Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tremendous Trifles” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Tremendous Trifles
 
by
G.K. Chesterton
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tremendous Trifles

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  588 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
The author writes, "None of us think enough of these [small, everyday] things on which the eye rests. But don't let us let the eye rest. Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence. Let us be ocular athletes. Let us learn to write essays on a stray cat or a coloured cloud. I have attempted some su ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1909)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tremendous Trifles, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tremendous Trifles

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jesse Broussard
This is simply essential reading for any fan of Chesterton. It's vintage. A collection of essays on all sorts of topics: lying in bed, forgetting white chalk, being expelled from a Hansom Cab against his will, Picking his own pockets, robbing a French restauranteur, and all sorts of typical Chesterton absent-minded brilliance. His prose here tends to be more playful than in his fiction, making him the essay writer that is the exception to Lewis' rule in Horse and His Boy.

I still cannot comprehen
...more
Ali M.
May 23, 2010 Ali M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soul-food
Absolutely wonderful. I've been carrying this book around at work the past couple of weeks, and reading the very short chapters ("trifles") on my breaks has been a big part of what's kept me sane. Chesterton is so good for one's perspective. He is such a healthy human being. He takes joy in the ordinary, unravelling the divine in the contents of his pocket and in the chaos of a train station. His whole premise is that there are two ways of viewing the world: as a giant, to whom the Himalayas and ...more
Tracey
Oct 14, 2010 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collection, lter, 5-star
This is a small, slender trade paperback from Hesperus Press, which just feels pleasant to the hand, with its matte finish and front and back flaps. It is foreworded by Ben Schott - who is clearly someone I need to follow up on soon; the foreword was as much fun as one of the essays.

And when I say it's as much fun, that's a tremendous compliment, because these essays are great fun. I've laughed out loud reading them more often than during any other book I can think of recently; the best word I c
...more
Alex Sarll
Fifty years before the New Journalism, Chesterton joyfully and openly fiddles the facts in the columns collected here. He's often in as altered a state as Hunter S T ever managed, too - albeit a far more genial visionary. Alternately, one could almost consider this a proto-blog, given the introduction in which he says a diary kept for the public, and which keeps him in bread and cheese, is the only sort he could ever keep. Either way, he puts most of his successors to shame with the grandeur and ...more
John
Tremendously written essays on a vast array of trifling subjects. Brilliant and thought-provoking, yet also good humored and charming. Chesterton somehow manages to come across as being inordinately humble and likable, while still giving the impression of being one of the wisest men ever to walk the Earth. Modern intellectuals can't even come close to matching Chesterton's wit, brainpower, and literary sophistication. In comparison, guys like Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D'Souza seem like the ...more
Mary Catelli
A collection of essays in which Chesterton holds forth on all sorts of topics -- some actually trifling, some not -- in a vast, expansive manner. Not for people not in a mood for whimsy.

An extended metaphor about the wind and the trees and the realities of life: "You cannot see a wind; you can only see that there is a wind."

A mediation on the pleasures of lying in bed, "Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the
...more
Joel
Jul 19, 2014 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of essays, originally printed as newspaper columns, written a century ago. The conceit is that Chesterton begins with ordinary objects and incidents, and uses them as a springboard to examine weightier matters of philosophy, religion, politics, and morality. There is a great deal of imagination here, and humor as well.

Like most philosophers, Chesterton has a tendency to let his thoughts get away from him. There are wild over-generalizations, non sequiturs, flights of fancy;
...more
Leslie
Aug 14, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and fun! G. K. Chesterton writes from another time, yet his wisdom resonates with me today. My favorite chapter from this collection of stories is "The Advantages of Having One Leg," from which I draw this memorable quote:

"I feel grateful for the slight sprain which has introduced this mysterious and fascinating division between one of my feet and the other. The way to love anything is to realise that it might be lost. In one of my feet I can feel how strong and splendid a foot is; in
...more
Érico Prado
Nov 30, 2016 Érico Prado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O autor narra alguns episódios de sua vida.
Como diz o título, são pequenas histórias sem relevância aparente.
No entanto, o autor empresta a elas toques de genialidade únicos e reflexões profundas, ainda que frequentemente bastante irônicas e críticas.
Aparentemente o autor é famoso por suas ácidas e contundentes críticas. Por vezes, as críticas e as conversas narradas no livro me pareceram arrogantes, demonstrando uma certa prepotência do autor.
Chamam atenção as notas de rodapé do tradutor. O aut
...more
ideallaedi
Mar 15, 2014 ideallaedi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally when I am reading a Chesterton novel, I am so blown away by each single line which is sculpted and honed like a statue from the stones of words, that I lose track of what the plot is [sometimes even of whether there *is* a plot] So when he is writing about nothing at all (or so he says) and when he gives himself full freedom to jump from idea to idea, to linger on if needed or to rush from one to the other, the end result is one beautiful collection of thoughts.


