As Spring ends, I’m trying to finish my spring reading list. The spring and summer semesters were some of our most challenging, so finding time to do personal reading in all the hubbub was quite difficult. But I got through the books I wanted to in addition to some good books I read for my school research projects (including David Wells’ excellent five-part series).
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson (1908). I have vivid memories of my dad reading this out loud to the Pearce kids while on vacation at Diamond Lake nearly 20 years ago. Reading again about Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins, Black Dog, and others was a joy. An easy and fun – but not predictable – pirate’s tale.
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton (1908). Chesterton has a unique way with words that keeps the pages turning and the mind thinking. It was a lot of fun to read aloud to Elizabeth at times, too. If one reads it as an autobiography of his “discovery” of the Christian orthodoxy (which is how he meant it), it’s a very good book. If one reads it as an apologetic, it’s mediocre.
Lewis & Tolkien: The Gift of Friendship, Colin Duriez (2003). After rereading the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2008, and being a fan of C.S. Lewis, I was intrigued by this book. I wrote a full-length review already, which you can check out here. Good reading for fans of Lewis and/or Tolkien.
Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis (1956). Realizing that my original reading list was too ambitious to complete, I substituted this book for one I knew I wouldn’t get through. I picked this one because it was on my bookshelf and Duriez mentioned often in The Gift of Friendship that it is Lewis’ best literary work. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche in pre-Christian times. Though not a strict allegory, Lewis weaves Christian symbolism and metaphors into the story, which add depth to an already great work.
The Defense of the Faith, Cornelius Van Til (1955). I’m still finishing this, and it’s been worth the time and effort. Van Til argues that the Reformed faith offers the most biblical, the fullest, and the most effective apologetic for Christianity. Difficult reading at times, but a brilliant thought process. Van Til is biblical, philosophical, convincing, sincere, and scathing throughout.
Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (1559). This is a year-long reading project and I’ve been keeping up alright so far. I will admit that the schedule is aggressive and I often find myself breezing through sections just to get it done. Overall very good, especially the discussions on common grace, the Ten Commandments, law v. gospel, attributes of God, the Holy Spirit, and piety. Calvin argues concisely, densely, and clearly.