Worth Reading (Fiction)

  • Mamet, David: Chicago: A Novel
    In Roaring 20's Chicago, a Great War veteran turned hard-boiled reporter falls in love with the wrong woman and then seeks to find her killer.
  • Nelson DeMille: The Cuban Affair: A Novel
    Two million dollars to charter a boat for a fishing tournament? A great way for the owner to pay off the boat's mortgage, but it turns out to include slipping into Castro's prison island in search of a lost (and perhaps imaginary) treasure.
  • Kate Atkinson: Life After Life: A Novel
    Ursula Todd has the opportunity to relive her life, over and over and over, moving steadily through the Great War and its sequels and accumulating shards of memory.
  • Connie Willis: Crosstalk: A Novel
    An empathy app leads to complications involving telepathy, Irish women and a true love that runs most unsmoothly. Classic Willis comedy.
  • Mark Steyn: The Prisoner of Windsor
    In a 21st Century sequel to Anthony Hope, the heir to the Ruritanian throne must fill in for the kidnaped Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • Tim Powers: My Brother's Keeper
    Werewolves, the Brontë sisters, their wayward brother, their heroic dog and a conspiracy to unleash an almost dead deity.
  • Tim Powers: Declare: A Novel
    An intricate Cold War fantasy that seems so plausible that one wonders whether it is the true story of why the Soviet Union rose and collapsed.
  • H.F.M. Prescott: The Man on a Donkey
    Set during the Pilgrimage of Grace, this is the rare historical novel that captures the mindset of the actors. The hero, Robert Aske, was martyred in a way that makes burning at the stake look merciful.
  • Theodore Odrach: Wave of Terror
    Based on the author's experiences when the Soviet Union occupied his homeland after the Stalin-Hitler Pact, this book melds Chekov and Solzhenitsyn. By stages, the isolated folk of the Pripyet Marshes learn that there are worse masters than their former Polish overlords.
  • Simon Montefiore: Sashenka: A Novel
    Both grim and funny, this historical novel peers into the inner world of an upper class Russian girl turned loyal Bolshevik, highlighting her youthful fling at revolution-making in Petrograd, her fall from grace under Stalin, and an historian's effort, after the end of communism, to ascertain her fate.
  • Harry Turtledove: The Man with the Iron Heart
    Can the U.S. maintain its resolve against a defeated enemy's terrorist campaign? Imagining a post-World War II Nazi insurgency, Harry Turtledove puts this question into a new context. As Reinhard von Heydrich's "werewolves" devastate Germany, war-weary Americans call for withdrawal, regardless of the consequences.
  • Neal Stephenson: Anathem
    If you have not a smidgen of interest in how Platonic philosophy relates to the "many worlds" version of quantum mechanics, you still may like this novel, though you'll probably wish that the characters talked less. Persevere. After a slow start, the story grows compelling, and the intellectual dialogues turn out not to be digressions.
  • Alfred Duggan: Lord Geoffrey's Fancy
    Perhaps the finest book of one of England's finest historical novelists. The setting is 13th Century Greece, where Crusaders fought each other and the shattered Byzantine Empire. The history is accurate, the writing graceful and the characters not merely modern people in fancy dress.
  • Rodney Bolt: History Play : The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe
    A pseudo-history springing from the premise that Shakespeare's flashy predecessor survived the famous Deptford brawl and fled to the continent, where he secretly wrote almost all of the Bard's works. A clever, tongue-in-cheek reworking of literary history that also recreates the milieu shared by many real Elizabethan exiles.
  • Charles W. Chesnutt: Stories, Novels, and Essays (Library of America, 131)
    Fiction and essays by a black American writer who deserves a wider audience.
  • Harry Turtledove: Gunpowder Empire
    Debut of a juvenile series set in parallel worlds. 22nd century teen siblings, trapped without adult aid in a besieged city, must cope with the bizarre (to them) customs and prejudices of a never-fallen Roman Empire.
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Thursday, February 23, 2006


"When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another..."

Actually, it does talk "about nations being judged”" - Mexicans and Americans. The Bible repeatedly commands compassion towards foreigners and aliens, and as stated, refuges. The racism and xenophobia that exists is wrong, when the Bible describes two peoples - the Gentiles (Chinese, African, Irish) and the Jews, and from those two peoples those who have faith have been reconciled "both unto God in one body by the cross."
Your second point (The Judgement is individual and moral, not collective and political.) is certainly possible.
I remember visiting a liberal church once that followed a strict 'matthew 25' line, in effect claiming that salvation was based on works - implying that its okay for people not to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, or to continue using their pornography, yelling and screaming at their wives, as long as they made sure they did a couple of hours of good deeds.
Jesus and His Apostles, who were with Him for years and saw Him for 40 days after He was raised from the dead, said it was by grace, through faith, not works. Truth faith leads to a life, not just a weekend, of good works done through the strength that God's Spirit provides, to God's glory. Abraham, David, Moses and the thief on the cross next to Jesus were saved through their God-given faith. A person who claims that salvation is based on the works of Matthew 25 usually does not say how many hours/dollars is necessary for each activity to 'buy your way into heaven' or what happens to those unable (disabled) to complete the tasks. The only price that God will accept is Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by miracles, who was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowldge of God and who was crucified and slain by wicked hands, who God raised up. Only the sinless Son of God crucified and dying in the place of sinners can bring peace between God and man, not donating a couple of hours of your time or writing a $2000 check. Of course, born again Christians regularly love their neighbor, here and abroad by helping with food, clothing, shelter, rent, medical care, and prison ministry.

It would have been more interesting had the PC-USA spokesperson finished Matthew 25,
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (v.46) After all, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

There's an interesting comment Taras Wolansky made about a similar situation:

"It occurs to me that liberals are to the Constitution what an ivory hunter is to a jungle god, in one of those old stories: he doesn't believe in the god himself, but the natives do, and so he hides behind the statue of the god and gives the natives orders through a speaking trumpet."

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Books by Tom Veal

Worth Reading (Non-Fiction)