I hope your summer reading life is off to a great start! And I hope it includes some picks from the 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge? I am continuing to share what I am reading for the challenge with you. Do you love the witty writing and memorable phrases of Chesterton? Do you love mystery stories? Read on!
Category: “A book by a non-American Catholic author”
My Pick: Father Brown: The Essential Tales by G. K. Chesterton
Who doesn’t love G. K. Chesterton?? He is certainly one of the most quotable modern Catholic writers, and his most well-know book is probably his classic apologetic work Orthodoxy. But I would say that fewer people are as familiar with his non-fiction, particularly his Father Brown short stories. I was in this boat until recently, and I’m so happy to now be acquainted with them. Chesterton wrote many, many Fr. Brown stories with various repeating characters. To my knowledge, though many volumes claim to be the “complete Fr. Brown stories,” there is actually not a book in print currently that contains every last published one. (Feel free to fact-check me, readers!)
I chose the particular collection linked to above because of it’s claim to have the most “essential” ones, and I did find that the order of the stories helped provided back stories on the reoccurring characters. I’m sure there are other great collections out there; so please do share in the comments if you have found one that you love and would recommend. The Fr. Brown series debuted in 1911 with The Innocence of Father Brown (In the public domain and free on Kindle). I think the order in which you read the stories is important, because Fr. Brown — the British sleuthing priest — has a significant history with some of the reoccurring characters.
These stories are a great length to read leisurely, one at a sitting. You will find yourself entertained by the mysterious plot, humored by Chesterton’s wit infused in the character of Fr. Brown, and uplifted by various aphorisms that are woven nicely here and there. These are stories that simply bring delight to a reader by offering so many literary treasures at once. Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for… “A book by a non-American Catholic author””
Don’t worry if you got a little behind in your picks for the 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge? I did for a little bit, and I’m getting caught up on sharing my picks with you. This one was a favorite!
Category: “A classic novel”
My Pick: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
I’m sad to say that I didn’t start reading the great Russian authors until a couple of years ago…but that’s okay; I can spend the rest of my adult years marinating in them. I’m not able to say anything profound about Dostoevsky; but there are plenty of literary critics and brilliant minds who have us covered there. (In fact, I was down that rabbit hole of commentary research right after finishing this book. Now my TBR is filled up with Romano Guardini & Henri de Lubac — both of whom I came upon references to recently in Flannery O’Conner’s letters, as providence would have it.) However, I will share some novice delights and observations.
Russian names! Am I right?
One disadvantage to listening to the audiobook is that I think it makes it a little bit harder to follow who is who. For those who haven’t read Dostoevsky, we aren’t dealing with names like “Michael” and “Samantha.” They’re a bit longer. But that isn’t the confusing part. They have nick-names. But they aren’t “Mike” and “Sam.” They are NOTHING like the full name. So you are going to want to have a cheat sheet handy, which many volumes provide in the front of the edition. Again, I didn’t have that to flip to with the audio. So…I did a quick web search a few chapters in to get back on track and make sure I was following the character development correctly. Be careful if you do that! Though the character synopsis straightened up the names and nick-names for me, it also included BIG spoilers. 🙁 Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for…”A classic novel””
A weekly curation of quotations I come across in my reading life (or on random condiment jars) — from the inspirational to the miscellaneous. Perhaps one inspires you or catches your fancy too…
Robert Louis Stevenson:
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
A good perspective on suffering from St. Francis de Sales:
“Do not wish for crosses unless you have borne those well which have already been offered to you.” (Introduction to the Devout Life, p. 225)
“…discovering the church is apt to be a slow procedure but it can only take place if you have a free mind and no vested interest in disbelief…” (Habit of Being, p. 231)
Sarah Mackenzie on reading aloud as a family:
“The stories we read together act as a bridge when we can’t seem to find another way to connect. They are our currency, our language, our family culture. The words and stories we share become a part of our family identity.” (The Read Aloud Family, p. 38)