The first quarter of the year has passed, and so it’s time to assess how my reading is going. Despite all the crazy computer problems I’ve had for the past several months, I am remarkably on track. Three books read—one a novel and two non-fiction works—six short stories, and one Biblical book. And I’ve made progress in the Julius Caesar biography, I’m half way through Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, and I’ve perused the Robert Lowell poetry anthology.
The Goethe novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, is the first of several German novelists I plan to read this year. I had started a post on it and it was one of the documents that got wiped out when I had to reinstall the operating system on this new computer. Instead of recreating any analysis, perhaps I’ll just try to highlight a passage or two that were memorable for me. I have to say the novel was rather melodramatic, but it did have some highlights. I don't know if I'd consider it as great a work as its reputation but it was an important work in its day. It's one of those classics that should be read.
I had also started a post on Pope Benedict’s third book in the Jesus of Nazareth series, The Infancy Narratives that also got wiped out. It was one of my Lenten reads this year, along with Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, which I haven’t finished yet. Perhaps I’ll post something from The Infancy Narratives around Christmas, if I can remember, since it will be more relevant. Again, though I doubt I can reproduce what I had.
Holly Ordway’s Not God’s Type memoir is a conversion story from a hardened atheist into a believing Christian, a general Protestant at first, and then ultimately into Roman Catholicism. What makes this book so interesting is that she really documented her thought processes as she went from step to step. It’s a fascinating read if you’re into philosophic thought processes. My returned to the faith followed a different path. For me atheism didn’t make scientific sense, or better put, God made much more sense than random chance. So I got to see a different thought approach, and I love conversion stories. They are so inspiring.
I had a really thoughtful post put together on The Book of Job, and that too disolved into the vapors of the virtual world. The first two short stories (Oats’ “Give Me Your Heart” and Wharton’s “The Triumph of the Night”) I read were pretty much forgettable, but the rest were either excellent—Melville’s “Bartleby” is truly one of the best short stories ever written—or good. I’m currently in the middle of a short story analysis of Sparks’ “The Portobello Road.” I posted once on that and I’ll complete the analysis with another shortly. I would like to do an analysis of “Bartleby” since it’s included in so many anthologies.
My standing offer always is here: If there is anything I’ve read or plan to read that you want my thoughts on, just ask. I’ll see if I can accommodate. The post on my 2015 reading plans are here.
The Sorrows of Young Werther, a novel by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.
“Give Me Your Heart,” a short story by Joyce Carol Oates.
“The Triumph of Night,” a short story by Edith Wharton.
Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith, a non-fiction memoir by Holly Ordway.
“Master Misery,” a short story by Truman Capote.
Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, a non-fiction book of theology by Pope Benedict XVI.
“Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,” a short story by Herman Melville.
The Book of Job, a book of the Old Testament, KJV Traslation.
“Little Miracles, Kept Promises,” a short story by Sandra Cisneros.
“The Portobello Road,” a short story by Muriel Spark.
Julius Caesar: Life of a Colossus, a biography by Adrian Goldsworthy.
“The Book of Psalms,” a book of the Old Testament, KJV & NIV Traslations.
Orthodoxy, a non-fiction book of philosophy by G. K. Chesterton.
Robert Lowell: Collected Poems, an anthology of poetry edited by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter.
The Book of Psalms, a book of the Old Testament, KJV and Ignatius RSV Translations.
Vol 2 of Les Misérables, “Cosette,” a novel by Victor Hugo.
The Virgin and the Gypsy, a novella by D. H. Lawrence.