There is humour (I mean
...more
Pedro Rocha
Sep 24, 2016 Pedro Rocha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um livro maravilhoso que leva os leitores a prestar atenção à condição deslumbrante de todas as coisas.
No fim de cada momento de leitura sentimo-nos compelidos a repousar os olhos sobre qualquer coisa que nos rodeie.
Ryan
This book was a lot of fun. Nothing out of the ordinary; in fact, he wrote all of these essays just as a type of public journal, something to make "his bread and butter" by. In the introduction he states that most of us really don't think of the ordinary experiences that we have in life: "None of us think enough of these things on which the eye rests. But don't let us let the eye rest. Why should the eye be so lazy? Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across t ...more
Christian
Apr 24, 2013 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A couple years ago I read a delightful little book called On Tremendous Trifles. Upon revisiting the book I discovered that it was in fact a shortened version that was missing about half the essays of the original. See the difference? This book doesn't have the "on". On the one hand I was a trifle annoyed when I had discovered this since they could have been more clear about the omission of over half of the original's contents, but on the other hand I was excited since it meant that there was a ...more
Thomas Rau
Dec 30, 2016 Thomas Rau rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I read a lot of Chesterton; this is not one of my favourites. The essays in this collection were to sermon-like for me, too preachy, something Chsterton manages to steer clear of in his novels and short story cycles, which, apparently, I prefer. Still, it is Chesterton, and therefore witty and intriguing and curious.
Eustacia Tan
Aug 04, 2013 Eustacia Tan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A while back, my friend and I were trying to find out the who said this quote

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten"

To me, this sounds like G.K. Chesterton (He is seriously one of my favourite authors!), but the internet was saying Neil Gaiman. My friend was saying that Neil Gaiman was quoting G.K. Chesterton. So after some searching, I found that this this quote is an approximation of the following quote
...more
Joel
Feb 04, 2012 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first essay of G.K. Chesterton's I remember reading is On Lying in Bed, which begins, "Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling." Ever since, my mental image of Chesterton has included a figure lying under covers armed with a pencil, doodling on a low, sloped ceiling. I've finally found it again, then, the collection containing that essay the drew me in.

The title itself, Tremendous Trifles, introdu
...more
Peter
May 29, 2013 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
I'm increasingly conflicted about Chesterton's books. He got a lot of things right, and there has never been anyone in the world better at paradoxes with deeper meanings, but... his nonfiction, more than his fiction, shows a lot of his rather narrow prejudices. Even - maybe especially - when he's trying to be tolerant, he says things about Jews and women that are just AUGH CHESTERTON NO.

(I think when he's not thinking consciously about tolerance, as in much of his fiction, he does better. Althou
...more
Erwin Maack
Mar 24, 2013 Erwin Maack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"But about these particular figures there was a peculiarity of which I could not be sure. Those of them that had any heads had very curious heads, and it seemed to me that they had their mouths open. Whether or no this really meant anything or was an accident of nascent art I do not know; but in the course of wondering I recalled to my mind the fact that singing was connected with many of the tasks there suggested, that there were songs for reapers and songs for sailors hauling ropes. I was stil ...more
Thomas Achord
Apr 23, 2016 Thomas Achord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
"On the day that I met the strange cabman I had been lunching in a little restaurant in Soho in company with three or four of my best friends. My best friends are all either bottomless sceptics or quite uncontrollable believers, so our discussion at luncheon turned upon the most ultimate and terrible ideas. And the whole argument worked out ultimately to this: that the question is whether a man can be certain of anything at all. I think he can be certain, for if (as I said to my friend, furiousl ...more
Sue
This book, which I downloaded free for my Kindle, is a collection of some of GK Chesterton’s journalistic essays, published originally as part of a column.
Each is complete in itself. Most are thought-provoking, some are whimsical, some are downright bizarre.

The overall theme is of ordinariness. Chesterton claims, in the introduction, that he is encouraging his readers to look at everyday objects - ceilings, and pens, and fences - and ponder their significance. This is what he does in the essays
...more
Evan Hays
Mar 28, 2011 Evan Hays rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inklings-etc
Yeah for another Chesterton read. The strength of each story was somewhat up and down, but you know by now that I love everything by Chesterton. This book would be a good entry point for anyone looking to read some more non-fiction style Chesterton because each story is very short and you are not signing up for a huge project with this short book.

