31 January 2011

2011 Books - #s 2 & 3

Book #2: Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio. I discovered Le Clezio in a NY Times article after he won the Pulitzer a couple of years ago. As I read the interview I started to think about sermon writing (it is a chronic disease most preachers suffer from). I couldn't help but apply his discussion of the novel as the only place in modern life where questions are asked to the purpose of sermons. Here is the quote that set me off on this journey:

Asked at the news conference if he had any message to convey, Mr. Le Cl├ęzio said: “My message will be very clear; it is that I think we have to continue to read novels. Because I think that the novel is a very good means to question the current world without having an answer that is too schematic, too automatic. The novelist, he’s not a philosopher, not a technician of spoken language. He’s someone who writes, above all, and through the novel asks questions.

I clipped the article (another chronic disease that is somewhat particular to certain generations of Norvells) and stowed it away in my sermon idea box. Sometime last year as I prepared my sermons for the year I decided on a series on the parables of Jesus. I read the Le Clezio article and conjectured about the nature of the parables and the nature of questions. I also read quite a few essays and speeches by Le Clezio - the more I read the more I liked. But for some reason I never got around to finishing Wandering Star, until this evening!

When I compare WS to Freedom I am struck by the depth of WS, Freedom cannot compare. WS had no masturbation scenes, no detailed sex scenes, and no babble about middle class angst. It was a work that dealt with big questions and worked on them.

Book #3. I also like to include a favorite childrens book every now and then. Today I read to #3 Dr. DeSoto by William Steig. I love Steig's work for his use of language, his stories, and imagination. DD is my favorite.

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