What I’m Reading: Heaven, Mary, God’s Existence, Dragons, and the End of the World

David Russell Mosley

Epiphanytide
Candlemas
2 February 2015
The Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, we’re experiencing yet another snow storm here in New England, and while not a blizzard this time it is still keeping me and my family inside. Snow and ice are beautiful but perilous. I think it no coincidence that we tend to associate snow with Faërie. But more on that another day.

I wanted to write to you about what I’m reading right now. It’s a new theme I’ll be coming back to from time to time as the books I’m reading change. The hope is to interest you to read new, or old, books that you haven’t read, or haven’t read in a long while. Also, it should hopefully help me engage more fully with the books I’m reading by writing about them from time to time as I read them.

All Things Made New by Stratford Caldecott

Stratford Caldecott has increasingly become one of my favourite authors. I have, to date, read his The Power of the Ring, Beauty for Truth’s Sake, and The Radiance of Being. I am immensely saddened that I had not met him before he went further on his pilgrimage to the Patria than I can currently follow. Still, I have the comfort of his words and his book All Things Made New is just that, a comfort.

The book begins with a spiritual commentary on the book of Revelation, noting the important theological, symbolical, and even numerological meanings in the text. From there it moves to a commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, the Rosary, and the Stations of the Cross. In a way, the whole book is concerned with the Rosary, which is to say that it is concerned with the life of Christ as partially mediated through the eyes of His mother.

The Major Works of Anselm of Canterbury: The Monologion

While I will read the whole book, I am currently working my way through the Monologion of Anselm. It is an attempt to come at some knowledge of God by way of reason alone. I decided to read this book because my background in Anselm is rather weak. I have read about his famous “ontological argument” for God’s existence: namely, that God is that-than-which-no-greater-thing-can-be-thought. This argument has often been dismissed, but I hope to come to a better understanding of it. I have also read Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo or Why God Became Man, which I found both interesting and insightful. Reading this book is my chance to go deeper into the good doctor’s writings.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Every year I re-read the entire Harry Potter Series. I have done so since the seventh book came out (actually, I re-read the entire series as soon as I had finished reading the seventh book for the first time). Goblet of Fire is not, perhaps, my favourite book. It can often get bogged down with all the side stories: Hermione and Rita Skeeter; Hermione, Ron, and Krum; Harry and Cho; Fred, George, and Ludo Bagman (and the goblins); Hagrid the Half-Giant; S.P.E.W.; Crouch and Winky and Crouch; etc. However, what is perhaps stranger, is how necessary each of these side stories is to get us to the end. While the film attempted to streamline the story, it failed (rather miserable, in my opinion). Each one seems almost necessary to get us into the graveyard with Harry. Still, the book often seems overfull, perhaps because it is, I believe, the second longest of the series.

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia are another septology I read every year. While this reading technically belongs to 2014, I’ve had to stretch it out as I’ve been reading the book aloud to my twin sons. Every night, we put them in pyjamas, I sing them a lullaby (The Road Goes Ever On and On by J. R. R. Tolkien), put them in their cribs, turn out the lights, except for a book light, and read to them. Something I’ve noticed in reading them aloud this year are the parts that choke me up. Sometimes reading can be difficult because I’m trying to fight back tears and do voices. Another interesting aspect of reading them this year is that I’ve been reading them in the order in which they were written. This means I’m only on the second to last book with The Magician’s Nephew still to go. It makes it different since I’m reading references to The Magician’s Nephew without having read it yet.

Well, that’s all the books I’m currently reading and a little about them. What are you reading?

Sincerely yours,
David

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6 comments on “What I’m Reading: Heaven, Mary, God’s Existence, Dragons, and the End of the World

  1. While you’re reading the Monologian, you may as well toss in the Proslogian – I find it difficult to read one without the other!

    I’m currently reading Humphrey Carpenter’s The Inklings, and am next jumping off my Winter reading list to take up Barfield’s Poetic Diction. It just feels like I’m missing something not having read it.

  2. I am currently reading The Theology of Hugh of St. Victor: An Interpretation by Boyd Taylor Coolman. I started Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World, but do not know if I will be getting back to it soon.

    • I can’t say I’ve read either of them. What do you like about the one and dislike about the other?

      • Wow! Where to start with Hugh. He connects everything. His theology is a true theology: it is reasonable, spiritual, and does not break easily into categories. He has an approach that is acutely aware of the relationship between God and creation, and the unique place of man in this. In his introduction to Hugh’s theology, Coolman identifies restoration as the key to Hugh’s theology. What is most appealing to me is Hugh’s great emphasis on power, beauty, and goodness to which he gives beauty a special place.

        As for Benson, I have begun Lord of the World multiple times and have read recommendations from people whom I trust regarding good literature, but for some reason I have just never been able to get into it. It may be Benson’s writing style. Regardless of the reason, I am hopeful that if I ever get past the beginning I will get into the book.

      • I’ve only read Hugh’s Didascalion thus far. But I found it very interesting and enlightening.

        Perhaps with Benson the only thing to do is to skip past at least part of what you’ve read. That way you don’t feel like you’re rehashing old ground.

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