Book Review: The Best of Father Brown

Hooray for me! I finished a book!
Actually, I’ve been finding more time lately to read the 15 or 20 books that live next to my bed. But narrowing it down enough to finish one is an event worthy of trumpets and a parade. And I’ve finished several in recent months!
Thanks to Sherry’s great and timely idea, I’ll be posting a book review once each week from now until…well, until my time or attention span run out. That might not take long, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts, OK?

In spite of the fact that I was an extremely avid reader in my younger (read: childless) years, this was my first G. K. Chesterton book. I have run into many of his quotes and all were worth quoting, so I finally decided to make the plunge. I visited the local Half Price Bookstore hoping to find something worthwhile by the man – hopefully a Father Brown collection – and found just one book by Chesterton. Ah, but it was the very book I had hoped for: The Best of Father Brown!
Father Brown is a mousy little Roman Catholic priest, an accidental detective who solves baffling mysteries like a small and humble Sherlock Holmes: by observing and stating details that seem obvious to him and shockingly insightful to onlookers. A large part of the charm of this collection is in the main character’s observations upon human nature. Chesterton is, indeed, eminently quotable.
In reading this book, I remembered why I enjoy short stories so much: they are perfect for a busy mother, with just small reading allowances in a day’s time. I can take in all the characters and plot in one or two sittings. There is little danger of setting the book down and having to start over again the next time.
Furthermore, short stories are an art far less forgiving of the author. In a well written short story, there is no “filler,” no superfluous details, no meaningless banter and stilted dialogue. A well crafted short story must be well crafted indeed.
I think Chesterton accomplished those ends in the selections presented in this book. It was a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to his work.
Hubby later found the following titles for me to add to our little collection:

My girl Megan has also posted about a book she read recently – the post was typed by me but entirely dictated by her. Not bad for an 8yo’s first book report (says Proud Mama).

And for more on books, Kaitlyn posted some excerpts from one of her favorite silly books.

Comments

  1. I’ve loved Chesterton for a long time (from quotes and reputation as a minister). I loved the TV series based on Father Dowling, so I wanted to read some. Now, I’ve added this volume to my Saturday Review challenge list.

  2. Kim from Hiraeth says:

    I love short stories, too!

    I’ve never read G.K. Chesterton, but like you, I have read many quotes from the man. This sounds like something fun to take to the lake when we go on vacation in a few weeks.

  3. If you enjoy reading books you should check out my friend’s blog. It is called Biblio-file and is strictly made up of book reviews. She has read many of Chesterton’s works and has also written reviews from Dorothy Sayers and P.G. Wodehouse.
    Here is the address: http://bookloversjournal.blogspot.com.

    Thanks for recommending some great books. I love to read, as well. And even though I don’t have children I still think it’s difficult to find time for reading. Oh, to be a child again in the carefree days of summer, curled up on the couch with a good book.
    I guess I will have to teach my own children someday of the value of good books.

  4. the SmockLady says:

    If I’m not mistaken Father Brown is the book series that led to the creation of the Father Dowling TV series many years ago. We enjoyed that show.

    Just last night I finished the last chapter of a book that I was reading for my own desire (not because it was something one of the children were reading for school – I try to read their books first). I told my husband that I needed to make more time for my own reading, maybe I’ll pick up one of these to see if it’s a style I like.

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