Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Book Talk

We are finally experiencing a break from the heat wave.  It was so hot that a temperature of 80 feels like Fall.  But it is still July, the heat will return in time for my birthday. Honestly, the Bible is correct (as usual) that our life is like the mist of the morning... it goes by very fast.  While I still believe in carpe diem, I give it only a gentle hug these days.  ;)

I thought I'd share a few more favorite authors that we no longer hear much about.  They were all much beloved at one time and you probably have heard of their books. Some of them became well known movies or a TV mini-series.  I didn't have time to look them up this week, if I wanted to get this published before it runs into the weekend posts.

Something you probably noticed in these two Book Talk posts is how often the big Biblical novels were popular mid-20th Century.  The movies based on many of these books were also quite successful.  If we were to put a time on when this began to change, it was the 1960s, when it seems so much of culture changed.

Oh, as was mentioned in last week's Comments, books like Exodus can take awhile to get into.  Even the movie gets much better as it goes along.  I had to give links to Mass Market paperbacks last week since that is the only non-Kindle format which some of the books are being currently published.  However, that is my least favorite format for a book and I can no longer read them at all with less than perfect eye sight.  I think most, if not all of today's books come in regular paperback editions.

Many of these older best sellers are now available at a good price for the Kindle.  I didn't give a separate Kindle link this time (to finish this post today!) but obviously if you are interested, the link to the book includes the Kindle option.  They are also available at most libraries I would think.

Irving Stone
The first author in this Book Talk is Irving Stone.  He has written numerous novels but his most well known books are:

The Agony and the Ecstasy is his biographical novel about Michelangelo. This is such an interesting story about about the Italian Renaissance in general and Michelangelo in particular. 

Lust For Life is his biographical novel about Vincent Van Gogh.  This artist has long held my interest for as so many artistic geniuses seem to be in life, he was a complicated man.  This is an especially good book to read if you love art.

The President's Lady is his biographical novel about Andrew and Rachel Jackson, although more about Rachel Jackson whom we come to admire for her persistence, long suffering, and hardships.  It has been a long time since I read this but I loved it.  For me it was one of the first books I read that gave me insight into what it can be like for a political wife.

Taylor Caldwell
My other favorite author from this time period is Taylor Caldwell.  She was the favorite author of quite a few people I knew when I was younger.  She was an odd person who seems to have started out with a balanced religious perspective that showed up in some of her novels but as she grew older, was influenced into believing her great writing of historical novels was due to her many reincarnations.  I know... sigh.

However, that does not make her writing any less beautiful.  She wrote many very good books but a couple of my favorite Caldwell novels are:

Dear and Glorious Physician, her novel about Saint Luke.  I have always been fascinated with Luke, the Greek Gospel writer who wrote as a journalist, the writer that I think never met Jesus when he was alive.  In this historical novel, Caldwell gives us a well researched glimpse of his life beginning with his childhood.  I need to read this again soon.

While she has many well known books, Dear and Glorious Physician was among her most famous and most loved novels.

Great Lion of God, her novel about Saint Paul.  Imagine getting to know Paul as he comes from a devout Jewish family, a man that Caldwell calls "a Pharisee, Lawyer, Theologian", to the man who took the Gospel to the Gentiles.  Fascinating story!

My husband's favorite Caldwell novel is:

Captains and the Kings, about an Irish immigrant who becomes wealthy, has a big family, and his son becomes the first Catholic president of the United States.  Yes, I know... it does sound just like the Kennedy family although she says it is fiction.

I didn't read it but my husband is not a big fiction reader and this kept him turning pages quickly until he finished at the time he was reading it. 

Lew Wallace
Wallace actually wrote in the 19th Century but I have to include him when talking about epic Biblical books and movies.  His book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was considered the most influential book of the 19th century and sold more copies than even the well known Uncle Tom's Cabin.

While the movie is considered one of the best films to come out of Hollywood, as with so many good films, you need to read the book!   It is very inexpensive on Kindle.

Just a reminder that both Irving Stone and Taylor Caldwell had many other best selling novels than are shown here.  Have fun reading!

Mentioned in this Blog Post
The Agony and the Ecstasy... here.
Lust for Life... here.
The President's Lady... here.
Dear and Glorious Physician... here.
Great Lion of God... here.
Captains and the Kings... here.
Ben-Hur: A Story of the Christ... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.


Vee said...

I didn’t know that Taylor Caldwell was a woman! I know I have some of her books because they were among my mother’s favorites. Alas, I am not a fan of historical fiction. I can never figure out what’s true and what’s fabricated.

Vee said...

Oh meant to say that your comment about Carpe Diem made me laugh out loud. 😁

Soozie4Him said...

Interestingly enough, I just happened to think of you today as I found a mention of Elizabeth Goudge on another blog, and just HAD to come over here to see what's new with you, and here you're talking about old books! I read Irving Stone and Taylor Caldwell during my high school and college years. Why did I always seem to have unlimited time to read? I read TONS of big long books and never thought a thing about it. No internet to distract myself, I guess! I've been thinking of re-reading Dear and Glorious Physician.

Back when I was reading Taylor Caldwell, somehow, I found out that she had seen "someone" about how she wrote these books just as if she had "been there" - the whole reincarnation thing. I wonder where I read about it? Anyway, I wasn't very solid in my Christian faith at that point, and found it all very interesting, even though I didn't really believe she was reincarnated!

Now I have to go back and see what else you've been talking about lately! I'm LOVING this cooler weather - we live in the Chicago area and somehow I think you. live in central Illinois, but I can't remember why I think that! Do you have a/c? Hubby and I went for a walk around the block tonight and it was so delightful! God bless you and your hubby and your whole family!

Deborah Montgomery said...

I agree with Vee's comment about carpe diem, although I didn't so much laugh out loud as just smile in agreement. I love that "gentle hug," way more my style. I read Taylor Caldwell in high school, but maybe only two of her books. These also would make good book club reads.