Spring has sprung. After an unusually cold winter -- at least for us here in Florida -- I'm now looking forward to sitting out in our screened-in lanai, rocking easily with a book in my hand, breathing in all that fresh Florida air, and soaking up the warmth of May and June before the real summer heat sets in. With that in mind I thought I'd share my intended reading list, the stack of books I hope to work my way through during the next month or two.
The first is The Shroud Codex, a work of fiction by Jerome Corsi that was published to coincide with the current six-week exhibition of the Shroud of Turin. Written by a devout Catholic who has several best-selling non-fiction works already under his belt, it promises to be a real page-turner. Here's a link to an interesting article about the book and its author: Author Jerome Corsi moves from Swift Boats to the Shroud. The few reviews I've read have been positive and the subject has intrigued me since I was a child.
The second book I intend to read is a bit unusual, even for me. It's a book of ghost and other supernatural stories by famed political scientist and man of letters, Russell Kirk (1918-1994). Kirk, a convert to Catholicism, is one of my few heroes and probably had more influence on my thinking than any other person with the exception of my father. And my father actually introduced me to Kirk's writing by giving me a copy of The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (a book every American should read) when I was a junior in high school. Although Kirk's writings generally focus on political, philosophical or literary subjects, he had another side to him, a spooky side that found an outlet in the marvelous ghost stories he wrote. I've read several of his stories and novels over the years, but I just purchased a recently (2004) published anthology entitled, Ancestral Shadows: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales. I plan to savor these ghostly tales one at a time during those special evenings when the wind blows the clouds across the face of the moon and the only sound is that of our neighborhood owl. Fun...fun...
The next tome in my stack represents a radical change of pace from the first two books, but promises to be equally interesting. Christopher Dawson (1889-1970), one of the truly great thinkers and historians of the 20th Century, was another convert to Catholicism and another of those people who had a major impact on my own intellectual formation. Almost 40 years ago -- about the time of Dawson's death -- I picked up a copy of Dynamics of World History and was instantly hooked. I've been reading Dawson ever since. This spring's selection, though, is not a book by Dawson; it's a book about him. Sanctifying the World by Bradley J. Birzer examines the "Augustinian life and mind of Christopher Dawson" and I trust it will provide some interesting insights into the man and his work.
How about a book on the papacy, The Early Papacy: To the Synod of Chalcedon in 451? This little book, written by the late Father Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923), delves into the early history of the Church, and focuses on the papacy as it was understood by the early Church fathers. This classic work by Father Fortescue, a British apologist, has been on my "to-read" list for many years, but I've just never made the time. And it wasn't always an easy book to find. But now Ignatius Press has blessed us by once again making it available in a paperback edition.
And finally, more fiction. Warm weather is always a good time for fiction. Some months ago, digging around in a used book store in St. Augustine, Florida, I came across a large paperback containing three novels by Walker Percy (1916-1990). I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I've never read any of Percy's novels, although I intended to do so on numerous occasions in the past. It was just one of those good intentions that never materialized. And so, this spring I plan to read all three of the novels published in this inexpensive paperback edition -- The Moviegoer; The Last Gentleman; and The Second Coming -- a sort of Walker Percy marathon. We'll see if it whets my appetite for more of Percy's work. I don't include a link to this particular book since it is a book club edition and not available except as a used book. All of Percy's novels are, however, available on Amazon in new, relatively inexpensive editions.
That's it. If I finish ahead of schedule, I'll add some more.