David and Adam’s list of audiobooks in 2019
Audiobooks are a great way to tackle the ever-growing reading list while on the go.
Here is a list of books David and Adam have listened to this year.
The classic adventure tale of a brave family who must come together to survive in their new deserted island home. Swept off course by a raging storm, a Swiss pastor, his wife, and their four young sons are shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island. Thus begins the classic story of survival and adventure that has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812. With optimism and boundless enthusiasm, the Robinson family undertakes the extraordinary task of constructing a home for themselves and exploring the primitive island filled with strange and beautiful creatures and exotic fruits and plants. Rich in action and suspense, The Swiss Family Robinson is an exhilarating novel takes us to a faraway place of danger and beauty, where the courageous Robinson family embarks on a thrilling new life of adventure and discovery.
Audible Originals takes to the high seas to bring to life this timeless tale of pirates, lost treasure maps and mutiny, starring BAFTA-nominated Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show, The Office, Doctor Who), Philip Glenister (Outcast, Life On Mars), Owen Teale (Game of Thrones, Pulse, Last Legion) and Daniel Mays (The Adventures of Tintin, Rogue One, Atonement), amongst others.
When weathered old sailor Billy Bones arrives at the inn of young Jim Hawkins’ parents, it is the start of an adventure beyond anything he could have imagined. When Bones dies mysteriously, Jim stumbles across a map of a mysterious island in his sea chest, where X marks the spot of a stash of buried pirate gold. Soon after setting sail to recover the treasure, Jim realises that he’s not the only one intent on discovering the hoard. Suddenly he is thrown into a world of treachery, mutiny, castaways and murder, and at the centre of it all is the charming but sinister Long John Silver, who will stop at nothing to grab his share of the loot.
One of the best-loved adventure stories ever written, Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1881 novel introduced us to characters such as the unforgettable Long John Silver, forever associating peg-legged pirates with ‘X marks the spot’ in our cultural consciousness. Following the success of the double Audie Award-winning Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories, Audible Originals UK are excited to announce this reimagination of Stevenson’s coming-of-age story that will captivate all of the family.
“No archer ever lived that could speed a gray goose shaft with such skill and cunning as his, nor were there ever such yeomen as the sevenscore merry men that roamed with him through the greenwood shades. Right merrily they dwelt within the depths of Sherwood Forest, suffering neither care nor want, but passing the time in merry games of archery or bouts of cudgel play, living upon the King’s venison, washed down with draughts of ale of October brewing.
“Not only Robin himself but all the band were outlaws and dwelt apart from other men, yet they were beloved by the country people round about, for no one ever came to Jolly Robin for help in time of need and went away again with an empty fist.”
Pyle takes the reader along with Robin Hood and his band on their merry adventures. They tell of Little John, Will Scarlet, and Allan a Dale, and how they came to join the band; how Robin Hood escaped the arrows of the grim Sheriff of Nottingham, and later revenged himself; what happened at the court of the gentle Queen Eleanor. The tales go on to tell of Little John as a barefoot friar, and Robin Hood as a beggar; the chase by the quick-tempered Henry II; a visit from the good King Richard of the Lion’s Heart; and all the other exploits of Robin Hood and his band.
This is the best version of the classic stories and the only edition that reproduces both the original (1883) Pyle text and the famous Pyle illustrations in their entirety, including the page decorations.
Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line by Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in her first actual abortion procedure, crossed the line to join the Coalition for Life.
Unplanned is a heartstopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. Telling Abby’s story from both sides of the abortion-clinic property line, this book is a must-have for anyone who cares about the life-versus-rights debate and helping women who face crisis pregnancies.
Once upon a time, there was a talking, walking, dancing piece of wood. His name was Pinocchio, the marionette created from an enchanted log by Tuscan woodcarver Geppetto.
The miraculous puppet dreams of being a real boy, but he has a mischievous streak. Pinocchio fights, kicks, lies, and runs away before Geppetto can teach him the lessons of life.
Challenged by an escalating series of misadventures, Pinocchio must learn to be selfless, respectful, and honest in order to fulfill his wishes and lose his strings. A childhood favorite, Pinocchio endures as a rite of passage and illustrates the difficulties of growing up, staying true to oneself, and being kind to others.
Bawdy and exotic, Tales from the Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night features the wily, seductive Scheherazade, who saves her own life by telling tales of magical transformation, genies and wishes, flying carpets and fantastical journeys, terror and passion to entertain and appease the brutal King Shahryar. First introduced in the West in 1704, the stories of “The Thousand and One Nights” are most familiar to American readers in sanitized children’s versions. This modern edition, culled from the first three volumes of Richard F. Burton’s famous ten-volume translation, restores the sensuality and lushness of the original Arabic. Intricate and imaginative, these stories continue to captivate audiences as they have for centuries.
“More and more, she came to love humans; more and more, she wished she could rise up among them.”
The youngest daughter of the Sea King cannot wait to be old enough to go to the surface and see the world of humans. Her first visit there changes her life forever when she saves a prince from drowning, and comes to love him above all others. For the chance to win his love and gain an immortal soul, the little sea princess is willing to risk everything…
First published in 1837, Hans Christian Andersen’s haunting tale of love is brought to an English readership in this unabridged edition, which has been translated directly from the original Danish into English.
In this fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, a young mermaid saves the life of a prince. She falls in love with him and undergoes many trials. Finally, she achieves salvation as she was prepared to give up her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul.
David Copperfield is the charming tale of a young boy’s journey from an impoverished childhood in Victorian England to a renowned novelist. The story of David Copperfield brings to life some of the most beloved and notorious Dickens characters, including the wicked stepfather, Edward Murdstone; David’s friend, Tommy Traddles; Agnes; and the bookkeeper Uriah Heep.
Charles Dickens authored a number of Victorian-era classics, but it is said that David Copperfield was his favorite and was perhaps intended as a veiled autobiography. In the preface to the 1867 edition, Dickens wrote, “Like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield.”
The story of Oliver Twist – orphaned, and set upon by evil and adversity from his first breath – shocked readers when it was published. After running away from the workhouse and pompous beadle Mr Bumble, Oliver finds himself lured into a den of thieves peopled by vivid and memorable characters – the Artful Dodger, vicious burglar Bill Sikes, his dog Bull’s Eye, and prostitute Nancy, all watched over by cunning master-thief Fagin. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.
They look alike, but they live in very different worlds. Tom Canty, impoverished and abused by his father, is fascinated with royalty. Edward Tudor, heir to the throne of England, is kind and generous but wants to run free and play in the river – just once. How insubstantial their differences truly are becomes clear when a chance encounter leads to an exchange of clothing – and roles. The pauper finds himself caught up in the pomp and folly of the royal court, a role that is further complicated when the king dies soon after the switch; and the prince wanders horror-stricken through the lower strata of English society.
A beautiful paperback edition of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, book five in the classic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, featuring cover art by three time Caldecott Medal-winning artist David Wiesner and black-and-white interior illustrations by the original illustrator, Pauline Baynes.
A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail farther and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more than they imagined and that the world’s end is only the beginning.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, a series that has been drawing readers of all ages into a magical land with unforgettable characters for over sixty years. This is a novel that stands on its own, but if you would like to continue to the journey, read The Silver Chair, the sixth book in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Admired by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, and considered by W. H. Auden to be “the only English children’s book in the same class as the Alice books”, The Princess and the Goblin is a classic example of 19th-century children’s literary fairy tales. This is an ageless story of courage and loyalty, beauty and honor, mystery and divinity, and above all, the conflict of good and evil.
The discovery of a secret stairway running to the top of the castle leads Princess Irene to a revelation even more weighty than the fiendish plans of the goblin community that miner boy Curdie has discovered. Will the Princess and Curdie understand the significance of what they have found, or will Harelip and the goblins successfully execute their evil plan?
There are very few children’s stories that have raised as much outrage in grown-up politics as The Water Babies did when it first appeared in 1863. It was written by Charles Kingsley for his own little boy and shortly after he had been made tutor to the Prince of Wales.
It seems fairly innocent at first, suggesting the gentle idea that when the poor little tykes who were used as human chimney brushes in the 19th century died, they were turned into water babies – small, amphibious cherubs who headed off to paradise via an exciting and educational journey upstream in The Great River.
Innocent it wasn’t, however. It changed minds, laws and eventually lives. Tom, the young chimney sweep, was responsible for more heartache amongst right-thinking Victorians than any slightly wicked young chap off on an adventure has a right to be.
This book is in fact a highly eloquent plea for the rights of child labourers. It also openly used the ideas of Darwin’s scandalous theory of evolution and even put forward one of the earliest cries against pollution, but all this is hidden in one of the most moving and affecting children’s stories of all time.
Spirited, romantic, and full of danger, Kidnapped is Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic of high adventure. Beloved by generations, it is the saga of David Balfour, a young heir whose greedy uncle connives to do him out of his inherited fortune and plots to have him seized and sold into slavery. But honor, loyalty, and courage are rewarded; the orphan and castaway survives kidnapping and shipwreck, is rescued by a daredevil of a rogue, and makes a thrilling escape to freedom across the wild highlands of Scotland.
Acclaimed by Henry James as Robert Louis Stevenson’s best novel, Kidnapped achieves what Stevenson called “the particular crown and triumph of the artist…not simply to convince, but to enchant.”
The heroic and honorable Zorro, an ace with a whip and a demon with a sword, fights for the poor and oppressed – a far cry from the effete young aristocrat Don Diego, who spends his days reading poetry and dreaming of the beautiful Lolita Pulido. When Lolita’s family faces ruin and accusations of treason, Zorro must step in to save her family and her honor. But who is this masked caballero?
With action aplenty, The Mark of Zorro (also known as The Curse of Capistrano) is an exciting tale of adventure and romance that has charmed generations of audiences.
Working at a plantation in his youth, Joel Chandler Harris found that much of his shyness disappeared in the slave QTLYters, and his background as the illegitimate son of an Irish immigrant helped fuse a close bond with the slaves. The language of his new friends and the African-American animal tales they shared later became the inspiration for Joel’s beloved Uncle Remus stories.
When Harris recorded the many Brer Rabbit stories from the African-American oral tradition, little did he know that it would revolutionize children’s literature. As an adult, Harris committed to healing post-Civil War America, stressing regional and racial reconciliation during and after the Reconstruction era.
On the human imagination, events produce the effects of time. Thus, he who has traveled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has lived long; and the history that most abounds in important incidents soonest assumes the aspect of antiquity. In no other way can we account for the venerable air that is already gathering around American annals. When the mind reverts to the earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure, a thousand changes that thicken along the links of recollections, throwing back the origin of the nation to a day so distant as seemingly to reach the mists of time; and yet four lives of ordinary duration would suffice to transmit, from mouth to mouth, in the form of tradition, all that civilized man has achieved within the limits of the republic. Although New York alone possesses a population materially exceeding that of either of the four smallest kingdoms of Europe or materially exceeding that of the entire Swiss Confederation, it is little more than two centuries since the Dutch commenced their settlement, rescuing the region from the savage state. Thus, what seems venerable by an accumulation of changes is reduced to familiarity when we come seriously to consider it solely in connection with time.
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb is a retelling of 20 of Shakespeare’s most beloved stories. Within the pages of this book, the 19th-century authors bring to life the Shakespearean plots and characters of another age in an easy-to-understand prose of a newer generation.
This entertaining collection transports listeners back to an age of chivalry with prose that is both enthralling and entertaining. Shakespeare’s most beloved plays are brought to life with dramatically and artful storytelling that appeals to people of all ages. Charles and Mary Lamb provide a fantastic opening to those unfamiliar with the original Elizabethan versions of plays.
The brother and sister writing team of Charles and Mary Lamb were shrouded in mystery and intrigue throughout their lives, but the literary genius of these two authors gave the world a true classic that has withstood the test of time.
The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order by Dr. Scott Hahn
Everyone seems to agree that Western civilization is in trouble. The problem is that no one agrees on what has gone wrong or what to do about it. Some think we have too much government, some not enough; some think we have too much capitalism, some not enough; some think we have too much sexual freedom, some not enough.
But what if the problem is much more fundamental? What if the problem goes to the very foundations of who we are as human beings in relationship with God?
In The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order, Scott Hahn makes the startling claim that our society’s ills and its cures are rooted in whether we reject or accept the divine graces made available through the sacrament of holy matrimony.
Man, he argues, is social in his very nature. We were created for community. As it was in the beginning, so it remains today. The family, formed through the sacrament of matrimony, is the most basic building block of every society – whether we like it or not. We’ve corrupted marriage, and so we have a corrupt society. If we get marriage right, our society, through God’s grace, will flourish.
This is so because matrimony, like all the sacraments, heals and elevates human nature. Without marriage, our ambitions toward a just social order will remain forever foolhardy. With it, the seemingly impossible, a truly peaceful and humane civilization, becomes possible.
The Dawn Prayer (or How to Survive in a Secret Syrian Terrorist Prison) by Matthew Schrier
***Warning: Strong Language. Not suitable for children***
A photographer captured in Syria and imprisoned for seven months recounts his story and how he became the first American ever to escape al-Qaeda.
“What is your name?” asked General Mohammad.
“Matthew,” I said. I had stopped saying Matt a while ago because it means “dead” in Arabic.
On New Year’s Eve in 2012, Matthew Schrier was headed home from Syria, where he’d been photographing the intense combat of the country’s civil war. Just 45 minutes from the safety of the Turkish border, he was taken prisoner by the al-Nusra Front, an organization the world would come to know as the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.
Over the next seven months he would endure torture and near starvation in six brutal terrorist prisons. He would face a daily struggle just to survive. And, eventually, he would escape. In this gripping, raw, and surprisingly funny memoir, Schrier details the horrifying and frequently surreal experience of being a slight, wisecracking Jewish guy held captive by the world’s most violent Islamic extremists. Managing to keep his heritage a secret, Schrier used humor to develop relationships with his captors – and to keep himself sane during the long months of captivity.
The Dawn Prayer (or How to Survive in a Secret Syrian Terrorist Prison) is a tale of patriotism and unimaginable bleakness shot through with light, of despair and friendship, sacrifice and betrayal, in a setting of bombed-out buildings and shifting alliances. It’s the story of the first Westerner to escape al-Qaeda – not a battle-hardened soldier, but an ordinary New Yorker who figured out how to set his escape plan in motion from a scene in Jurassic Park. From the prisoners’ fiercely competitive hacky-sack games and volleyball tournaments (played using a ball made of shredded orange peels and a shoelace) to his own truly nail-biting breakout, Matthew Schrier’s story is unforgettable – and one you won’t want to miss.
Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard
At age 24 Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for Parliament. He believed that to achieve his goal, he had to do something spectacular on the battlefield. Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan and as a journalist covering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him.
Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape – but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.
The story of his escape is incredible enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles, and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned. Churchill would later remark that this period, “could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life”.
Millard spins an epic story of bravery, savagery, and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters – including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener, and Mohandas Gandhi – with whom he would later share the world stage. But Hero of the Empire is more than an adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from the Boer War would profoundly affect 20th-century history.
Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo
Born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, Mother Angelica was abandoned by her father and raised in poverty by a mother who suffered suicidal depressions. Awakened to the power of prayer, at age 21 Rita vowed to dedicate her life to God and become a cloistered nun. She expected to spend her life hidden from the world. But Rita’s faith compelled her to unlikely endeavors, accomplishing what the highest echelon of the Catholic Church could not.
