Authors

Ok, time to get nerdy.  Let’s talk about books, authors and (gasp!) reading.  I enjoy reading and I’m betting most of you do too.  So here are some of my favorite authors and what I’ve been reading lately, with notes.

Stephen King

Shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering references to the Dark Tower Series abound on Dichotomy.  I also really liked The Stand, The Green Mile Series, On Writing and tons of his short stories.  I’ve read more pages by Mr. King than I have any other author, but in total books I’ve read, he comes in second only to C.S. Lewis.

C.S. Lewis

If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you’re waaaaaaaay behind.  Go catch up.  With books such as the Space Trilogy. The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity and the Screwtape Letters in his catalogue, he’s an ace.  I revere him more than almost any other mortal man that ever lived.  If C.S. Lewis believed it, the belief holds weight with me (which isn’t to say I agree with everything he believed).  He was a good author with a great mind and an unparalleled gift for explaining theological truths in a clear, beautiful way.  My favorite author ever and probably the favorite author of several readers of this blog.

G.K. Chesterton

This is where my romance with British Christian authors from the 1900 – 1940 era starts to become evident (included in that list would be Tolkien, Charles Williams, T.S. Eliot and Dorothy Sayers, all giants of literature).  I just picked up another Chesterton book a couple weeks ago and my passion was rekindled for his works.  His Father Brown mysteries and novels such as The Ball and the Cross and The Man Who was Thursday are brilliant and full of truths that are all the more “truthy” because of the great story in which they are clothed.  Chesterton was Catholic and was a staunch defender of Catholicism and I admire that, although I myself am not a Catholic.

Hunter S. Thompson

Just getting into him.  Loved Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing…” and am reading the book now.  I figured with Depp starring in the Rum Diary soon, now was as good a time as any to get into the wild world of Gonzo Journalism, amiright?

Kurt Vonnegut

Absolutely loved Slaughterhouse Five, which I read this past winter (it was the only good part of that dreadful season). Then I read a collection of short stories called “Welcome to the Monkey House” which contained “Harrison Bergeron” which many students read in school.  I love short story collections from good authors and this was certainly one.

Jonathan Safran Foer

Man, “Everything is Illuminated” was such a fun book.  Hilarious and touching and wildly outlandish, I’ve never read anything like it.  If you didn’t like the movie, I understand.  It wasn’t that good.  Then “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” came out and that was good too.  I don’t think he’s written anything else.  I don’t agree with much of his worldview, but he’s an excellent writer, for sure.

Lemony Snicket

If you like (or can even tolerate) children’s books, read “The Series of Unfortunate Events” as soon as possible.  I own the first edition of all 13 books and read them all on tour in 2006.  They’re short and super fun.  Great for kids, but also extremely witty with great allusions for adults.  The first 3 are fairly straight forward and simple.  After that, the plot gets twisted and very crazy.

*Lemony Snicket is the pen name for Daniel Handler. After a short read into a couple of his books, I do not advise reading any books with his name on them.

Flannery O’Conor

As a Southern Catholic, O’Connor wrote about the “Christ-haunted South” which I think is a great picture for where I come from.  Her short stories were great and her theories and views were even better.   She believed lots of great things, and a list of some more memorable of her quotes can be found here:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/22694.Flannery_O_Connor (my favorite is “Our age not only does not have a very sharp eye for the almost imperceptible intrusions of grace, it no longer has much feeling for the nature of the violences which precede and follow them.”

I could go on and on (maybe I will in my next blog), but I’d like some feedback on these.  Also, don’t do the “I liked that book” or “I think so-and-so is pretty good” stuff.  I want you to express yourself and tell me why you like so-and-so and what particular parts of a book you like and which elements disgust or baffle you.  Sweet.

 

 

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  • Jared Fourteen

    Ah. What a great blog.

    I really do like Lewis, especially his essays, like “On the Reading of Old Books,” etc. It’s funny: Lewis always seemed to refuse arguing on pre-esablished definitions or from sides, and he often made his own of his logical framework. One of my favorite authors is O’Connor. I really like how her plots sort of meander with contrasts and absurdities and then suddenly become tragic to her frail characters. Plus, she has great titles like, “You Can’t Be Any Poorer Than Dead.”

    I’ve been wanting to read Kurt Vonnegut, etc., but I’ve been reading too much Russian literature… maybe I’ll pick up his short stories soon.

    • http://www.celestialcompletion.com countseth

      Ooh. I’m a Russian lit fan for sure. Gorky, Olesha, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky are all enjoyable. They could be in another blog…

      And I’m certainly with you on O’Connor’s titles. “The Lame Shall Enter First” and “Why Do the Heathens Rage?” are great titles with strong biblical allusions, which she is the master of.

  • http://www.deathisgain.com Robert

    I used to read more before I had kids, but have been getting back into now that they are older. C.S. Lewis is without a doubt one of my favorites. I love the Chronicles of Narnia and The Last Battle still makes me cry at the end with it’s glorious illustration of the people running up the hill. The Persistance of Pain is a book I have read a few times and still am in awe of it. The Space Trilogy? I have a set from the 80’s that I bought as a kid and struggled to read it. When I got saved I read it and was floored. That Hideous Strength is one of my all time favorites. It also helped me get back into loving medieval stuff, as I had given it up when I got saved.

    Lately I have started reading the Lord of the Rings. I never read it when I was young because of it’s length. I love seeing little nuggets of Christianity within it’s pages. The Hobbit still sits a little better with me than LOTR.

