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But actually, yes, everyone really should.
Who is G.K. Chesterton?
Chesterton was a journalist, novelist, and essayist during the early 20th century. He was a Catholic and much of his writing focuses on defending Christianity in general and Catholicism specifically. This brief explanation doesn't do the man justice.
To me, Chesterton is a wise man who has as much wonder and faith as a child, combined with the razor sharp intelligence of any author, intellectual, or philosopher I've ever read.
I'm afraid I'm "talking up the movie" though, and you will all have such high expectations about Chesterton that you will be a bit let down once you do finally read his work.
But no - what am I saying? Of course you won't be disappointed.
The thing is - this is a very difficult post for me to write because I don't know where to begin with Chesterton. I was first captivated by a lengthy quotation - I might say selection - from Chesterton's Orthodoxy which a friend quoted and posted on his blog. Orthodoxy was the first of Chesterton's works I read. I found it online and read most of it immediately, in a sort of frenzied inhalation, like I'd suddenly discovered oxygen.
Don't get me wrong, there are muddy parts in Orthodoxy that I struggled through and there are times when I read something written by Chesterton in which I am only mildly interested (and sometimes mildly disinterested in). But on the whole, I am startled by Chesterton, the way I might be startled by my own reflection when I walk into a room with a mirror in it - a room in which I did not expect to find a mirror, so I am startled to see myself reflected back at me.
This is what I experience when I read Chesterton: a familiar start of recognition.
My humble suggestion is that you begin reading Chesterton's work immediately.
Begin with Orthodoxy, if you like spirituality, religion, fairy tales, dragons, exceedingly wonderful things, wonder in general, romance, romanticism, nature, God, wit, insightful observations, and paradoxes.
If none of those things appeal to you I suggest the book In Defense of Sanity, which is a collection of Chesterton's essays. They cover a range of topics, including gargoyles, Charles Dickens, Father Christmas, chalk, drawing on the ceiling, writing, Christian mysticism, cheese, the importance of fiction, women's roles, etc...
I am certain you could find at least one essay to read which might interest you.
To close, I wish to let some of Chesterton's words speak for themselves. Here are some excellent quotes.
Also, I would be interested in purchasing Chesterton quote wallpaper - if you know where I might find this, let me know in the comments.
Quotes from G.K. Chesterton (thanks Goodreads for letting me copy and paste all of these!):
“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
“People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.”
“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
“A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
“We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”
“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man's terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.”
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”