It’s time for this year’s first quarter status. Even though I’ve been unable to read much the last few weeks (busy with work and home, and baseball season has begun!) I think I’ve accomplished more than most quarters. Here’s the list with upcoming plans:
Completed First Quarter:
From Islam to Christ: One Woman’s Path through the Riddles of God, a confessional memoir by Derya Little.
The Inferno, 1st part of the epic poem, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated and annotated by Robert and Jean Hollander.
The Inferno, 1st part of the epic poem, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated and annotated by Anthony Esloen.
"Behind the Veil," a short story by Dhu'l Nun Ayyoub, translated by S. Al-Bazzazz.
The Way of the Cross, a non-fiction devotional by Caryll Houselander.
A Man Could Stand Up, the 3rd novel of the Parade’s End Tetralogy by Ford Madox Ford.
The Magician’s Nephew, a novel from the The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis.
“The Call of the Cthulhu,” a short story by H. P. Lovecraft.
“Hard Times,” a short story by Ron Rash.
Julius Caesar: Life of a Colossus, a biography by Adrian Goldsworthy.
The Virgin and the Gipsy, a short novel by D. H. Lawrence.
Hildegard of Bingen: Selected Writings, a collection translated and edited by Mark Atherton.
The Everlasting Man, a non-fiction book of Christian apologetics by G. K. Chesterton.
“Flowering Judas,” a short story by Katherine Ann Porter.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a novel from the The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis.
The Book of Isaiah, a book of the Old Testament, Ignatius Translation.
Blood Pressure Down: The-10 Step to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 10 Weeks—Without Prescription Drugs, a self-help, non-fiction book by Dr. Janet Bond Brill.
The Annotated Waste Land, a book of the poem, “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot with essays and annotations by Lawrence Rainey.
Purgatorio, 2nd part of the epic poem, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated and annotated by Robert and Jean Hollander.
Purgatorio, 2nd part of the epic poem, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated and annotated by Anthony Esloen.
The Book of Isaiah, a book of the Old Testament, KJV Translation.
“The Balance,” a short story by Evelyn Waugh.
“The Tight Frock-Coat,” a short story by Luigi Pirandello
“Here We Are,” a short story by Dorothy Parker.
“The Light of the World,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
“Gods,” a short story by Vladimir Nabokov.
I’ve completed six full length books and three short stories this past three months or so this first quarter. Not bad. From Islam to Christ by Derya Little was a conversion story, confessional memoir on her religious journey, going from a Muslim to an atheist, from atheist to Christian, and then Protestant Christian to Roman Catholic. It’s a wonderful young woman’s exploration for the truth. I read Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno, the first section of his great epic poem, The Divine Comedy. And I read it in two different translations the Robert and Jean Hollander translation and the Anthony Esolen translation. Both are wonderful translations. In effect I’ve read it twice! I’ve read one devotional for Lent, Caryll Houselander’s The Way of the Cross. It follows the Stations of the Cross, and each chapter is a meditation on a station. I’ve completed two novels. A Man Could Stand Up, which is the third novel in Ford Madox Ford’s tetralogy, Parade’s End, set during the First World War. Finally I’ve been reading C. S. Lewis’s seven novel sequence compiled as The Chronicles of Narnia to my son Matthew at night as an extended bed time story. I started The Magician’s Nephew some time at the end of last year, but I completed it recently. The Chronicles of Narnia may be novels for young adults, but it’s something everyone should read. I have never read them, and I’m thoroughly enjoying them.
I’ve also read three short stories, which is only one per month. I can’t say any of the three are standouts, but none of them were dreadful. "Behind the Veil," by the Egyptian writer, Dhu'l Nun Ayyoub, is about a young woman who challenges the conformity of covering her face in public. “The Call of the Cthulhu,” by H. P. Lovecraft which is considered a classic in the horror genre, is about a monstrous demon called a Cthulhu, and the destruction to the lives of those who try to study it. Finally “Hard Times,” by Ron Rash is a story set in a depression era farming household involving the daily theft of eggs whose loss puts a financial strain on the family. The thief turns out to be the neighbor’s little girl. Very well told, though ending seemed to be anticlimactic.
The Goldsworthy biography of Julius Ceasar is still on my list—I refuse to give up on any book I think worthwhile—after a number of years, but I haven’t touched it this quarter. I never had time last year to finish the D. H. Lawrence short novel, The Virgin and the Gypsy, but I will get to it. Every so often I still read a page or two of the selected writings of Hildegard of Bigen. But most of my time has been spent with G. K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man. It’s a good read, but slow in spots. I’m about half way through. We’re currently reading it for my Catholic Thought Book Club. I’ve also been reading the next of the Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’m about a third of the way in The Book of Isaiah. Usually I read the King James Version first and then go to the modern English, but this time I’m trying reversing it with the modern English first. I think that’s the better way to go. Finally I’ve been reading Blood Pressure Down by Dr. Janet Bond Brill because in all these doctor’s visits I’ve had recently, besides all the immediate ills (bronchitis and broken nose) they have found a slightly high blood pressure, and they have given me a few months to resolve with adjustments to life style. And if I fail with life style changes, then I will have to go on medication.
With upcoming reads, I want to walk my readers through the great T. S. Eliot poem, “The Waste Land.” It will probably be an eight to ten post endeavor. Also the Catholic Thought book club will continue with Dante’s The Divine Comedy with the second cantica, Purgatorio. I also list some short stories I want to read and continue with Isaiah.