Showing posts from May, 2013

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Fellowship of the Book: T. M. Doran's Toward the Gleam (Review)

Christmas is upon us, and Peter Jackson's new Hobbit movie has recently premiered, which reminds me of a great book I've been meaning to recommend. Anyone looking for a Christmas gift for fans of Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth should take a look at T. M. Doran's novel, Toward the Gleam (from Ignatius Press , available in hardback, ereader, and audio editions; get the Kindle version from Amazon .) It is both an homage to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and a gripping tale in its own right. The makers of the book's trailer definitely wanted to draw attention to the connection between Doran's novel and Tolkien's. The cover art design for the book should also remind readers of LOTR. Toward the Gleam 's cover was designed by John Herreid and executed by a wonderful Catholic artist, Daniel Mitsui . You can see that it incorporates some of the design elements from the well-known covers of the 1986 Houghton Mifflin edition (below), such as the r

Poetic Truth, Part I: Giambattista Vico

Vico drove me to it! I may be the only person ever to have a traffic accident because of Giambattista Vico . Partly, this is because he has been dead since anno Domini 1744, and partly because not that many people (I guess) meditate on his theory of poetic language while navigating rush-hour freeway traffic. (Perhaps also because most people who do are smart enough to buy cars with anti-lock brakes, but that discussion will have to wait.) Anyway, assuming that you, gentle reader, are not yet counted in the number of those privileged to have glimpsed the beauty of Vico’s theory of poetic language (which makes up one portion of his wonderful work, La Scienza Nuova or The New Science (by which is meant not “science” but “knowledge”), I will give you a very rough idea of what I’m talking about. It’s been many years since I first read Vico, and almost as many since that traffic accident, and it’s entirely possible that my apprehension and application of Vico’s ideas is, ahem ,

Study the Great Works of the Western Cultural Tradition in Kansas City, Missouri

Some readers may know that over the last year or so I have been privileged to teach a couple of literature classes in the epic tradition for the Walsingham Society of Christian Culture and Western Civilization . The Walshingham Society is a relatively new organization in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, although it actually is carrying on the work of the (former) College of Saint Thomas More, which offered a curriculum in the great Christian liberal arts tradition for some thirty years or more. (It has recently undergone a sea change and been reborn as " Fisher-More College ," offering a somewhat different, although thoroughly traditional and Catholic, curriculum.) The erstwhile College of Saint Thomas More always had two overlapping circles of "clientele" -- traditional-aged college students looking for a more substantial and challenging education than most colleges and universities offer, and adults who wanted to steep themselves more thoroughly in the great West

The Hunger Games left me hungering for more ... but not the way you think

It's been quite a while since I posted here, simply because I've been very busy working on my Catholic science fiction novel -- in fact, I've finished the first draft, so it was time well spent. Now, however, the draft is "resting" while I think about what I want to achieve in revision (a lot, as it happens), so I can turn my mind to other things for a while. I have been doing some reading along the way -- a lot of it has been advice on how to write great fiction (which I won't bore you with), but some of it has been books that you might be interested in yourself. So here's a run-down of a few things I've read over the last couple of months, and what I thought of them. The first one was Suzanne Collins’s runaway bestseller Hunger Games trilogy. Since I'm working on science fiction of a futuristic sort, I've been concentrating on speculative fiction of various sorts, to get a feel of what sort of thing is getting read these days. So