Book reviews

The Gorgeous Curiosity of Mary Oliver

Eighty-one-year-old Mary Oliver is widely acclaimed for her wise, lyrical poetry that presents life as a spiritual pilgrimage. Her latest book, a collection of essays, celebrates nature and literature as sources of hope, and points to the power of quiet acts such as taking a slow walk in the woods or spending hours with a… Continue reading The Gorgeous Curiosity of Mary Oliver

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Through Ambition’s Tunnel

AMBITION: Essays by Members of The Chrysostom Society edited by Luci Shaw and Jeanne Murray Walker (Cascade Books, 2016). Review originally published in Christian Courier in July 2016. I happened to revisit Doris Lessing’s ambition-themed short story “Through the Tunnel” around the time I read Ambition, so it hovered over my experience of the book. Lessing’s story… Continue reading Through Ambition’s Tunnel

Book reviews, Uncategorized

On Austen’s Novel of Re(dis)covery

Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a subtle, small-scale novel compared to her other five classic works. The cast of characters is slimmer and there are fewer humorous moments. The heroine, 27-year-old Anne Elliot, is mostly serious and introspective; she doesn’t even speak a word of dialogue until Chapter 5. Even so, Persuasion captivated me upon my… Continue reading On Austen’s Novel of Re(dis)covery

Book reviews, Uncategorized

Tragedy and Levity in a Time of War

British novelist Chris Cleave has proven his ability to write sprawling, thoroughly researched stories about people struggling to build a stable life in an often violent world—his international #1 bestseller about a Nigerian refugee, Little Bee is a prime example. His latest novel, the wartime epic Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, perhaps his most personal book, is… Continue reading Tragedy and Levity in a Time of War

Book reviews, Uncategorized

On Adam McHugh’s The Listening Life

I read Adam McHugh's first book, Introverts in the Church, shortly after it was published in 2009. I had known for a long time that I was an introvert, but I hadn't taken a direct look at the challenges and gifts that come along with this particular aspect who I am. I found the book to be an affirming… Continue reading On Adam McHugh’s The Listening Life

Book reviews, Uncategorized

Unearthing our Africas

(Originally published in Christian Courier, Dec 2015) For many years, author Jill Kandel barely even talked to close friends about the years she and her husband spent in Zambia on a placement with a Dutch agricultural organization aimed at fighting hunger. “I moved to Kalabo when I was 26 years old. Nothing but a black-soil… Continue reading Unearthing our Africas

Book reviews

Reading Between the Lines of Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal

The prayer journal of Southern Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor was released a little over a week ago and already the buzz abounds. Friends, colleagues and writers I admire are talking excitedly about having this slim book in their hands. Renowned author Marilynne Robinson has even pondered it for The New York Times in her precise, elegant prose. While… Continue reading Reading Between the Lines of Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal