Saturday, December 19, 2020


This is the time of year when various publications ask their contributors to list the best books they've read in the past twelve months. I enjoyed reading the contributions here, among which, a few of the books I know and like:
  • Much Obliged, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse. Never was such beautiful English prose expended on such seemingly inconsequential stories as in the works of P.G. Wodehouse. And yet the reader of depth and sensitivity will discover that there are treasures to be discovered in the bromidic adventures of Bertie Wooster: joy, the interplay of order and disorder, the last vestiges of a truly Christian culture, and self-sacrificial loyalty to one’s family and friends. Much Obliged, Jeeves is not my favorite Jeeves novel, but it was still a delight to read.
  • The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis. This defense of objective truth, particularly in the form of Natural Law and universal human values, showcases Lewis’ gift for condensing a tremendous amount of learning and philosophical insight into succinct and accessible prose. Much of this brief volume defends the notion of reality as received rather than something man shapes by means of science, technology, or social convention.
  • The Hornblower Series – CS Forester. Never could I have believed that I could get so obsessed with a story about a young seafarer’s adventures on the high seas, but I have got completely hooked on this series, which tells the tale of a young midshipman who joins the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and rises through the ranks, facing adventure, love, companionship and peril at every turn. Compulsive reading and perfect escapism during this most trying of years.
  • The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, by Dorothy Sayers. I read Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, Unnatural Death, Strong Poison, Five Red Herrings, Have His Carcase, Nine Tailors, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon. For complex plots, delightful prose, and charming leads, Sayers is hard to beat.
  • Out of a Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, by C.S. Lewis. I started these novels in order to think about what an unfallen race might look like, especially what unfallen sex might look like. Out of a Silent Planet is rather profound, and Augustinian, on this question. The stories are alternatively riveting and theologically satisfying.
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