Review: The Quintessential Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion

The Quintessential Porcine History of Philosophy and ReligionThe Quintessential Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion by James Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A funny, winsome summary of the various philosophies and religious theories throughout history. Each is summarized in a sentence or two and imagined with cartoon pigs. Some are very clever, some are okay. It’s a fun bathroom read.

View all my reviews

Review: The Walking Dead, Book Two

The Walking Dead, Book TwoThe Walking Dead, Book Two by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m really enjoying this series, although I know it’s still early. You should be forewarned that there is foul language and adult situations, but it’s probably to be expected in a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world.

Book Two continues the Sheriff Rick Grimes story. It continues to delve into questions about what it means to be human in a world where the institutions of humanity have ceased to exist. Will the gang become more like their zombie counterparts, or will they grow further apart and more human themselves? These are the kinds of questions this book (and the television series) seeks to answer.

View all my reviews

Review: The Walking Dead, Book Three

The Walking Dead, Book ThreeThe Walking Dead, Book Three by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not much to say about the series so far that I haven’t already said in the previous two reviews. I do think the characters, especially Rick Grimes, are types of the ideal man in the same way that Achilles or Odysseus or Hamlet or Dante are. There’s something to Rick’s character that should draw us further in to the story. How is he behaving in a way that we should imitate? How is he behaving in a way that we should eschew? What would be the proper way to behave in such situations? If we can learn to live rightly, via our imagination, in a post-apocalyptic world, then certainly we can learn to live rightly in our own world.

I’m drawn to this series, and I’m surprised by that in light of this being a graphic novel.

View all my reviews

Review: The Walking Dead, Book One

The Walking Dead, Book OneThe Walking Dead, Book One by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally got around to reading The Walking Dead graphic novels, my first foray into graphic novels, to be honest. A note about graphic novels in general: they seem to be able to do things that traditional novels cannot. A graphic novel can have an image from a previous scene while displaying text (conversation) from the next scene (or vice versa) the same way a television show or movie can transition in that way. While a novel, on the other hand, cannot move the images in my head to another scene while simultaneously continuing conversation or a description from the previous scene. In that way, at least, a graphic novel has an advantage over traditional novels. Traditional novels, of course, have the advantage of being able to go into greater detail to describe the scene, setting, thoughts, feelings, and emotions of their characters; so, there’s that.

The Walking Dead, Book One, is worth reading if only for the introduction. Kirkman describes his intention for these books, and it is exactly what I’ve picked up and noticed from watching the television series: the zombies are a foil to reveal what true humanity is or should be. It is definitely intriguing enough that I will continue to read the entire series.

If you can’t stomach the television series, then you should definitely read the graphic novels. If you can stomach the television series, then you will probably find the graphic novels are worth reading as well.

View all my reviews

Review: Inheritance

InheritanceInheritance by Christopher Paolini

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I definitely enjoyed this book more than the others. I will say, though, that this book still had many of the same things I’ve criticized in the earlier books, namely, over-explanation and over-description of the world he’s created.

That said, Paolini has created an exciting, magical, and imaginative world. And I really enjoyed the way he ended the battle for Alagaesia. The ending came far sooner than I expected, though. He wrote a rather lengthy conclusion describing what happened in Alagaesia after the battle ended. I am glad I pushed through to this last book; it is worth reading.

I’m not sure the Inheritance tetralogy will ever be lumped in with The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. But, it probably will be a book series that young kids will read for a long time.

View all my reviews

God’s Grandeur

A few weeks ago, some friends shared with me that they were memorizing Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “God’s Grandeur.” I left there with only one thought, “Challenge accepted!” So, I’ve started memorizing the poem with my family. Below are the poems and some thoughts on it.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;1
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?2
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge, and shares man’s smell:3 the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.4

And, for all this, nature is never spent;5
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastwards, springs6
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent7
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.8

I bought a used copy of a collection of Hopkins’s poems; in it were notes the previous owner had made on the poetry within. I share those here. The italicized portions of the comments are directly from the previous owner’s comments, the unitalicized are my own.

1 Makes a noise; the grandeur of God grows and spreads until the whole world is filled with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14).

2 Why don’t men consider God’s authority? Why do the nations rage, and the people meditate on vain things? (Psalm 2:1)

3 Man cast out of Eden must labor; We were probably always intended to labor, but now the labor is tiresome and sweaty.

4 Horses; Horses, or shoes, something that separates from us greater contact with nature, with Creation.

5 After all men’s toils and work, nature is always fresh; It is, but why?

6 Sunrise, sunset; Yep.

7 Communion with Nature; Because God is merciful, He still loves and desires relationships with us.

8 God is a bird, giving birth every morning; Bird metaphors for God are common throughout Scripture; they are an apt description of God’s great love and mercy toward us.