Book Club


On the Lookout for Harper Lee's Follow-up Novel

It’s been more than 50 years since the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee’s only novel, until now. In a surprise announcement, a “new” work by Lee (about Scout Finch as an adult, and her aging father, Atticus) will be published by HarperCollins this July. Lee hasn’t been suffering from a half-century long writer’s block; nor, apparently, was the 88-year-old author holding out on us. The novel, Go Set A Watchman, was only recently discovered by Lee’s lawyer. The author – living with the debilitating effects of a 2007......

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Recommended Reading - Faith and the Digital Age

Need a new stack of books for your bedside table? Brad and Irwin share their reading list and insights gleaned from within the pages. Let us know your thoughts on the books if you’ve read them (or leave book recommendations) in the comments below.   1. The Soul of the World Bob Dylan sang, “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” English philosopher and writer Roger Scruton’s wise and beautifully written The Soul of the World (Princeton University Press) makes the......

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An Edgy, Funny, 'Great' Novel

Why do we worry about getting a parking space, more than we worry about the fragility of life? Why, on cars, are gas tanks located on different sides? Would any one of us be strong enough to survive a catastrophe? Is it better to dig into our every thought and emotion to discover ourselves – or to just be happy not knowing everything? Why, as soon as we complain about our life, does someone inevitably say, “Hey, imagine if you were living in Rwanda”…? Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a......

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The Spirit's Irrepressible Impulse

In the words of Bob Dylan, “It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” English philosopher Roger Scruton’s wise and beautifully written The Soul of the World makes the case that, despite the brashness of the New Atheists and the increase of “Nones” (those with no religious affiliation) there is a “fundamentally religious impulse” – what we call “the sacred” – that is irrepressible. Scruton explains faith as an “attitude of openness to meanings” (experienced in love, art, nature and morality) that......

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In Art or Life, Imagine the Backstory

Did you ever wonder what happened to make the Mona Lisa smile? Or ponder the source of anguish in Edvard Munch’s The Scream? And why is the old man’s nose in Domenico Ghirlandaio’s An Old Man and His Grandson so puffed up? The (True!) History of Art is one of the most hilarious books I’ve seen in a long time, and one of the cleverest ways to invite people to engage with the world’s great paintings. Through this book, Sylvain Coissard and Alexis Lemoine enable children and adults to look at instantaneously......

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Video: The Good Book, A Great Book?

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record video series: This week, attorneys in Broward County, Florida argued over the right of Park Lakes Elementary School student Giovanni Rubeo to read the Bible during a free reading period. It turns out the Bible is on the approved list of books, though the school claimed it was not. The bottom line is cultivating love of reading should trump whatever book you may happen to be reading. Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories explore......

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The Delusion of The Triple Package

It takes just a few hours to read “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and her husband, fellow Yale law professor, Jed Rubenfeld’s new book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. And it takes even less time to realize the wisdom in this book isn’t in its ideas but in understanding why such ideas resonate and the harm they do to us personally and collectively. The thesis of this book is simple. There are three (that’s right, three) psychological characteristics shared by all......

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A Vivid History of an 'Unimagined' Victory

Here’s one of the wisest books I’ve read in a very long time: Like Dreamers – The Story of the Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi. Wise because it combines sharp analysis of Israelis’ continual wrestling with one another over what the nation is all about with a deep compassion for all of the players in the region’s ongoing conflict. Notably that includes those who have differing opinions – particularly, on the Israeli side, those who are ardently anti-Zionist. If you care about Israel, Palestine or......

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Patriotism and Protest in Song

Did you know that folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940 as a reaction to Irving Berlin’s classic anthem “God Bless America” (originally written in 1918)? It’s one of the many fascinating facts about the beloved tunes found in John Shaw’s book This Land That I Love. Guthrie reportedly found “God Bless America” jingoistic and uncritical; using a melody borrowed from the old Baptist hymn “Oh My Lovin’ Brother” he wrote a six-verse protest song. The final three verses of “This Land Is Your Land” (which are......

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Jesus the Rabbi

Jesus, First-Century Rabbi continues a recent trend of books trying to better understand who Jesus was by placing him in the context of first-century Judaism. ?This admirable work, written by Rabbi David Zaslow, is a particularly accessible and loving effort, one which has the potential to ease tensions felt? between (some) Christians and Jews. The spirit in which the book is written – whether one agrees with the conclusions or not – provides a truly a beautiful lesson for interfaith encounters. However, I would offer two cautionary notes, also inspired by the......

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