    I’ve also been reading Robert E Howard’s “Conan” books as well as his “Solomon Kane” books. I actually loved the Solomon Kane series better. It’s about a puritan man that hunts down evil. Much better written than Conan. (The movie was crap by the way.) I also have enjoyed reading H.G. Wells. He was very secular in his writings and a lot seems to be influenced by evolution, but still a great writer none the less.

    One period I got into reading Frankenstein and Dracula. Frankenstein was actually a better book than I thought it would be, a great study in man’s relationship to his “creator”. Dracula was scarier than I thought it would be.

    I’ve had a few people tell me to read Chesterton, I need to check him out. Read King when I was younger, especially The Stand. Just never got into him. But this was before The Dark Tower series. Also enjoyed the Dune Chronicles as well as Michael Moorcok’s “Elric” series.

  • Nick

    Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is a phenomenal read. It is fantasy like Lord of the Rings, but has some very new and fresh takes on “magic”, for lack of a better term. Sanderson himself seems to be Mormon, and though he doesn’t actually say he is, you can tell by this series. I love these books because of the time he took to include the elements of faith (though they are not Christians in the book) and how similar many of the values and morals the characters have are similar to a lot of Christians today. Short read compared to epic trilogies, but an epic story none-the-less.

    • http://www.celestialcompletion.com countseth

      Man, I’ve been reading Jon Krakauer’s book on Mormons recently. It’s called “Under the Banner of Heaven: a Story of Violent Faith” and its chilling. And it’s not even fiction!

  • Timothy

    Have you read any books by George MacDonald? He was a big influence on C.S. Lewis and mainly wrote fairytales, which is cooler than it sounds. Some of his stuff is a bit boring but his books, even the boring ones, have little gems of storytelling or themes in them. He believed everyone gets to heaven eventually and while I don’t agree with that he was able to get it across in such a way that it felt like the most natural thing in the world.

    • http://www.celestialcompletion.com countseth

      Yeah, George MacDonald was very good. I read a few of his books and the book of quotes that C.S. Lewis compiled and published. Good eye! I forgot him on my list of British Christian authors from that the late 1800s!

      • Adriel

        lol, sounds like Rob Bell

  • Abe

    I’m ashamed to say…I’m not much of a reader – I typically read books on spiritual gifts (specifially geared toward supernatural healing – Smith Wigglesworth), praise and worship (I’m a worship leader at my church), leadership (John Maxwell), other inspirational books (TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, etc), . When I was younger, I was into Stephen King, but I don’t think I ever made it through an entire book. Those things are epic!

    On another note, I really enjoyed “The Shack”, which found itself in a mire of controversy (I just tell people that it wasn’t meant as a spiritual guide book to use hand in hand with the Bible – many people found the book to be heritical, but I loved the analogies and parallels the author used).

    I enjoy reading and writing poetry as well (I had a poem published in 2003 in a nationwide anthology) – At the time, I wasn’t “born again”, so the theme was rather dark and depressing – I’m proud to say I have something published, but not so proud of the state I was in back then….Live and learn I suppose.

  • Joel

    After I bought Dichotomy, I read and loved C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. After Celestial Completion arrived, I started on The Dark Tower series (currently halfway through The Waste Lands) and I’ve loved them so far. Who knows what brilliant book series will the next BTA album bring into my life?

    I love the whole idea of “a world moved on” in The Dark Tower series, such a huge thing for the author to imagine and he manages to detail it brilliantly. That aspect got really good in The Drawing of the Three when he showed us how people from our world would react.

    Like Robert said above, I was always put off Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as a child because of the length, and instead opted to listen to the audio books on long journeys. Definitely not the same as reading a book if you nod off halfway through, and they can be spoiled by something as small as the narrator’s voice, so Tolkien is definitely off the cards after I’ve made my way through King’s works.

    • althrioan

      Haha – the same here :D I started the Space Trilogy again as BTA announced that Dichotomy features stories of them and started the whole Dark Tower thing shortly after Celestial Completion had arrived.
      And man … what an awesome, thrilling and mind exploding story it is. I couldn’t hide my excitement while I read the Drawing of the Three and had to tell people about what happend in this book even if they weren’t interested^^
      Anyway, now I’m halfway through the Wolves of the Calla and I really love to see what the Dark Tower is and why BTA states on Dichotomy that the Tower shall fall. From my actual point of story progress I can’t say why it should fall because … yeah, I don’t want to spoil people who haven’t read the books yet … anyway maybe I’ll get Seth on the Rock Without Limits in Germany show to talk with me about that – would be nice.

      Paralel to the text for my study and the Dark Tower series I read The Screwtape Letters from Lewis. I really like the way he describes how the devil tries to treat us. I have to admit that I see in some points of my life where the devil tempts me and when he brings me to do things I don’t want to do … dang what a sentence .. sorry, hope you readers get what I want to say ;)

      • Joel

        Yeah, still on The Waste Lands, every time somebody asks Roland what the Tower is all about and he says something along the lines of “I can’t say” or “That’s a story for another time”, my anticipation just heightens. Stephen King knows how to get me to buy books.

        Okay, so now after Dark Tower it’s Tolkien, then the Screwtape Letters :)

  • Abe

    Sounds like you’re trying to say the same thing Paul stated in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

    Ultimately, although tempted, we still possess the ability (through the grace of God) to make the right decision(s).

    • althrioan

      haha, yeah. exactly those things :D

  • Garrett R.

    I recently read the Circle Series by Ted Dekker. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it is a phenomenal series that paints an awesome picture of redemptive history. I would highly recommend checking it out.