The posts here at The Book Den have stimulated a series of notes from one of my longtime friends and fellow bibliophile, Ron Prenot. Ron now lives several states away but through the technology of web sites, blogs and e-mails, we're able to keep in touch about our common devotion to reading, the pro-life cause, and other matters.
I thought you'd be interested in a few comments Ron has sent along about the books I've mentioned here at The Book Den as well as some of his own favorites.
For mysteries, Ron likes the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. (I agree though I was satisfied after six or seven of them.) One of his favorite novels is Solzhentsyn's August 1914 but his recent correspondence has also included recommendations for the Kristin Lavransdatter series and the Narnia series. "The Chronicles of Narnia are fun, although my Lewis favorite is That Hideous Strength. Think I've read it 4 or 5 times. I bought the Chronicles video tapes for my grandson several years ago and I like watching them very much."
From books mentioned here, Ron has appreciated the tips on Nevil Shute, Rafael Sabatini, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott. In fact, at last count, he's read five of the Scott novels!
However, not all of our recommendations make the highest grades with Ron. That's certainly expected but even our disagreements make for engaging comments: "Finished Children of Men - very strange novel. Too bad P.D. James didn't move it another 15 years into the future. One could imagine it may all yet come true." And..."I tried reading The Jeweler's Shop and gave up after a few pages. Can't imagine why you and Claire though it so worthwhile."
Finally, let me pass along a few of Ron's own suggestions --
Ron wrote, "Thomas Fleming says, 'I began to understand the character of Lombardia and penetrate the dense and mysterious text of the greatest novel ever written, I Promessi Sposi.' (September, 2005 Chronicles, p.10) Well, I finished it, and no doubt due to my ignorance I can't agree with Fleming. It is worth reading, though the 200 pages describing the plague was pretty tedious. Manzoni is clearly a master of the psychology of how people think (or don't think)."
And from another of Ron's e-mails , "You may not want to read St. John of the Cross (another of my continuous readings) but The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame are examples of the most sublime works ever written (next to certain parts of Scripture)."
Thanks so much for your correspondence, Ron. Let's hope others will join in too. The e-mail address to respond with your reactions, comments, recommendations, etc. is firstname.lastname@example.org