Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review: A Year with G. K. Chesterton

I requested this book to review on a whim, basically.  I've heard of G. K. Chesterton, but it isn't like I know much about him, and I'm fairly certain I've never read his work.  At this point, some of you cannot believe I'm admitting to this, and others are saying, "G. K. Who???"

My oldest son is studying him for his lit class though, and reading Orthodoxy.  While I can't keep up with reading everything that Connor has to read for school any more, usually he is reading material I have read in the past.

So the chance to read A Year with G. K. Chesterton seemed an answer to prayer.  I can do short, daily readings.  And since it is a review product, I'll double up those readings, and by the time I am having to discuss Orthodoxy, I'll at least have a grasp of who this Chesterton guy really is.

From the publisher:
A Year with G. K. Chesterton daily brings this truth to life. And we are heir to the winsome, arresting, utterly original outpouring of Chesterton’s reasons for hope. During his lifetime, a host of perspectives clamored for his attention, but he saw nothing as vital and alive as Christianity. Readers of this book will find their faith strengthened and enriched, even as they see the many reasons why George Bernard Shaw called Chesterton “a colossal genius.”
A true anthology, the best of Chesterton’s many works are presented in concise, memorable selections. From New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, each page contains a passage of Scripture and myriad moments for reflection, appreciation, and laughter.
I am loving this devotional.  It is dated, and I just jumped in at October 22, a particularly short passage.  I also ended up going back and reading one or two in a row from earlier in the year (because this is a review).  In addition to the dated readings, there are also supplemental readings for fourteen special days, such as All Saints Day (today!).  These special days are a combination of holidays (Good Friday, Christmas) and other events like a reading on Mary Magdalene (July 22) or one on George, Martyr, Patron of England (April 23).

The daily readings are mostly set up the same, with a Bible verse in NKJV, a generally brief comment/introduction from Kevin Belmonte (the editor of this title), a passage from a work (or two) of G. K. Chesterton, and some events that happened on that day (or month) in Chesterton's life.

While the basic set-up is the same, you definitely see a wide variety in the content, both in the subject matter and in the style.  Some days the selection is brief,  some are much longer, and there are poems and hymns in there too.  Some days include other people's writings about Chesterton, and I found I really liked those.  The subtitle hints at the variety -- "365 Days of Wisdom, Wit, and Wonder."

My take:  I love this.  Most of the entries I've read leave me with something to ponder.  Occasionally, what I am pondering is "why is this in here?"  Not generally though.  I can't say I necessarily feel prepared to discuss Chesterton with my son at this point, but this book has lessened the intimidation I feel about taking on one of his real works.

Disclaimer: As a Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson. All opinions are my own.  No other compensation was received. For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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