Finding Newman

I think I have mentioned before that in downsizing from our house to move to this small condo, Ricardo and I had to say goodbye to a very large collection of books.  It did hurt a bit, and so I was vulnerable when the advertising for the Kobo e-reader said that the Kobo came with one hundred classic books pre-loaded.  Bing!  That, plus the fact that my library mentioned the Kobo as very easy to use for borrowing books, took me right to the bookstore the next day.  Well, okay, I actually went that evening, but they were sold out and expecting a new shipment the next day, so I went back.

Long story short, although I love paper books and would never want to be without, I also love my e-reader and keep it close at hand.  I didn’t use it much over the holidays, but yesterday I had some time available and went to the Kobo website to browse their religious-book section.  Once there, I remembered that I had been wanting to read John Henry Newman‘s Apologia Pro Vita Sua ever since our book club had read his biography this fall.  I entered his name into the search function, and to my delight there it was, a free download, along with his Idea of a University and some of his collected sermons.

Icon of Blessed Newman

I started right in reading, and was immediately impressed with his candid and clear telling of the development of his religious understanding.  Here was the Newman I had come to know in his biography!  Logical but not coldly so, gracious, kind, not speaking ill of the friends who had deserted him when he became a Roman Catholic, and gentle to his enemies (it was the public attack of Charles Kingsley, calling Newman a liar, that had finally moved Newman to defend himself).

Reading Newman’s prose was thrilling, and I choose that word deliberately.  I was so moved that I wanted to talk to someone sympathetic, who knew the course of my reading and thinking, who would rejoice with me.  Ricardo, my natural choice, was taking a nap, but I was fortunate to contact a friend who is a member of the book club, and was able to meet my enthusiasm with his own.

I’m still early in the document (my Kobo tells me helpfully that I have read 9%), so for a real book review I will have to come back later.  Finding such a satisfying writer?  That’s a real gift for a new year.

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