Title: A Year with G. K. Chesterton
Editor: Kevin Belmonte
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2012)
My Rating: 3/5
Certain types of books are always difficult to review: study Bibles, commentaries, and how-to books are all on that list for me. So, too, are year-long readers. Whether they be devotionals or selected excerpts from a famous author, books that require 365 days of reading are inevitably difficult to review fairly.
That introduction is my way of apologizing for giving a 3-star rating to a compelling collection of Chesterton quotes. A Year with G. K. Chesterton is one man’s attempt to present the reader with hundreds of Chesterton quotes, excerpted out of their context, and by and large, Kevin Belmonte succeeds beautifully.
As Belmonte explains of Chesterton, scarcely anything of importance escaped his commenting, so this collection covers a host of subjects. One day the reader will learn Chesterton’s position on democracy, and the next he’ll find a quote about marriage. Belmonte brings consistency to this book through his formatting: each day’s reading begins with a Bible verse, followed by two short Chesterton quotes, and concluded with a couple events in Chesterton’s life on that day in history.
I am enjoying this daily reader for its quick insight into Chesterton’s most pithy quotes. While I’m also reading Chesterton’s full works, this collection shows off Chesterton’s penchant for memorable sentences.
Ultimately, I give this book a 3-star rating, rather than anything higher, for two main reasons. First, the collection lacks a unifying theme. The only reader who will fall in love with this book is one who wants Chesterton for his own sake, rather than for his insight on any one particular subject. And second, Belmonte chose not to offer citations on any quotes, so the reader is unable to follow a favorite quote to its source in order to read it in context.
Overall, I appreciate having this book during my year of reading G. K. Chesterton, but I won’t be able to recommend it too broadly because of its narrow appeal.