Chesterton’s Fence

It seems to me that we are living in incredibly reactive times. Information comes at us increasingly fast, events happen quickly and are almost instantly communicated around the world, and we rarely have time to slow down and reflect on any new developments and their impacts. Emotions run high, fear is everywhere around us, and we are seeking a sense of stability and order. We are willing to jump on board with anything that seems like it might bring some…

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Isolation Update: Art During Crisis

The last few weeks I have been making some serious headway on my novel-in-progress, and it’s felt pretty good. But in those last few weeks I have also had a few emotional mini-crises while reading the news and thinking about the state of the world and what the future might look like, and I have had to stop and ask myself, “What’s the point? Should I really be spending my time working on a silly novel right now? Should I…

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Middle Earth and St. John Henry Newman

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. “In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.” These opening words to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” have been inscribed in my mind from my earliest memories. My father used to read the book aloud, long before I could read it myself, and the ideas of hobbits and elves, dragons and dwarves, adventures and heroism, were embedded in my imagination as firmly as my…

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What I Read: November 2019

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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What I Read: September 2019

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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G.K. Chesterton, A Man for Our Times

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. In a world of Twitter and Internet memes that prize brevity, short yet poignant quotes are often passed around on social media without much thought as to where they came from. Some of my personal favorites: “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.”; “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same…

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“Good Omens” TV Show Review

Book-to-screen adaptations are always going to be tricky, because the mediums of books and films have very different needs, abilities, and limitations. You can’t tell a story the exact same way in both forms; and if you try, it’s going to be a hot mess. However, I have found that the most successful adaptations are usually when the same writer works on both (and is proficient in both forms). I’m pleased to say that such was the case with Good…

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“Tolkien” Movie Review

When I first learned that there was going to be a biopic about J.R.R. Tolkien, I was excited but also extremely apprehensive. Tolkien was a man who might not be easily grasped by today’s culture: a devout Catholic, a loving and faithful husband and father, a survivor of the Somme in World War I, and someone who loved language so much that he invented several of his own, just for fun. Tolkien is criticized for a lack of female characters…

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Shakespeare Love

So, I am definitely someone who loves traditions. I love familiarity and I enjoy having different things to look forward to throughout the year. You might recall my Hobbit-fest tradition. In my book, An Adult-ish Toolkit, I have an entire chapter about the importance of celebrating birthdays. And I put a lot of thought into the planning of holidays and other milestone events. One of my favorite traditions that I have adopted in the last few years is the declaration…

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Narnia Thoughts

C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series was a hallmark of my youth and, subsequently, is a lens through which I tend to view the world. I’m sure that the books were read to me, but I primarily remember watching the old BBC mini-series, which we would borrow from the local library on a pretty regular basis. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are some of the most prominent stories that I remember…

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