Sunday 1 January 2012

Staycation Reading

Sci-Fi and theology are both wonderfully creative pursuits, so much so that it's sometimes hard to tell them apart. With the holidays here...

(Digression alert: holidays, not vacation. To have a vacation you need to follow the etymology and vacate your normal place of residence, pulling up stakes and going somewhere else for the duration. Many of us prefer a relaxed staycation, where you blob out in the comfort of home and hearth, only disappearing for day trips. And yes, staycation has recently entered the Oxford, Collins and Chambers dictionaries. Who said the world isn't progressing?)

(Digression alert 2: talking about things getting better, I really want to read Steven Pinker's latest book The Better Angels of Our Nature (UK subtitle: "The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes.") Despite what most baby boomers will tell you, the rising generations aren't really out of control and taking us all you-know-where in a hand-cart. But it's probably a bit on the worthy and earnest side for summer holiday reading. Once back at the chalk face though, a liberal dose of positivity about human nature could be exactly what's needed.) 

... there's the chance to rip into a few good books. Or eBooks if you prefer. For those who love space opera, Michael Cobley's Humanity's Fire series might be worth a try. I'm into the first one at the moment, Seeds of Earth. Given that Asimov will never pass this way again, it's not half bad.

Mark S. Smith's Memoirs of God is more biblical studies than theology, if you want to make that distinction, but it certainly has theological implications. This is - or should be - Old Testament Literacy 101, boiling down two earlier books meant for an academic audience into something that pulls it together for the non-specialist. The issue here is the Bible and history, and why the former isn't quite the latter. If you could boil down even just chapter one, then spike the holy water with it down at St. Columba's, then Steven Pinker would have even more reason to rejoice.

Whatever your literary preferences these holidays, happy reading.

Amazon links:

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire, Book 1)
Memoirs of God

1 comment:

  1. So, on more Biblical topics, any thoughts on this recent Popular Archaeology article?

    Don't worry, Six-Pack is nowhere to be found. But it's a fascinating read. For more pictures, of the temple itself, and the artifacts mentioned in the article, see here.