Tuesday, April 3, 2012

50 Days..Day22

What are three books that have changed how you see the world around you, and how did they do it?

Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling”. I read it for the first time in high-school and fell in love. Kierkegaard’s writing gave me the leverage I needed to really throw myself into faith, and a language with which to understand that faith.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Diary of a Young Poet”. In my existential phase, my sister recommended Rilke for his beauty. Most of the good in my artistic development is his influence. Now his poems live in my head and form a large part of the background to my life.

Kathleen Norris’ “The Cloister Walk”. It wasn’t until a few year’s ago that I discover Kathleen Norris, but her effect has been strong. She teaches me how to use the richness of monastic tradition in my own life, in my writing, and in my pursuit of beauty.


  1. I love The Cloister Walk; it's so beautiful.

    Hmm. Three books...

    It seems Sunday-Schoolish to say The Bible, but the Gospel of John and the Psalms are the centerpieces of my faith. Both of them hold me still so I can at least catch outlines of truth; they keep the world from turning into a blur of confusion.

    Honestly, the Harry Potter series did some of the same thing. It also opened my mind to the world of symbolist literature, aided by writings from Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton, Granger, and Prinzi.

    Chesterton's Orthodoxy was a book Lou gave me when I was asking about Catholicism. It was written before Chesterton became a Catholic, but it opened my mind to a sacramental view of the world. I had some tendency to believe that way, but it was dormant till Rowling planted, Chesterton watered, and God gave the increase. :)

  2. Oh yeah..the Bible - now I feel like a bad Catholic ;)..

    My brother gave me Orthodoxy, and I always intend to read it, but then get put off by my negative reaction to Chesterton the person. I'm glad I read his Man who was Thursday before learning more about him, because it's amazing. I'm sure Orthodoxy is too but I alway picture G.K. lecturing me :).

    The idea of Harry Potter as symbolist literature is fascinating to me, though I can't really see it. (I know, you said to read John Granger, and I read a bit of his blog, but haven't really gotten engaged by him, and so the intention to get his books is always on the back burner..but if you wanted to post blogs on...:) All that said, knowing you has definitely made it easier to see that the books obviously have some effect of that kind, which makes me want to know more..if that makes sense.

  3. Yes, it makes sense. I've had the same feeling about other stories that friends have appreciated. Different people just have different responses to things.

    That's so funny that Chesterton comes off as a lecturer to you. To me, he always seems like someone so in love with words and with this or that shiny new idea that he just can't stop talking about it. And I find that so winning that when I've had to question one of his ideas, it hasn't at all shaken the places where I think he hit things right on.

    Oh, and you're not a bad Catholic for not mentioning the Bible. I almost didn't because it sounds like the answer that should go without saying.