Spiritual Writings – Soren Kierkegaard
My limited exposure to Danish philosopher Kierkegaard would let me murmur about two things at a dinner party: He was Danish and a thoughtful critic of Christianity as an institution.
This new translation by the British theologian exposes what wasn’t covered in basic college courses, namely that the ideas the blue Dane was known for (at least to simpletons like me) were actually the result of careful examination and experience. That is, the guy who said all of life is subjective, based on who experiences the event, spent a lot of time trying to examine the experience of divine life itself.
Not being the deepest of thinkers, I admit to being a bit confused as Kierkegaard dissects a handful of scriptures to assess their meaning at various times in our lives. But his focus, on what he calls the gift, love and creation itself, is clearly a close look at faith itself and a surprising support of having that faith.
Luckily for me, but unluckily who like a short read, the translation provides plenty of repetition to make sure the reader gets the point.
It’s not an easy read, but for anyone who believes that questioning is a critical part of faith, it’s a very satisfying one.
The Stranger You Seek – Amanda Kyle Williams
This is my first novel by this author, whom we met at a recent library fund-raiser and seems to be a rather nice lady.
Nice, that is, for someone who penned a rather gory of serial killers and their motivations. Kudos for the plot twists on what can be a story oft-told: that of the troubled former law enforcement officer who is hunting the killer, only to end up the killer’s prey.
In other words, yeah, I had the main serial killer pegged fairly early on. But a plot twist in the last several dozen pages was pretty crafty.
That said, the book was a bit too crafty. Our former LEO here is Keye Street, a one-time FBI profiler done in by her own love of the bottle. She’s sassy and tough, as all women detectives must be in the genre. She manages to land a few funny lines, as all said detective do, too.
But the story struggles in its violence. We get every detail of blood pooling and pain as Keye helps a longtime friend track the killer dubbed Wishbone, but we don’t much feel for our victims because we don’t get to really know them.
One character that is given time to develop is hurt eventually, but by then, the amount of violence has proven to make us less, not more sensitive, to what’s happening.
The author is fairly new, though. She is able to draw sharp lines for our hero and anti-hero and perhaps still needs to develop those skills for all of her characters.
And, she does manage fantastic pacing and avoids falling into a fair amount of clichés all too common to the genre. There’s still a lot to like here, if you can handle all that blood from such a nice Southern gal.