Book Review: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

If you’re reading this blog, then chances are that you have a pretty good grasp on what Christianity is. But did you know that Christianity as we know it almost didn’t succeed in early centuries? You may have heard whispers of various ancient sects of barely recognizable Christian beliefs, and it turns out that the rumors are true. The ancient Christians that we know—whether we love them or hate them—had to struggle against their competitors known as the gnostics, better known to history as heretics.

For centuries, historians have known about the gnostic Christians and their texts only through the writings of their enemies, the orthodox or catholic Christians (which gave rise to the many denominations of Christianity existing today). You can imagine how hard it was to understand the gnostic point of view with their only documentation being from those who despised them. So it was immensely exciting for historians when the gnostic gospels themselves were discovered near Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1946. The discovery was an exercise in patience, though; it would be thirty years until an English translation of the full library would be published in 1977. Elaine Pagels must have gotten to work quickly, then, as her book The Gnostic Gospels was published in 1979.

Read more

Book Review: On Her Knees by Brenda Marie Davies

This is the first time that I have ever reviewed a memoir. I’ve joked with my husband about it: how do you critique a book recounting someone’s life story? “Good job having a life, it was really interesting”? However, there is a lot to reflect on in On Her Knees. Before I get into it, as a graphic designer, I have to applaud this book’s incredible cover art. I love to pick apart designs and think of how they could be improved, but as for On Her Knees‘ final cover, I came up empty. It’s perfect.

Read more

Book Review: The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Only one week ago from today, I wrote of The Disordered Cosmos, “This book is particularly intriguing because my perception is that it is about physics, astronomy, Star Trek, and how science needs to be a more accepting space for women and people of color. I just bought it yesterday as my reward for making it through the week, and I am so eager to get started!” I had a decently correct idea of what the book actually is, but in no way was I prepared for what I would learn.

Read more

15 Nonfiction Books I Can’t Wait to Read

I love books so much, but the ones I have actually gotten around to reading and reviewing in the past five years are so few compared to my ever-growing to-be-read list! I usually wait until I’ve finished a book to talk about it, but I am just so excited to read these books (some of which I already own and some I do not).

I wrote years ago that I was disappointed that so few of my books were by women, and especially by any authors of color. I’m so happy to finally be rounding out my book collection with more diverse voices across race and gender, as well as across genres! My book collection started off as mostly centering on atheism and religion, but it has since expanded onto topics related to science, society, and history. Without further ado, here is just a fraction of the books on my to-be-enthusiastically-read list, as well as some insights on how exactly I come across all these books in the first place.

Read more

Book Review: Kindred by Rebecca Wragg Sykes

If a book can be “hot” in the world of paleoanthropology, then Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art is that book. Published in the fall of 2020, Kindred is the latest in a long line of books about Neanderthals, but anyone who has read Kindred knows that it is not like the others.

Read more

Why I Buy Physical Books

Every time I have written a post dedicated to my bookshelf over the years, I have gotten at least one comment politely suggesting that I get an e-reader. E-readers can save you money and shelf space, as well as the work of packing up boxes of books when it comes time to move. An e-reader also would have come in handy for me when I was covertly reading all those atheist books back in my closeted days. But for how difficult it was to disguise my God Delusion book, and how heavy all the boxes were when I moved, I wouldn’t trade my books for anything.

Read more

Book Review: Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

I’ll be honest with you: Stamped from the Beginning is a very intimidating book in more ways than one. It’s a 511-page tome, which makes sense considering that it is, as the subtitle tells us, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. It’s won several awards, and for good reason.

Read more

Intentionality in Reading and Writing

When I was brainstorming on what to write about this week, I had the idea of doing a series responding to one of the short Christian apologetics books on my shelves. I landed on Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter, which seemed like a shorter version of the famed The Case for Christ, surely featuring the same arguments that, after having educated myself some on the historicity of Jesus and the development of the gospels, should be easy to refute.

Read more

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot: Book Review and 17 Best Quotes

After reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and The Demon-Haunted World, I decided that it was time to return for Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, the Cosmos sequel famous for the short but poignant speech of the same name. Pale Blue Dot is possibly the most humbling book you will ever read, and that rings especially true for anyone who believes that the Universe was created exclusively for humans.

Read more

Book Review: When Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman

When a person leaves religion or loses their faith, I’ve found that they tend to go one of two ways. Some people lose interest in religion altogether and want to get as far away from it as possible. In a way, I think this is a shame, because I’m one of the people that goes the other way; I decided that I wanted to give religion a closer look. I turned back around after walking away to scrutinize the history of Christianity and determine which parts of it, if any, are really true. And what have I found?

Read more