Tuesday, 25 July 2017
twenty-seven word reviews of books read since March
Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon. Liked incursion of Nigerian folktale into Lagos-set SF; wanted to like more; found ‘putdownable’; polyphonic, magic-realist approach versus narrative drive, perhaps. Keen to read more by author.
C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Theologically, philosophically well-grounded ‘core Christianity’ explication in clear-sighted, plain prose. Helps me recommit. Good. BUT race, gender, LGBT attitudes range from dated through jaw-dropping to WTF. Hmmm.
Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage: Facing The Complexities of Marriage with the Wisdom of God. Sane, non-liberal (e.g. "headship") Christian thought and insight re-presented in full awareness of today’s context (so no WTF moments). Not scintillating but pragmatic. Religion speaks to culture.
H.G. Wells’ Ann Veronica. Ann, adrift in London, stalked, mistaken for a prostitute, in same existential predicament as Wells’ Time Traveller in 802,701. Clammy horror good but quasi-Nietzschean sexual politics bad.
Karl-Ove Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (tr. Don Bartlett). Had to get around to; compulsory (for a certain middle-aged male ‘literary’ demographic). Boring and intensely absorbing by turns (like life – good mimesis). Alcoholism, girls, father-son stuff.
John Gottman & Joan DeClaire’s Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting. Useful if working with families (or in one); categorisation of parenting styles as dismissing, emotion-coaching etc. is illuminating without being – as with some parenting texts - reductive.
Mark O’Connell’s To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death. Literary sensibilities and experience of fatherhood inform author’s (i) researches into transhumanism (ii) road trip across America with Zoltan Istvar, running for President in a coffin-shaped bus.
Alex Evans’ The Myth Gap: What Happens when Evidence and Arguments aren’t Enough?. We must reconnect with our various religious/ cultural myths, esp. atonement, coming of age, to reach both inwards and outwards on climate. Mindfulness is non-trivial. Brief, recommended.