My Bookshelf – November 2017

My reading preferences have evolved over time, and I have to say that working in Acquisitions for a reputable publishing company has only raised the bar (significantly) for what I consider a good book. But it is just so delightful to have time right now to read more.

I read Catholic non-fiction, conversion stories, random cultural issues (especially abortion, womanhood, marriage, and other controversial things), memoirs, and am now diving into classic fiction. I skipped a lot of literature in high school and didn’t soak in what I actually did read, so it’s been interesting going back to some of those classic titles – anyone else wonder why some things qualify as must read classics? Yeah, me too. Anyway.

Without further ado, here are 7 titles I’m working on or have finished reading recently. I’m linking up with Kelly for some Friday quick takes!

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1. The Power of Silence by Cardinal Robert Sarah
I may be a bit biased about this one, but it is truly a timeless book I think everyone should read. So many of us are missing real connecting-with-God kind of silence in our lives, aren’t we? This is interview style with numbered paragraphs that are mostly stand alone. And that’s a good thing, because some of them could leave you pondering for a week. I’m not done with this, but have enjoyed reading a paragraph or two before bed. Available here.

2. Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak, edited by Leila Miller
This is my cultural read right now, and it is sobering to say the least. Leila asked the same questions of about 70 people who were children when their parents divorced, then made it into this book. The individuals are anonymous, and show the raw depth of their pain as children, which is completely ignored in the popular narrative of divorce being a positive step for happier parents. It makes me so, so, grateful to come from an intact family, as well as grandparents who have stayed married for going on 57 years. I picked this up because I wanted to understand the real life impact of divorce. Whether you find solidarity because of a similar experience, know people who are considering divorce (or have yourself), or just want to understand the impact, I highly recommend this. It is a necessary part of the conversation when we’re talking about the sanctity of marriage, and is incredibly compelling. Available here.

3. My Antonia by Willa Cather
I don’t know how much of a classic this is considered to be, but I enjoyed it. It’s one of those books that follows a character through a period of his/her life instead of being driven by plot – very similar in that way to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I also read recently. It wasn’t overly descriptive (good, because I would have put it down), but successfully paints a picture of the life of people who had immigrated to the prairies. I love learning about periods of history in this way, and found this to be an easy, enjoyable, read. Available here.

4. Characters of the Reformation by Hilaire Belloc
This seemed appropriate to read with the recent 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses. Honestly, the title sounds boring to me. But I was surprised by how easy to get through this is – it’s not overly historic or biographical feeling. After a good introduction to this time period, it profiles the key figures in the Protestant takeover of England, which I knew little about. You might know about Martin Luther, but did you know that without what happened in England, Protestantism probably wouldn’t exist as it does today? I’m not done yet, but highly recommend it as a good starting place to learn about the Reformation. Available here.

5. Unseen by Sara Haggerty
The tagline of this one was quite intriguing to me: “The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed”. What an interesting topic. But honestly, I’ve been underwhelmed by this one. I had seen it everywhere, and picked it up on recommendation. But it is quite repetitive and is lacking a depth I expected of a book on this topic. I mean, it’s not terrible, but I think the ideas could have been condensed down to maybe 20 pages. Other people might enjoy it more than me, though – I usually feel that non-Catholic Christian books lack a depth I want in something about God. Available here.

6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This first part of her autobiography follows Maya’s life up through her late teenage years. I really didn’t know much about her life, and wow did she experience a lot. It was interesting, and sad at parts, reading the story of a black woman who grew up when Maya did. It’s one of those books where the subject is very different from me, and I read to understand them better. I would not hand this to young kids without discussing it, because of some mature content (some a bit graphic). Available here.

7. Surprised by Life, edited by Patrick Madrid
Conversion stories are some of my favorites to read. I just love to see how God is always after us, and the door is always open for us to find our way home. I’ve read Patrick Madrid’s other similar titles Surprised by Truth, which are collections of people’s conversion to Catholicism. This book, though, is about conversions specifically related to the Catholic Church’s moral position on life issues. Those are some of the toughest issues for many Catholics to accept. But they are also what draws some Catholics in. I highly recommend this and the Surprised by Truth books. All them are available here.

If you want to stay up to date on what I’m reading, head over to Goodreads, which I keep mostly current. What’s on your bookshelf? I’m always open to suggestions!

To Life,

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P.S. None of these are affiliate links. I just want to share what I’ve been reading.

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