Your New Reading List: Steve Ballinger’s Picks

Suffice it to say that Steve Ballinger gets more than his fair share of inclement weather – as PUP’s  Manager of the Northwest and Rocky Mountain States Sales Territory, Steve often has to endure rainy days.  Don’t think the weather’s bringing him down though – Steve enjoys the great indoors – and breaks a mental sweat – by reading books on religion, philosophy, and literature.

1.       “Walter Kaufmann’s Critique of Religion and Philosophy. It is made up of 100 related essays including a section of dialogues between Satan and a theologian, a Christian, and a philosopher. Arnold Toynbee gets trashed along the way. St. Thomas Aquinas is exposed as leaning towards the Inquisition. Kaufmann was a major part of the Princeton philosophy scene and this book is still on the list along with his major philosophical biography of Nietzsche. I’ve always thought the Coen brothers should do a movie about him.”

2.      “‘Selected Essays‘* by Hilaire Belloc. I found a 1958 Penguin version. Belloc writes a mixture of travel essays, Roman Catholic anger, and literary dream experiments. He always has one foot in the French countryside even when writing about England. He has one essay about saying farewell to his sailboat which makes one sigh.”

3.       “Walter Bagehot Literary Studies vols one and two. I found these two at The Strand in J.M. Dent editions from way back in the early 20th century. Bagehot is really great as a literary critic/historian.”

4.       “The Oxford Book of English Prose is my book to read from as I wait patiently for the computer to boot up. I’m reading it back to front and currently in the 1850’s. The editor of the book made great selections of 2-3 pages per piece. It’s one of those blue cloth old Oxford books with really thin pages. From Rupert Brooke on page 1062 to Thomas Love Peacock page 630 where I am now to John Trevisa This Realm, this England (1326-1402), page 1 in the original.”

*Links to Essays of a Catholic on

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  1. I read “Selected Essays” and I enjoy it a lot.

    Regards from Spain

  2. It’s so rare to find someone who’s read Hilaire Belloc. I love his prosaic style.

    Greeting from Denmark

  3. Many thanks for this wonderful rcommendations! Looking forward to more of your reviews.

  4. Selected Essays is one of my favorites. Good list!

  5. Hilair Belloc, such a beautiful read!