A Year with G.K. Chesterton, Book Review

A Year with G. K. Chesterton: 365 Days of Wisdom, Wit, and Wonder
edited by Kevin Belmonte

I’m a novice to G.K. Chesterton’s writings, but after seeing quote after quote of his recently, I decided to give the book, A Year with G. K. Chesterton, a try.  I’d actually enjoy more books like this for my favorite authors—a literary book of days to organize their writings into small but enjoyable selections.

In this book, each day’s reading begins with a brief Scripture verse and then includes two short selections of writings by Chesterton.  It concludes with a “day in the life-type” entry, journaling what significant event happened in Chesterton’s life on that day in history.

The difficulty of reading this book as someone largely unfamiliar with Chesterton’s life and writings is that the small snippets didn’t really capture his larger ideas and the “day in the life” entries weren’t enough to build a picture of who he was, what he thought, and what he accomplished.  It was more hop, skip and jumping through a person’s life leaving a garbled picture.

I wouldn’t use this as a daily devotional, although it is formatted in a similar way.  His writings would promote deep thinking about life, philosophy, theology, literature and more, but these are not always focused on deepening one’s Spiritual walk.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book.  It’s simply to put it into it’s proper context.  Is it a great biographical work or collection of his writings?  No.  Is it a devotional?  Not really.  But as an interesting, sometimes funny book that gives you a taste of Chesterton’s work and invites further reading, it’s a success.  I would imagine that editing a work like this, choosing selections appropriately brief and yet engaging, was a difficult task and seems well done.

This book would probably be most enjoyed by a true lover of G.K. Chesteron’s work, someone who knows about his life and has read some of his writings before.  It would lend context to this collection and back-story to the selections.  For a G.K. Chesterton novice, it’s possible to appreciate the book and enjoy it well enough, but I think I’d personally prefer to start with a biography and then graduate to this collection.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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