In 2020, i have...

 In 2020, I...: read 54 books started a PhD program received two promotions received two seasons of depression switched from PC to Mac went on camping adventures with the family won a pro bono legal case tried out pretty much every streaming service imaginable got on and off several social media platforms started playing electric guitar again got into fountain pens got back into sports cards played a lot of chess (prior to Queen's Gambit thankyouverymuch) co-decorated my home office with my wife (it's pretty dope) collected a lot of records played video games with my kids got a VR headset  gained and lost a lot of weight (ugh...) received a handwritten letter from a favorite musician taught at a youth retreat taught adult learners mentored a law student took many many naps This annual review idea is from my college bud Katie Noah .

Book Review: Life of the Beloved by Nouwen

  Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen My rating: 3 of 5 stars Nouwen is one of my favourite Christian writers – simultaneously mystical, transcendent, encouraging, and practical. This isn’t at the top of my list of his books. However, it may be just the right book for someone struggling with finding worth, identity, or hope in dark times. The genesis of this one is interesting – Nouwen was an already well-known writer and figure and was chosen to be profiled by a local paper. The local reporter obviously had very little interest in either Nouwen or the writing project, and so the conversation during the interview went in interesting directions. The interview flipped, in a way, and Nouwen was asking the writer about his own hopes and dreams. That weird meet-cute led to a long friendship between the two men – Nouwen a Christian mystic and Fred Bratman a Jewish secular writer. This book is an attempt by Nouwn to “write a book explaining the sp

Book Review: The Honor of the Queen by Weber

  The Honor of the Queen by David Weber My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Honor of the Queen is David Weber’s second installment in the Honor Harrington series. This military sci-fi series takes the Horatio Hornblower-type naval battle stories and places them hundreds of years in the future, as well as in spaaaaace. I reviewed the first book in the series several T-years ago, if you’re interested. In this book, Honor is leading a ship on a diplomatic mission/proxy war front to an area populated by separatist groups called the Masadans and Graysons. These two splinter groups are sort of like the pilgrims coming to North America, or the religious zealots escaping earth in the new(ish) HBO series “Raised by Wolves.” They have issues with mainstream humanity’s ethics, related to tech or morals, and so they’ve separated themselves in new worlds. In particular, both groups are opposed to women in leadership roles (to varying degrees). Unfortunately for the Masadans and Graysons, they’ve reloca

Book Review: Run with the Horses by Peterson

Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best by Eugene H. Peterson My rating: 5 of 5 stars "Faith invades the muddle; it does not eliminate it…clarities come from adventuring deep into the mysteries of God’s will and love, not by cautiously managing and moralizing.” This is a lembas-bread-book for a couple of reasons. It’s dense and nourishing, which means it’s good. However, it’s dense and nourishing, which means it’s best absorbed in small bites. That’s mostly why it took me so long to finish this relatively short book. The other reason is the subject – this book is Eugene Peterson’s reflection on the life of the prophet Jeremiah – a person surrounded by impending calamity his whole life. Very appropriate for 2020. I should note that I read the second edition, which Peterson published in 2009 when he was in his late 70s. (He died about ten years later.) Some of the key lessons I learned: PERSISTENCE. Peterson spends a lot of time exploring the context of Jeremiah’s li

Book Review: Vroom vroom!

  Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars by Paul Ingrassia My rating: 5 of 5 stars I'm sure the subtitle has you curious, so here are some clues about the fifteen vehicles explored in this great book. Yes, there are only thirteen items listed below, but that's because a few chapters overlap and include more than one exact make or model of vehicle. The Big Bang Bolsheviks, Nazis, and High-Performance Racers Fins Hitler to Hippies Explosions Iacocca DeLorean, but not that DeLorean Globalisation and Quality Iacocca II Yuppies Iacocca III Red(neck) Dawn Full Gosling Now to the review. The only downside to this book is that it ends. I would readily read Pulitzer-winner Pual Ingrassia's take on any era of American pop culture or automobile. Even at 350+ pages, this hefty volume is still a quick read because it's so entertaining. Not as quick as a GTO or Bimmer, perhaps. But still quick. Ingrassia deftly weaves history, pop culture, odd bits of t

Teenage Dirtbag (Cover) by Phoebe Bridgers


Book Review: “The practice of yoga teaches us to live fully.”

  Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar My rating: 4 of 5 stars “The practice of yoga teaches us to live fully.” Iyengar is something of an ambassador of yoga. Even though he has died, he continues to educate and influence those curious about yoga’s practice and precepts. Personally, I first started reading Iyengar because he was on a href=" the"> reading list of Yoga with Adriene’s Adriene Mishler. The Tree of Yoga is the short and nourishing title on Adriene’s list, and that was the first one I read. This book is longer (around 300 pages) and still dense. However, while other books may be better introductions to yogic philosophy, don’t let that scare you. This is dense the way a sacred text or poetry or a textbook is dense. It’s not meant to be grasped all at once. If you’re a religious type, it’s almost like each little section is food for contemplation in a daily devotion. Photo of Iyengar Whereas the Tree of Yoga uses the illustra