In Greenwich at Rush Hour and thinking Kauffman’s suggestion to go see Father Boyd speak his wisdom on Chesterton a good one, I reluctantly headed further into the maw of gridlock. Is two hours of bumper to bumper traffic in New Jersey not a reasonable price to pay for a little bit of Chesterton at Seton Hall? Well, I am here to report it is and I generally avoid the Metropolitan Area at Rush Hour like the plague. In addition to some provoking words on solipsism and a great presentation on Chesterton’s evolving opinion of America from the time of his first visit in 1921 to his second stay in 1930, Father Boyd gave a humorous account of Chesterton’s description of reporters descending upon his ship in the harbor “like Pirates”. Chesterton, whose great inner calm held no small amounts of humor didn’t drop a beat when a reporter asked him what book might he take with him if he were stranded on a deserted island. The reporter urged him on…would it be the Bible or Shakespeare or perhaps a novel by Dickens?

Chesterton replied:

“101 Ways to Build a Boat”


  1. I had intended to go – but such a sugar baby – I could not deal with the cold and snow. You’ve made me regret my lack of fortitude.

  2. A few friends and I did an exercise earlier this year, along these lines: Suppose you had to winnow your personal library down to 200 books — what would you take? It was allowed that one would be in reasonable proxmility to a public library.

    Let me recommend a book that might well make it on the 200-books lists of many FPR folks if they knew it — Joseph Mitchell’s omnibus Up in the Old Hotel. I haven’t read more than 1/3 of it so far yet I know it’s a lifetime keeper for me. Take the portion called “Mr. Hunter’s Grave.” This is right out of Wendell Berry territory (although it concerns an African-American community outside NYC), dealing with memory, eating, hard work, community, names, locality, economy.

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