Toasts (New York: Crown Publishers, 1981)
I enjoy reading collections of sayings and quotes, and just finished this book of toasts by Paul Dickson. It was enjoyable, and as always I picked up a few things. Here are a few favorites.
“May we have more and more friends, and need them less and less”
“Here’s champagne to our real friends and real pain to our sham friends”
“Good luck till we are tired of it.”
There was a short section on curses, and a great Yiddish one was “May the greatest doctors in the world know of your case.”
The End of Sacrifice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)
This was a very fine and scholarly treatment of one of the great events in the history of the world — the cessation of public sacrifices under Constantine. Or, rather it is about the background to this event, which would be the currents of faith and thought that made such an event possible.
On Writing (New York: SimonandSchuster, 2000)
I have never read a novel by Stephen King, and I don’t plan on it. That kind of thing just isn’t my bag. But I will read virtually anything on the craft of writing, and this was a good one. I really enjoyed it, and learned a few important things.
Surprised By Scripture (New York: HarperCollins, 2014)
A true mixed bag. Some chapters were very good, and a number of them were lame. The three stars is therefore an average.
Something Fresh (Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press, 2005)
Wodehouse plots are frequently tangled, but this one is a bit more tangled than usual. This was pretty good, a cut above his normal good work. The Efficient Baxter makes an early appearance, and some of the rest of the Blandings Castle gang. Reading this is like reading an early Peanuts cartoon strip — with the characters recognizable, but not fully themselves yet.
A Lifting Up for the Downcast (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1649, 1979)
A marvelous book. I have been chipping away at this book for some time, using a page or two of it as a quarry for my weekly meditations on the Lord’s Supper. My reason for doing that is that I wanted those meditations to be encouraging, and who is more encouraging than the Puritans?
And this book once again puts the lie to the ludicrous notion that the Puritans were a censorious lot. The best cure for that is actually to read them. When it comes to the cure of souls, the Puritan pastors are unparalleled — scriptural, sympathetic, insightful, encouraging, comforting, and wise. This book one more glorious representative of that wisdom.
Apostate (Parker, CO: Generations With Vision, 2013)
This is a very fine book. In it, Kevin Swanson does something very similar to what Jones does in Degenerate Moderns, and Paul Johnson in Intellectuals. Swanson has a few weak chapters (Aquinas and Shakespeare, in my view), but where he has the background data at his fingertips, as he does for almost all the men in this book, his treatment is devastating. The subtitle is “The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West,” and when we take higher education into account, we could add “And the Christians Who Enabled Them.”
Making Gay Okay (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2014)
This is a superb book, given the premises. Published by Ignatius, this book by Robert Reilly provides a wealth of information on the current “full court press” that the homosexual activists are running. I would have preferred more Scripture, and less Aristotle, but Reilly does a great job in showing that reality really isn’t optional. The book really lives up to the subtitle — “How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything.” For those involved in the culture wars — and this issue is at the very center of those wars — this book is a must read.