Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Religious Violence in the Middle East

"It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it."
-from All Thing Considered by G.K. Chesterton

In light of Americans' baffled confusion in the wake of the recent protests and attacks on U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East, I again recommend this book. A simple movie, however vile or hateful, does not and should not provoke this sort of frenzied and hysterical response. The problem goes far deeper, and we as a culture really need to come to grips with the historic roots of this conflict.