Saturday, August 27, 2005

I've Been Tagged!

Stacey, who blogs at "Thoughts From a First Year Minister" (whose excellent pieces are beautifully written, and often a challenge to one's comfortable presuppositions), tagged me with the responsibility of answering the following five questions - so here goes. {By the way, I've taken the liberty of adding Stacey's blog to my roll - I hope she doesn't mind. Also, I'm a daily addict of the cool pictures appearing on "Toms Astronomy Blog" - also now appearing on my roll. His site is a trove of cosmic marvels, and makes me feel very small.}

Now to the questions:

1. The number of books I have owned. Well, I've given away dozens of novels and such, but I recently counted my library for insurance purposes, so I know that I have approximately 1,970 books. 1,200 or so are in my church office, and the rest are in the parsonage.

2. The last book I have bought. I just purchased The Island at the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto, which is a history of Dutch Manhattan, and Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder, a Norwegian author, who has managed to write a mystery novel which also serves as a survey of the history of Western philosophy. I'm not kidding.

3. The last book I finished. While on vacation I finished The Shell Collector, by Anthony Doerr, a very fine collection of short stories. I highly recommend this book - and I generally don't go in for short stories. I also just quickly read On Bullshit, by Princeton philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt, which should be required reading for all people, especially ministers.

4. The book I am currently reading. Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy (which I will be reviewing here next week). The Poems of Henry Vaughn, one of the metaphysical poets (like Donne and Herbert) - I am always, always reading a book of poetry alongside the other stuff. If you're not doing likewise, shame on you!

5. The five books which mean a lot to me. Now this is impossible (!), and subject to revision later in the day, week, or month - after I forgot to include something absolutely essential! I am not including the Bible (AV, of course), the collected works of William Shakespeare, and the Oxford English Dictionary, which are assumed to be foundational and daily companions of an educated Christian gentleperson.

a. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis. This book got me started on this spiritual journey, so enough said.

b. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien. I have read this trilogy two dozen times. Again, enough said.

c. The Collected Poems of Geoffrey Hill. When I was a college student I stumbled on Somewhere is Such a Kingdom, and the power and depth of this poet stunned me into a new dimension. ALERT! Most find Hill to be difficult, and sometimes he is, but Harold Bloom, the most influential literary critic of the 20th century said that Hill is the most important poet writing in English at the present time.

d. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh. I am an Anglophile of the worst kind. When I was a kid I told others that I was born in Britain - seriously. This novel captures England between the wars, and more importantly it involves Oxford and the affect of Christianity upon an artist. If you have not read this, I weep for you. P.S. It was made into a magnificent mini-series by the BBC, and is available for rental or purchase (cheaters!).

e. Otherwise, Jane Kenyon. This will be the subject of another blog posting in the near future. Let me just say that Jane's poetry and life have had an enormous effect upon me. There are far greater poets to list here, I but chose her and without apology.

Okay, so here's some honorable mentions of books left out: Calvin's Institutes; The Valley of Vision, by Arthur Bennett; The Seven Storey Mountain, and New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton; The Contemplative Pastor, by Eugene Peterson; What Are People For?, by Wendell Berry; The Liturgy of the Hours; The Book of Common Prayer; The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy, by Etienne Gilson; Collected Poems, T.S. Eliot; A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Van Auken; Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne; The Thought of God, by Maurice Roberts; The Reformed Pastor, by Richard Baxter; The Providence of God, A.W. Pink; All-Around Ministry, by C.H. Spurgeon; The Christian Tradition (5 vols.), by Jaroslav Pelikan; The Divine Comedy, Dante; Civilisation, by Kenneth Clark; The Oxford Book of English Verse (2 vols.).

5b. Which bloggers are you passing this on to? Random Responses, Hemmeke Blog, and Mindful Wanderings.'re it!

A quote from one of America's finest preachers, Samuel Davies, about books:


Blogger Julio said...

Hello! :-)

I see we have in common Pelikan's "The Christian Tradition"! Excellent, indeed.

Meanwhile, Gaarder's "Sophie's World" was my textbook in Intro to Philosophy back in 1997, and I never was the same after it. I even wrote my exams as letters to someone! Maybe I should've included it in my own list.

OH, and I would like to express how profoundly jealous I am that you got a book about the history of Dutch Manhattan and I didn't. :-)

12:14 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

You've made it a certainty I will read Brideshead Revisited. I just finished Thackeray's Vanity Fair, and let me recommend it. Even from a Christian perspective, Thackeray's book is an extensive field study in the human nature and general phenomena of John Bunyan's Vanity Fair as it exists in, of course, his Pilgrim's Progress...

12:29 PM  
Blogger Scribe said...

Julio: you have excellent taste!

CT: Thanks for the recommendation. I've never read Thackeray. You'll enjoy Waugh.

1:02 PM  
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1:56 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Thanks for the answers; I find these things fascinating (and get lots of good book recommendations from them!). I don't mind the link at all, and hope it's okay that I added you to the roll when I recently updated my blog links.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Scribe said...

It was such a fun experience...thanks Stacey. Honored to be blogrolled by you.

6:50 PM  

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