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But what makes this book fun, is that she is a literature student and this book is full of allusions to literature, pop-culture and music. A professor where I went to grad school once remarked that because of the great literature of the 17th and 18th century, every English major has heard the gospel proclaimed to them. It was interesting to hear the words of Milton, Donne, and Hopkins intersecting with a person's stumbling toward faith.

Oxford may surprise you too. Jamichuk May 22, How shall I characterize this memoir?

Surprised by Oxford

That may explain its pages and explain why I found it going in different direction too much which bothered me a bit. What I did like was the first part of the book. Carolyn Weber coming to Oxford as a Canadian to study in this centuries old institution with all its strange customs and traditions. Her exploration of the Christian worldview starts as she meets an American student who challenge her atheistic or agnostic beliefs.

That she eventually also falls in love with him makes her spiritual search for the truth more complicated. I read it actually as the title suggest a nod to C.

Surprised by Oxford: best book I read in a year -

Weber begins each chapter with a snippet of poetry appropriate to the plot of her story, and allusions to classic literature are found on almost every page. Weber tells her intimate story of arriving at Oxford as a very devout feminist man-hater to continue her education in English literature.

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She then meets a man who challenges every horrible male stereotype she has absorbed into her mind. He is kind, selfless, confident, protective, knowledgeable, intelligent, honest, and Weber gives her readers a look into the mind of an English major. She thinks about theology and spirituality very differently from many others. This insight is very valuable to those of us who do not see the world through the same lenses. Something in that seemed a little coarse, even for a cynic like me. So instead I made my way to one of the back pews and sat down, irreverently crossing my ankles on the genuflecting cushion and resting my coffee on the handy little shelf for the welcome cards.

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I opened a Bible and began at the beginning, a very good place to start. Before I knew it, stealthily entering St. The church always owned a particular hush during the rush of a weekday. Sometimes I would return late in the evenings, too, after the Bodleian closed. I would step out of the chill into the candle glow. I enjoyed the peace, the solitude, the seeming transgression. Purchasing my own Bible seemed too much of a commitment, like getting married.


Besides, the church was right across the street from my college, so, as they say, why purchase the cow when you can get the milk for free? I began coming more and more often. Lilies in the field, a house with many mansions, the command to love one another—familiar echoes from an unfamiliar context.

Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir

Seeds planted but nothing, really, I thought, to reap. In this back pew I read the Bible steadily on borrowed pages. I devoured it, just as a best-selling book which, coincidentally, it always has been. Even the long, monotonous lists. Even the really weird stuff, most of it so unbelievable as to only be true.

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  5. I have to say I found it the most compelling piece of creative nonfiction I had ever read. If I sat around for thousands of years, I could never come up with what it proposes, let along with how intricately Genesis unfolds toward Revelation. I requested to review this book a year ago when I started a new chapter of my life in Europe. It took me a year to read this book.

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    By taking it slowly, the testimonial of Carolyn Weber made a deep impression within me. I am encouraged by her choice despite being 'different' as in being a Christian Surprised by Oxford - Carolyn Weber. It is the journey of the author towards the acknowledgement and complete acceptance of God's Love and Grace into her heart. Inspiring, deep yet with a sense of humour, I love this book. Carolyn Webber, a literature scholar of Oxford set Surprised by Oxford is Carolyn's memoir of her journey to Christ through Oxford. I loved everything about this book - her writing is fabulous! She weaves in many references Non-fiction that reads like a novel Richard Mabry's Rating: