The Taser's Edge

Tuesday Reading Roundup

For me, the perfect balance of books to be reading at the same time is somewhere north of one-at-a-time and south of all the books that I have been reading in the last week.  At one book, I might get bored, or at least I like a change of pace for the sake of my concentration abilities.  At my present number of books, however, I have no overhead capacity for adding a new thing to the pile, should a new interest arise (or a library book be rushing toward coming due).

The real culprit for this state of things is City of God, the monster I am committed to (and really enjoying, too).

  • Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney–actually finished, with review being drafted currently
  • City of God by Augustine–this book definitely shaped my Ash Wednesday homily for tomorrow (the homily which is still a disorganized mess as I sit here blogging instead of editing)
  • Getting the Love You Want by Dr. Harville Hendrix–This book was assigned late in my final semester of Duke Div.  Needless to say, I didn’t read much of it.  Now returning, I note for the first time that although this seems to be a  pop psychology book (and it is), its author is not just a psychologist but a pastoral counselor who studied at Union and Perkins.  Old school mid-20th century liberal theology.  Except the theology is not on the page.  Nothing explicit here, and I would love to hear a more explicitly theological approach to the work that he’s doing here.  I’m guessing we would disagree on some stuff.
  • The Manticore by Robertson Davies–This is the second book in Davies’ Deptford trilogy (one of three trilogies which Davies penned).  Last year I read his Fifth Business, which kicks off this particular trilogy.  The books are complete in themselves, with no real cliffhangers, so I didn’t finish the first burning to start the second.  (For a similar feeling, see William Kennedy’s Albany cycle, although those are even more loosely connected.)
  • Zen and the Birds of Appetite by Thomas Merton–still making me realize that I have next-to-no theology of religions, although to be honest, there are likely other avenues I’ll explore before I get there.  This particular week, Merton and Zen’s war against the Ego/False self is a helpful counterweight to the uncritical (enough) self-fulfillment focus of Getting the Love You Want.  (And that kind of parallel is why you read too many books at once.)

Still in progress, but halted on the tracks…

  • Culture Making by Andy Crouch
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith

To be added soon…

  • The Angry Christian: A Theology for Care and Counseling by Andrew Lester–The exact book I’m talking about when I say that this current reading schedule doesn’t leave me enough overhead space to add new things
  • The Lord by Romano Guardini–Beginning tomorrow, this is my Lent devotional for this year