A great reading year! I’m just starting to become literate – the web of interconnections is growing. Lotsa 2nd-hand bookshops, and my first 24-hour book fair (1st weekend November, ASB stadium annually) was a buzz – 12-2am browsing bliss! Some top discoveries of the year follow:
Dante: Divine Comedy, 1320.
The greatest Christian poem: a medieval journey through Inferno, Purgatorio & Paradiso. A synthesis of mysticism and courtly love, “the love of learning and the desire for God”. The hub of my 2004 literary web, it’s very rich, but not easy – I’ve met only 2 people who’ve read it. My uni essay “Divine Desire: Dante’s Pilgrimage to God” is available on request.
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, 1400.
The first great English work: a collection of short stories told by pilgrims.
Thomas Hardy: Jude the Obscure, 1895.
His last novel: struggles of a working-class bloke with academia & love.
G.K. Chesterton: St Francis of Assisi, 1923. Essays, 1920s.
Wittily written and thought provoking. I have his Chaucer to read next.
Charles Williams: Descent into Hell, 1937.
–– The Place of the Lion, 1931.
My favorite 2 of his 6 surreal “spiritual thrillers”. Williams was an Inkling, close friend of CS Lewis and Tolkien, also writing on Dante & theology.
Frederick Buechner: Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, 1973.
–– Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized, 1988.
–– Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale, 1977.
The 1st 2 are collections of thoughtful articles, delightful dipping.
Anne Fadiman: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. 1998.
Deliciously bibliophilic essays on books and reading.
Philip Yancey: More Than Words: Contemporary Writers on the Works That Shaped Them, 2002.
Essays by current Christian authors on their favorite authors, from Tolstoy to Tolkien, Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn.