I'm going through N. D. Wilson's Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl for the third time in less than two weeks. The prose owes a lot (as he fully confesses) to Dillard with a nice bit of Wodehouse, as well as sprinkling other, subtler flavors into the mix that has become entirely his own, gratefully indebted to the world, style. The book is very like his Credenda articles (including a couple), just a lot longer, which I like, as my chief complaint against any of his books is that the prose wasn't as inherently delightful as in his articles, and my chief complaint with his articles was that they ended so soon. So I'm happy for a couple weeks, until I start craving Chestnut King again.
Those of you that know me know how I read books: with pen in hand and a 3x5 card for a bookmark, taking down commonplaces, themes, weird phrases and arguments as I go. This book is infuriating: I didn't let myself mark it the first time, and then didn't let myself mark it the second time, and am now thinking maybe I should have restrained myself until the fourth or fifth or fiftieth time. I started a commonplace on page eleven, and didn't realize till chapter three that it should have ended somewhere. It is the best new (past 50 years) book that I have read in a long, long time, and has already taken its place next to Orthodoxy on my shelf. Simply magnificent.
Were I to classify it? Oddly enough, I would call it a world-class poetic apologetic.