Book Review of A Year with G.K. Chesterton

At present, he is one of the few interesting writers in contemporary literature, with something to say…and the power of compelling a jaded and tired age to listen to his voice.
From The Bookman (1903)

A Year with G.K. Chesterton , edited by Kevin Belmonte, is a daily dose of writings by an author who has been called “a cheerleader of truth, goodness and the humorous ways of God.” Each page contains a short passage of scripture, followed by one of Chesterton’s poems, a piece from one of his articles or books, or another’s words about him, adding up to “365 Days of Wisdom, Wit, and Wonder”.

The “On This Day” sections offer tidbits of his personal and literary history, giving readers a glimpse into special moments in his life, his correspondence, his personality and activities, and the far reach his publications.  Some daily readings are less than half a page, others more than a page; some are light and amusing, others heavy and didactic.  After the daily entries are supplemental readings for the main festival days of the church.

I assumed that the elements for each day would be overtly related, as in most other daily readings.  On many days it seemed the passages had nothing to do with the scripture verse.  But during the second (or third) read, when greater meaning lifted up from the page, connections usually appeared which helped to stretch my faith and my understanding of the world.

I love how Chesterton takes us out of our little corners, our little homes and communities and concerns, up to a grand view of life from the universe’s point of view.  “About the whole cosmos there is a tense and secret festivity…Eternity is the eve of something.  I never look up at the stars without feeling that they are the fires of a schoolboy’s rockets, fixed in their everlasting fall.”

Aside from the short daily scriptures, A Year with G.K. Chesterton has fewer overt Biblical or Christian references than I expected, but I am not complaining because it is big on Biblical truth. The pondering of life and literature by a philosopher with a Christian faith that saturates his mind and soul is a powerful way to one’s heart.

Kevin Belmonte’s book gives Chesterton in small doses which allows us time to absorb and contemplate deep truths. Readers will find humor, verse, history, paradox and intellectual challenge as they make their way through the pages, and like me, they may not be satisfied with just one “day” at a time. I recommend G.K. Chesterton especially to those who want to see a “transformed mind” in action, those who want an inspired, less conventional presentation of faith and a Christian world view.
[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.]

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