Tag Archives: julie davis

Interview: Julie Davis on Jesus and Dracula

I did an interview with Julie Davis about her new book, Seeking Jesus in Everyday Life, a couple of weeks ago; it was published at Aleteia, and I just realized that I forgot to post it here. Among other things, she talks about what she learned about Jesus from Bram Stoker’s Dracula:

During that time I reached the point of the book where Mina is attacked and corrupted by Dracula, so much so that the touch of the Eucharist on her forehead leaves a red scar. The group of friends now have a constant visual reminder of the result of their bad choices. They take up their task to release Mina and the world of this evil, or die trying, and they do it full of hope and enduring personal suffering. They are following in Christ’s footsteps and doing the opposite of Dracula’s anti-Christ methods. They give of themselves without stinting through love of the other.

But you can go read the whole thing.

Wodehouse and Haggard and Adams, Oh My!

Julie Davis has written a lovely review of my new book, Through Darkest Zymurgia!. You should go read it. (And the book, too!) Here's the money quote:

Through Darkest Zymurgia! is what you'd get if you crossed P.G. Wodehouse with H. Rider Haggard and sprinkled a generous dose of Douglas Adams over the whole.

I'm a little blown away by this. It would never have occurred to me, in any of the publicity for Zymurgia, to compare myself to either Wodehouse or Adams.

The comparison with Haggard is certainly apt; I set out to write a book of exploration and adventure in remote corners of a faux-Victorian fantasy setting, while Haggard wrote about exploration and adventure in remote corners of a real Victorian setting—and let me tell you, if you've not read King Solomon's Mines you should read that immediately after you read Zymurgia. Not that the two books are related in any way, but it's Haggard's best book, and you really should have read it by now.

But Wodehouse and Adams, I'd never have done that, and for several reasons:

  1. I've read a number of books by authors that were billed as the next Adams or Pratchett. They weren't.
  2. I think the book is funny…but then, I would. Whether you'll think it's funny, how can I tell?
  3. Is it as funny as Wodehouse or Adams? That's a really tall order. And then, although I'm quite fond of Wodehouse (the book contains two distinct homages to him) I wasn't trying to write like him; and I'm insufficiently madcap to write like Adams.
  4. I'm an engineer, and I completely lack the marketing gene. I can't perpetrate marketing hyperbole without feeling bad about it.

So there are no references to any of these three on the cover of the book, not even Haggard.

But Julie, on the other hand, isn't me, which is to say that she can be objective—and while her tastes and mine aren't identical, she's an insightful reader and a book reviewer of long standing whose reviews I've learned to trust. If she says my book is what you'd get if you crossed P.G. Wodehouse with H. Rider Haggard and then sprinkled Douglas Adams on top, then that's what it is, and it would be futile to deny it.

I'm glad to have that settled.

Seeking Jesus in Everyday Life

I have on my desk a copy of Julie Davis‘ new devotional book, Seeking Jesus in Everyday Life; and let me begin my review by saying that as soon as it was available I immediately ordered copies for the six people in our RCIA class who will be baptized or confirmed at Easter this year.

I wasn’t exactly buying it sight unseen, mind you; I had the opportunity to read and comment on it before it was published, so I knew what I was getting.

Seeking Jesus in Everyday Life is a series of daily devotions on the subject of prayer. Each page begins with a quote (or two, or three) about prayer, from a variety of sources. Many of the quotes come from Scripture; others are saints like Saint Augustine, or from well-known authors like C.S. Lewis; others are from people you’ve likely never even heard of. The quote is followed by Julie’s own reflections on what the quote has to say, and then the page ends with a short, relevant prayer for the reader.

Now the thing is, Julie didn’t originally set out to write a book on prayer. Rather, as part of a concerted effort to get to know Jesus she began keeping a prayer journal. As she read and prayed she copied down quotes she’d found helpful, and also her own reflections. Now me, when I’ve tried having a prayer journal it’s been a write-once/read-never kind of thing; but Julie used her journal as a kind of devotional, revisiting each insight multiple times and using it as a springboard for prayer. Eventually she realized that it could be that for others, too, and the project grew from there.

In short, this is all material that has helped her in her spiritual life; and I’m here to tell you that there isn’t any deadwood. If you’re interested in learning to pray, or to pray “better”, which is to say if you want to draw closer to Jesus Christ, this is an ideal book to spend time with.

I use the word “spend time” advisedly. It isn’t a book for rushing through, or reading cover to cover over a few days. Rather, it’s meant to be an exercise in lectio divina in its broadest sense: fodder for your own prayer and meditation, taken in small doses.

The book has a unusual feature: you can read it either one page or two pages at a time. Each page stands alone, but facing pages are related in some complementary way, and can fruitfully be read together.

I wanted to end with a quote, and every quote I picked, I found that I wanted to include the whole page. So here’s something from one of Julie’s reflections that resonated with me, taken completely out of context:

God, who created us, doesn’t insist on only one style of prayer from his variable, changeable creatures. I can trust him to meet me where I am, in the way I’ll be best able to know him.

You can find Seeking Jesus in Everyday Life at Amazon, or at Niggle Publishing. Pick one.

Updated 4/12/2017, as I’d mis-characterized the origin of the book.