The Ballad of the White Horse

Book cover: 'The Ballad of the White Horse'
G.K. Chesterton

Includes copious synopses and notes (pages 175-231)

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

Free love, birth control, test tube baby factories, cloning, mutants, and sex, sex, sex. There are good reasons to have your mature students read this book, but you must do YOUR homework and read it first.

Huxley, writing during the giddy early days of the eugenics movement, has written a remarkable novel. His story portrays that movement's ideas taken to their logical consequences. There is a complete disconnect between sex and procreation. Sex is STRICTLY for pleasure (not even for unity). Babies are 'decanted' in factories by impressive scientific processes.

Fahrenheit 451

Book cover: 'Fahrenheit 451'
Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is on the reading list of almost every high school in America, and with good reason. It is thought provoking and hip. There are reasons to love this book and reasons to worry about it. It is Bradbury's reaction against censorship and the blossoming of television. Some of the things he writes about have come true in our time, which makes his story all the more intriguing.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Book cover: 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Harper Lee

This modern classic, set in the segregated South of the 1930s, is the story of two young children who learn about life and the great character of their father, Atticus Finch, as he struggles with a difficult case in which he must defend a black man wrongfully accused of raping a white woman.

Much Ado About Nothing

Book cover: 'Much Ado About Nothing'

This is an admirable portrayal of one of Shakespeare's great comedies beautifully filmed on location in Italy. It is a love story that also laughs at love and a drama that ends up being "Much Ado About Nothing." It is so refreshing to see that Kenneth Branagh (director, adapter and co-leading man) appreciates Shakespeare as Shakespeare rather than trying to add on modern nonsense to make it more accessible. Instead, Branagh assists in making Shakespeare's timeless story accessible through good acting, beautiful scenery and an amazingly faithful script.

In This House of Brede

Book cover: 'In This House of Brede'

This film, originally made for British television, is based on the novel In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. It is an admirable portrayal of a woman entering a cloistered Benedictine Abbey relatively late in life and how she learns to love all - the lovable and the "unlovable" for the sake of Christ. While the glimpses of the outside world (of the 1970s) are somewhat dated in appearance - clothing, hairstyles, etc.

Gone with the Wind

Book cover: 'Gone with the Wind'

This beloved story of the Old South and its disappearance is one of the great classic movies of all times. It's a very healthy thing for Americans, who predominantly side with the North, to at least have some understanding of the South. This movie isn't a bad place to start. Aside from its historical significance, it is a complex story of love, generosity, hate and thick-headedness. It's the sort of movie I can watch numerous times (like Casablanca) and get a little more out of it each time.

Till We Have Faces

Book cover: 'Till We Have Faces'
C.S. Lewis

When I was in school I learned that great authors will put more in their stories than you read at first. C.S. Lewis is a not only a great storyteller but a great author. And I've only had a first reading of this story. But the very few extras that I have glimpsed are only a beginning to the layers and meanings and truths forged into this incredible tale.

Niamh and the Hermit

Book cover: 'Niamh and the Hermit: A Fairy Tale'
Emily C. A. Snyder

One frustrating thing for one who loves literature is how the term 'good literature' is starting to connote books that have good morals and no offensive content, rather than meaningful, thoughtful books that are well-written. I'm sure this is partly due to the large quantity of vile content found in the entertainment industry. But if we 'fight back' with material that we deem acceptable simply because it's 'clean', we aren't likely to win enthusiasm from those who need good literature and good entertainment the most - including our own children.

Lord of the World

Book cover: 'Lord of the World'
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson

Lord of the World, written in the early part of the 20th century, is an intelligent and Catholic fictional extrapolation on the trend towards Modernism described and condemned by Pope Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Lamentabili Sane


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