Where Stories Live
The Trip to Bountiful

Summer Reading (Quick Hits)


Although I'm reluctant to do it, I sometimes put books down and take up some magazine and newsletter reading.  I simply find that books offer a richer experience while reading magazines and newsletters, while enlightening for a moment, simply doesn't stick to me.  However, I have read a few articles that were worthwhile mentioning and worth re-reading.

World Magazine's recent books issue had an excellent "interview" with Southern novelist Flannery O'Connor entitled "Instruments for Good."  Actually, since O'Connor is long dead, they asked questions and answered the questions using quotes from O'Connor's Mystery and MannersIt's an excellent summary of what it is to be both Christian and writer, and I recommend it to both writers and readers of fiction (as I do her book).  In fact, the whole issue is worth perusing, as it includes an article comparing the fictional worlds of writers Jan Karon and Wendell Berry ("Fictional Communities"), a list of their all-time favorite 100 books (which I didn't find terribly convincing), and a survey ("Backward Atheist Soldiers!") and critique of the recent handful of anti-religion books, such as Christopher Hitchen's God is Not Great, which confirmed what I thought:  if you want to hate religion and not believe in God, you'll do it even if there's scant evidence for your position.

On that note, Udo Middleman, son-in-law of the late Francis Schaeffer, provides a more extensive critique of the anti-God writers in the Summer issue of Footnotes, the newsletter of The Francis Schaeffer Foundation. I always find a unique perspective in his views as a European Christian.  He points out the great fallacy of lumping Christianity together with all other religions.

Finally, as Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, is always a good read, I spent some time there, in the July/August issue, particularly with Anthony Esolen's "Esther's Guarded Condition: Dying When Common Sense and Decency Have Departed," an account of his experience with his mother-in-law as she lay dying in hospital, of how they had to insist to hospital staff that she be fed intravenously and were made to feel that they should simply let her starve to death as she was dying anyway.  I have not been in this situation, but one day I will be, and this first-hand account is part of my preparation.

Well, my magazine and journal stack remains about a foot high, but that, folks, is enough of such reading for now.