Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Architecture in a New Christendom

This passage is from a book by John Betjeman, Ghastly Good Taste, which my wife and I are enjoying very much. Betjeman traces the development of English architecture from the Medieval age to the present (1930s). In the second chapter, he summarizes the argument of the book:

...After the Reform Bill the Middle Class, which represents industrialism, took control--or rather lost control--of the fine Regency tradition. The rest of the book must be a sad but exciting history of the chaos that resulted. The only hope that I can put forward is that England will emerge from its present state of intense individualism and become another Christendom. Not until it is united in belief will its architecture regain coherence. That union cannot come until a return of Christendom...

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