Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Being unblocked...

A couple of things to 'blog about...

Firstly, I see that someone has reached my 'blog with a google search for 'As written in the book of Jasper the sun delayed going down. These miracles as'. Okay... two tips... if you're looking for a sentence you should probably put it in quotation marks and you probably mean the book of Joshua, not Jasper.
Chapter 10
11: And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-hor'on, the LORD threw down great stones from heaven upon them as far as Aze'kah, and they died; there were more who died because of the hailstones than the men of Israel killed with the sword.
12: Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai'jalon."
13: And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
14: There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD hearkened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.
15: Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

And Lauren has passed me another meme. (I promise I shan't make a habit of answering these things.) It's about books - yay!

1. Total Number of Books I’ve Owned: I shudder to think. I acquire books easily and I very rarely give them away. They're not all in the same place - I probably have at least 300 books here in Rome and more stored elsewhere. I guess that a conservative estimate would put the number at about 750, but if I were to actually count and arrive at a figure of about 1,000 I wouldn't be surprised. (I should be ashamed of myself, right?)
2. Last Book I Bought: I picked this up at at discount and it looks very interesting - Paolo, Agostino, Lutero: alle origini del mondo moderno by Giancarlo Pani. (Paul, Augustine and Luther: at the origins of the modern world). (I've just realised that I'd never apply my book-buying logic to the purchase of anything else!
3. Last Book I read: Hmmmm... I usually read about a dozen books at any given time, so I'm not sure what the last book I finished was... (*goes to check pile of books*) Ah! It was Georges Bernanos' The Diary of a Country Priest. I began it ages ago, put it aside, and was reminded of it by Romy when she was in Rome, so I re-read it from the beginning. A wonderful read, if somewhat heavy. A very profound reflection on the nature of Christian love of others and a portrait of a life of self-sacrifice which is invisible to all but God.
4. 5 Books That Mean A lot to Me:
Okay... Leaving out the Bible... ;)
1. The Breviary: The official prayer of the Church. The fact that one is praying the psalms in communion with the Pope, all the priests, and so many religious and laypeople is wonderful. I love the patristic readings and the 'objectivity' of the breviary means that the prayer moulds the one praying and not vice versa. Praying the breviary is a wonderful discipline and I find it most rewarding.
2. The Confessions of St. Augustine translated by Frank Sheed. This is the first and best of the genre. I think this has a good chance of being the finest work of non-scriptural Christian literature. It's a window into the soul of one of the greatest pastors and theologians ever, it's a hymn of praise to God's love, it's an acute analysis of the nature of sin... I could go on. Those in the know assure me that Frank Sheed's translation is the best. I've not compared it with any others, but I certainly find it excellent. (From a personal point of view, I'm inclined to mention St Therese's Story of a Soul as being my second favourite piece of Spiritual Reading - I reread both books regularly and am sorry that I can't include her on my list.)
3. 'Apologia pro vita sua' by Ven John Henry Cardinal Newman Everyone tells me that one is supposed to start reading the Parochial and Plain Sermons when reading Newman - they're clearly written, very spiritual and an easy introduction to his thought. However, they have told me this after I myself had slogged through the Apologia, the Grammar of Assent and the Essay on Development and I wouldn't have wanted to start any other way. Some commentators put the Apologia as 2nd to the Confessions in the genre of spiritual autobiography. I wouldn't argue. It's a dense read however, I like Newman's prose, but there's a lot of context and background knowledge needed when reading the Apologia. The Penguin edition I link to does a fairly good job of covering that. The Apologia tracks Newman's thought and religious belief from childhood until his eventual conversion to Catholicism. It was originally written as a series of pamphlets directed against Charles Kingley who made a number of allegations regarding Newman's probity as an Anglican. Despite its ad hoc character and the fact that it's not an easy read it's the book where I first got to know Newman and in which much of the recurring themes of his thought may be found.
4. 'A Room with a View' by EM Forster It's not 'great literature', but it's my favorite novel. I like it because it's light, beautifully written and the characters are so well drawn. It's my comfort reading - if I'm sick or annoyed and need something effervescent (with more than a little social satire) then I turn to 'A Room with a View'. (BTW, I also think that the film version is exceptionally cast and an excellent dramatisation of a book - bravo Messrs Merchant and Ivory. I'd also like to quash all those rumours about myself and Helena Bonham Carter. ;) )
5. 'The Quest of the Holy Grail' translated by P.M. Matarasso, a slightly battered 2nd hand copy... A read I enjoyed and found to be more spiritual than I expected, but I really value this volume because it was a gift from a dear bibliophilic friend who didn't quail at parting with a book as a memento of friendship.

5. Tag 5 people and have them do this on their blog.
Okay... I'm tagging Lizzy and Jane at Alle Psalite, Romy (when she has a spare moment - I know she's busy these days!), Meredith and Fr Ethan.

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