08 January 2009

R.I.P., Richard John Neuhaus

A great American public intellectual has died: Richard John Neuhaus, the founding editor of First Things.  Neuhaus was a liberal Lutheran minister active in the Civil Rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a staunch, vocal social conservative.  I disagreed with him about most things, but I have the highest respect for his talents as a writer, and First Things is the best conservative magazine available on the intersection of religion and culture.  (Recommended liberal religious magazines: Christian Century, Tikkun, and Sojourners).

01 January 2009

2008 Reading Recommendations

Happy New Year!  At the end of each of the past three years, I've written a post listing the best books I've read over the course of the year in order to bring these books to the attention of others.  My lists from 2007 and 2006 are available here and here.

As usual, I've put the titles of the five books most important to me this year in bold, and I've linked each book to its Amazon.com page. Enjoy!

Arons, Compelling Belief: The Future of American Schooling (education/religion/politics)
Doniger, The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth (religion / mythology)
Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk (history / politics)
Frank, Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class (economics / politics)
Frankel, Faith and Freedom: Religious Liberty in America (religion / politics / law)
Gibran, The Prophet (2nd reading; philosophy / religion)
Hamsun, Dreamers (literature)
Harrison, Returning to Earth (literature)
Harrison, True North (literature)
Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (2nd reading; literature)
Kerouac, The Dharma Bums (literature)
Laxness, Independent People (literature)
Mann, The Magic Mountain (literature)
Milosz, Native Realm: A Search for Self-Definition (memoirs / literature / history)
Putney & Putney, The Adjusted American: Normal Neurosis in the Individual and Society (psychology)
Salomon & Valdez, Little House on a Small Planet (design / environment)
Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (3rd reading; politics / international relations)