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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

My Very First Meme!

Fr. Daren Zehnle has tagged me with a “meme” about books. I don’t like the word “meme”, but these internet memes seem to have little to do with the evolutionary concept of a meme, so I don’t dislike them. And furthermore, it must be a violation of some canon law to refuse a meme request from a priest. Anyway, my answers aren’t a comprehensive list but should show something of my opinions about various books. Furthermore, I won’t post links to the books on Amazon…if you’re interested in the book, find the version you want from the store you wish to support.
Three works of non-fiction everyone should read:

The Confessions by St. Augustine. This is an absolutely wonderful book, and I believe that everyone who is interested in how to live a Christian life should read it. It is really the story of a troubled man with many problems who manages to become a saint. If he can do it, we can too.

The Framework of a Christian State by Fr. E. Cahill, S.J. This book was written in the 1930s, but does an excellent job at anticipating and discussing the social and political problems we are experiencing today. I do not agree with everything in the book, but certainly a great deal of it is still useful and good today.

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. This is somewhat of a cliche answer I suppose, as so many people love it. However, I found it quite interesting: the arguments for orthodoxy are given in a clear, plain-spoken, and somewhat confused manner. Reading it is sort of like meeting someone for the first time, and quickly realizing how much you agree with him.

Three works of fiction everyone should read:

The Silmarilion by J.R.R. Tolkien. This is such an intricate and beautiful set of stories. Reading it, to me, was an experience of having the pagan myths I loved as a child reconciled with a truly Christian worldview, in a way that does not compromise either. In short, it is a great new mythology. And besides, Fr. Zehnle already took The Lord of the Rings so I had to come up with something new.

Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy. I’m not sure whether to call this fiction or non-fiction. It is certainly applicable to our society, and what’s more it gives the reader so many fascinating ideas that it is well worth reading.

The Metamorphoses by Ovid. These are somewhat silly poems, and center frequently on sexual themes. However, the reason for my interest in them is that they are a wonderful collection of ancient myths, usually in the forms we are used to. They are cleverly written and reflect a great deal of what was good and what was bad in pre-Christian Roman society.

Three authors everyone should read:

J.R.R. Tolkien. Of course. Everyone absolutely should read Tolkien. I myself have read Lord of the Rings four times, and I am working on my fifth (reading it with Catherine, who has never read it before.) Tolkien’s works were what got me interested in Catholicism in the first place.

G.K. Chesterton. He’s funny, prophetic, poetic, and a great writer. Everything from “Lepanto” to the Fr. Brown stories posess their own kind of beauty and greatness. I have not read a quarter of what I should read of his works.

Walker Percy. Another author I haven’t read as much of as I would like. I can’t quite figure him out, either, but every time I read something of his I find myself thinking about various points and getting new ideas, so I think that is a good thing.

Three books no one should read:

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. It’s an awful book for “Young Adults” or whatever the age category is called. I was forced to read it in sixth grade, and it was absolutely miserable. I highly recommend not reading it and not forcing your children or students to do so.

Cognition by Margaret Matlin. This is the book for a Cognitive Psychology class I am taking. In fact, I am using that book to symbolize all psychology textbooks, which are almost always dreadfully boring and un-informative.

Women’s Lives: A Topical Approach by Claire Etaugh and Judith Bridges.  Essentially a celebration of everything that is wrong with the world.  This was used as a textbook for a “Women’s Studies” class I had to take at Santa Clara University, and is a truly loathsome book.

Well, now that I have completed the meme myself, I must inflict it upon others.  I would tag Jeff Culbreath, but he just said he doesn’t want to have to make a list of books.  So, I tag Felix Randal, Chris at Domine Non Sum Dignus, and of course Mr. Culbreath if he is interested in doing it.

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