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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Vacation Reading

Here we demonstrate the inherent narcissism of blogging, the assumption that anyone "out there" would be interested in my little ol' life and interests.

These are the books I brought with me for vacation to the mountains.

  • Your Movie Sucks by Roger Ebert (finished). A compilation of the famed movie critic's most scathing reviews. I don't always agree with Ebert's evaluation, but I always find him interesting. His knowledge of film history is vast. Quite to my surprise, he doesn't hesitate to point out the hypocrisies of those who infuse their films with political correctness.

  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. My hat is off to John E. Woods for his hypnotic translation. Here is a story about obsession (the psychological state, not the fragrance). Parallels Tolkien's Ring of Power, which obviously parallels the state of original sin. I'm only about 60 pages into it and though beautifully written, I'm actually coming to the opinion that the recent film adaptation may have had more theological complexity and subtlety. But that would have to be credited to the wonderfully expressive face of the chief actor.

  • Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman. This guy is a great read for those intrigued by all aspects of pop culture. The first hundred or so pages have been mostly music criticism, specifically Heavy Metal. Not my chief area of interest, to be sure, but Klosterman is entertaining. I think the rest of the essays branch away from just music, but so far I'd rather be re-reading his Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, a book I read while relaxing on a three day train ride across Siberia last summer.

  • Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffrey Overstreet. I've been enjoying Jeffrey's blog on popular culture for several years so I'm looking forward to his first book on religion and movies. His book is subtitled: Looking Closer at Beauty, Truth, and Evil in the Movies.

  • Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI. Up to now, the only thing I've read by this pope are homilies and the occasional statement in the press. I am looking forward to this juicy biblical Christology. His opening pages on the values and limitations of the higher critical method of biblical research, particularly how this has impacted the search for the historical Jesus, seem well reasoned and balanced.

  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron. Loved the film. Bought the novel on the strong recommendation of a friend.

  • Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation by John Ehle. Trying to get in touch with my roots.

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Anonymous said...

I also am a Klosterman fan. His chapters on fake love and soccer from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa-puffs are excellent. I've copied them for others to read. I didn't find IV as good as SDaC, perhaps because it's mainly a collection of his magazine pieces, but it still had some things worth reading.
Have you read the book that came in between them? I've wanted to check it out at the library before, but it was out when I tried.

Right now my reading's on hold while I check out Harry Potter book 7.

scott adle

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

I've seen the book you refer to: "Killing Yourself to Live." I love the title and almost bought it once. I imagine I'll look forward eventually. If anyone out in internet land has read it, please give us your impressions.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you're aware of it,
but I read (don't remember where)
that Ebert had Catholic and Lutheran parents. Can't recall which one of them was which, though

Anonymous said...

Since you're speaking of books, this looks like it might be worthwhile read!

Jeffrey Overstreet said...


I hope you enjoy "Through a Screen Darkly," and I hope you'll let me know what you think of it. Thanks for mentioning it on your blog!

Jeffrey Overstreet

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary