Book Reviews and a New Blog by an Old Friend

If you know me, you know I regard Agatha Christie as the perfect vacation read. I am partial to Poirot. I adore the David Suchet series too. We consider Christie to be light reading, and it cannot be compared to heavier non fiction, but I can tell you that, when you read other more challenging literature, even lighter books get enhanced, such as reading this title after Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, after Frankenstein, The Odyssey… all good and mind stretching literature and books leave multiple grains of salt in the layers of our intellect, and they provide an enhanced background where to add some book candy.

What can I say about the iconic Murder on the Orient Express? Great exercise in logic, fine character execution, interesting, entertaining, and informing.

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Next title I finished was The Imitation of Christ. I got the one translated by Knox. I know nothing about other translations, but I can say I have enjoyed this one much.

How can I review this title? I admit that I did not read it for ages because I did not think a catholic book would be of my interest. And the last section, primarily and distinctively catholic, it’s the only one I found of no gain. But the rest of the book was of much profit. At certain times, and in some passages, I could find some more marked doctrinal disagreement with Kempis, not because of  Catholicism, more a highly marked opposition between spiritual life and the flesh or senses; sort of a dualism (I have not looked at commentaries or anything, I am frankly not interested in  going too deep into this, or writing a paper about it, :)) I can only say I have benefited enormously from his thoughts, and I have been inspired and exhorted to imitate Christ.

I could quote 90 percent of the book, it is that type of book, but I will only quote one of the most remarkable ideas in it,

pg 145. The Imitation of Christ

Never read anything to enable you to appear better-educated or wiser than your fellows. What you ought to study is the way to kill off your worst faults; that will do you far more good than knowing all about a number of vexatious problems.
You may have done a lot of reading, and found out a great deal about a variety of subjects, but the basic fact you must always come back to is this; that I am He who teaches men whatever they know;

 

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I read Till We Have Faces. Yes. This is my C.S. Lewis’ year! I guess we all have a favorite or three from him, right? Mine are his non fiction books (sorry). Abolition of Man, Screwtape Letters, and Pilgrims Regress are my favorites, so I will continue reading other non fiction titles from him (The Great Divorce and his essays will hopefully be part of my 2015 titles). But, my review of Till We Have Faces; I am not sure what Lewis expects from me as a reader, but while he entertains, and he teaches too, and has sublime quotes, etc., my mind (and it can just be a fault in me) cannot decide if I am reading a “story”, or if I am reading philosophy enveloped in a story. If it is the second, I rather read something directer, but that is my preference. It may also be one of those books that I appreciate more in time, or if I have the chance to share opinions with others.

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Lastly, I read, recommended by Jeanne, An Unnecessary Woman, in Spanish is, and they translate it La mujer de papel, loosing the meaning of the adjective unnecessary, which plays an important part in the book (and that makes me mad). What to say? This one is difficult. It is a postmodern book, I guess… I know I liked the end. I know I liked the digressions about translation, literature, art. I liked the main character, and other characters. So, what is the problem? I do not like the pessimistic tone, I don’t love love some passages or use of language, but at the same time, the woman in the book is worth meeting… or is she? lol. I cannot decide very well. I never get used to listening and seeing the loneliness or solitude of those who have not a strong faith anchor in their life. I can relate to this type of characters, and their lives enrich me to some extent, but in the end, I miss that true comfort (not conformism) that the pen of a believer brings.

So, I am left with The Odyssey, Sand, The Deadliest Monster, The Everlasting Man, and my new language book, Through the Language Glass, all great reads. I should probably finish Pilgrims Regress too.

My dear friend, Karen Ann McArthur, the author of The Accessible Historian blog and  first two sections of her book, has a new blog. Very inspiring. If art, homeschooling and life interest you, stop by.

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