Monday, January 05, 2009

"Take up and read" - again

It will come to know surprise to anyone familiar with me that C. S. Lewis is one of the guiding lights – “patron saints,” if you will – of this blog. The very name of the blog itself is a direct reference to something the world famous Oxford (and Cambridge) don wrote in his essential book The Problem of Pain.

Anyway, this post also takes its inspiration from something Lewis once wrote, which is (paraphrasing a little here) that no one can say they “know” a book having only read it once. I heartily agree – the first reading of a great book is something like your first introduction to a memorable person. Or any person, for that matter… who would say they truly know a person after just one meeting? Chances are, you've only just begun to scratch the surface.

In the spirit of this wise dictum, then, I present a short list of books that I am aiming to re-read in the year 2009. I’ll say right off the bat that it’s unlikely I will get to all of these, especially since there are so many new books I want to get to… but these are some of the books I consider to be truly great and worth investing a lot more time into. There are depths to these books I have only barely begun to plumb, and I look forward to discovering what a second trip through these pages may have to teach me.

In 2008 I re-read Cormac McCarthy’s magnum opus Blood Meridian and got a lot more out of it than I did the first time (which is not to say I understand the book now!). Who’s to say the same won’t be true for some of these classics?

Everything That Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor
I resolved a while ago to re-read at least one part of the short but essential O’Connor canon every year.

Silence, Shusaku Endo

The Creators, Daniel Boorstin

The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson

Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) and Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering), Pope John Paul II

1 comment:

Mutt Ploughman said...

Yo, this is a great idea and a great list....i'd love to re-read Endo's "Silence" for example. At least i have read ONE of these books twice, "The Man Who Was Thursday", but a number of them i haven't read at all...including the "essential" "Problem of Pain"......DOH!!!