Our national politics may oscillate between terrifying and depressing, and the dumpster fire that is the IU basketball season is about to flicker out (have you filled out your NIT bracket??) but I still have some good books and a small child who likes to nap on me, so life is pretty great. My ancient Barnes&Noble Nook, which primarily sees action when I travel, is very handy for reading a 400 page novel while balancing a baby. Here are some books I’ve enjoyed this winter.
A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding – Heard about it on Fresh Air, and true to form this book is engrossing (hah! NPR-based puns score double, I think?) Fascinating, vaguely terrifying, and unfortunately timely.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl – I’m always on the lookout for good Steampunk – that is something more than re-hashed adventure stories with a veneer brass and leather – and when I find one, I talk about it for good while. Needless to say, Everfair is very good Steampunk – fresh, alternative history (set in the Belgian Congo), an impressive variety of interesting characters, and a grand scope leaving me wanting more time in this re-imagined world.
The Lion’s World by Rowan Williams So I drove 7 hours round trip to hear my favorite living theologian, Rowan Williams, speak at St. Louis University recently. It was a wonderful lecture (more on that later, I think). I hope I get to hear him again in person, but Archbishops of Canterbury rarely venture (quite rightly) to the Mid-West so, who knows? Anyway, I’ve read lots of Rowan Williams, but never his lovely treatment of my childhood love, CS Lewis’s Narnia books. (I absolutely wrote Narnia fanfiction as a child). There is a certain fashion among theologians to dismiss Lewis – and certainly not all of his works have held up well – but Williams rightly identifies the power of the Narnia series as not just a simple allegory of the Christian story (a reading which Lewis too rejected). Instead, Narnia is primarily about the joy of discovering God-in-the-world, a joy that Williams locates at the center of Christian life.