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The Nightstand

Making Meaning in the Haunted Midwest

Those of us committed to the Midwest and its literature can and should mourn the damages done to our region by our habits of transience. But we must also recognize, as these two books help us do, that it is not just the Midwest, but life itself, that is “fluid and impermanent.”

A Book to Guide the Church: The 1662 Book of Common...

The IE is essentially the 1662 BCP of old, but unlike the Cambridge edition it is not just that and nothing more—it is the 1662 judiciously tweaked and supplemented in a way calculated to attract both newcomers to the BCP and long-time Anglicans.

All Shall Be Well: A Review of Raft of Stars

Then I read a book like Raft of Stars, and I am again filled with wonder. Not just at nature–at rivers, forests, and fields–but at my children themselves.

Read Not the Times. Read the Eternities: A Review of Reading...

When our own churches are divided and bubbled up in their own media worlds, unable to agree on basic “facts” related to current events, you know its time to take a more theological approach to this thing we call the “news.” Bilbro’s rich reflection is a fine place to start; let it be read and discussed widely in the families, churches, and neighborhoods that offer us real and lasting alternatives to the silos that so often distract us.

Paul Kingsnorth and the Truer Path of Worship

A short review cannot do justice to the range of reasons visitors to the Porch should read Kingsnorth’s three novels, so I’ll begin simply by saying: Read them. These are thought-provoking, challenging, and linguistically creative novels.

I’m Over the American Homer

I’m not canceling Whitman. But my own enthusiasm for his poetry is waning. The poet whose daring versification and daring lifestyle were once seen as the epitome of counter-culture has come to seem to me all too mainstream, the very voice of an age of superficial egotism.

The Paradox of American Places

Daniel Elazar was emphatic that a “renewed sense of localism” was essential to America’s future. For Americans, this means renewed intentionality about our local communities, not merely living in one place for a sustained period of time.

Hemingway, All Too Human

The new things we learn about Ernest Hemingway in this documentary not only make him more interesting; they make his writing more remarkable.

A Testament to Friendship

Canadian author and broadcaster, David Cayley, who conducted two lengthy radio interviews-turned-books with Illich (in 1988 and 2000) and had a decades-long friendship with him, has written a gripping and unconventional biography of this deeply unconventional man.

Larry McMurtry: Myth Killer, Myth Keeper

Whether he takes us to the Texas frontier or to 1970s Houston, his prose never gets in the way of his story. He moves ahead with the precision and simplicity of one of the McMurtry boys telling a story on the front porch of the family ranch house in Archer County, Texas.