Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I opened this book. I think that's exactly what Gaiman intended, so I won't give away too much of the story, except to tell you it's a fast-paced Doctor-Who-style* story for kids, with dinosaurs, aliens, pirates, and a volcano. It's fun and funny, and it can be read out loud in half an hour. The frequent illustrations are a nice touch too, and are nicely expressive. Get this book from the library and read it to your kids or your self.

*(The Doctor Who connections may not be obvious to non-fans, by the way, but to those with ears to hear they are unmistakeable.)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review: Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Parts I and II)

Not often is Page 570 the break point in a book and one not even half through at that. This book continues on up to around 1500 in Parts III and IV. Not since I've read fantasy novels have I encountered a story this long. But, as with the previous NT Wright books, this story is worth it.

I'm struck by how NT Wright is bringing multiple stories together into a coherent narrative here. What I'm trying to do with my own manuscript is not that different. And this book feels just slightly expanded from time to time. For one thing, Wright took most of his arguments with other scholars and put them in a whole 'nother book, which I'm very grateful for, because that's what exasperates me most about other writers like Hauerwas. I want you to talk to me, not those other writers over there. I'm selfish.

Wright returns to his beloved six-part diagrams here, too, but at the end of Part II they come together in a way that, I'll begrudgingly admit, is indeed illuminating.

So far this book looks to do for Romans and 1 Corinthians what the previous book (The Resurrection of the Son of God) did for the ends of the 4 Gospels. It does tell a story, and Wright does show how that story is both continuous and discontinuous with what went before. The story makes Paul make sense in a deep and lasting way. I love that.

This book is doing what it should, and since Wright had lofty goals in writing it, to make that statement is high praise. I'm looking forward to Parts III and IV, although I may need to rest my brain first. I'm not even halfway up the mountain yet.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Chemistry of "Old Book Smell"

One day I'm going to be able to teach a course entirely built around wonderful infographics like this:

Here's where I got it. Enjoy.