Well, I’m going to spend the next week on a beach in Punta Cana. I’ve wrestled with this for some time now…I face a very serious question whose answer I’ve had a hard time settling: “What books should I bring?”
Due to the high volume of theology that I read, I thought it would be a good chance to take a break and opt for something a little different. So here’s my final list:
1) Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea. While I’m going to Dominican Republic and not Cuba, it’s still the Caribbean. My thinking is that the beach and sea will give a certain vitality to the book and in turn the book will add to the aura of being on the beach. It’s reciprocal (I hope!).
2) G. K. Chesterton, Manalive. I’ve never read any of his fictional work, so I thought this would be a witty and entertaining introduction.
3) Michael Shelden, Orwell: The Authorized Biography. I’ve been reading quite a bit of Orwell lately and plan to continue this trend. While I’ve watched some documentaries about his life, this bio should give me a much better picture on the author and his work. Orwell was such an important figure and we harm ourselves if we leave our reading of him with our high-school required reading of Animal Farm.
4) Robert Letham, Through Western Eyes: Eastern Orthodoxy: A Reformed Perspective. Well, I can’t hide from theology for too long it seems. Part of the reason for bringing this along, aside from my interest in the subject, is that I have to review it for a journal and I shouldn’t neglect that responsibility.
So, dear reader, are these good choices? I leave you to be my judge.
Well, I returned from the trip having experienced the awful strength of the sun as its rays land closer and hotter to the equatorial sections of the earth’s crust. I am now at the peeling stage of my sunburn, so the four-day long “sit-in” on my mother’s couch in agony has subsided.
As it turns out, I only managed to get through three of the four above-listed books. As you can likely imagine, I did not get to the book by Letham.
I must say, Manalive by Chesterton may well be one of my new favourite books. It was outstanding. I will definitely make that a book to re-read throughout my lifetime.
Also, reading The Old Man and the Sea did have the desired effect–I recommend reading books that deal with the environment you find yourself situated; it makes for a fuller reading experience.
The Orwell biography was outstanding, not only for the depth of research, the insightful interpretations and the clarity of the writing, but also because Orwell was such an interesting and important twentieth-century character. I am now on a mission to collect and read anything I can by or on Orwell. He is a worthwhile life-investment.