Tuesday, October 11, 2016

An Early Autumn "Catch Up" Column

In a few days, Claire and I will be heading south for what has become an autumn tradition, our annual vacation to Branson, Missouri.  We have a few ministry projects on the schedule but we will make sure to include plenty of time for drives in the country, hiking, visiting family, visiting favorite spots like the College of the Ozarks and Dogwood Canyon, having picnics on the shore of Table Rock Lake, and just relaxing our souls in the Word and in the soft and beautiful autumn changes of the Ozarks.

Oh yes, there’s one other thing on our Branson to-do list and that is reading. We’re not sure exactly what titles we will take down yet but, like I do from time to time, I thought it would be good to catch up here on The Book Den with the books that have occupied the last couple of months.

Like usual, it is an eclectic list which includes history and culture, specifically Christian works, books aspiring to quality literature, and several titles which might properly be called “escapist pleasures.” And among that last category are several mystery and adventure titles that had two especially attractive features.  First, they were old and, as both a historian and a moralist, I find older works in these genres more interesting, more fun, and less liable to require moral compromises then modern books of the same type.  The second appealing feature was that they were free!  That’s because they were (like a Georgette Heyer mystery, a 1943 Perry Mason case, and a couple of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series) already in my library and thus were re-reads OR because they were public domain titles which can be downloaded without cost on Kindle. Nifty huh?

In that public domain category were Alias, The Night Wind and Return of the Night Wind, both by Frederick van Rensselaer Dey, and a World War I thriller titled Submarine U93 by Charles Gilson. Also free via Kindle were The Battle of Gettysburg, a remarkable history written by a Union officer who played an important part in the battle and was killed later in the war, Frank Aretas Haskell. I recommend it highly. I recommend also a late 19th Century collection of sermons by the great evangelist, D. L. Moody, The Overcoming Life and Other Sermons. Finally, another couple of public domain Kindle reads were Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know, edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie and originally published in 1905, and The Wreck of the Titan and Other Stories by Morgan Robertson.

Also, since my last catch-up column, I finished the last two books in C. S. Lewis’ astounding Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. and there were a couple of selections from our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons, Vandemark’s Folly by Herbert Quick and Ross Poldark by Winston Graham. The Lewis novels were, of course, exceptional but I also liked both the Quick and Graham titles.

To more serious and salutary ends, I finished Randy Alcorn’s examination of the Calvinist/Armenian controversy, hand in Hand.  And, along with Claire and a few friends, I’m currently reading Alcorn’s Happiness which is intriguing, challenging, and of tremendous spiritual value.

So with this quick compilation post out of the way, I can go ahead and pile up the books I’ll be reading in Branson.  I’ll get back to you on how those go.

Until then, keep reading!