How sadly poignant that I was reading author John Baxter’s reminiscences of his émigré life in Paris, when this beloved playground of the world fell vHow sadly poignant that I was reading author John Baxter’s reminiscences of his émigré life in Paris, when this beloved playground of the world fell victim to a highly organized terrorist attack that killed over one hundred innocents around the city. I came home that evening from a workshop I hosted on how to turn trash into treasure, in the style of a Paris flea market, when my husband told me of the tragedy unfolding on the news. We all feel a kinship to this beloved city, and now more than ever I embrace a style of living and art that is distinctly Parisienne, in memory of those who are suffering there today. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is a street-by-street, encounter-by-encounter dialogue of precious days spent doing what one loves, comme il faut, as it should be—but perhaps will not be for some time. Baxter teaches how walking, such an integral means of transport in this gorgeously-designed city, is an art form in itself, with its own terminology, etiquette and fashion. Walking, or flanerie, especially when aimless or done for its own pleasure, revives the soul and replaces two-dimensional, blue-tinted screen communication with true humanity and sensuality, much needed in our digital, globalized age. As if with a friend, we visit the usual touristy haunts, the favorite cafes, hotels, apartments of the literary and artistic expatriate community, as well as the typical mischief encountered in Baxter’s own neighborhood. He fills us in on locals’ favorite places to convene, eat, or shop, and even takes us on a tour beneath the city, in the sewers that have set the backdrop for many a gothic vampire story. Whether you are in Paris for a vacation, or there in a constant state of mind, one can always strive to “To find your place, to share it with those you love, and to be happy—who could want more than that?” Is it possible that if we all did this more, there would be no more strangers, no more mindless violence?
Hemingway on spring in Paris: “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people, and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” ...more
Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis traces the disparities of the haves and have-nots in what is becoming the land of opportunity oRobert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis traces the disparities of the haves and have-nots in what is becoming the land of opportunity only for the privileged. Taking core samples of data and interviews across the nation, the inequalities of socioeconomics are most easily reduced to the highest level of education achieved by individuals and their parents. Essentially, two classes emerge, one whose families generally reach a high school education at best, and one whose families traditionally attain degrees in higher education as a matter of course. All the charts showing these two classes show a striking “scissors” effect, where in every area, one strata of society are facing ever-worsening results in education, employment, and family structure; while the other half of the population enjoy ever-improving opportunities in all corresponding areas. Segregation of poor and rich sides of town, no longer by race but instead by class, removes many of the social connections that keep thriving communities afloat, while the rich side of town can afford to finance their own school budgets, health care, etc. Deficits in public spending marginalize those who have no other alternatives to their local education, medical care, family welfare support, libraries, and so many other social services. Most debilitating of all, though, is that our nation no longer sees all kids as “our kids,” but only those of people we know, leaving a whole generation to fend for itself. Putnam, like so many others, attempts to root out the causes of the rapidly growing divide, such as school culture, community culture and parenting practices; and finding practical, holistic and sustainable solutions....more
For those who wish to prove, or perhaps disprove, once and for all the claims of this famous Jesus fellow, The Case for Christ for Kids, by Lee StrobeFor those who wish to prove, or perhaps disprove, once and for all the claims of this famous Jesus fellow, The Case for Christ for Kids, by Lee Strobel and Rob Suggs, presents a, erm, body of evidence for those who wish to put their faith or the faith of others to the test. Looking at historical documents, witnesses, hoax theories, they use standard court evidence procedures to weigh disparities in perspective and consistency, as well as delve into theories of hoaxes, conspiracy, and hallucinations. After all, lots of megalomaniacs have claimed to be God over the millennia, and we have called them all nutcases except for this one. What makes this guy believable, and why has he had such a large impact on humanity? Wonderfully conversational, it can be read aloud as a devotional to your family or youth group, or even just to yourself, as a means to solve this mystery of a Savior on a cross....more
The Undead, as well as a feral human remnant, roam the dystopian English countryside, while scientists in a heavily-secured research facility study aThe Undead, as well as a feral human remnant, roam the dystopian English countryside, while scientists in a heavily-secured research facility study a cadre of children who appear to have only become partially infected by the virus which has wiped out most of mankind. Do these living specimens hold within themselves the key to humanity’s cure? Mayhem ensues when the perimeter is breached by vicious scavengers, and whether one is a mutant or merely a stupid generic human, “It’s not just Pandora who had that inescapable flaw. It seems like everyone has been built in a way that sometimes makes them do wrong and stupid things.” Delightfully conflicted protagonists fight for their right to live, sometimes at the expense of each other.
M.R. Carey’s use of cool words and phrases such as solipsism, exordium, spavine, consanguinity, ontological, sporangia, integument, lèse majesté, atavistic; and thoughtful subject matter such as Greek mythology and the Second Law of Thermodynamics (a closed system in which entropy must increase), set an intellectually stimulating backdrop for raucous action and suspense. Brain dissection, walking corpses and gory battle scenes will either make you want to see the movie, or rely instead on your thankfully less-vivid imagination, depending on your squeamishness.
The metaphor of zombies in Carey’s context is gorgeous, forcing us to ask whether we relate more with the uninfected survivors of dystopian futures, or to the shambling undead themselves--or perhaps a little bit to both. Zombie fiction is clearly here to stay, causing us to look a little bit more into the mental state, health and intentions of ourselves and others. We all wait with baited breath to see if humanity will survive itself. ...more
Belief in a Creator of the universe does not require one’s brain to exit the room. In Case for a Creator for Kids, acclaimed author Lee Strobel (withBelief in a Creator of the universe does not require one’s brain to exit the room. In Case for a Creator for Kids, acclaimed author Lee Strobel (with Rob Suggs) shows how logic plays a vital role in the understanding of one’s faith in an Intelligent Designer. Written conversationally enough to read aloud to your family or perhaps your church’s youth group, Strobel and Suggs define and use the scientific process in evaluating current theories, comparing them to Scriptural explanations and laying out a case reminiscent of a court proceeding. Introducing the concepts of energy, vacuums, natural laws, irreducible complexity, biochemistry, genetics, infinity, odds, coincidences, and principles such as Anthropic Principle and the Kalam Argument, this study would be a wonderful boost to science class in homeschool settings, but is certainly an enjoyable refresher for any person of any age who wishes to put faith in a Creator to the test....more