G.K. Chesterton has an amazing, and mostly forgotten, capacity for intelectual wit and a book that proposes offering a daily dose of that wit is fine by me. The problem is that it’s not much of a devotional, which is what this book is trying to be.
A Year with G.K. Chesterton
365 Days of Wisdom, Wit and Wonder
Edited by Kevin Belmonte
Each day you get a brief Bible verse and a devotional (although who wrote the devotional is not clear as they aren’t cited) and then a quote that loosely fits the discussion from a writing of Chesteron’s. Sometimes it works, like March 4th where there is a passage from Job 28 then (someone’s) devotional about the failure of Agnosticism followed by two wise and witty quotes from Chesterton that do tie in. Other times, the book doesn’t connect the dots for us. So many of the devotionals start with the pasage then move on to a poem or song (uncited and unclear) and then move to Chesterton. Some just jump straight to Chesterton leaving the reader to form the connections.
As a devotional this book fails, but as a collection of quotes it wins. In fact, I enjoyed simply reading through the quotes and skipping everything else. If this were simply a collection of quotes by topic it would have been much more interesting. Even a calendar with quotes for each day makes more sense than this devotional format. It’s not that devotionals can’t be made from quotes, but that Chesterton didn’t write most of this as a devotion but as a lecture, argument or conjecture. It just isn’t the right genre for his work.
Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.