Friday, December 2, 2011
The Best Books I Ever Read
If you have ever wished that you could be a better father or mother . . .
If there are sins weighing on your conscience that you have never confessed—as the old-timers might say, if you are unshriven . . .
If you need God’s mercy, even if you don’t admit it . . .
If you like a good yarn . . .
If you appreciate language sensitive to the poetry of life . . .
If you—Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, pantheist, deist, whateverist—are open to religious experience or even the expression of religious experience . . .
Then I have a book for you—books, plural, in fact.
Until today, I have always said that my favorite authors were male, beginning in childhood with Franklin W. Dixon and Arthur Conan Doyle, and moving through happy adult times with Charles Dickens, Robertson Davies, Norman Maclean, and David Foster Wallace.
I have never been the same way about music, where some of my favorite artists—from Sinead O’Connor and Nanci Griffith to Iris Dement, Mary Gauthier, and Patty Griffin—are female.
Books are different. Until now.
Until now, I would have told you that only a male literary voice could speak to me. Even, or especially comic voices: I can’t think of a female writer who consistently makes me laugh out loud the way Mark Twain or Garrison Keillor or even Dave Barry does.
Well, gentlemen, it’s time to stand aside, it’s time you rose to your feet for a lady. Gentlemen, admit that you’re all second bananas at this fruit stand compared with the lady at the top of this post, Sigrid Undset.
I have just finished the fourth book in The Master of Hestviken tetralogy, The Son Avenger, and all I can say is, it will reward you to the very last word, literally. The series of four books measures 200 pages less than the one-volume A Father’s Tale by Michael O’Brien that is now getting notice in Catholic circles. The Master of Hestviken is worlds better.
I dare you to name a better Catholic novelist—no, not even Waugh or Percy, both guys, by the way—who have done better with a man’s story than Undset did with The Master of Hestviken nearly 90 years ago.
More to follow. Maybe much more. But it’s a busy day, so meanwhile—
Order the first book now on Amazon. That’s an order, soldier.