by C. S. Lewis
I have, unfortunately, a very poor memory of this book as I read large portions of it when I was quite ill. What I can recall-
that is, what I’ve read over the past few days-is excellent. Lewis offers an exceedingly sophisticated account of how to read the Psalms as prefiguring Christ without going off the deep end, theologically speaking. I would definately recommend this book. 7 years ago
I did manage to heed Stacey’s suggestion and get all of my reviews, etc. posted onto All Consuming, if anyone cares. 7 years ago
Trans. and Ed. by Jonathon Chaves
I completely forgot to add this one to the list! This book was absolutely superb!
My boyfriend, Adam, takes Chinese literature with Professor Jonathon Chaves (not Cháves, but a one-syllable surname). Professor Chaves gave a reading from his book a few months ago which Adam and I had the priveledge to attend. Afterward, I “stole” Adam’s copy.
Chinese poetry is really a fancinating artform. The Chinese have none of the Western mystique about “the poet,” but all properly educated Chinese men are expected to be able to write poetry following a well-defined style. Of course, some men are more talented than others, but this casual element means that some ancient Chinese poems are remarkably funny depictions of funny scenes that happen to the poets in their daily lives. A large number of poems are written about drinking as these men sat around tipsily drinking wine.
I highly recommend this book! 7 years ago
by Saint John Henry Newman
This autobiography isn’t so much the work of apologetics the title seems to promise as the story of a man’s quest for the truth. Newman was a popular leader of the Oxford Movement, a group of high-church Anglicans who emphasised the “catholicity” of the Anglican Church and Anglicanism and the “via media” (middle road) between Catholicism and Protestantism. The more he searched, however, the more he found his church in error and the Catholic Church the true keeper of Apostolic succcession and theological legitimacy. His eventual conversion caused a huge scandal. He was even charged of having secretly infiltrated the Anglican Church to convert its members to Protestantism. He wrote a pain-stakingly thorough (a little too detailed in the longest chapter) account of his story to vindicate himself: even more so, he wrote one of the most-enduring stories of Christian faith in the face of modern pluralism and skepticism.
Please consider reading this book, especially the final chapter. 7 years ago
This was an absolutely fantastic novel about redemption and the ideas of Christianity put into practice. It is definately worth finishing all 500 pages! 7 years ago
by Oscar Wilde
This is the last of the Oscar Wilde plays in the book Laura loaned to me. It was also the strangest by far. The play is a very poetic retelling of the story of Herod’s stepdaughter, Salomé, who asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter as a special favor from the king. The text is lyrical, the play certainly adds nothing to the already-uncertain state of the characters’ motivations. 7 years ago
by Oscar Wilde
Well, only one play left in my borrowed copy of The Selected Plays of Oscar Wilde. I’d like to say that reaching the end saddens me more than it does, but most of Wilde’s “non-Earnest” plays seem to have the same plot:
One member of a married couple has a terrible secret he or she may or may not know, often involving an unknown parent. The secret, no matter how tedious, would ruin his or her reputation in the high society Wilde seeks to critique. A series of fortuitous events prevents discovery. The audience sees that the character society would most quickly condemn is in many ways a hero or heroine.
In An Ideal Husband, the husband-
ideal because he has been placed on a metaphorical pedestal by his wife-is the one with a terrible secret. His hero is a foppish dandy who is taken seriously by no one. (I tried to explain foppish to my boyfriend last week and couldn’t do so without the word dandy… but then I couldn’t explain dandy without foppish, although dictionary.com seems to have the same problem.)
An entertaining read, but I could have lived happily having never read it. 7 years ago
by Oscar Wilde
I continue to be disappointed by Wilde’s “non-Earnest” plays, but he is still an excellent playwright.
This particular play is a critique of the social norm that allows men to avoid consequences for their sins while women are branded for life. Not particularly funny, except in Wilde’s ever-classic discourse between skeptical and bored members of the English upper class. 7 years ago
by Oscar Wilde
I believe this was Wilde’s first successful play. It is certainly no where near the brilliance of The Importance of Being Earnest. It seems, though, that I can give no summation without spoiling the whole thing. So, read it for yourself. 7 years ago
Anselm attempts to do more briefly and concisely in the Proslogion that which he did in the Monologion, prove the logical necessity of the existence of God. He develops what has become known as “the ontological argument for the existence of God.”
Man understands that something exists greater than which cannot be thought. But anything thought would be greater if it existed both in thought and in reality. So, that than which a greater cannot be thought must exist in reality or it is not actually that than which a greater cannot be thought. And, you guessed it, God is that than which a greater cannot be thought.
