Book Review: Home

Home by Marilynne Robinson

Home: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson (New York: Picador, 2008. 336 pp) Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, Marilynne Robinson earned her B.A. at Pembroke College and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. She currently teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has received numerous awards, notably the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize, and a National Humanities Medal. True to Identity Marilynne Robinson gets all the props. In her small, fictitious town of Gilead, Robinson conjures the truth of humanity in all its frailty and detail. When considering a story, plot often represents the easy portion. A death propels the protagonist toward the end… Read More →

Book Review: Moral Man & Immoral Society

Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr

Moral Man & Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics by Reinhold Niebuhr (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001; originally published in 1932. 288 pp) Reinhold Niebuhr was a theologian, ethicist, and professor at Union Theological Seminary. Niebuhr attended Elmhurst College, Eden Theological Seminary, and Yale Divinity School. His views have influence countless leaders including Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, and Madeleine Albright. In 1964, Niebuhr earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in 1971. Looking Back Review the 20th Century and you’ll find plenty to criticize. World wars. Genocide. Massive technological advances. For every slice of progress, it seems there’s an equal and opposite setback. Two steps forward. Two steps backward. With the benefit of hindsight,… Read More →

Book Review: Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist: A Novel by Sunil Yapa (New York: Lee Boudreaux Books, 2016. 320 pp) Sunil Yapa is a Sri Lankan American author. He holds a BA in economic geography from Penn State University and an MFA in Fiction from Hunter College, where he was awarded the Alumni Scholarship & Welfare Fund Fellowship and was twice selected as a Hertog Fellow. He is the recipient of the 2010 Asian American Short Story Award and has received scholarships from The New York State Summer Writers’ Institute, The Norman Mailer Writers’ Center and The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Yapa’s writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Margins, Hyphen Magazine, The Tottenville Review, and… Read More →

Book Review: The Children’s Hospital

The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian

The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian (San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2006. 615 pp) Chris Adrian is the author of Gob’s Grief, The Children’s Hospital, and The Great Night. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Florida and an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School. He completed a pediatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco, studied at Harvard Divinity School, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Enough Already No matter your origin, chances are you’ve encountered a flood story. Judeo-Chrisian households have Noah’s ark, but that’s not the only world-destruction narrative. Despite the myriad of… Read More →

Book Review: The Making of the Zombie Wars

The Making of the Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon

The Making of the Zombie Wars: A Novel by Aleksandar Hemon (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015. 320 pp) Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; The Book of My Lives, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and three other works of fiction, including Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. He lives in Chicago. Enough Already The world has no need for more zombie stories. Luckily, Aleksandar Hemon’s latest novel, despite its title, is not about zombies. The Making… Read More →

Book Review: In Other Words

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri; translated by Ann Goldstein (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 256 pp) Born in London to Bengali immigrants, Jhumpa Lahiri moved to the United States at the young age of 3. Her first published work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. In 2007, Hollywood adapted The Namesake into a feature film.  A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Lahiri is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Ann Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker. She has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Primo Levi, Giacomo Leopardi, and Allesandro Baricco, and is the editor of The Complete Works of Primo Levi in English…. Read More →

Book Review: The Accidental Executive

The Accidental Executive by Al Erisman

The Accidental Executive: Lessons on Business, Faith, and Calling from the Life of Joseph by Albert M. Erisman (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2015. 202 pp) Albert M. Erisman is executive in residence and past director for the Center for Integrity in Business in the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. Since 2011, he has been co-teaching classes on workplace theology and ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is cofounder and executive editors of Ethix magazine, coauthor of several books in technology and mathematics, and co-chair of the Theology of Work Project. He was Director of Technology at the Boeing Company when he retired in 2001 after a career of thirty-two years. My Reading Policy As a policy,… Read More →

Book Review: The Prague Cemetery

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

The Prague Cemetery: A Novel by Umberto Eco; translated by Richard Dixon (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. 464 pp) Umberto Eco was born January 5, 1932 and is a Knight Grand Cross of the Italian Republic. He was the founder of the Dipartimento di Comunicazione at the University of San Marino, an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College at the University of Oxford, and is best known for his novels The Name of the Rose and The Prague Cemetery. He was also President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici at the University of Bologna, and a member of the Accademia dei Lincei. In addition to fiction, he has also written both academic texts on literary theory and children’s books…. Read More →

Book Review: Art in Action

Art in Action by Nicholas Wolterstorff

Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980. 250 pp) Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School. He has also taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. He has received numerous fellowships and serves on the editorial boards for Faith and Philosophy, Topics in Philosophy, and is the general editor for the Supplementary Textbook Project of the Christian College Coalition. In Pursuit of Art One of my most favorite classes as an undergrad explored the philosophy of art. Why do we pursue art? What constitutes a work of art compared to just work? How… Read More →

Book Review: The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker (New York: Random House, 2012. 278 pp) Karen Thompson Walker was born in San Diego, California. She studied English and creative writing at UCLA and earned her MFA from Columbia University. While writing The Age of Miracles, Walker worked as a book editor for Simon & Schuster. Walker earned the 2011 Sirenland Fellowship and the Bomb Magazine fiction prize. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. The Age of Youth Those early teens years are a trying time. Your leash extends and your parents no longer peer over your shoulder. Physiological and sociological changes force confrontation of new circumstances daily. It’s a time of identity. Friends come and go and… Read More →