Recommended and not
Here you will eventually
find a list and commentary on books and articles that I like, don't
like, disdain, couldn't finish, recommend, don't recommend, or didn't
understand. Much of this will rely on memory. Some of it will rely on
notes I have taken, or the penciled marginalia that pollutes everything
I've read. I can't help myself. If you value the pristine condition
of your books, don't loan them to me.
FICTION (These will be links to anchored categories below)
James Thurber. The
Catbird Seat (short story, posted in its entirety, here).
Published in the New Yorker, Nov. 14, 1942. This is a wonderfully
crafted story, written by James Thurber, 20th-century American humorist.
If you're a fan of NBC's "The Office," or even the cult-classic
"Office Space," this should give you a kick.
Frank Herbert. Dune,
the whole blasted series. If you make it through the first book,
the terminology, jargon and nomenclature begins to stick with you.
That makes it easier to read the rest of the series. I should point
out that I've not read any of the posthumously published sequels
or prequels co-written by Herbert's son, so I'm only recommending
the six installments of the original Dune chronicles.
Glen Gold, Carter
Beats the Devil.
This is a terrific and exciting story about a boy who becomes a
great magician. I know, magicians are as annoying a clowns who make
balloon animals. I don't care. You'll love this book. If you don't,
you have no soul.
- Ayn Rand, Fountainhead.
Glean. Don't read too much into her stuff. Her philosophy leaves much
to be desired, although she's not afraid, it seems, to ask the tough
questions. Her temerity notwithstanding, Rand's ideas fail because
they are founded upon an irrational worldview. What I enjoyed most
were some of the things she said about aesthetics and design, being
true to one's pursuit of excellence, and tripe like that.
- _____, Atlas Shrugged.
See comments on Fountainhead, above.
- Anne Rice,
Interview With The Vampire. Written
before she was declared a "master of description," this
early Anne Rice novel is a fantastic and captivating fantasy. The
mythos she creates is inspiring, reworking actual history into her
tale in a credible and engaging manner.
- _____, The
Vampire Lestat. Despite
a curiously fickle and revisionist reworking of the antagonist of
her first vampire novel, The Vampire Lestat is just as engaging and
creative as its predecessor.
- Edward Robb Ellis.
A Diary of the Century: Tales From America's Greatest Diarist,
1995, Kodansha International, New York. Ellis was a journalist
back when it was a respectable vocation. His story, written as journal
entries, is utterly fascinating. You get a behind-the-scenes look
at a beat reporters life, as well as terrific stories about
famous people he met.
- Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War.
- Biographies by or
about misguided religionists.
- Keith Green.
Melody Green and David Hazard. No Compromise: The Life Story
of Keith Green. Keith Green was a prolific songwriter and
is still considered one of the most popular and influential Christian
recording artists. It is a story of misguided religious passion
and misplaced Christian zeal. I continue to be moved by some of
Keith Green's music, that is, when I can get past the awful theology
conveyed by the lyrics or replace them with my own. He was certainly
a remarkable man, and it's too bad that his emotions too often
ruled over his rationality. Tragically, he died when he crashed
his private plane, killing his 2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old
son, leaving his 1-year-old daughter and pregnant wife, the co-author
of the book. He was only 28. Is this a recommendation? I don't
know. The tragedy of Keith Green goes beyond his untimely death.
The book is a good example of what bad theology can do to a person,
however well-meaning one may be.
- Roy Hession. My
Calvary Road. I read a book in the late 80s called The
Calvary Road. It was a book written for Christians who want
to take their faith seriously and to live according to biblical
principles. BUT, sadly, the principles Hession sought to teach
by his thesis were deeply flawed in their application.
- Rich Mullins.
- Dan Kennedy. Loser
Goes First. My
sister gave this book to me to read. After I started, I couldn't put
it down. I can't explain why. It's funny, self-depecrating, honest,
and, for lack of a better word: Real. I could identify with this poor
schlub and had a great time doing it.
MIND, BRAIN, BEHAVIOR
- Matt Ridley. Nature
Via Nurture: Gene, Experience, & What Makes Us Human.The
world of politics is not the only domain of partisanship. The pioneers
of science, notwithstanding their dubious claims of objectivity and
of being governed by "brute facts," are no less likely to
be partisan and biased in their reasoning and in their work. Ridley
attempts to take a 'fair and balanced' approach to the ages-old ntaure-versus-nurture
controversy. I found it to be quite enlightening to learn how much
our nature (and the nature of our progeny) is affected by our environment.
Certain genes switch on or off depending on
- John Colapinto. As
Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl. This fascinating
story is as captivating as it is tragic. It demonstrates the lengths
to which people in the medical profession will go to cover their mistakes
(like a botched circumcision) and to perpetuate false philosophies
(such as Freudian psychology) even in the face of obvious evidence
to the contrary. The story also shows how pervasive gender distinctions
are on a genetic level
- Cornelius Van Til.
Defense of the Faith. Lauded as a must-have for aspiring
presuppositional apologists, Van Til's writing is sometimes not well
organized and a bit stilted. In order to really appreciate Van Til,
I highly recommend first listening to the following debates: First,
"The Great Debate: Does God Exist?" between Greg Bahnsen
and Gordon Stein. Second, "The Great Debate: Does God Exist?"
between Greg Bahnsen and Edward Tabash. Then get Greg Bahnsens
Always Ready: Directions For Defending the Faith and after
you've read it, go back and listen to the debates agan. Seriously.
It will be like listening to different debates. Next, read Bahnsens
Van Til's Apologetic: Readings & Analysis and then go back
and listen to the debates again. Seriously. And after that, you'll
be prepared for a lifetime of enjoying the delightful writings of
Cornelius Van Til.