51mkm-sbq6lThank God [sic] for George H. Smith | Read It Forward

When I was a kid I began to have dangerous thoughts—scary, world-shattering thoughts with enormous implications not merely in my daily life but the afterlife as well—thoughts that could potentially harm my family, even, and for all eternity no less. What I didn’t understand then, what I probably couldn’t understand then, as a 10-, 11-year-old boy in Pickerington, Ohio in the mid-90s, was that just on the other side of the harrowing danger was complete absolution, since if, as I suspected, there was no God, there subsequently wouldn’t be any worry of said God’s wrath—in this life or the next one (because, again, there wouldn’t be a next one). Continue reading…

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0670026069.01.LZZZZZZZLiterature Is Not a Religion | The Millions
Literature is not an ideology; it is not a religion. It is something grander, more human and humane. For literature asks nothing of you. It doesn’t tell you how to live or who to love. It doesn’t tell you that you aren’t good enough or that you were born wrong. It doesn’t promise punishment for lack of adherence, and it doesn’t condemn those who don’t follow it. And the best part? Literature acknowledges its fiction, its artifice, its ultimate inability to express the capital-T Truth.

childrenactThe Children Act by Ian McEwan | Slant Magazine
“McEwan writes of many things, but in form he oscillates between two poles: the short, parable-like novel (On Chesil BeachAmsterdam) and longer, more layered tales (AtonementSaturday, even Solar, though it’s a comedy). The Children Act is of the first category, and at 221 pages, it’s a tightly knit piece of fiction, an elegant examination of a complicated problem.”