Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ten Reasons to Read G. K. Chesterton

So, if you know anything about me, you might know that I have a mild obsession with G. K. Chesterton.

After a due amount of thought, I've decided that you should form a mild obsession with G. K. Chesterton, too.

And so I am going to give you ten good reasons why you should drop whatever you're doing and pick up a volume of Chesterton instead.

1. His quotes are stupendous.

Chesterton's one-liners are perfection. Thus, he is really really really fun to quote. Don't believe me? Google "G. K. Chesterton quotes" and see for yourself. Or just stick around and read the rest of this post - I had lots of fun raiding my Pinterest board for this. :)

G. K. Chesterton quotes:

2. He takes fairy tales (and all fiction) seriously.

Fellow writers, if you ever find yourself doubting the importance of your work, read Chesterton. As a big believer in the value of little things, he puts a great emphasis on the importance of fiction. Fairy-tales, poetry, novels, legends - these are the things, he believes, which shape people's worldviews in sometimes imperceptible but always important ways. A writer comes away from his work with the feeling, "I can add something good to the world just by doing what I love."


~ G.K. Chesterton:

3. He's hilarious and profound at the same time.

Many times I've come across something in Chesterton that makes me crack up laughing - and then cock my head and say, "Oh." Any time you stumble onto one of these paragraphs, you come away with a double jewel: 1) you get to laugh, and 2) you get to ponder an interesting truth for the rest of the day.


"Jesus promised His disciples three things... " A favorite G.K. Chesterton quote!:

4. He's full of surprises.

Just when I think I can predict Chesterton's opinions on any given matter, he'll come out of the blue with some never-before-heard paradox that knocks me off my balance. Then I hold the book at arm's length, squint at it, and laughingly say, "All right, Chesterton, now you've gone too far."

And then I read the next paragraph.

And then I agree with him.

So, while Chesterton is great fun to argue with, be forewarned that you will probably always lose.


"Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind as of opening the mouth is to close it again on something solid." ~G.K. Chesterson:

5. He makes sense.

There's a book by Dale Ahlquist called G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense. "Apostle of Common Sense" is really a great title for Chesterton. Lots of people think of Chesterton as too hard or complicated for laymen to read, but really, that's not a proper view. Chesterton's not complicated at all. He's deep, yes, and he's also full of paradoxes that twist your brain in delightful ways; but at the same time he's simple. He's all about bringing out the obvious truths which are in the world all around us, but which we can't see because of all the false philosophy blown off by prominent but ridiculous thinkers all the time.

Chesterton points to why the Church objects to contraception (for more discussion of human and societal consequences, see Paul VI, "Humanae Vitae"). Sex is ordered to procreation: this doesn't mean that we have to try to conceive every time we have sex-- rather, we acknowledge that this is what sex (and any pleasure that comes with it) is ultimately for. Either sex is related to procreation, or it isn't. To say that it is only when we "want" it to be is unreasonable for inviting incoherence.:

6. He's eloquent.

One of the most beautiful poems I have ever read is Chesterton's Battle of Lepanto. The rhyme scheme and meter are flawless, the alliteration delightful, the choice of words exquisite; and the poem rolls with rollicking rhythm up hills of suspense and down flights of emotion to a glorious climax and a smile-evoking conclusion.

But it isn't just in poetry that Chesterton writes beautifully. He brings loveliness to all of his writing, whether it be his Fr. Brown detective stories or a book of philosophy.

G.K. Chesterton:

7. He gives a fabulous defense of Christianity...and truth in general.

Chesterton was a brilliant man who converted to Catholic Christianity because he was convinced it was the truth. As you might expect, then, he's fabulous at arguing the good intellectual sense of Christianity. In searching for truth, he found Christianity, and he's very eager to share his discovery with the world.

Hand in hand with this: Chesterton is very passionate about truth - the clear, unchangeable, everlasting truth. There's nothing wishy-washy or vague about Chesterton; he wages a direct and unrelenting war on relativity.


