During my blogging vacation, I’ve managed to do a bit more reading than I did before, and I’ve added a few artists to my listening stable. I’ve even managed to see a movie or two. Here’s my update.
I read Eric Brende’s Better Off. I’ve blogged about Brende before. He’s the guy who spent 18 months in a primitive Anabaptist community. No phones, no TV, no motorcars–he might as well have been on an island. What he learned about himself, about people and community, and about our dependence on technology, is inspiring. Look for an extended review in the next week or so.
I read Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin. I saw Larkin at a taping of Faith Cafe, a television show with which my wife is associated. In addition to being a powerful testament to God’s redemptive power in Larkin’s own life, he goes a bit deeper to explore the dangers of isolation among men. That isolation has become epidemic in our culture. Again, extended review to come, but well worth your time.
I’ve also read Pompeii by Robert Harris and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Both were entertaining.
I’m still loving Midlake. Their 2006 album The Trials of Van Occupanther contains some of the most enjoyable music I’ve heard in a long time. I find myself listening to “Roscoe” and “Bandits” again and again.
Also from Cameron, The Innocence Mission‘s We Walked in Song. Karen Peris is a fine songwriter, and the voice doesn’t hurt either.
TV & Movies
I finally got around to watching Talladega Nights. Not a great film, obviously; it’s silly to a ridiculous degree. But I almost fell off the couch at a couple of points. I can’t really recommend this one, and I won’t be saying much more about it.
The Illusionist, on the other hand, I both enjoyed and would recommend. It’s also not a great film. Edward Norton’s performance is solid, Jessica Biel is forgettable, but Paul Giamatti, as usual, is sensational. And Rufus Sewell plays his best (and only?) character: the insanely jealous and ridiculously pompous villain. It’s a love story, but it certainly has its dark moments.
I’m not watching a lot of TV these days. It’s basically 24, Prison Break, and Heroes. Heroes is amazing, no mistake. They manage to surprise every week. The others are already getting a little tired. For 24 we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, how many days can one guy save the world? And how many days can so much go wrong? (Though in recent political climate, I’m starting to wonder.)
But Heroes explores what it means to be human…and inhuman. After turning our expectations about the Horned-Rimmed Glasses Man on their head, they’ve introduced villains of surprising depth. More amazingly, the show has developed real heroes. When I worked at a Christian publishing house, we often talked about how difficult it was to write compelling heroes. Christians, in particular, don’t like heroes with flaws. But that’s another post.
Thanks for reading. And for coming back.