Lit Wits' Schedule 2015-2016
October 18, 2015
An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Stephen Grant Novel. Ray Keating . 164 pages. 2012.
Advent and Christmas approach. It’s supposed to be a special season for Christians. But it’s different this time in New York City. In An Advent for Religious Liberty, religious liberty is under assault. The Catholic Church has been called a “hate group.” And it’s the newly elected mayor of New York City who has set off this religious and political firestorm. Some people react with prayer – others with violence and murder. Stephen Grant, former CIA operative turned pastor, faces deadly challenges during what becomes known as “An Advent for Religious Liberty.” Grant works with the Cardinal who leads the Archdiocese of New York, the FBI, current friends, and former CIA colleagues to fight for religious liberty, and against dangers both spiritual and physical. An Advent for Religious Liberty is a thriller torn from today’s headlines. It’s a different, fast-paced, action-packed story of politics and violence trying to undermine faith during the Advent and Christmas season. No copies in the library.
December 20, 2015
The Autobiography of Santa Claus. Jeff Guinn. 280 pages. 1994.
This enchanting Christmas Chronicles classic combines solid historical fact with glorious legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus. For anyone who has ever wondered . . . you're right to believe in him! In The Autobiography of Santa Claus, Santa reveals his story for the first time. Nicholas (his real name) was born in the Middle Eastern country of Lycia to wealthy parents who died while he was young. The kind people of Lycia taught him the lessons of goodness and generosity had bestowed upon him special abilities to distribute his presents to deserving children everywhere. And so it was that Santa broadened his gift-giving and spread his message to many others who also valued his belief in the goodness of giving. Families will delight in each chapter of this Christmas classic--one per each cold December night leading up to Christmas! And who better to lead us through seventeen centuries of Christmas magic than good 'ol Saint Nick himself? 2 copies in Library.
February 21, 2016
Killing Jesus. Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard. 304 pages. 2103.
"From the outset, the authors make it clear that though they are Roman Catholics, they are not writing a religious book. Rather, they are writing a historical account of a historical figure ‘and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause.’ They necessarily rely on the four gospels for their source material and often tell their story by directly quoting the Bible. They begin, though, by setting Jesus firmly in his historical context. As the authors begin to tell about the life of Jesus, they follow the biblical accounts quite closely. The reader is left with no doubt that Jesus' whole life was leading to a cross and that Jesus knew he would end up there. The reader sees that the claims Jesus made about himself put him at odds with both the Jews and the Romans. However, Jesus' life is not mere history. He also claimed to be God's Son and his followers claimed that in his life and death he had done something unique and, literally, world-changing. The same Bible that describes Jesus' life, also interprets and explains it. And this is the story the authors do not tell. Any author who writes a narrative account of Jesus' life will find it difficult to do justice to both his humanity and his divinity. These authors err far to the side of his humanity. A brief aside before I wrap up: If you have read Killing Kennedy you may remember that the authors seem have a strange obsession with kinky sexuality. Both Kennedy and the Roman rulers give them a lot to work with in that regard, and in this account they are sure to point to the ugly sexual deviancies that marked the Roman rulers of that day. While they do not go into lurid detail and do not mean to excite lust, neither do they exercise a lot of discretion, making this a book you would probably not want to hand to a child. As O'Reilly and Dugard begin this book they claim the story of Jesus' life and death ‘has never fully been told. Until now.’ That's very dramatic but also ridiculous. This story has been told repeatedly over the past two millennia and it will be told again and again in the future. Killing Jesus is another account that will be here for a while and then disappear and be forgotten. In the meantime, it will take Jesus out of the realm of fantasy and place him squarely in history, but even as it does that, it will neglect to tell why his life, his crucifixion, his resurrection are of eternal significance, a matter of his life and death and our own." Review by Tim Challies. 10 plus audio in library
April 17, 2016
The 100-year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Jonas Jonasson. 396 pages. 2012.
“The international publishing sensation--over six million copies sold worldwide! A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it's not too late to start over . . . After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works. Desperate to avoid his 100th birthday party, Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his room at the nursing home and heads to the nearest bus station, intending to travel as far as his pocket money will take him. But a spur-of-the-moment decision to steal a suitcase from a fellow passenger sends Allan on a strange and unforeseen journey. In his slippers, Allan embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant). It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.” 3 in library plus a large print copy.
June 26, 2016 (postponed one week due to Father's Day)
The Cellist of Sarajevo. Steven Galloway. 235 pages. 2009.
“A spare and haunting, wise and beautiful novel about war and the endurance of the human spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim their humanity. In a city under siege, four people whose lives have been upended are ultimately reminded of what it is to be human. From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbors waiting in a breadline. Then, in a flash, they are killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days, honoring their memory. Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and, in the face of danger, must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was. As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character—a young woman, a sniper—holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. As she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become. A novel of great intensity and power, and inspired by a true story, The Cellist of Sarajevo poignantly explores how war can change one’s definition of humanity, the effect of music on our emotional endurance, and how a romance with the rituals of daily life can itself be a form of resistance.” 4 copies plus audio in library
August 21, 2016
Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast. Bill Richardson. 152 pages. 1994.
“A pair of endearingly eccentric bachelors--in their fifties, and fraternal twins--own and operate a bed & breakfast establishment where people like them, the gentle and bookish and ever so slightly confused, can feel at home. Hector and Virgil think of their B&B as a refuge, a retreat, a haven, where folks may bring their own books or peruse the brothers' own substantial library. An antic blend of homespun and intellectual humor, Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast is a place readers will want to return to again and again. Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast, originally published by Douglas & McIntyre, won Canada's prestigious Stephen Lecock Award for Humor in 1994, and was published in hardcover by A Wyatt Book for St. Martin's Press in 1996. "One day, I put myself in the car and simply drove. I had no idea where I was going or why. I had no idea ... I would wind up, at dusk, in a lost little valley, turning up the driveway of the Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast." The best books, as you read them, take you from wherever you are to a place where you want to be. If you're a reader of a certain type--a lover of books, cats, and absurdity of a quiet kind--then the Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast should be on your itinerary. It introduces two fraternal twins, Hector and Virgil, unmarried men who run a cozy establishment on a Canadian island. The book alternates between notes from Hector or Virgil, and "Brief Lives," culled from the B & B's guest book. This variety of perspectives gives Bill Richardson tremendous flexibility, and he weaves all the disparate characters together with an unobtrusive dexterity. The Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast is a pleasant, soothing, quietly absurd place to be.” 1 copy in the library.