This engrossing biography traces Mother Angelica’s tortured rise to success and exposes for the first time the fierce opposition she faced, inside and outside of her church. It is an inspiring story of survival and proof that one woman’s faith can move more than mountains.
Smokin’ Joe: The Autobiography of a Heavyweight Champion of the World by Joe Frazier with Phil Berger
When boxing was bold, bright, and glamorous and the fights were the hottest sporting events of the year, Joe Frazier was king as the Heavyweight Champion of the World. From 1970 to 1973 he reigned. With a career record of 32-4-1 with twenty-seven knockouts and an Olympic gold medal, Frazier leaves little question that he was one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Well-known, loved, and revered as a gentleman and a fierce competitor in the ring, Joe Frazier speaks his mind in Smokin’ Joe– about growing up poor and fighting in the first $2.5million bout; about the early days of his friendship with Muhammad Ali and how their relationship changed; and about the often corrupt world of boxing and what really went on inside and outside the ring.
Personable, good-natured, and funny, Frazier’s story is a real delight.
The history of Guinness, one of the world’s most famous brands, reveals the noble heights and generosity of a great family and an innovative business. It began in Ireland in the mid-1700s. The water in Ireland, indeed throughout Europe, was famously undrinkable, and the gin and whiskey that took its place devastated civil society. It was a disease-ridden, starvation-plagued, alcoholic age, and Christians like Arthur Guinness – as well as monks and even evangelical churches – brewed beer that provided a healthier alternative to the poisonous waters and liquors of the times. This is where the Guinness tale began. Now, 250 years and over 150 countries later, Guinness is a global brand, one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The tale that unfolds during those two and a half centuries has power to thrill audiences today: the generational drama, business adventure, industrial and social reforms, deep-felt faith, and the noble beer itself.
St. Thomas Aquinas is known for producing history’s most complete system of Christian philosophy. In the late 13th century, this quiet, reflective Dominican scholar combined the work of Aristotle with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and pagan thought to reconcile reason and faith. For Thomas, intellectual knowledge is a sign of the spirituality that energizes the human center. He believed we can know that God exists, but not what God is like.
Thomas’ masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae, contains over 10,000 objections and replies to fundamental questions about God and the world. It includes Thomas’ famous “five ways” to prove God’s existence, which are (1) the unmoved mover; (2) the uncaused cause; (3) the necessary being; (4) the perfect Goodness; and (5) the guiding intelligence. His thought continues to influence Catholic philosophy today.
The Giants of Philosophy is a series of dramatic presentations, in understandable language, of the concerns, questions, interests, and overall world view of history’s greatest philosophers. Special emphasis on clear and relevant explanations gives you a new arsenal of insights toward living a better life.
While it’s definitely more than just monster trucks, grilling and six-pack abs, true manliness is hard to define. The words macho and manly are not synonymous.
Taking lessons from classic gentlemen such as Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, authors Brett and Kate McKay have created a collection of the most useful advice every man needs to know to live life to its full potential.
This book contains a wealth of information that ranges from survival skills to social skills to advice on how to improve your character. Whether you are braving the wilds with your friends, courting your girlfriend or raising a family, inside you’ll find practical information and inspiration for every area of life.
Theodore Roosevelt is best remembered as America’s prototypical “cowboy” president – a Rough Rider who derived his political wisdom from a youth spent in the untamed American West.
During his early political career, Roosevelt took on local Republican factions and Tammany Hall Democrats alike, proving his commitment to reform at all costs. He combated the city’s rampant corruption and helped to guide New York through the perils of rabid urbanization and the challenges of accommodating an influx of immigrants – experiences that would serve him well as president of the United States.
A riveting account of a man and a city on the brink of greatness, Heir to the Empire City reveals that Roosevelt’s true education took place not in the West but on the mean streets of nineteenth-century New York.
