The little saga that results in this post began early Saturday morning when the Whispernet on my Kindle silently delivered my Wall Street Journal to the door. I especially love reading the Weekend Journal, with its eclectic collection of articles on topics ranging from shashimi to secret agents. Plus, where else can I find recommendations for decent wine that’s less than $10 a bottle?
This Saturday, there was also an article about G. K. Chesterton entitled “A Century of Thursdays.” The author, Allen Barra, celebrates the enduring influence of a writer who was, at best, for many of us, a section of reading in a college Brit Lit textbook, and a small section at that.
Barra certainly caught my attention when he noted that Chesterton was “quoted freely” during the campaign by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and that President-elect Obama’s followers “claim to see the influence of Chesterton’s thought on [his] worldview.”
But I really sat up when Barra describes the work that is arguably Chesterton’s most well-known, the novella The Man Who Was Thursday:
Set in a surrealistic London of shadowy, labyrinthine streets, the plot is populated by poets posing as undercover policemen and policemen pretending to be anarchists. This may sound slapstick, but “The Man Who Was Thursday” presages the dark clouds gathering over Europe before World War I.
An air of impending dread pervades the novel; the term “anarchist,” after all, stirred the fear 100 years ago that “terrorist” does today.
Sounds interesting. So I got to wondering if this classic is available on the Kindle–I mean, that’s where I discovered it. And indeed it is, put in the Kindle store by publishers of the print edition and others. If you browse for it, you will find a price point that you’ll like.
As you can tell from the Downloads page, though, I have taken an interest in getting texts formatted well for the Kindle, and so I have attempted a version of Chesterton’s classic. It is done in Mobipocket format, which doesn’t seem to offer all the bells and whistles of an AZW file, but what the heck? This one is free…;-)