Monday, June 13, 2005

Books, books, books...

I naively thought this post might be of help to me in deciding what to buy for the summer... Instead, I've received more recommendations than I know what to do with. (But don't let that stop anyone adding further suggestions!) It looks like I'd enjoy pretty much all the books suggested and I'd like to reply to all the comments, but alas that's not possible. However, I will hit a few of them.

SWP says:
"Splendor of Faith" by Avery Dulles- the latest edition offers a more complete retrospectus of the late pope's theological patrimony.
Sounds interesting. I quite like Dulles. From a methological point of view one could critque his 'models' approach, but I've found his Models of the Church and Models of Revelation VERY useful in quickly understanding positions advanced by various theologians. His recent book on Newman is excellent and his book on Faith is very comprehensive and enlightening. (It's the kind of masterpiece one could only dream about being smart enough to write...)
Lauren suggests a whole bunch of stuff. She's very right about Charles Williams - why don't more people read him? I, for one, found 'A Charles Williams Reader' an excellent introduction to his fiction.
Berenike's comment exposes her as the ultimate Catholic nerd...
Kristina Lavransdattir (variations on that theme depending ont he translation!) by Sigrid Undset. First novel to make me cry since I was at school (sooo long ago!) first thing to make me cry since Mystici Corporis.
That said, the idea of a book about 14th Century Iceland has a weird appeal. :)
Sara Virginia suggests Benedict XVI's 'Introduction to Christianity' with the comment 'It may seem too basic for you...' I'm actually enjoying this book very much at the moment and in my experience any book describing itself as an Introduction to Christianity is rarely basic.
Boeciana says:
For purely frivolous pleasure, Martin Pryce's Aberystwyth books, beginning with "Aberystwyth, Mon Amour". Somewhat surreal Welsh spoof noir. If that description doesn't put you off, you'll probably like it. Some genuinely good writing as well as funny concepts (unlike Jasper fforde, who has oodles of the latter but doesn't quite make it on the former).
Well, I've enjoyed everything Jasper Fforde has produced so far, so if Pryce is anything like as inventive as him he sounds right up my street.
Amongst Jeff's suggestions is the following:
The Poor Mouth by Flann O'Brien, is another very funny book, originally written in the Irish language and translated by the author himself into English. It's a spoof on the peasant Irish tale of growing up that was popular at the beginning of the century. Even if you don't like At Swim-Two-Birds, you will probably like this one.
I've read this one already. In fact, I've read just about all the Flann O'Brien books out there. I think he's probably the most underrated Irish writer of the 20th Century. My favourite novel by O'Brien is The Third Policeman - an off-the-wall farce with interesting theological and philosophical forrays. I'm also a huge fan of his collected newspaper columns. One Anthony Cronin wrote an interesting biography of O'Brien - however the work is flawed because of Cronin's premise that O'Brien's convinced Catholicism was a negative thing.
Carol suggests some Pieper - I've been meaning to read him for ages!

As I say, I want to respond to all the comments, but haven't the time...

My suggestion...
I suppose it's only fair that I suggest something to my readers... I'm not going to suggest something theological or religious... If you want a good page-turner of a novel, I strongly suggest a book that hooked me a couple of years ago. It's Glen David Gold's first (and only!) novel Carter Beats the Devil. It's a historical novel based very loosely on the life of the magician Charles Carter. It's very readable, well-plotted and even though I half-figured out the ending relatively early on I was impelled to keep reading to see how the inevitable ending would be reached.

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