Friday, January 12, 2018

Poetry of Alexander Pope - Vol 1

Thackeray called Alexander Pope (1688-1744) the greatest literary artist that England had ever seen. When I heard Professor John Sutherland say  that, "Pope is the greatest poet of the 18th century from whom elegant language flowed as easily as conversation," I figured it was time for me to become better acquainted with him. 

I was familiar with a few of his famous lines such as Behold the child, by nature's kindly law, Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw, and A little learning is a dangerous thing, drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring, but had not read any of his complete works.

I was pleased to discover a depth and richness of his poetry. Even if you don't agree with everything he writes, he's worth the effort. Many of his poems are quite long and are sometimes hard to follow, but the beauty of language kept me going.

I loved the extensive "Essay on Man," but several passages stood out to me as worthy of reading and re-reading. In epistle three, he writes uniquely about sexuality and procreation:

Each sex desires alike, 'till two are one.
Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace,
They love themselves, a third time, in their race!

Who knew you could write about this topic so succinctly and beautifully (and chastely)?

If you'd like a lengthy introduction to Pope's work, Volume one is available free for Kindle. The Essay on Man is available by itself. And a smaller book of poetry is here. I liked him so much that I ordered a hard cover copy of his poems to dip into again this coming year.

(Though well-known for his satire, this volume of poetry seemed more religious and philosophical in nature. I checked out Volume One from my library (digitally) and it has a different amount of pages from the Volume One at Amazon. So I'm not even sure it's the same book.)


Friday, January 5, 2018

Back to the Classics Challenge 2018

When I finished the "50 Classics in 5 Years" challenge, I wondered if I would find any additional classics of interest. Silly me! There are more classics on my TBR list now than I could read in a lifetime. So I'm glad that Karen at Books and Chocolate is hosting another Back to the Classics Challenge for 2018. All the details are here. These are my 12 (subject to change) choices:

1. 19th Century Classic - Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
2. 20th Century Classic (published before 1968) - Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
3. Classic by a Woman Author - O Pioneers by Willa Cather
4. A Classic Translated from Another Language - Illiad
5. Children's Classic - Little House in the Big Woods
6. Classic Crime Story - Brat Farrar or Daughter of Time by Tey
7. Classic Travel/Journey Story (fiction or non) - Journals of Lewis and Clark
8. Classic with Single Word Title - Lilith by George MacDonald
9. Classic with a Color in the Title - Red Badge of Courage
10. Classic by New-to-You Author - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
11. Classic that Scares You - Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
12. Re-read a Favorite Classic - Secret Garden by F.H. Burnett

Looking forward to a great year of reading!


Monday, January 1, 2018

Intentional Christian Reading Challenge 2018

If you are like me, fiction is your default setting for relaxing reading. I have to push myself to read meatier fare, especially the Christian classics. That's why I'm glad Alina at Goodreads has decided to repeat the Intentional Christian Reading Challenge this year. (Last year I read 20 titles. I'm going for 26 books in 2018. My tentative choices, which have been on my Kindle forever, are in blue.)

Here is Alina's post: For 2018, we will have the same 52 topics as we had for 2017, however, you can modify the challenge to suit your Christian reading goals.

If you are more of a LIGHT reader and feel you can commit to reading 1 book every 4 weeks, then choose 13 of the categories you would like to read.

If you feel you can read 1 book every 2 weeks, then you are an AVID reader of this challenge. Choose 26 of the categories you would like to read.

If you are a faster reader or just have more time to devote to this challenge by reading 1 book every week, then you are the COMMITTED, reader of this challenge. Read a book from each of the 52 categories - 1 per week.

If you want to be SUPER CHALLENGED, then choose two different books for each category - 2 books per week.

The 2018 list:

1. A book about Prayer - Living a Prayerful Life by Andrew Murray
2. A book about Forgiveness
3. A book by a Christian conference speaker.
4. A book by or about a Pastor's wife - The Peaceful Wife by Cassidy
5. A Christian Novel - Grounded by Angela Correll
6. A Christian Non-Fiction book - Do No Work by Andrew Gilmore
7. A Memoir - Out of the Depths by Edgar Harrell
8. A book on the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Awards list.
9. A book by or about a missionary.
10. A book by C.S. Lewis - Selected Letters of C.S. Lewis
11. A book with the word "Gospel" in the title - Gospel Formed by J.A. Medders
12. A book about Christian Living - The Overcoming Life by D.L. Moody
13. A book someone tells you "Changed My Life".
14. A book by your Favorite Christian Author - Sometimes a Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner
15. A book on Marriage or Singleness - Courtship in Crisis by Thomas Umstattd Jr.
16. A book longer than 400 pages.
17. A book you own but have never read. - Weakness is the Way by J.I. Packer
18. A book about a current controversial issue - Because We are Called to be Counter Culture by Platt
19. A book with a one word title - Lilith by George MacDonald
20. A book more than 100 years old or takes place more than 100 years ago - Confessions of St. Augustine
21. A book published in 2017 or 2018 - The Story of Reality by Greg Koukl
23. A book recommended by a Christian Friend - Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
24. A book about Joy or Happiness - Health, Wealth, and Happiness by David Jones
25. A book whose title comes from a Bible Verse.
26. A book on Theology - Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body
27. A book by an Indie Christian Author.
28. A book on Christian Growth.
29. A book about Church or a specific Church - Jesus Killed my Church by Bohlender
30. A book with Heaven in the title.
31. A Christian Romance novel.
32. A book about Christian Persecution.
33. A book on Spiritual Warfare.
34. A Wilbur Award winning book.
35. A book about a Religious Cult.
36. A Christian Dystopian book.
37. A book about Biblical Prophecy.
38. A book by a Christian Author you've never read before - The Shock of Night by Patrick Carr
39. A book that was a Christy Award winner.
40. A book on any of the Goodreads Christian book lists.
41. A Christian science fiction/fantasy book.
42. A book on depression.
43. A Christian fiction book with a beautiful cover.
44. A book with 100 pages or less - Art and the Bible by Francis Schaeffer
45. A historical Christian book - Stepping Heavenward
46. A Historical Christian Fiction book.
47. A book on Evangelism - Nudge by Leonard Sweet
48. A book about a Faith different than yours.
49. A book with God in the title.
50. A book with Jesus or Christ in the title - Quiet Talks about Jesus by S.D. Gordon
51. A book of the Bible - Exodus
52. A book of your choice - Unspoken Sermons by George MacDonald

Thank you, Alina for hosting this challenge!