Gaunilo was a fellow Benedictine monk, though no philosopher, who sought to show that philosophy and religion are poor bed fellows. He tries to disprove Anselm’s argument, not because he thinks God doesn’t exist, but because he is skeptical of Anselm’s idea, adopted from Augustine, of faith seeking understanding. 7 years ago
This discourse wasn’t anything particularly special. Anselm was a medieval monk in France who later became the Archbishop of Canterburry, back before the Church of England “adopted” Canterburry Cathedral and Diocese. The text is an interesting attempt to prove the logical necessity of the existence of God… even the logical existence of the trinity. I’m not a swift-footed enough logician to find where flaws I feel certain there must be in his argument, but I’m glad to have experienced this important part of Christian history. 7 years ago
This is truly the most bizzare Platonic dialogue I’ve ever read. Lysis is a young man at a gymnasium that one of Plato’s friends is trying to seduce. So, Plato shows him that the proper way to attract a man is by introducing him to philosophy. The opening sections are quite amusing. 7 years ago
by Lois Lowry
Lowry wrote The Giver and Number the Stars... I’d like to expect more of her. But her pre-Number the Stars young adult novels continue to disappoint. I’m glad I spent a Sunday afternoon reading a silly little children’s book, but I won’t encourage you to do the same. 7 years ago
by Saint Augustine
This was a charming little “Socratic” dialog between Augustine and his beloved, albeit illegitimate from his pre-Christian past, son. The two want to discover how man conveys knowledge.
All human communication must be the form of signs. But signs are meaningless unless one knowns what they mean. (Consider, as a vastly-oversimplified example, what would happen if the government had instituted stop signs without clarifying their meaning.) Some mechanism must reveal the significates to man.
In Augustine that force is God, but I tend to give more credence to the Tomist answer—humans have the innate, God-given ability to connect signs and significates using their own reason.
Either way, worth the read. 7 years ago
by Soren Kierkegaard.
Poor Kierkegaard. You have to understand the poor man’s tragic life before you understand this book—he’s built an entire theological system out of his personal misfortune.
His father grew up as an impoverished shepherd and, one cold evening, cursed God for his misfortune. Even though he ended his life as a wealthy merchant, he always felt God cursed him in reciprocity. He told this to his children that they, too, were cursed. (The sins of the father…) Soren, born disfigured and perhaps caustic by nature, never stood a chance under these circumstances.
Soren went to school and fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Regine (pronounced like “regina”) Olson. Despite his apperance, he convinced her to marry him. After both families gave their blessing, however, he decided that poor Regine’s life would be ruined if she married him. Rather than tell her this-
Regine being a noble girl would have told him that she was willing to take the risk-he cruelly broke of the engagement by telling her he was no longer interested and went to the theater.
Acting in this way, Kierkegaard became what he called a “knight of infinite resignation,” giving up his will wholey to God. For the rest of his life, he saught to become a “knight of faith” with so much confidence in God and the “strength of the absurd” who would be granted what he wished.
Fear and Trembling is beautiful and tragic, a short tract from the philosophical father of twentieth-century existentialism that is well worth the read. 7 years ago
by G. K. Chesterton
This was an extremely interesting and fairly prophetic book by one of my favorite turn-of-the-last-century authors, G. K. Chesterton. (Chesterton, by the way, was one of the primary influences on the spirituality of C. S. Lewis.) This is the first “political” book of Chesterton’s that I have read—most of his other texts are primarily religious, or at least theological.
Chesteron has a great deal to say in many of his books about social justice and he reprises his emphasis on distributivism here. I’ll leave it to minds smarter than mind to weigh in on Chesterton’s economic ideas (Adam, my brilliant boyfriend, seems extremely skeptical). He does, however, pose some arguments about female nature with which the twenty-first century woman is quite unfamiliar. Some of these, especially those against suffrage, cause me to raise my eyebrows in discomfort. Others, however, are quite compelling. For example, a woman should not have to work because she does not see that man’s working world is a joke she will take too seriously. Woman should not be forced to specialize because men need a partner who is an amatuer (from the Latin word, amare, to love—someone who does something simply because she loves it).
This is an overall interesting read, even if read merely as a period piece. 7 years ago
A strange, later dialog with interesting parts but a lot of material about triangles and physical science which I fail to understand. 7 years ago
An interesting transitional dialog. I just finished short paper if you care for a better summary. 7 years ago
Do you think single Platonic dialogs should count as a book? 7 years ago
by John Wesley
A surprisingly dry account of the Methodist faith. Perhaps I should look elsewhere for a more comprehensive summary. 7 years ago
Okay… not so much a book as an essay. But if I don’t count material I read for class, I’ll never get to forty.
The essay was too steeped in sola scriptura, but it did conclude with a pleasant remind that, for all of it’s rich, intellectual tradition, Christianity is a religion so simple that even a child can understand it… possibly better than a scholar. 7 years ago
It took me enough attempts… three by my count… but I think I am finally amicably enough oriented toward my own sex that I recognize the satirical style of the novel. Excellent choice for second book. 7 years ago
Hmmm… not quite as good as I expected. But a short and enjoyable book never the less. 7 years ago