Tag Archives: G. K. Chesterton

Summer Reads

I was going to take a “beginning the adventure selfie” but all my attempts have failed and I feel extremely Basic White Girl so instead please enjoy this snapshot of the books I packed for the summer!

I tried to pick things I could really chew on and re-read since I will have limited/no access to books. I am looking forward to these!


Whatcha Reading…? 4/22/2017 Book Update

“What are you currently reading?” asks the Get To Know You form. I look at the inch provided to respond in and don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What am I currently reading…??

I am in the middle of quite a few books right now. The problem is time. I’ve been in the midst of several books for weeks and there are twice as many unread in my library basket but I don’t seem to be finishing them at my usual pace. I think I need to take a reading day. However, for now, here is what I am currently reading:

Legend by Marie Lu, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry, and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I’m still working on An Autobiography by Agatha Christie and Jack by George Sayer.  I am re-reading Manalive by G.K. Chesterton and listening to Bleak House by Charles Dickens on audio book. 

I don’t have much time today so I won’t go into the relative merits of each of these reads but there are some really interesting ones. And some less interesting ones. Hopefully you’ll see a few reviews with these names over the next week!


2016 Reading Challenge – The Moving Ones

Last year, I had a post designated for the the most “mind blowing reads” of 2015. I was planning on doing that again this year. However, what stands out most from this year isn’t the non-fiction that made me think, but the books (fiction and non-fiction) that made me feel. Each of these books left a lasting impression on my mind. All the 5 star reads I will share over the next few days arguably have a claim on this list (they did make 5 stars), but these were the ones that came immediately to mind. Without further ado, I present you:

Emotionally Moving and Character Shaping 5 Star Reads from 2016:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles 

This American classic is a dark, coming of age story set during early WW2. It is the story of Gene, a brooding introvert, and his friend, Phineas, the outgoing and favorite boy at school. This book is full of emotions: hatred, love, friendship, and jealousy. It was poignant, melancholy, and left me slightly breathless by the end. I’m glad I didn’t read this one in school because I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did on my own. Also, while they are often compared, I immensely preferred this one to Catcher in the Rye.

Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society by Dorothy L. Sayers

A 75 page booklet consisting of two essays: “Are Women Human?” and “The Human-Not-Quite-Human.” Sayers did not write or speak much about feminism but in this work she lays out her opinion about the role of women in society. Sayers’s main point is that men and women have more in common than not and that each should do what they were designed to do. If a woman enjoys and is good at business, she should be a businesswoman because that is what she was made to do. However, if a woman desires to be a traditional housewife, she should do that because that is what she was meant to do. The same standards apply to men and women equally. While these are hardly groundbreaking concepts, Sayers’s brevity and snark offer an exceptional and thought provoking look at what it means to be human in today’s society. 

All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

661 pages, but worth every word. At first glance,this Depression-era novel is the story of Willie Stark, an initially idealistic politician who amasses power and uses ruthless methods to get what he wants. However, this is equally the story of the men and women around Willie, especially his right hand man and the narrator of the book, Jack Burden. I’ve already written about how much I love Jack; the truth is, I enjoyed all the characters in this book. They are multilayered and even characters with only one or two scenes have color and depth. Rarely, though, do characters only have one scene. They always seem to come around as the story weaves a tighter and tighter plot towards the final, emotional conclusion. The writing style is beautiful and poetic and the plot is thought provoking and full of character change. Definitely my favorite book from 2016. 

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton 

Chesterton is utterly brilliant and reading him is like thinking on a different level. This is a book on theology and orthodoxy and Christianity; it is a convulsion of ideas and pictures about stories, worldview, and the role of joy in the Christian’s life. I didn’t always agree with Chesterton but I was challenged to think more deeply about why. He writes in a clear fashion that makes abstract concepts understandable, yet deals with subjects so profound I could read this book ten times and still gain something new. Here is one popular quote to illustrate – “The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”

All Quiet on the Western Front by  Erich Maria Remarque

They were Germany’s Iron Youth, but as WW1 drags on 19-year-old Paul Bäumer and his friends become more and more disillusioned and embittered by war. What will become of men trained only to kill? I found this book so beautiful. Difficult. Thought provoking. Introspective. Painful but real. The narrative isn’t “exciting” necessarily and the whole story seems to drift from moment to moment, but in doing so it reflects the characters and their outlook. Their lives have been stopped and now drift with the war. I love the mercy and realism, the camaraderie and sorrow. The war created one good thing – their friendship – and then destroyed it with all the senseless death. So poignant. My second favorite read from this year.