I gleaned yet more extremely valuable pieces of wisdom about how to understand the world. Yet again, Chesterton reminds me to find joy in pleasure in t
...more
kasia
Mar 17, 2011 kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Chesterton's writing so unsurprisingly, I very much enjoyed this collection, a series of essays originally written for the Daily News between 1902 and 1909. He has this marvelous dry and witty sense of humor that's coupled with a genuine appreciate of beauty which manifests itself in lovely, elegant prose. There's a certain mysticism in his way of approaching the world, but it's matched by a very English style of common sense (that is refreshingly matched with a strong moral and ethical b ...more
Rhonda
Aug 20, 2010 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rhonda by: Jim Johnson, Chesterton Book Club
Chesterton is best known for Orthodoxy and his fiction (like the Man Who Was Thursday). His career was as a journalists, writing over 3000 newspaper columns. Tremendous Trifles gathers 34 such columns written for the Daily News. My favorite aspect of these essays is that Chesterton can be writing about a topic and find a truth in it that really resonates with me (for example, "virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or ...more
Adam Smith
Jan 15, 2015 Adam Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What looks like dirt to the giants is mountains to the ants. If you allow yourself to change your perspective, you'll be amazed what you can see.

A collection of short essays upon the subject of whatever happened to catch the author's eye.

This book was interesting. The second I saw the title I knew this book was for me. The wit and humour in these articles is amazing. Despite how long ago this was written, many of the observations and monologues still have the power to fascinate. Odes to utter ra
...more
Russell Hayes
There are a handful of gems among these assorted essays. His discussion of jurors is interesting--despite increasing specialization in society, we still use a handful of ordinary, untrained people to decide something as important as the guilt or innocence of a person on trial. There is also a good essay toward the end about the false optimism of materialism. Other touches include a nod towards The Turn of the Screw, as well as a recounting of how he was thrown out of a cab and "consigning" a new ...more
Jacob
Nov 27, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chesterton always cheers me up, whether I think I need it or not. There's something about the way he sees the world that both makes me smile and inspires me to pay more attention to everything and everyone around me. Somehow, he's able to see the mundane as mythic and the least detail as having cosmic significance. The end of his preface sums this up well:

"Why should the eye be so lazy? Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a pa
...more
John
Aug 05, 2016 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, chesterton
Another gem from Chesterton. Thirty nine essays published in a newspaper. He and his writing are filled with joy, filled with a love of life. He sees the little ordinary things that I never notice and uses them to tell tales. They are simply fun.

"We may, by fixing our attention almost fiercely on the facts actually before us, force them to turn into adventures; force them to give up their meaning and fulfill their mysterious purpose."

"The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for
...more
Nathan
Apr 26, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my second favorite book by Chesterton (next to The Man Who Was Thursday). "A Piece of Chalk" is a classic Chesterton essay. If you read nothing else in this book, or by Chesterton, read this. His insight into the heart of Christian morality hasn't been matched since, well, maybe Augustine. I'm sure that's not true, but I challenge you to produce such a great thinker to compare. His essay on the purpose of vacations not being to go to other places but to come home in the end is f ...more
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 Barry Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and varied collection of short essays by this talented individual. In his own words, "None of us think enough of these [small, everyday] things on which the eye rests. But don’t let us let the eye rest. Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence. Let us be ocular athletes. Let us learn to write essays on a stray cat or a coloured cloud. I have attempted some such thing in what follows." This delightful co ...more
Lays Stanziani
Apr 17, 2013 Lays Stanziani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um livro surpreendente para quem conhecia a obra de Cherteston somente por Ortodoxia e/ou Padre Brown. Cada resenha é um deleite a mente perspicaz e afiada do autor. Algumas das passagens realmente me surpreenderam, principalmente pelo viés escolhido pelo autor e algumas temáticas são tremendas triviais, como propõe o próprio titulo: Um giz de cera, um passeio de trem, uma conversa. Ao final, são exatamente essas coisas que fazem o livro ser tão bonito. A leitura é leve, apesar do estilo rebusca ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: editions issues 2 13 Oct 04, 2016 08:03PM  
Goodreads Librari...: duplicate quotes 2 18 Aug 01, 2014 05:59AM  
  • Uncle Dynamite
  • I See Satan Fall Like Lightning
  • Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation
  • Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
  • Reading Between the Lines
  • The Mind of the Maker
  • History in English Words
  • On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518
  • Evangellyfish
  • Ideas Have Consequences
  • In Praise of Prejudice: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past
  • The Idea of Decline in Western History
  • The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness
  • Republocrat, Confessions of a Liberal Conservative
7014283
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
More about G.K. Chesterton...

Share This Book



“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” 350 likes
“Lying in bed would be an altogether supreme experience if one only had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.” 147 likes
More quotes…