Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chesterton Sightings

This past weekend our town held its annual community wide yard sale, otherwise known as ‘the great transference of junk’. It is also a good time to wander around town and meet with our neighbors. All my kids come home for this event.

At one of our stops I was staring down upon a table, that was calling my name, and internalizing that age old debate, “Do I need any more hand tools vs. “Can you have too many tools?” when my youngest daughter came up to me and said, “Look Papa, a picture of your friend.”

In her pudgy little hands was a magazine with a drawing of Gilbert on its cover. I gave her praise and a dime telling her to go buy it. And I bought a two foot wooded level.

As my wife and pregnant middle daughter were negotiating the price of a baby crib I looked at the magazine article, by our friend by John C. Chalberg, reviewing William Oddie’s Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy The making of GKC, 1874-1908. Being written by “Chuck” it was an enthusiastic review beginning with this paragraph:
“Somewhere on virtually everyone's list of the 100 most important books of the last century is G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. A "sort of slovenly autobiography" by its author's own reckoning, this thin volume packed a huge wallop when it first appeared in 1908. It still does today, whether it's being read for the first or fifth time.”

He also states that Oddie wrote an excellent companion work for GKC’s Orthodoxy. In it Oddie challenges what he terms an “academic embargo” against Chesterton. Something we have all noticed.

A few stops later we spotted a table of books. There was no debate here because you just can not have enough books. Unfortunately this table was mostly full of romance novels, a few How-To books and several children’s books. I grabbed up a couple of furniture building books and moved to the kid’s books. One I picked up was Coraline by Neil Gaiman, my daughter and I liked the movie so she might like me to read the book to her. The book begins with this quote:
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” G. K. Chesterton.

And yes, that was a surprise.

At the end of the day we had a lot of stuff most of which we were wondering why we bought. Maybe next year I will hold a yard sale to sell all the stuff we have bought from yard sales.


A Secular Franciscan said...

One can never have too many books - unless one moves to a smaller house with a wife who hates clutter!

Besides, Franciscan simplicity demands some letting go.

So, I have a goal of getting rid of two books for every new book I bring into the house. Fortunately, the library accepts donations for its used book sales, making the process easier to take.

Of course, copies of Chesterton's works are never among the culled!

Joyful Catholics said...

So very true. Good post. I agree w/ Lee here, too. That's a good idea, to 'get rid of two for every new one you bring into the house.' I'd have the problem of picking out the two! Now I've something to journal about, my 'clinging' to books. Why is it I do that? I know there are some I'll never read again, but can't seem to 'cull.'

I love Chesterton, too, and have only started to read his works, I'm very late in life learning to love him and the Church! God bless.