Reading Metrics 2016

I was hoping to eek out one or two more books before the end of the year but a quick glance at my schedule tells me this is unlikely. It has been a good year; I read more books than last year. My final total: 168 new books in 2016. (Only 3 re-reads, though. 😦 ) It was a total of 41,409 pages (less than average but the book quality was overall better.) 

My average rating was 3.5 stars and a great chunk of the books came from my to-read list (hurray!) For several weeks, I actually had that list under 950. (Then the Summit Oxford 2017 Reading List was published. Sigh.) However, it is still under 1,000 which I consider quite the accomplishment. 

Last year I met the gang at the Algonquin Round Table…this year I discovered the literary circle of the Detection Club and in particular became enamored with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and G.K. Chesterton. (I’ve always loved these authors but I didn’t know much about their personal lives.) 

My favorite book this year: All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. 

The most disappointing book: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. 

My favorite author from this year: Anne Brontë.

The most unexpectedly-good book: Written in Red by Anne Bishop. (Disclaimer: dark book, not for everyone. I found the sequel inappropriate and did not finish) 

The best series I read this year: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan (at any rate, it was the only series I started and decided to finished) 

The best guilty-pleasure book: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. 

The longest book: Winter by Marissa Meyer. (832 pages)

Shortest book: The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. (48 pages)

Best Fairy Tale: Valiant by Sarah McGuire 

 

 


Quoth the Raven

Inspired by the past 3 days, I thought I might share a few other favorite quotes! I have 28 pages worth of them on Goodreads, so this might take a while. Just kidding…I’ll pick a topic. Here are6 (ish) quotes about novels! 

“People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.” – G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy 

“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.” – Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

“I read anything that’s going to be interesting. But you don’t know what it is until you’ve read it. Somewhere in a book on the history of false teeth there’ll be the making of a novel.” – Terry Pratchett

“There are three secrets to writing a novel. Unfortunately nobody knows what they are.” – W. Somerset Maugham

“There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.” – Irving Stone, Clarence Darrow for the Defense

“We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read.”― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

And best of all (though sort of unrelated) …

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” – G. K. Chesterton 


Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

Lately I have been reading Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. It is not a very long book (155 pages) but it is taking me a long time to read. Chesterton is an incredibly deep thinker. Every other sentence is a profound observation that forces me to stop and ponder. It is a lovely feeling; I am forced to think on an entirely different level. Chesterton writes about theology and philosophy and other seemingly dry topics but he does so with such pleasure and imagination that it is hard not to get swept up in it. I understand C.S. Lewis so much better as I read Chesterton. Lewis’s works feel like the natural outcropping of Chesterton’s ideas. 

In fact, I would say that feeling goes beyond Lewis. I understand stories and imagination at a different level reading Chesterton. 

I just finished page 120 and while a part of me longs to finish the book up and read the other 35 pages this morning, another part of me simply wants to savor what I’ve just read. I am definitely going to need to re-read this one.  Probably with a highlighter. 


New Books

It is hard not to write about politics tonight. I’m tired and frustrated and disappointed with how things have turned out.
However, I also realize I’m tired and frustrated and disappointed. I’m not seeing the world clearly tonight. It is easy to despair when you are overtired. There is enough despair on Facebook to last a lifetime. So tonight I am going to write about something happy.

My new books arrived in the mail. I recently discovered Christian Book Distributors; it has been a wonderful and horrible discovery. They have some really excellent deals but it ruins my budget. Yet how can I say no when I see such good books under $12? 

Today I got: Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, and the one I have been drooling over for months, 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. I also got an ESV Study Bible for $30. Fantastic deal. 

I’m excited to read these books. I’ve been counting the hours till they arrived. These are the books I’ve wanted forever. I have read deeply of C.S. Lewis over the past few months and now I look forward to enjoying his contemporaries. I can’t wait to read all of them, but I am also hesitant. It is like something too good to be true that all 4 of them are in front of me. 

The books surrounding me remind me that some things don’t change. Hope never changes; dreams stay true. I find joy in my books, in these authors, in the opportunity to learn more. I’m grateful they arrived today. I needed this little reminder of joy.