"Tolerance is the virtue of the man WITHOUT convictions."  And on a more personal note...It'a called enabling.:

8. He makes everyday life sound beautiful and dramatic.

You really can't expect anything else from someone who talks seriously about believing in fairies and dragons. What does it matter if the dragons he speaks of are metaphorical? They're still real, and they're more terrifying and dangerous than anything from Grimm or Perrault.

Chesterton has a trick of pulling the blind of routine away from our eyes and showing us the world as it really appears - as it would appear to someone seeing it for the first time. And it turns out that it's a strange, wonderful, beautiful place.

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G.K. Chesterton    *****   Printed on your choice of backgrounds: card stock in:

9. He's delightfully cheeky.

There's something fun about seeing someone poke fun at those the world tends to hold on a pedestal - to see someone who, instead of bowing down in awe, points and cries out, "Why, there's nothing so spectacular about them after all."

That's what Chesterton does all the time - he's like the little boy at the end of The Emperor's New Clothes. He'll take one look at Darwin or Freud and say, "Not only is this philosophy false, it's laughable."

And he does it so calmly, in the affable companionable way of a man leaning back in his chair and remarking on the amusing behavior of a group of funny children.


G. K. Chesterton quote on hating Christianity.:

10. He's an author you can make friends with.

Goodness, that looks cheesy in writing. Hopefully you know what I mean. Have you ever read so much of an author that you feel that you get to know him? That you could recognize his style, his voice, his opinions on things? 

I suppose you can make friends with any author - after all, to share heartfelt writing is to in some way lay bare your soul - but it's especially easy with Chesterton. He's just so likable

G.K. Chesterton Quote | Christianity:


So there it is. Chesterton is amazing. Go read him right now. (The Father Brown stories might be a good place to start, if you need a suggestion.) :)

What do you think? Are you a Chesterton fan? If so, what's your favorite thing about him?

6 comments:

  1. I love Chesterton quotes. They're delicious!

    I've been wanting to read Chesterton for a long time now. I read a Father Brown a while back, but I'd like to get my hands on The Everlasting Man and The Man Who Was Thursday. (Thing is, I add five books to my TBR list for every one I finish.)


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    1. "Delicious" is the perfect word. :)

      Oh, yes, The Everlasting Man is a good one! At least, the first few pages were good...I haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. (Which is pathetic, since I've had it since last Christmas.) And The Man Who Was Thursday is on my TBR. (Speaking of which, I know just what you mean about an ever-growing list of things to read....ugh, it's frustrating sometimes! although it's also really cool - my imagination won't starve to death with this many things to read.) :)

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  2. Oooooohhhhhh! Chesterton! Orthodoxy, Heretics, The Man Who Was Thursday, Fr. Brown, A Picture Of Tuesday, the short stories, the fairy-tales, the essays, the scattered scribblings that are more organized than most novels, oh everything Chesterton! His life, his works, his influence, his greatness, his truth, his wit, his intelligence, his piety, his philosophy, oh, he was amazing!!!! I love Chesterton so! I have only read a milliparticle of what there is to read, but I have spent hours on end reading (and loving!) Chesterton still. That just goes to show how much there is to love, doesn't it?! :D Anyone who has never picked up a Chesterton in their life is missing a piece of themselves (namely, their reason!!!!!)! I can't rant enough for his honor! :D
    "A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
    (Sorry, it's just too fun to quote him! I had to!)

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    1. I KNOW!!! He's simple remarkable, and his works are so - *searches for the right word and gives up* awesome.

      Oh, I love love love that quote! As a matter of fact I'm rather surprised it didn't find its way into this post... Oh well. :)

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  3. YES! His quotes are AMAZING!!! Unfortunately, I haven't really read any of his writing yet. Except some Father Brown...although I am planning on fixing that this year for school! :D

    annadeubell.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yes, indeed, do fix that this year! You won't be sorry! ;) Which book are you going to read?

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