When I posted my Top 10 Children’s Books before last Christmas, one of my friends asked if I had a Top 10 Books of 2018 list in the works. Of COURSE I did! Well, not at that very moment—but I thought it would be fun to develop one after the new year. Then I got […]Read More Top 10 Books of 2018
New Year’s Resolutions have come under fire lately. My whole adult life, I’ve heard the (perhaps deserved) cynicism. While I’m generally skeptical of what culture says we should do, I do like New Year’s Resolutions. The new year is a guaranteed fresh start, an official milestone to look forward to as the beginning of something good. […]Read More My Solution to Resolutions
“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Proverbs 10:28 There are lots of reasons to think about hope and expectation in the days leading up to Christmas. We are looking forward to certain gifts, hoping that what we ourselves give will meet with thankful excitement, praying that […]Read More Hope Misunderstood
This year, to top off my celebration of Tolkien Week, I’m participating in Hamlette’s Tolkien Blog Party! (Many thanks to her for organizing!) 1. What’s your favorite Middle-earth story/book? It may be cliché, but since Lord of the Rings is one of my top three books of all time, it’s that one. I count LOTR […]Read More Tolkien Blog Party 2018!
Happy Tolkien Week to one and all! One of the aspects of Tolkien’s work that fascinates me is its depiction of Evil. Not only can this mild-mannered, somewhat niggling professor write some truly terrifying scenes, but I also appreciate the thematic truths that inform his portrayal of Evil. I love a good subtle villain as […]Read More Tolkien’s Three Satans and Why They Matter
In a blog with a Tolkien reference in the subtitle, and with a list of at least ten Tolkien-related blog posts in my head, I find it shameful that I have yet to write specifically about Tolkien. My undergraduate thesis was on Tolkien, and I teach a class on him and Lewis every other year, […]Read More The Purposeful Parallelism of The Hobbit
“If You Want to Write Fantasy, Stop Reading It.” That was the title of a post I wrote a couple years ago for Faith & Fantasy Alliance. (You can read it here now.) Despite the clickbait title, I don’t believe fantasy authors should discontinue reading fantasy: for one, it’s important to keep up with developments […]Read More What Fantasy Authors Can Learn from Beowulf
Periodically, I teach a survey-style course on the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. One of our long-running discussion topics in the class is music: both authors’ works are filled with it. What’s more, when both authors give us creation accounts of their worlds–Middle-Earth in The Silmarillion, and Narnia in Magician’s Nephew–both worlds […]Read More The Inklings and Mr. Rogers Explain the Source of Music’s Power