The consensus at our book discussion last Wednesday was that Charles Williams All Hallows' Eve is a very scary book! We also agreed that it is also one of the strangest novels we've ever read. The story is oddly compelling; just as you are about to give up on it, Williams hooks you with some unexpected revelation, a weird twist in the plot, or some unspeakable evil presents itself. At the same time, it is a strangely spiritual and deeply religious novel. Charles Williams was one of the Inklings and friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. It has been widely noted that Williams' had a profound influence on his Oxford friend in Lewis' That Hideous Strength (the last book in Lewis's space trilogy...see our upcoming books for December-February) and in The Great Divorce. Williams was also a friend of T.S Eliot who wrote the preface to this book.
One Misfit mentioned at the meeting that the novel could be scripted for a modern special effects horror movie in the Stephen King genre. It was also noted that Williams' Descent into Hell is regarded as his best novel. We will read that in the near future. For those interested in learning more about Charles Williams, we recommend you visit the web site of the Charles Williams Society at http://www.charleswilliamssociety.org.uk/ It is very good.
Next Month: We will again read a work by William Shakespeare who the Misfits unanimously agree is one of the greatest Catholic authors in literature. (We have consensus in that regard!) We will read King Lear, one of Shakespeare's darkest tragedies. The play tells the story of the foolish and Job-like Lear, who divides his kingdom among his daughters, as he does his affections, according to vanity and whim. Lear’s failure as a father engulfs himself and his world in turmoil and tragedy. There are at least 11 film versions of this play with critics widely divided on which is best. That said, many agree that the 2009 film with Ian McKellen as Lear is perhaps at the top of the list.
The play is available from Amazon in many editions, some for as little as $6.26 in paperback.
In December, the Misfits will begin reading C. S. Lewis’ classic Space Trilogy. We will start with Out of the Silent Planet which begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Dr. Ransom is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The physicist is in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom was selected to fill that role. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. Even though it was first published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a topically current, very modern read.
The Space Trilogy, continues with Perelandra (our January, 2014 book) and concludes with That Hideous Strength (our February, 2014 book).
And for those interested, I have attached two lists: A list of Books Read and A List of Authors we have read since our beginning in September, 2002.
Finally, I will make another plug for Chris Hagen’s excellent blog Ex Libris Theologicis. This time, I recommend you go there to read Misfit Tom Loomes wonderfuly written essay, “Bare ruin’d choirs where late the sweet birds sang”:The dissolution of Catholic libraries during the period 1967 to 1996 -a personal and anecdotal account. I guarantee that you will be moved by Tom’s account of the unwarranted destruction of the priceless libraries that occurred at Catholic Universities, Seminaries, and Convents over the past 40 years. It is a very compelling read. You will not be able to put it down once you start reading it! To read Tom’s essay, go to: http://loomebooks.blogspot.com/search/label/Loome%20Lore
I conclude with a reminder: we always meet at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of every month in the St. Thomas More Library Room, the Church of St. Michael, Stillwater, MN. Therefore, our next meeting will be at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 . (Our meetings and discussion always end at 8:30 pm.)