain of Pride


I've read most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, but I'd never gotten around to his Tiffany Aching series til this month.  These books are pitched as more for children than the main Discworld sequence (which doesn't explain why my local library stored them, in order, in YA Fiction, Adult SF, YA Fiction again, and finally the Children's section). I'd say they're enjoyable, but not as much so as the main books (try Witches Abroad, instead, which I've just gotten onto my gentleman … [Read more...]

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Atonement?


Eve Tushnet visited “Atonement: Stories About Confession, Redemption and Making Amends” (a night of true stories told/performed in preparation for the High Holy Days) and she found that the stories touched on regret and error, but rarely on atonement and penance. I wonder if atonement is especially hard to talk about–harder than sin, rationalization, or realization of wrongdoing. I’m doing this series on portrayals of penitence and it’s easier to find examples of artworks which … [Read more...]