Tag: Books

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At the sound of the chimes on the old clock, we return once more to the Ricochet grand library: The portal has once again shifted, and the journey has led us along a twisting route, through dark and echoey secret passages. Fumbling for the stone switch, your last match goes out – just as the […]

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The chimes toll seven on the old clock magically linked to the foggy and mist-laden streets of old London town, and so we return to the marbled halls of the Ricochet grand library, its shifting portal reached by circuitous, winding, and sometimes treacherous routes: one such being to head backstage of the Movie Fight Club […]

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With @vinceguerra kindly giving his blessing, presenting the book version of the Ricochet Movie Fight Club (RMFC): Each week, in similar fashion, we’ll present a question to be fought out across the pages, and between the marbled aisles, of the Ricochet grand library (you can’t miss it, take a right at the Member Feed … […]

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Ed Glaeser joins Brian Anderson to discuss how cities can overcome Covid, remote work, crime, and misgovernance. Glaeser’s new book, Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation, is out now.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

Howard Husock joins Brian Anderson to discuss the problems with urban renewal, exclusionary zoning, and public housing. Husock’s forthcoming book, The Poor Side of Town: And Why We Need It, is a history of housing policy in America.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

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I wasn’t looking for a NASA researcher, I was looking for goat cheese. I must have seemed perplexed as I surveyed the half-dozen or so options in the display case. My mission was to find a goat cheese to substitute for ricotta, which my daughter has problems digesting. Enter the cheese stocker guy. You know, […]

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Four martinis for the price of three today! First, Jim and Greg are thrilled to know their vision for Disney CTU is now a reality. They also cheer the Senate for passing legislation banning imports likely produced through slave labor in China’s Xinjiang Province. Then they hammer the Black Lives Matter Organization for defending the communist regime in Cuba, blaming the U.S. embargo for the misery there, and praising the Cuban government for giving asylum to an American cop killer. Finally, they react to the American Booksellers Association apologizing for including a “violent” book in its recent mailing – because it urges parents to be wary of the transgender movement.

All Good Things Come in Threes: Khamsa of Nizami British Library, Or. 12208

 

Khamsa of Nizami British Library, Or. 12208 is not a very interesting sounding document. Indeed, to most Westerners, Khamsa of Nizami means nothing at all. But this illustrated manuscript, which now resides at the British Library in London, tells three extraordinary tales: the poems of Nizami, the profound (and unappreciated) bond between art and the written world in the early modern Islamic world, and the relationship between two great empires. Let’s start from the last. 

Parenting Postscript: Our Best and Worst Decisions

 

In 1994, my dad introduced me to a friend of his and mentioned that I was engaged. My dad’s friend, with humor and kindness, told me, “Ah, yes. Marriage.  There’s nothing like marriage to show you who you really are.  Smokes you right out.”  All these years, I’ve  retained the image of a small frenzied mammal running back and forth in his tunnel until he finally pops out of his back door–heaving, exposed, and vulnerable–to gulp the fresh air.  Except in my case, it was not marriage, but parenthood that really smoked me out.

Christian blogger and author Tim Challies expressed it best when he described some challenges of being a parent as “muddling through.”  Yes–we can read all the books, survey parents we admire, attend Love and Logic conferences, determine to be kinder and gentler, ask for help on Facebook.  Yet, few children arrive as a neat, predictable package.  Each comes as a unique little creature, a complete person, yet pre-loaded with potential to be nurtured and developed over years.

My Out-of-Control Reading Queue

 

It’s been a while since I wrote, and I was going to post this to a group, but then things got long and I decided I’m sharing this with everyone. So there. Anyhow, because I can’t just read one thing at a time, like a sane person, I’ve a rather long list of “currently reading” items which I’ll list here (with at least one “just finished”). There are actually several categories and reasons why they appear concurrently in my reading list. If you’re interested in just how distracted my reading mind gets, feel free to read on!

“Peace Talks” by Jim Butcher — The not quite latest in the Dresden saga. Once again, Dresden is in hot water even during Peace Talks amongst the various powers in the magical world. Which makes sense. Nothing is simple for him. The Jim Butcher Exponent of Action remains true in this book — as a Jim Butcher book continues, the action increases exponentially, and thus the longer his books go, the more we approach Infinite Action!

“Galen’s Way” by Richard Paolinelli — An independently published eBook, this falls in the genre of Space Opera, when men are real men, women are real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri are real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. So to speak. This takes place in another galaxy centuries after humanity fled some strange entity’s assault on the Milky Way. There’s action, political skullduggery, and fun stuff like that.

