Thursday, June 30, 2011

Best Thoughts from the Prince of Paradox

The Quotable Chesterton: The Wit and Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton,  ed. Kevin Belmont. Thomas Nelson, 2011.

The man had a way with words. An inexhaustible store of clever sentences poured from his lips and his pen. He’s been gone for many decades; you’ll find him quoted extensively in some circles, forgotten in others. The Quotable Chesterton might hold the interest of both the diehard fan and the neophyte. It compiles and categorizes more than 800 quotations from this great writer.

This work is modeled on The Quotable C.S. Lewis and published concurrently with Belmont’s biography of Chesterton (Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K. Chesterton ). If you’re looking for Chesterton’s thoughts on a specific topic, this is a fine place to start. It will also take you places that merely trolling the internet for Chesterton quotes will not. Plus, it provides complete source documentation.

You might also be able to use the book to confirm that Chesterton really said what you’ve heard him as saying, and find out where. However, this might be more difficult as each quote is only listed in one category. If I were looking for
"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies, probably because they are generally the same people."
I would not find it under Bible, love, neighbors, or enemies. It's instead listed under a category that might not occur to me: aphorisms.

Well, one book can’t do it all. Chesterton fans will appreciate this labor of love, and public speakers and writers may find frequent use for this compact 321-page paperback. The book also includes an introduction to Chesterton, and, interspersed with the A-Z collection, a dozen short essays Belmont has written about the man.

Much of Chesterton’s work is now in the public domain. That makes it easy to go from a quote to its source. For some fun summer reading, I’d recommend a daily dose from the best (or at least breeziest) collection of his newspaper columns, Tremendous Trifles.

Note: I requested and received a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson's book blogging program in exchange for writing this review.


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