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Tremendous Trifles
 
by
G.K. Chesterton
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Tremendous Trifles

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  355 ratings  ·  52 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
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Published (first published January 1st 1920)
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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
Tracey, librarian on strike
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
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.
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
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
Leslie
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
Joel
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
Erwin Maack
"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
Joel
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
Eustacia Tan
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
Evan Hays
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
Christian
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
Peter
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
kasia
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
Jash Comstock
A fun and witty little volume full of the usual Chestertonian warmth and quotability. Here Chesterton writes a smattering of short "trifles" all related to common things. He talks about white chalk, railways, and croquet (among other things) but through writing about common objects, he shows us that even ordinary life can be uncommonly adventurous after all.
Rhonda
Sep 15, 2010 Rhonda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Nivedita
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
Nathan
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
Yuri Bernales
Some of these essays feel exactly like trifles, and not very tremendous, but Chesterton is witty as ever, and there are some essays that are absolutely amazing: "Tremendous Trifles," "The Advantages of Having One Leg," "What I Found in My Pocket," "The Red Angel," "The Toy Theater," and a couple of others are especially so.
Daniel
I hate writing these things down since through writing the reader typically cannot fully discern the Bergsonian laughter emitting from my joyous jowls as I now state that this collection would have been better served if more time was spent waxing poetic on the condemnation of alienation and less time was spent waning poetic on the colonization of social life by commodification.

Case in point: Is it entirely clever to solicit help/advice from Superman with the opening salvo: "Can I use your cape...more
Lays Stanziani
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
Atlantis
I really wanted to like this book more but it was a bit whimsical for me. It did have some great quotes-" Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling." is my favorite. But it really was a very random series of stories that were hard to relate to due to the time period they were written. It was amazing how Chesterton really was able to dwell on " little trifles" and there is definitely merit in that.
Raúl J.
El poeta Juan Lamillar estuvo encargado del prólogo en la edición en español, y nombra a la obra de Chesterton como "Atletismo Visual". Enormes Minucias es un compilado que encuadra los inmensos pensamientos del escritor y periodista, que en cada caso proviene de un aspecto diminuto e insospechado de la vida cotidiana. Apelar al público a reflexiones filosóficas surgidas desde el viaje en un taxi, en un tren o por la maravilla de buscar en los bolsillos no tiene precio.
C.j.
Tremendously tickling--as Chesterton's words often are; trifling with all sorts of trifles and tiddly-winks of experience. They are essays like stepping stones; or like the quick-flash glimpses through gaps in the garden fence. The best is that they do what one of the best essays within remarks upon: make one sees things for the first time, things you thought you'd seen a thousand times. Hence, the value of babies, non-experts, and juries.
Todd
Similar to his other several collections of newspaper columns. It contains the occasional interesting perspective or excellent point. In many cases, it is just unusual incidents recounted, quite possibly entirely fabricated or most likely liberally embellished. Also on display is Chesterton's unfortunate racism. If one hasn't read any of his collections of columns, this one would be possibly as good as any, but no need to read them all.
Michael Joosten
The essays in this book are fantastic, the pinnacle of Chesterton's writing for me--and he is easily one of my top three authors. His writing is always elegant, but his way of looking at the world is so fresh and different from the jaded commercialism we're surrounded with. Quite apart from religion (though obviously inseparable from it in source), this wells up in this magnificent collection.
Justin Achilli
Marvelous; a case study of the outlook of a true fantasist. Chesterton sees, in beautiful simplicity, the things in the world that people take for granted yet are truly fantastical when considered on their own terms. I read an essay from this collection any time I feel like I'm in a rut and it never fails to make me smile and inspire a fresh perspective.
Bentley
Contains something I often feel nostalgic for, something to do with 1920's England, Peter Pan era vibe, even though I'm not sure where the nostalgia came from. Loved it for Chesterton's towering Christian intellect, the sort that penetrates through ordinary reason and seemingly insignificant things to mean something to you when it's over.
Steve
A great book. Another must read by Chesterton. This collection contains many quotable sections as well as entertaining pieces. If one could love a person they had never met on the basis of their writing, I would say that after reading this book one will fall in love with the wit and wisdom of G.K. Chesterton.
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Goodreads Librari...: duplicate quotes 2 15 Aug 01, 2014 05:59AM  
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7014283
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) cannot be summed up in one sentence. Nor in one paragraph. In fact, in spite of the fine biographies that have been written of him (and his Autobiography), he has never been captured between the covers of one book. But rather than waiting to separate the goats from the sheep, let’s just come right out and say it: G.K. Chesterton was the best writer of the twent...more
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“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” 281 likes
“Lying in bed would be an altogether supreme experience if one only had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.” 96 likes
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