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Book Roundup

I recently finished three books, feel like I could go on for pages discussing them, but I won't. Here are three mini-reviews.

The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis: Out of the three books mentioned here, everyone should read this one. It is a collection of essays and talks. Lewis is brilliant, as always; he blends the head and the heart so well. There is a lot of variety in these essays, so you can just flip through the book and read whatever suits your fancy at the time.

Apologia Pro Vita Sua, John Henry Newman: The Penguin Classics edition has Millais' portrait of the author on the cover--a gentle-faced old man in cardinal's robes. I felt when reading this book that I was getting a glimpse of a beautiful soul. This is a very odd book. It's not a defense of Roman Catholicism or even of Newman's views; it's plainly and simply a defense of himself--this little old man saying querulously, "Stop persecuting me for becoming a Catholic!" And yet in that feeble old voice you hear the deep whisper of a truly brilliant intellect and devout heart. How I wish I lived in the days when higher education fielded men like Newman!

On the Road, Jack Kerouac: Feeling very openminded, I read this book (this year is the 50th anniversary of its publication). Kerouac was obviously a very talented writer, which is why I wish his writing were edited a lot more thoroughly. I mean, c'mon, I know he hated Hemingway, but he could have cut or refined half his verbage without losing his own distinctive voice. It's a very sad book (and very funny in spots). A bunch of guys drive around without shirts on, sleep with women in every town along the way, and look for their fathers. Dean Moriarty is a guy with no roots who, in his attempt to find meaning, fathers children all over the continent and leaves them to live rootless lives just like his. I can see why this book is considered the voice of a generation, but why do people consider that a good thing? It's tragic.

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