In a day when the only thing one is allowed to be certain of is that one isn’t certain of anything, Chesterton is like a shot of whiskey in a room full of teetotalers:
I have an emotion of joy which lends considerable pleasure to my countenance when somebody tells me that certitude never smiles. For it seems to me that nothing else except certitude can ever really and truly smile. I do not admit that my joy is merely in my doubt or even merely in my change. Joy is in the fact that I’m moving from doubt, which is a weak and undeveloped condition, to conviction, which is a strong and mature condition. I think it is in the fact that doubt is in its nature a process and not a conclusion. Anybody who enjoys doubt for its own sake must prefer a treadmill to a travel or a journey’s end.
Othello by Shakespeare
Whenever I read Shakespeare, I kick myself for not doing it more often. So I’m trying to read at least one of his plays every month of 2015. Very doable, I think. Othello is terrific so far.
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Of all the fantasy worlds you can visit, Discworld is perhaps the funnest, and certainly the most hysterical. In Mort, Death takes an apprentice. It’s a great position – unless you have anything faintly resembling a love life. I haven’t laughed so hard at a book in ages.
How to be Free from Bitterness by Jim Wilson
“The world has two solutions. Keep the bitterness in and make yourself sick, or let it out and spread the sickness around. God’s solution is to dig up the root. Get rid of it.” A wise and helpful little read. I’ll return to it often.
A Passion for Books edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan
A bibliophile’s smorgasbord. Essays, poetry, quotes – all spread out like jam on a supersized piece of toast. If you like books, and you like reading about books (and about other people who like books), then this one is a must.
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
by Christopher Morley
“I give hearty and humble thanks for the safe return of this book, which having endured the perils of my friend’s bookcase and the bookcases of my friend’s friends, now returns to me in reasonably good condition.
I give hearty and humble thanks that my friend did not see fit to give this book to his infant for a plaything, nor use it as an ashtray for his burning cigar, nor as a teething-ring for his mastiff.
When I lent this book I deemed it as lost; I was resigned to the business of the long parting; I never thought to look upon its pages again.
But now that my book has come back to me, I rejoice and am exceedingly glad! Bring hither the fatted morocco and let us rebind the volume and set it on the shelf of honor, for this my book was lent and is returned again.
Presently, therefore, I may return some of the books that I myself have borrowed.”
(taken from A Passion for Books, edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan)
Top Brew – My internet-buddy Joe Darnell recently launched a podcast dedicated to all things coffee. I’m the blog’s managing editor, which basically means I get to read about delicious coffee and drool over it before any of you blokes do. By all means, check it out.
American Sniper – This is a powerful, powerful film. Ignore those dismissing it as a jingoistic shoot-em-up: it’s nothing of the sort, and they’ve clearly missed the point.
Wanted On Voyage – I don’t pre-order things. But I did pre-order George Ezra’s newest album, because it sounds too friggin’ good. It’s currently available on Spotify.
Mt. Fuji – Brilliant description of Tolkien’s incalculable impact on the fantasy genre.
Woman’s Parents Accepting of Mixed-Attractiveness Relationship – The Onion at its best: “Janet Stevens went on to say that, if the two ever got married, she would love their children no matter how average-looking they are.”
“The contents of someone’s bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait.” – Anatole Broyard