My New Book: An Introductory Collection of Essays by GK Chesterton
I guess if you follow the books I’ve put out you’ve probably come to realize I’m kind of all over the place. From violent comics to kids stories and now this: a collection of GK Chesterton essays. Why? Well, allow me to explain.
Chesterton has been my favorite author since I started reading him around 15 years ago. I knew many people who quoted him but very few who had read him. His quotes are always amazing and there are thousands. Here are just a few:
“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.”
“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
Since I began podcasting I’ve inevitably brought Chesterton up many times and as a result, many have sent me messages asking me what the best place to start is to get into reading GK. Many try reading Orthodoxy and get lost in it then give up. He’s tough to read especially with the many contemporary and classic references he makes from his own time, the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Many of his writings are over 100 years old now.
I found reading him hard too, but I was fascinated with his words and the things he said that made sense to me made sense in ways that had a lasting effect on my life and how I saw the world. Reading Chesterton pulled me out of a period of depression and a crisis of faith. He was also an illustrator and cartoonist and it was probably this fact that made him so personal for me. He was a man who didn’t think the way his peers thought. He had a massive sense of humor and a deep obsession with wonder and meaning. His faith bled into all facets of life. He was an original thinker and insanely prolific.
One day I talked some other artistic friends of mine who also held more conservative views and who held faith as important into reading him together so that we could discuss and try to unpack what he was saying. This group grew into the most meaningful collection of friends I have ever had and instigated some of the deepest discussions I’d ever been a part of. We met weekly for years and grew to be about 20-30 members. We devoured many of his books, some multiple times. Years after that group stopped meetings I started another group that has become just as rich.
So I have a lot of thoughts about how to get into Chesterton, and I have a lot of sympathy for someone trying to pick up a Chesterton book for the first time. I have learned that Chesterton’s greatest art form was the essay. He is best read one essay at a time. I have a list of essays I often recommend to interested new readers. After sending this list out numerous times I began to wonder if a book of his essays with the purpose of introducing him to new readers has ever been done. I couldn’t find one. So I decided to make it.
My goal was to make it simple. Not too long. I also wanted to footnote it extensively and write introductions to the essays. I didn’t want it to feel too scholarly or intellectual. I wanted this book to be the Chesterton primer for the casual reader. Also, many Chesterton books are written by Catholics for Catholics. I’m not Catholic.
After a lot of challenges from Amazon about the legality of reprinting the public domain writings of Chesterton, I’ve finally succeeded in releasing the book. There are plenty of better Chesterton essay collections out there and plenty of better books about the man. But this book has one mission and that is to introduce. To send the reader into their own Chestertonian deep-dive.
If you’ve ever been curious to read Chesterton then I hope you’ll give my book a try. If you love Chesterton and want to give someone a gift in hopes they’ll discover that same love, I like to think I’ve given you the perfect book for the job.
The book is titled Chesterto’s Gateway: 14 Essays To Get You Hooked On Chesterton. It’s now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. An audiobook read by me will be released on Audible soon as well.
If you were hoping for more comics or kids books, I’m working on those as well. I just decided I had to get this one out there. I’m excited to think I could be the guy who compiled the book that started someone on their path down a full-blown Chesterton addiction.