View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Todd - - tagged me, so here I go.

1 - Total number of books I've owned

6-7,000, many of which are now, alas, in boxes because we moved to a smaller house. I miss my “library” room.

2 - Last book(s) I bought

Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac by William J. Higginson

This wonderful reference work examines topics, season words and key words of haiku from an international perspective. It’s wonderful to see different cultures represented – and the poems are delightful to read.

3 - Last book I read

The essence of modern haiku: 300 Poems by Seishi Yamaguchi

An interesting collection by one of the best known of modern Japanese haiku poets. It includes some of his original art, as well as explanations for each poem. Not all the poems seemed to work in English – translation problems, perhaps? – but many of them were moving, amusing, or thought-provoking.

4 - Five books that mean a lot to me

Just five? I could list five books each from several different authors (Dickens, Shakespeare, Chesterton, C. S. Lewis)

I put aside the Bible as a given, so I don’t count it.

Then I cheat a little…

Shakespeare. I have the complete works in one volume, so I can count it as one book. Of the plays, MacBeth, Hamlet, Othello and The Tempest have meant the most to me. They revealed to me things about human nature and myself. And The Tempest is a celebration of the wise use of all that is creative and magical in the world.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I don’t know how many times I’ve read this book. Atticus Finch remains for me a model of wise parenting and basic human decency.

St. Francis of Assisi, by G. K. Chesterton. One of my favorite saints as examined by one of my favorite authors.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Perhaps not his best book (Bleak House competed for citation here), but the image of self-sacrificing love lingers in my mind. And the opening of the book is a wonder. (So is the opening of Bleak House. Sneaky how I jammed two of Dickens’s works into one listing!)

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. This book is meaningful to me because I discovered it at a key and dangerous point in my life. I’m not kidding: It may have saved my faith.

Honorable mention: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis; The Everlasting Man and The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton; The Incompleat Folksinger by Pete Seeger; The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene; No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre; The Complete Poems of Robert Frost; Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII …

I’d better stop here!

5 - Tag 5 people and have them do this on their blog

Rather than tag specific people, I prefer to let anyone who has a blog do this on his or her own. If you don’t have a blog, share your answers here. Even if you do have a blog, feel free to share.


Anonymous Alex said...

1 - Total number of books I've owned
Who knows? 1000?
2 - Last book I bought
Gay Haiku Joel Derfner
3 - Last book I read
A Theology of History Hans Urs von Balthasar
4 - Five books that mean a lot to me
A Sinking Island Hugh Kenner
Eric Doris Lund
Seven Storey Mountain Merton
Madame Blavatsky's Baboon Peter Washington
The Shewings of Julian of Norwich

12:50 PM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas said...


I also considered The Seven Storey Mountain for my list. It was one of the books that brought me into the Catholic Faith.

8:26 PM  
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