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center Ryan T. Anderson joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss Amazon’s recent attempt to deplatform his book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

Reviewing Seawriter’s Book: Vanished Houston Landmarks

 

This post turns the tables on Ricochet’s intrepid book reviewer, @seawriter, who is known to the outside world as Mark Lardas. He wrote an engaging, enjoyable book called “Vanished Houston Landmarks“, available for the Kindle, and it’s a skillful job that deserves your attention.

When I grew up, people didn’t hate Californians (yet). New Yorkers and Texans regularly topped polls of who our fellow Americans found most annoying, and despite vast differences between Gothamites and Texians, we have this in common: we are apt to boast a great deal. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve only passed through Texas and I ought to know more about its history, but I can understand the boasting: it really is a remarkable place with wonderful people.

A Multi-Level Treasure Hunt

 

In 1764 Tsarina Catherine the Great of Russia started a major war in Europe. It was a culture war. She collected fine art as aggressively as she fought on the battlefield. It spurred Europe’s crowned heads, especially Louis XVI of France and Frederick the Great of Prussia, to compete at obtaining and displaying art, especially fine paintings.

“The Tsarina’s Lost Treasure: Catherine the Great, a Golden Age Masterpiece, and a Legendary Shipwreck,” by Gerald Easter and Mara Vorhees, records a casualty of that culture war Dutch Master paintings purchased at auction for Catherine the Great were sent from Holland to St Petersburg aboard the Dutch merchantman Vrouw Maria. Caught in a storm, the ship sank off the Finnish coast.

The book uses the shipwreck, to frame the story. Among the paintings lost was Gerrit Dou’s triptych The Nursery. Largely forgotten today, Dou was then the most admired Golden Age Dutch Master. (One of Dou’s paintings hung in the Louvre next to the Mona Lisa.) The Nursery was considered Dou’s finest work.

‘A Gift to Humanity’

 

If we are to be unified, then we must be able and willing to share life. Bill Whittle and company offer a timely reminder of the tremendous good that social media can achieve when people are free to associate across boundaries and to enjoy life together as fellows.

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I’m finishing (8% to go Kindle app says) The Last Lion: Volume 1 by William Manchester and before moving on to Volume 2 I’d like to read more into WWI. Does anyone have any recommendations for a quality WWI book that stops at least before 1932? If your read all 3 volumes of Manchester your input […]

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Book Review: Thinking Orthodox

 

“What truly makes Orthodox Christianity different? Is it simply that we do not have a pope? That we preserve ancient liturgical forms and rituals? That married men can be priests?
The question does not lend itself to a simple answer because the reality is complex. In fact, the essence of Orthodox uniqueness lies far beyond these fundamentals… It is hidden, subtle, deeper than the outward forms, customs, or specific theological beliefs that manifest the divergence. The Orthodox phronema (“mentality,” “stance,” or “approach”) is the foundation of Orthodox Christianity. It is usually unexpressed and unexamined, and rarely discussed, but it affects not simply what we believe and why but — above all else — how we think.”⁠1

It needs to be said at the outset that Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind, by Dr. Eugenia Constantinou, is not exactly a book of Orthodox theology (though it contains much). It might be described as a book about Orthodox theology. But it is better described as a book about how to begin to think and understand like an Orthodox Christian, and so to understand Orthodox theology, while avoiding traps, heresies, and dangers along the way.  

The book is guide to understanding how the very culture we live in is imbued with a mindset (a phronema, to use the Greek idiom the author introduces) and spirit that is very often hostile to, or at least at odds with Orthodox Christianity. Even Western Christianity, in both its Catholic and Protestent forms, has a very different mindset. In this the book is a valuable guide for converts, inquirers, and even cradle-Orthodox who may not be aware how different that understanding is. But the book is of great value even for non-Orthodox Christians, for much of it is a guide for our times, where Christianity is in retreat, and where the internet can deceive us all into thinking ourselves experts after half an hour on Wikipedia, or lure us towards extremists and zealots who seek division. Much of Dr. Constantinou’s book should indeed be read by all Christians who could find themselves arguing theology with strangers through a keyboard.

Quote of the Day: You Don’t Have to Burn Books

 

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” —Ray Bradbury

For as long as I can remember, books were my closest companions. They took me to exotic countries and taught me about the cultures and the people who lived there. They invited me to go on mysterious investigations and introduced me to bizarre and silly creatures from another world and time. They became friends who let me tag along with them, play with them, and explore new ideas with them. In their presence, life would suddenly become intriguing and fun. There was always something new to learn.

Life would have been empty and lonely without them.