I was curious about Neil Gaiman’s Norse MythologyĀ  partly because of a recent reminder that C.S. Lewis was fascinated with “Northernness.” A shared interest in Norse mythology was one of the common bonds between Lewis and Tolkien, and the words “Balder the beautiful is dead!” provided an early experience of what Lewis calls joy. The other reason for my curiosity was, admittedly, my faithful dedication to all the Marvel Avengers movies, in which the Norse god Thor joins with a collection of other superheroes to…Continue Reading “Norse Mythology”

This was an experiment for Gary D. Schmidt: a foray into sci fi. The story concerns Tommy Pepper, his father (an artist), and his sister Patty (a first grader who hasn’t spoken a word since her mother’s death) as they work through grief over the loss of Mrs. Pepper. In the midst of this, a chain arrives from a distant world that carries with it mysterious artistic powers and a snarl of political conflict. I liked the book, with some reservations. First, the earth storyline…Continue Reading “What Came from the Stars”

I’ve been mulling over what to do with my nature blog. It has been about nine months since I posted anything there. I’m thinking of trying to import the content to Across the Page and include the occasional nature post here instead of maintaining a separate blog. It’s not that I’ve lost interest, only that the places have become familiar enough that I don’t take as many pictures. A few weeks ago, I learned that Ezra, the male hawk in Cornell’s red-tail nest cam, had…Continue Reading “Glimpses of Spring”

Deep down, though, these extra rules for women became a subtle reinforcement of the self-condemning framework I already lived in. Every time I had to remind myself not to look someone in the eye, every time I was worried about where my skirt was, or if my shorts were long enough, it whispered in my head that I was not an acceptable person, that there was something inherently offensive about me, and that it was up to me to protect other people from me. (Kay…Continue Reading “Always ahead of culture”

After enjoying the Wednesday Wars, I forged ahead to Okay for Now, Gary D. Schmidt’s companion book written from the perspective of the Wednesday Wars’ narrator’s classmate. Doug Swieteck is a different kind of narrator than Holling Hoodhood, partly because his home life and social stratum are different. Holling’s dad is an architect, but Doug’s dad is a working class guy with a big chip on his shoulder. While neither narrator’s home life is warm or promising, Doug at least has a mother who cares…Continue Reading “Recent Reads: A Schmidt-fest and a memoir”

The Pursuit of God (A.W. Tozer). This was a clarifying read about the need to seek God personally rather than coast along being a good soldier in church. Tozer argues that evangelicalism promulgates a myth that once you “accept Christ” (an expression not found in the Bible, he points out), you have nothing more to do other than put in time waiting for Heaven. It has been several weeks since I read it, but I enjoyed the astringent quality of Tozer’s writing. He is very…Continue Reading “Recent Reading”

Somehow, I’ve never been able to read this book before. I’ve tried a few times but never gotten beyond the first few pages. Recently I tried again with the help of an audiobook version from the library. It worked, helping me to gain some momentum and push through the spot where I’ve run aground in the past. I found Mere Christianity to be a timely, clarifying, and inspiring read. It was timely, because I need reminding of the big picture of the Christian faith and…Continue Reading “Mere Christianity”

The Screwtape Letters. Most of us have read it at one time or another. I reread it this week with my daughters and was struck again by its often disturbing relevance and genius. On the surface, it seems like a good joke: a senior devil’s tutorials as addressed to his younger nephew, an inexperienced tempter. But I can see why Lewis himself spoke of both the ease of its inspiration , and the unpleasantness of its writing. “It almost smothered me before I was done,”…Continue Reading “Devilishly Clever”

How could I have forgotten — or did I somehow miss it before? — the power and mysterious beauty of Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River? I pulled it off the shelf a few weeks ago to read aloud to my daughters, remembering vaguely that I had liked it when I read it over ten years ago. Had I remembered the plot in detail, I may not have chosen it as a read-aloud. But we would have been much the poorer for it. The book…Continue Reading “Peace Like a River”

In A Life Observed, author Devin Brown offers a biography of C.S. Lewis for a new audience: “a generation who may know him only through the Narnia films.” Though I don’t fit into this category, I’ve enjoyed this retracing of Lewis’s spiritual development for several reasons. First, Lewis is one of my spiritual mentors. His books have influenced my thinking and my faith in far reaching ways — quite possibly more than any other writer. His ways of imagining spiritual truths are often the first…Continue Reading “A Life Observed”