Sunday 10 August 2008

Brave Souls by: Douglas Todd

Brave Souls: Writers and Artists Wrestle With God, Love, Death, and Things That Matter
Douglas Todd
ISBN 0773758321

I first encountered this book about a decade ago in a course called Faith Quests RS 100C. During the course of the term we had about a dozen books to read. From this volume each student had to select two of the people profiled and present a seminar using this book as the beginning point and doing further research. I personally loved the book, and read not only the profiles we needed to have prepared for seminars but the whole volume. I even gave away a few copies. The sad part is that the book is now out of print because Stoddart went under a few years ago.

Todd, a long time writer and columnist for the Vancouver Sun, created the book by doing a series of interviews and then crafting those pieces into this volume. He breaks the Participants into four categories: The Atheists, The Doubters, The New Ancients and Emerging Mystics. The people profiled in each group are:

The Atheists
  • Mordeccai Richler
  • W.P. Kinsella
  • Bill Reid
  • Jane Rule
  • Robert Munsch
The Doubters
  • John Irving
  • Paul Verhoeven
  • Laurence Gough
  • Evelyn Lau
  • Wade Davis
  • Douglas Coupland
The New Ancients
  • Lynn Johnston
  • Susan Aglukark
  • Ann Copeland
  • Tony Hillerman
  • Robertson Davies
Emerging Mystics
  • Timothy Findley
  • Peter C. Newman
  • Robert Bly
  • Robert Fulghum
  • Sylvia Fraser
  • Loreena McKennitt
  • Farley Mowat
  • Barry Lopez
  • Nick Bantock
  • Alex Coville
  • Carol Shields
This book was great for a number of different reasons. They include the fact that many of these people are famous - or infamous in the way these profiles present them in a new and different light. Also some of them have since passed away and the interviews done for this book will have been among some of their last, and maybe most in-depth in regards to their religious and spiritual views. It is truly a pity it is out-of-print, which makes it all the more worth tracking down.

As an aside, the hand out from my seminar on Robert Fulghum and Evelyn Lau can be seen here. I also received bonus points because in my seminar I covered a great controversy between two of the authors profiled in the book. The controversy was between Evelyn Lau and W.P. Kinsella.

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