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Showing posts from 2008

Reading Hints for Red Herrings

It is a good thing Strong Poison comes before The Five Red Herrings in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, because only a reader borne up on the waves of the former intriguing and somewhat romantic mystery would have the heart to make it through the next book's pages. Herrings is by far the most arduous and unpleasing of the Wimsey canon and a shocking mistake in publishing history.

Nevertheless, when the time came for me to reread The Five Red Herrings in my third venture through the series, I did so with gusto. I carefully examined the indecipherable map at the front of the book. I attempted to remember the characteristics of each suspect introduced so that I could differentiate among them as the story proceeded. By the time I reached the convoluted account of bicycle labelling at some train station or other round about chapter 10, I was hopelessly lost.

Let me stop right here, since I am riled up at just the memory of the experience, to vent my fustration about a book in which the auth…

More G. K. C.

And when I look across the sun-struck fields, I know in my inmost bones that my joy is not solely in the spring, for spring alone, being always returning, would be always sad. There is somebody or something walking there, to be crowned with flowers: and my pleasure is in some promise yet possible and in the resurrection of the dead.

~ "The Priest of Spring"

The things I do are unprecedented things.

This round road I am treading is an untrodden path. I do believe in breaking out; I am a revolutionist. But don't you see that all these real leaps and destructions and escapes are only attempts to get back to Eden - to something we have had, to something at least we have heard of? Don't you see one only breaks the fence or shoots the moon in order to get home?

~ G. K. Chesterton, Manalive, ch. 3

Two Allergy Books

Allergy Free Naturally: 1,000 Nondrug Solutions for More Than 50 Allergy-Related Problems, Rick Ansorge and Eric Metcalf: Part one of this book is an overview of allergy theory, testing, and the three major medical approaches to allergy--conventional, environmental-medicine, and alternative. Because allergies can be so horribly confusing, it helps to be able to peg your doctor as using one of these three approaches so that you can understand where he's coming from and why he might order completely different tests for you than your friend's doctor does for her. I did not find the rest of the book very helpful, though, since it mainly deals with inhalant and contact allergies, not food allergies.

Coping with Food Intolerances, Dick Thom, D.D.S., N.D.: With its odor of cheap publishing (double-spaced lines, poor editing, etc.) and the occasional reference to something called UNDA numbers (hope I'm not stepping on anybody's toes here), I wasn't sure how helpful this boo…

Back on the Menu

There are very few books that I read more than once, so it's saying a lot that I am reading the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries for the third time. Dorothy Sayers, I'm rediscovering, was a brilliant craftswoman. I'm going a bit more slowly this time, gleaning all the little details that I previously trampled on in my mad attempt to arrive at each mystery's solution. I'm looking up a lot of words in the dictionary. Know what a taradiddle is? No, I'm not going to tell you. I wouldn't steal from you the delight of looking it up and discovering for yourself.

Shadow Stories

The sermon today was from Hebrews 7 and 8, which say that the tabernacle and the sacrificial system and the law and the old covenant were but a shadow and a copy of what is real. To explain to us what we cannot see, to reveal our hidden hearts and unveil the loftiest and most invisible sanctuary of heaven, God painted us a picture. He sang us a song. He wafted incense and let us watch the blood drain from innocent lambs.

This is the God who speaks our language. He teaches us in human terms.

I spent all my high school years trying confusedly to prove that art and beauty were necessary. I needed them to be necessary, because they were the only things that enabled me to make sense of life and they were the only things that held out the promise of something better. In fact, I went to college in the vain hope that there I would find the final proof, the answers to my questions.

But I lost those old lovely dreams--partly for the good reason that they were my idols. I didn't have a real god…