Populism

T he rise of populism in Europe—and here in the United States by way of Donald Trump—is a rebellion against postmodern weightlessness. Political commentators are right to point out voter concerns about immigration, ­economic distress caused by globalization, and the ­technocratic establishment . . . . Continue Reading »

The Summer Reading List

Fifty years ago, prior to my freshman year at Baltimore’s St. Paul Latin High School, the late Fr. W. Vincent Bechtel introduced me to The Summer Reading List, upper-case. Fr. Bechtel didn’t fool around: He tossed his teenage charges into the deep end of the English and American literature pool . . . . Continue Reading »

In Praise of Irrelevant Reading

When I moved to England to start a Masters degree in theology, I knew I wanted to study St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Like many of my counterparts in the Reformed theological orbit, I was enthralled with questions of law and grace, election and final judgment. During my first year of undergraduate study, I’d sat out on the front lawn of the college green, sweating in the spring sunshine, reading N. T. Wright’s What Saint Paul Really Said. I was certain that the most important questions I could write about in my postgraduate study would have something to do with Jews and Gentiles in Christ in those dense later chapters of Paul’s Romans. Continue Reading »

My Year in Reading

Every December since my college days a few friends and I have started an email thread to swap stories of our reading experiences over the course of that year. We follow a typical top-ten format, often mimicking the two or three-sentence recap style of similar lists that appear increasingly early, like the post-Halloween Christmas marketing blitz they augment, in periodicals and websites. But we go deeper than that, too, trying to discern patterns in our interests and correlating our reports with what we’d enjoyed or endured outside the pages of books in the intervening months. Continue Reading »

Books for Summer Reading

Real readers read books all year round. But the convention of the “summer reading list” has become so thoroughly engrained in our culture that it seems appropriate to suggest four books-for-summer that will deepen any thoughtful Catholic’s faith—and any thoughtful Catholic’s perception of the challenges Catholics face today. Continue Reading »

50 Summer Reading Suggestions

The following is a list of favorite works of imaginative literature compiled by a literary snob. Unlike similar lists you won’t find anything as daunting as Finnegan’s Wake or as faddish as whatever Oprah is shilling to her book club. In fact, on first glance the inclusion of children’s books . . . . Continue Reading »