“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” – St. Augustine
Since I’ve built up a large collection of extra books and resources, every week I give some away absolutely free, no strings attached.
Each giveaway lasts seven days with a new one beginning every Friday. You can enter any time during the week. Check out my past giveaways here.
Today marks the 77th anniversary of the death of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), a giant of faith whose girth was eclipsed only by his brilliance. He was one of the greatest writers, thinkers, and apologists of the twentieth century and remains popular today. His books and essays still appear on bestseller lists and he’s perhaps the most quoted Catholic of all time.
Thanks to the good folks at Ignatius Press, the primary publisher of Chesterton’s works today, I’m devoting this week’s giveaway to the life and legacy of G.K. Chesterton. One reader will receive FIVE books by and about the Apostle of Common Sense, including:
Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith
by G.K. Chesterton
Ignatius Press, 168 pages, paperback
Released on July 1, 1995
If G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith is, as he called it, a “slovenly autobiography,” then we need more slobs in the world. This quirky, slender book describes how Chesterton came to view Catholicism as the way to satisfy his personal emotional needs, in a way that would also allow him to live happily in society.
Chesterton argues that people in western society need a life of “practical romance, the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome.” Drawing on such figures as Fra Angelico, George Bernard Shaw, and St. Paul to make his points, Chesterton argues that submission to ecclesiastical authority is the way to achieve a good and balanced life. The whole book is written in a style that is as majestic and down-to-earth as C.S. Lewis at his best. The final chapter, called “Authority and the Adventurer,” is especially persuasive. It’s hard to imagine a reader who will not close the book believing, at least for the moment, that the Church will make you free.
The Everlasting Man
by G.K. Chesterton
Ignatius Press, 275 pages, paperback
Released on April 1, 1993
What, if anything, is it that makes the human uniquely human? This, in part, is the question that G.K. Chesterton starts with in this classic exploration of human history. Responding to the evolutionary materialism of his contemporary (and antagonist) H.G. Wells, Chesterton in this work affirms human uniqueness and the unique message of the Christian faith. Writing in a time when social Darwinism was rampant, Chesterton instead argued that the idea that society has been steadily progressing from a state of primitivism and barbarity towards civilization is simply and flatly inaccurate. “Barbarism and civilization were not successive stages in the progress of the world,” he affirms, with arguments drawn from the histories of both Egypt and Babylon.
As always with Chesterton, there is in this analysis something (as he said of Blake) “very plain and emphatic.” He sees in Christianity a rare blending of philosophy and mythology, or reason and story, which satisfies both the mind and the heart. On both levels it rings true. As he puts it, “in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life.” Here, as so often in Chesterton, we sense a lived, awakened faith. All that he writes derives from a keen intellect guided by the heart’s own knowledge.
Manalive: A Novel
by G.K. Chesterton
Ignatius Press, 192 pages, paperback
Released on March 1, 2011
This classic novel by the brilliant G. K. Chesterton tells the rollicking tale of Innocent Smith, a man who may be crazy—or possibly the most sane man of all. Arriving at a dreary London boarding house accompanied by a windstorm, Smith is an exuberant, eccentric and sweet-natured man. Smith has a positive effect on the house– he creates his own court, brings a few couples together, and falls in love with a paid companion next door. All seems to be well with the world.
Then the unexpected happens: Smith shoots at one of the tenants, and two doctors arrive to arrest him, claiming that he’s a bigamist, an attempted murderer, and a thief. But cynical writer Moon insists that the case be tried there– and they explore Smith’s past history, revealing startling truths about what he does. Is he the wickedest man in Britain, or is he “blameless as a buttercup?”
Beautifully written, mixing the ridiculous with the profound, full of hilarious dialogue, and lushly detailed writing, Chesterton’s main character Innocent Smith somehow manages to restore joy to all the dull and cynical lives around him. In this delightfully strange mystery, Chesterton demonstrates why life is worth living, and that sometimes we need a little madness just to know we are alive.
In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton
edited by Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce, and Aidan Mackey
Ignatius Press, 405 pages, paperback
Released on October 18, 2011
G.K. Chesterton was a master essayist. But reading his essays is not just an exercise in studying a literary form at its finest, it is an encounter with timeless truths that jump off the page as fresh and powerful as the day they were written.
The only problem with Chesterton’s essays is that there are too many of them—over five thousand! For most readers it is not even possible to know where to start or how to begin to approach them.
So three of the world’s leading authorities on Chesterton—Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce, Aidan Mackey—have joined together to select the “best” Chesterton essays, a collection that will be appreciated by both the newcomer and the seasoned student of this great 20th century man of letters.
The variety of topics are astounding: barbarians, architects, mystics, ghosts, fireworks, rain, juries, gargoyles and much more. Plus a look at Shakespeare, Dickens, Jane Austen, George MacDonald, T.S. Eliot, and the Bible. All in that inimitable, formidable but always quotable style of G.K. Chesterton. Even more astounding than the variety is the continuity of Chesterton’s thought that ties everything together. A veritable feast for the mind and heart.
While some of the essays in this volume may be familiar, many of them are collected here for the first time, making their first appearance in over a century.
G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense
by Dale Ahlquist
Ignatius Press, 200 pages, paperback
Released on February 1, 2003
G. K. Chesterton was one of the most well-known and beloved writers of his time. Yet he has been strangely neglected today. This book is the perfect introduction to Chesterton. Ahlquist is an able guide who takes the reader through twelve of Chesterton’s most important books as well as the famous Father Brown stories.
One of the problems with approaching Chesterton is that he was so prolific that the reader is simply overwhelmed. But Ahlquist makes the literary giant accessible, highlighting Chesterton’s amazing reach, keen insight, and marvelous wit. Each chapter is liberally spiced with Chesterton’s striking quotations.
There is something special that runs throughout Chesterton’s books that sets him apart from the confusing philosophies of the modern world. That common thread in Chesterton’s writings is common sense. It is instantly recognizable and utterly refreshing.
I’m using Rafflecopter to help with the giveaway, which is cool because it allows you multiple entries for commenting, posting on Facebook, sharing on Twitter, etc. Click below to enter:
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The winner will be randomly selected next Friday and the books will be sent out, free of charge, shortly thereafter.
In the future I’ll be giving away more books and resources, sometimes multiple items per giveaway! So subscribe via feed reader or email to ensure you never miss your chance to win.
(Since I’m covering the shipping costs, only residents within the continental United States are eligible to win.)