As the days shortened and the nights grew chillier, my reading this month tended toward the weightier, with wonderful respites of George MacDonald fantasy and Civil War fictional history and the first installment of Morris’s Teddy Roosevelt biography. At the same time, I explored the question of secularity as a definition of reality, freedom of conscience, a theology of the Holy Spirit and an intellectual and social history of the religious right. Here’s the list of books from the past month:
1. Is Reality Secular?, Mary Poplin. Poplin challenges the secularist assumptions that govern, as she sees it, public discourse and explores four different worldviews and their take on reality.
2. Earthquake Storms, John Dvorak. Dvorak gives us a combination of history, biography and science in a fascinating account of the history of the San Andreas fault.
3. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris. This is the first of a three volume biography on the life of Teddy Roosevelt, tracing his adventures from sickly childhood through young rancher, civil servant to the fateful day he learns he has become President at the death of McKinley.
4. Meditation and Communion with God, John Jefferson Davis. Davis seeks to articulate an evangelical theology of spiritual formation and relationship with God.
5. The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald. This classic fantasy explores themes of evil and courage and faith in the intersection between the goblins, Princess Irene, Curdie, her “great grandmother” and the King.
6. The Global Public Square, Os Guinness. This book argues that a public square safe for diversity is one that protects freedom of conscience for all.
7. Spirit of Life, Jurgen Moltmann. Moltmann’s theology of the Holy Spirit. The title is important, as this book is an exploration of the Spirit’s role in our embodied existence.
8. A Blaze of Glory, Jeff Shaara. This is Shaara’s slightly fictionalized account of the Battle of Shiloh and explores what a near run thing this was to a Confederate victory.
9. The Cross and Gendercide, Elizabeth Gerhardt. This book breaks new ground in giving a theological basis in the cross of Christ for Christian advocacy and resistance against violence toward women and girls.
10. Blueprint for Theocracy, James C. Sanford. A carefully researched study of the theology behind the Christian Right and actions resulting from this theology, marred, I thought, by its scare-mongering tone.
What will I be reading and reviewing in the coming weeks? I’m in the midst of the second volume of the Teddy Roosevelt biography, covering his presidential years, a book on the life of the apostle Paul, an exploration of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and a book on modern literature and the question of belief. Soon, I will be picking up the next installment in Jeff Shaara’s western battles of the Civil War series, which focuses on Vicksburg. I also am planning to read the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, titled The Princess and Curdie.
What will you be reading in November?