Monday, October 31, 2005

Are you a "real" book lover?

A while ago I was reading Sheldon Vanauken's autobiographical book A Severe Mercy. I can't describe the story more succinctly than the back cover: "This poignant memoir traces the idyllic marriage of Sheldon (Van) and Jean (Davy) Vanauken; their search for faith, which led to their friendship with C.S. Lewis, and the tragedy of untimely death and love lost."

Aside from the beautiful (and tragic) love story between Van and Davy, a number of remarks/observations caught my eye (or perhaps both of my eyes, or my mind via both of my eyes...). Here's one of them. Describing how the two of them would read books together, Vanauken made the following comment: "Rereading books, we said with immense agreement, was the mark of the real lover of books."

So I'm curious, do you reread books? If so, which ones?

Honestly, I don't have that many "rereads" myself, but here are some of my all time favorites:

- The Bible (not the whole thing, but particular sections, notably the Gospels)
- Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- Confessions by St. Augustine

Books (or literature) I'd like to reread:

- Some of Shakespeare's works
- Tolkien's The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings
- Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment
- Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility (I think I didn't appreciate her enough the first time)

Lastly, I'm curious, what's everybody reading right now? Here are some of the books I've been reading (or read) of late:

- The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky
- Utopia by Thomas More
- Petrarch and other Renaissance writers
- Various Works by Plato (notably The Republic)
- Aristotle's Metaphysics
- Descartes
- Joseph Seifert, Back to 'Things in Themselves': A phenomenological foundation for classical realism

I must say, I absolutely love Petrarch, Pico, and the other Christian Humanists (i.e. the original humanists before secular humanism ever existed) of the Renaissance period. It's especially cool that Petrarch's famous "Assent of Mount Vosioux" took place on April 26th, my birthday (which means a lot, since I know of no major events, nor famous people being born or dying on that date).

I'm also growing more appreciative of Rene Descartes. He's not perfect, for sure, but he did have some valuable insights, and I think he's often misunderstood (by both modern and traditional philosophers). Maybe I'll say something more about him next time.

That's all then for this post of various sputterings. (I apologize, but my brain is fried and I'm pretty busy right now...)


At 11/01/2005 08:26:00 AM, Blogger Failoz said...

I see Disney is putting out a Chronicles of Narnia movie in decemeber.

(saw that on the side of a NYC bus)

At 11/01/2005 09:50:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Did you just now realize this? (sorry, but I think a number of us--at least Steve, Jen, Justin, and I--have known about this for almost a year) I'm extremely excited for it.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about the NYC trip though.

At 11/02/2005 12:47:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

My list of current readings is on my blog. Lately, mostly instructional, and a bit of pulp to boot.

My favorite authors are Palahniuk, Ellis, pretty much anything of that vein of writing. One book I'm dying to reread is called, "Syrup," which hilariously trashes corporate marketing.

At 11/02/2005 05:28:00 AM, Blogger Brad said...

no I'm not a real reader then. There's always about 20 books I want to be reading at a given time and I always want to be pushing on. I have read some great books and would probably enjoy them a second time, but there are always new frontiers that I would rather explore...

At 11/02/2005 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I'm right with you in many ways Brad. There are plenty of books I'd love to reread, but there are just as many (probably more) that I'd also like to read for the first time.

At 11/02/2005 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

That's also why I put the "real" in quotations.

At 11/02/2005 11:32:00 AM, Anonymous Sarah Jane said...

Most recently I've been reading and re-reading and re-re-reading Kathleen Norris. I really appreciate that she's fairly easy to get into and doesn't get too dense, but at the same time she gives me a LOT to think about throughout the day.

I've re-read a lot of favorites, from CS Lewis's Till We Have Faces and Brennan Mannings The Ragamuffin Gospel to lightweight stuff like Robin McKinley and even Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking). It definitely takes a special book to make me come back for a second helping, but if something really resonates with me on the first reading, I'm likely to return to it at a later date.

There's something comforting about re-reading a favorite -- sometimes when I don't have the energy to pick up something new, I can come back to a book that I know I'll love, and it's good to have those handy. New readings can be so hit and miss -- there's a lot of unspeakably awful writing out there!!!

Anyway --

I appreciated your comment on my site. I don't mean to disparage modesty in dress, but I definitely think that modesty as a virtue encompasses some far more important aspects than keeping it all covered. Besides, what is modest at the beach would be thoroughly inappropriate in most other settings -- I think that our reactions have less to do with what we see, and more to do with the context in which we see it.

I'm increasingly troubled, though, by well-meaning Christian men whose exhortions to "cover that up!" become insidious implications that the female body is inherently dirty and sinful. Which of the Desert Fathers referred to women as a "temple built on a sewer" with "sewer" referring to female genitals? We Christians don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to dealing with the body, and especially the female body.

At 11/02/2005 09:46:00 PM, Blogger Gabe said...

In the past couple months I have read the Red Tent by Anita Diamant, re-reading HP 4, and am currently trying note trying to read Life of Pi. I really enjoy re-reading books because there is usually something that I may not catch on the first read that really can bring up a good point or make me think.

At 11/03/2005 02:24:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Life of Pi is pretty good, and funny. Let me know what you think of it when you're done.

At 11/04/2005 01:10:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I thought I read weird books.

At 11/07/2005 09:57:00 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

I just got done with Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, The Brand Gap, and Gladwell's Blink. Right now, I'm reading Citizen Designer. If you can't figure out by that list what I do, I'm a corporate marketer/multimedia developer.

I'm so ADD about reading that I usually put a book down after about half of it--I barely make it through the book reviews of books. I really enjoy Books and Culture: A Christian Review--but I never the books in it. I like main points and esoteric facts. The rest is filler to me.


At 11/10/2005 11:23:00 PM, Blogger Meggers said...

The only book I can remember re-reading is a book called Nightwood by Djuna Barnes. I read it for a literature class in college. The first time through I could not understand any of it; the second time did help to clarify. If only I had the patience, I think it would be worthwhile to re-read most good books; however, I lack the patience and have so many others I would like to read for the first time, so it never happens.


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