Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Quotable Chesterton compiled by Kevin Belmonte

I was excited to receive a complimentary copy of The Quotable Chesterton from Booksneeze.com. Like many modern Christians I know Chesterton only from the occasional quote in a sermon or article. I thought this book would provide a good overview of Chesterton's work. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed.

The book's 870 quotes are arranged alphabetically by themes of the compiler's choosing. While this is naturally a limiting approach, in itself it does not prohibit a good book of quotations. What is needed, thought, is a great cross-reference in the back (think Bartlett's style) so that the reader can quickly find the desired quote and utilize it more fully. If my organizational approach doesn't equal Belmonte's, I'm unable to find the quote I need.

The second big problem with the layout of the book is that the references to Chesterton's work are not given in the main portion of the book. All are contained in endnotes, also arranged alphabetically, so the reader must look under endnote F1 to find the source for the quotation "I do not believe that a nation dies save by suicide" ("A Visit to Holland", Illustrated London News, 29 April 1922). This is cumbersome and unnecessary; the same smaller font could easily be used at the end of each quotation and provide the reader with a quick look at the source. It would also help the reader place the quote in the larger context of Chesterton's body of work, especially needed in a work that is not arranged chronologically.

While the layout of the book leaves something to be desired, the content is, as expected, meaty. Chesterton quotes have always left me thinking deeply, and this book provides meaty food for thought. As a source for reflection and insight, The Quotable Chesterton is a definite winner.

For more information on this book, visit http://www.amazon.com/Quotable-Chesterton-Wit-Wisdom-G-K/dp/1595552057/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292947429&sr=1-1.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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