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below”. At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old Devil to his nephew, Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man.
The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation, and triumph over it, ever written. Since its publication in 1942, The Screwtape Letters has sold millions of copies worldwide and is recognized as a milestone in the history of popular theology. For both expert Lewis fans and casual readers, The Screwtape Letters will be a beautiful and insightful guide to a beloved classic.
The Republic poses questions that endure: What is justice? What form of community fosters the best possible life for human beings? What is the nature and destiny of the soul? What form of education provides the best leaders for a good republic? What are the various forms of poetry and the other arts, and which ones should be fostered and which ones should be discouraged? How does knowing differ from believing?
Several characters in the dialogue present a variety of tempting answers to those questions. Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, and Glaucon all offer definitions of justice. Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus explore five different forms of republic and evaluate the merits of each from the standpoint of goodness.
Two contrasting models of education are proposed and examined. Three different forms of poetry are identified and analyzed. The difference between knowing and believing is discussed in relation to the objects of each kind of thinking.
Spanning his earliest remembrances as a child to his historic charge up San Juan Hill, and his years in the White House, Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography offers an intimate and telling portrait of one of the greatest statesmen in American history.
As a militarist and politician, Theodore Roosevelt accomplished a remarkable list of achievements including forming the Rough Riders, trust-busting companies like Standard Oil, expanding the United States’ network of national parks, and negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War, for which he was awarded the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.
HarperTorch brings great works of non-fiction and the dramatic arts to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperTorch collection to build your digital library.
God and Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley
When Winston Churchill was a boy of 16, he already had a vision for his purpose in life. “This country will be subjected somehow to a tremendous invasion…I shall be in command of the defenses of London…it will fall to me to save the Capital, to save the Empire.” It was a most unlikely prediction. Perceived as a failure for much of his life, Churchill was the last person anyone would have expected to rise to national prominence as prime minister and influence the fate of the world during World War II. But Churchill persevered, on a mission to achieve his purpose.
God and Churchill tells the remarkable story of how one man, armed with belief in his divine destiny, embarked on a course to save Christian civilization when Adolf Hitler and the forces of evil stood opposed. It traces the personal, political, and spiritual path of one of history’s greatest leaders and offers hope for our own violent and troubled times.
Part poetic masterpiece, part mystic treatise, The Dark Night of the Soul, by 16th century Carmelite monk St. John of the Cross, addresses the feeling of being forgotten by the Presence of the Almighty that every Christian desirous of walking more closely with God must pass through in order to learn to walk by faith and not by sight.
Spiritual persons suffer great trials – by reason – of the fear which they have of being lost on the road, thinking that all spiritual blessing is over for them and that God has abandoned them since they find no help or pleasure in good things. Then they grow weary, and endeavor to concentrate their faculties with some degree of pleasure upon some object of meditation, thinking that, when they are not doing this and yet are conscious of making an effort, they are doing nothing.
Perhaps one of the most widely recognized of the mystical writings, St. John’s classic Dark Night of the Soul is not only practical theology but a beautiful balm of healing to anyone whose heart has ever echoed the words of Christ, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (This is in the queue. I haven’t started it yet)
Charged with treason under Theodoric the Great in sixth-century Rome, Boethius served one year’s imprisonment, awaiting trial and eventual execution. During this time, he wrote The Consolation of Philosophy, which would go on to be one of the most popular philosophical works of all time, contributing much to medieval thought and influencing the likes of Dante and Chaucer, as well as Renaissance writers, such as Milton and Shakespeare.
Grieving over the injustice of his imprisonment, Boethius meditates on the nature of God, the fickleness of fortune, the idea of free will, why bad things happen to good people, and the nature of happiness. His arguments take the form of a rich and exquisite dialogue between himself and Lady Philosophy and make many allusions to classical Greek and Roman literature in an attempt to create a coherent philosophy that supports his world view. It has been declared a “golden volume not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully” (Edward Gibbon).
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