Sunday, 6 November 2011

Not bipolar, bippola!

I've always been in awe of Jason Goroncy's monthly reading list. How could one not be impressed both in quantity and quality?  Jason is a renaissance man, with wide tastes in film, fiction, theology and so much more.

But I confess that there's nothing, absolutely nothing, in his October selections that I've read, and a goodly number that I'd run a mile to avoid reading: Eberhard Jüngel, Stanley Hauerwas, Lesslie Newbigin and, wouldn't you know it, Karl Barth. Yes, I have sampled each and every one of these luminaries, but only out of unavoidable academic need, and in the way one must swallow foul medicine to achieve a greater good.

All of these blokes are, of course, Reformed thinkers, which goes a long way to explaining the aversion. This includes Jüngel, who is a Geneva wolf in Wittenberg clothing. I grant that, seeing Jason is teaching at a Presbyterian theological institution, this is understandable, if unfortunate.

My October list is much more plebeian, and briefer to boot. No Barth of course, but who needs him when there's a new Dr. Seuss!


Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change. Timothy Wilson. [Brilliant!]
Planet Word, J. P. Davidson. [If you love language, this is a must read]
Turns of Phrase: Radical Theology from A - Z. Don Cupitt.
The End of Christianity. John Loftus (ed.) [A curate's egg, brilliant in parts]
From the Garden to the City. John Dyer. [Surprisingly engaging, despite the author's atrophied fundagelical mindset]
Rediscovering the Apostle Paul. Bernard Brandon Scott (ed.)
The Last Great Day. Benjamin Grant Mitchell.
Visions of Distant Shores. Andre Norton (anthology).
A Princess of Mars. Edgar Rice Burroughs. [Great fun, though the stereotypes now make it as much a humour as a sci-fi classic]
Bloody Horowitz. Anthony Horowitz. [An anthology from the British children's writer. For those around 12 years of age, and those 12 at heart).
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. Dr. Seuss.


Fringe, season 3.
Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Letters and Numbers (SBS1) [I'm addicted!]


  1. I've seen Torchwood: Miracle Day and know the ending, so I can ruin it for you.

    See, there's these guys and they do something and these other guys that do something else and they all end up at opposite sides of the planet and then a couple people do something we all expected would work anyway and it changed everything so some other guys will have to go back to the drawing board and implement "Plan B".

    So a few people die and a few don't and the surprise ending you really didn't expect, but should have has left us with enough material for another season if you know who gets support for it.


    Dr. Who does not show up.

  2. Dougie,

    You've seriously got to get your prescriptions checked. What are you on about, man?

    On topic to your off-topic, I definitely lost my taste for the BBC science fiction right around the same time I was turned back towards more beneficial pursuits. The 11th Doctor wasn't too bad, until the whole "River Song" thing. JMO.

    Riverworld doesn't do justice to the original literature (naturally), but I've got to say, it's not half-bad. And I say this as someone who hasn't been able to stomach regular TV watching for the past seven years....

  3. Hey Gavin. The size of my reading list this month simply betrays how much time I've spent sitting around airports and on aeroplanes. BTW: Yours is a nice list too. But I must say, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Dr Seuss that couldn't be cured by Dr Jüngel ;-)

    PS. We really must meet over a beer some time.

  4. My reading list:

    "The Lucifer Effect" by Philip Zimbardo;
    "When Prophecy Fails" by Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, Stanley Schachter;
    "Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships" by Janj Lalich and Madeleine Tobias;
    "A User's Guide to the Brain" by Dr. John J. Ratey, M.D.;
    "Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja" by John Resig and Bear Bibeault (advanced copy);
    "JavaScript for Web Developers, 2nd Edition" by Nicholas C. Zakas;
    "JavaScript Cookbok" by Shelley Powers;
    Just finished:
    January / February 2012 Special Double Issue of "Analog Science Fiction and Fact" ("What Science Means to Me" by Jerry Oltion is not to be missed and is the core source of my new website on Cults and Science);
    Just starting:
    January 2012 "Asimov's" for some interesting ideas in semi hard science science fiction and sociological ideas.

    Not sure that most mentally deficient people with a lower I.Q. would be able to appreciate a list such as this, but you know how it is: If you can't understand someone, ridicule them and treat with contempt -- it shows a total lack of sophistication and maturity and may even demonstrate a total sociopathic lack of a sense of humor. [If you don't understand the IBM Mainframe 64 bit addressing in cross memory subsystems, I might consider you beneath my consideration.]

    Speaking of which, changing gears now, Gavin, do you think that Walter will solve Peter's problem?

  5. I wouldn't even dare to put my month's reading list on here...I think it would quickly ruin my self-assertion that I'm a Renaissance man too, at least in terms of the minimal amount of intellectually stimulating stuff I'd have to include if I was being honest. (Guess I could always have a list of 'what I might have read this month' titles?)

    I agree that Jason's list is often pretty full on, and if he really reads some of these theological heavyweights in the airports, he's got a great deal better concentration level than me. I'm too easily distracted by the passing traffic and the cost of the food, or the possibility of missing my plane.

    On the other hand there are a couple of authors on Otagosh's list that I'd be unlikely to bother with in several months of Sundays: Don Cupitt for one. That probably means that I'm very un-broadminded, but so be it. Having torn one of his books to shreds in the past (I mean literally) I haven't yet come across any reason to change my mind about his stance on religion/spirituality/whatever.

    Dr Suess? Yup, okay, if a bit repetitious in style. And probably rather more imaginative than Cupitt.

  6. @Mike. Your comments on Cupitt and imagination could not be more perceptive, for it is precisely Cupitt's unfit and stale imagination that leads to such a colourless vision of reality.

  7. What's the Festinger book like, Dougie? I've been meaning to check it out from the library.