- Stone, Irving — The Agony and the Ecstasy (439 of 763 pages)
- Morpurgo, Michael — The Mozart Question (68 pages)
- Unsworth, Barry — Stone Virgin (312 pages)
- Phillips, Caryl — The Nature of Blood (212 pages)
- Howard, Robert E. — The Conan Chronicles, Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (549 pages)
- Lockwood, Richard & Steve Potz-Rayner — A Little Book of Lies (170 pages)
- Vickers, Hugh — Great Operatic Disasters (65 pages)
- Howard, Robert E. — The Conan Chronicles, Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (574 pages)
- Rennison, Nick — 100 Must-Read Classic Novels (164 pages)
- Augustine of Hippo (John K. Ryan, translator) — The Confessions of Saint Augustine (422 pages)
- Page count
I always get a bit self-conscious when I "review" an acknowledged classic, because I am well aware that I have nothing of any real worth or interest to add to the discussion on such thoroughly discussed works. This is the case with The Confessions of Saint Augustine (and even moreso with my next book). Thus, I won't attempt anything resembling analysis or criticism — not that I offer much in that way in any of these posts.
Every Lent I try to read something of a religious nature, to complement the season's contemplative mood. This year I decided it was finally time to read Augustine's confessions, considered by many to be one of the greatest examples of religious writing. (Alas, I did not finish the book during Lent, but at least I managed to finish it during the Easter season.)
This spiritual autobiography traces Augustine's spiritual development from his earliest youth, through his young adult years when he was an adherent of Manicheism, to his later years when he embraced Christianity and became a bishop of the Church. I found the first two-thirds or so fascinating, as he confessed his various indiscretions and how they affected those around him, particularly his mother. His analysis of Manicheism is fascinating, as was that of the slow process in which his flight from Africa to Italy brought him into contact with people, such as Saint Jerome, who provided him spiritual guidance and instruction which culminated in his full conversion. However, I found the last few books, when Augustine confessed the nature of God and his understanding of scriptural passages, very slow going and difficult to parse, as I often find philosophical writing to be. That said, I did on the whole find The Confessions of Saint Augustine spiritually edifying.