In November I read,
The Catholic All Year Compendium by Kendra Tierney – a fantastic resource I cannot wait to revisit with each new liturgical season. Implementing ideas goes well so far, in our own style, fulfilling the point of the book. (I received a copy from the publisher for review).
Grieving Together by Laura Kelly Fanucci and David Franco Fanucci- Already one I am recommending to others. This is your go-to resource for grief related to miscarriage and infant loss. I love the way the authors bring in the biological definitions of miscarriage to increase the reader’s knowledge, address the different experiences of men and women, and offer resources for liturgy and rites to help process one’s grief by engaging the sacramental power of the Catholic Church. Its excellent and straightforward writing would have made it worthwhile. The three elements listed above make it stand out from other resources. (I received a copy from the publisher for review).
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh – I read this once before. Waugh is an excellent source for dry, fast-moving humor. Some paragraphs, I had to re-read because the book and humor move so fast for all that happens in it. (this was a used book purchase after I regrettably donated the copy I owned when I KonMari’d too aggressively).
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – I thought this book was beautiful and moving. The book has a mission: to convince you slavery is evil. In 21st century America, most white people know this in a general sense. It offered me insight into the pieces of cultural memory African-Americans carry today, by explaining the evils in different degrees of that terrible practice. There are both humane and horrifying glimpses of slaveholders. Of the humane, the author pushed her characters to see what might change their minds. Even when the mind is changed, even when the owner intends to do right by the people he considers in his charge, one death of a good owner, and that slave’s life is over. Even the best treatment is no exchange for the freedom to be one’s own person. There is a lot to discuss and a lot of criticism over the portrayal of Tom. I think it helps to read this through the Christian lens in which it was written, to see the value of redemptive suffering and that active receptivity on the part of one whose personality is not oriented towards fighting, but tries rather accept and transcend his situation. Abraham Lincoln credited this book with sparking the Civil War, so it remains an important historical novel and cultural artifact, even if one disagrees with the author’s portrayal of individual persons (used book purchase).
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner – I really enjoyed this book. The author/editor references the various neuroses and emotional needs of authors who work with editors. That doesn’t sound uplifting but it is awfully sympathetic. Contains great advice and a window into the editor’s side of things. I would reread this (borrowed via the county library).
Now I am definitely ready for some…
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Dickens knew how to please a crowd and this book is no exception. It’s everything Alistair Sim and Mickey Mouse brought you with a few more flourishes to make it more human (not difficult when compared to the Disney Mouse), kinder, sweeter, like holly berries on the wreath. It is also a relatively short read (supposedly read in one night by Mr. Feeney on Boy Meets World) (I own a couple copies, one from a used bookstore and one an illustrated gift book).
A Child’s Christmas In Wales by Thomas Dylan – one of those stories that you think, oh okay, short story…wrong! Prepare yourself for a short novel. I read it in college and so it holds magic for me today (requested via the country library).
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – I discovered this treasure as a teenager and it captures all the magical beauty of imagination lost to those with their feet on the ground. This is the perfect story for those who still believe in fairies. (I seem to collect copies of this one, it is such a treasure to me)
“A Visit from St. Nick” – my daughter is working on memorizing this massive poem. It captures our American legends of St. Nicholas. Even if you do not go for Coca Cola’s version of Santa Claus, I believe in the value of transmitting our cultural narrative (not just the commercial narrative) to our children. Found in A Treasury of Children’s Literature.
The Infancy Narratives – I bought a King James Bible and plan to read this to the kiddos more than in the past (um, once a year…)
New books to explore this year
Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens – I read the summery and can’t quite picture it as the children’s tale Rankin/Bass Productions made it to be, but I’m looking forward to it. (Requested via the country library).
On Tremendous Trifles by G.K. Chesterton – this was on a list of good Christmas reading, I can’t remember why, but Chesterton is always a delight (requested via Link+ through the library) .
The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales: Advent and Christmas by St. Francis de Sales – I love his down-to-earth yet poetic style of writing (I suppose that is a credit to the translator, too). I’ve wanted to read this for a long time and finally purchased it off Amazon.
Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Jacques Philippe –