Book Talk: A New Year, a New Pile o’ Books

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Well, 2013 was the Year of Reading, it seems. I shared my “best of” list last week, and today we’re back to the usual. I didn’t get nearly the reading done over Christmas that I longed to, but that doesn’t mean my pile isn’t continuing to grow…

book talk a new year new pile

Recent Reads

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A Rich Young Man: A Novel Based on the Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, by John Edward Beahn (fiction, Tan Books, 1953, 2013)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Maybe I do like historical fiction. Or maybe (as I maintain), I just like good writing.

That’s what this is: good writing. Tan Books is doing all of us a service, making these books available. It’s fiction that’s heartening. It’s entertaining and educational.

Did I mention it’s good writing? Well then. Go read it.

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Chesterton Is Everywhere, by David Fagerberg (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2013)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How many ways can I say “truly delightful” before you start to ignore me? I’m a fan of Chesterton, though I haven’t read as much of him as I should.

Fagerberg is as entertaining as Chesterton. This is one of those books that I’m glad I didn’t start dog-earing, because the whole book would be a crumpled mess. I was laughing and snorting and nodding.

It’s a collection of essays, and it’s as refreshing as it is insightful. Good writing. You’ll be a better person for having read it: and maybe that’s because you’ll have enjoyed it so much.

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Mrs. Appleyard’s Year, by Louise Andrews Kent (audio courtesy of Forgotten Classics)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I think I want to be Mrs. Appleyard when I grow up, but lacking that, I want to be Julie Davis, who has a knack for introducing me to authors and stories and genres I would have never touched on my own. This is one such book. Listening to it tapped me into a culture that I loved. In the last installment, Julie mentioned that she was able to relax when she read it. And yes, that’s how I felt listening. Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

Current Reads

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Momnipotent: The Not-So Perfect Woman’s Guide to Catholic Motherhood, by Danielle Bean (advance copy) (Ascension Press, expected publication May 2014)

Oh, the joy! Oh, the bliss! Oh, the excitement! When a favorite author has a book coming out and you get a chance to read it…ahhhhhh. This, my friends, is the very definition of happy times for my book self.

A few chapters in, and I’m already examining myself and feeling like there’s a girlfriend drinking coffee with me. Bean has that effect on me as a reader: she comes right through the page with her no-nonsense why-yes-I-will-wear-cute-heels-and-pass-you-an-energy-drink way of doing business. Theology of the Body for moms? Is that even a thing?

It is now, and I can think of no better person to be behind it. Reading this book is pure treat for me.

Well, except for the “get off your duff and address this and this and that and…” Or maybe it’s just the beginning of the year. Hmm…

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The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis (fiction)

This is one of my very favorite books. Of all time. Ever.

I read it for the second time in 2006, and I’ve read it a number of times since then (at least three). So when the ladies in my fiction book club gave me the chance to recommend a book, it just sort of slipped out.

And wow, as I reread it, I realize just how much I need to read it. It’s an examination of conscience, made easier to swallow (and believe) because of the humor.

There aren’t many books I reread. Maybe I just haven’t read the right stuff over the years…

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The Voyage to Alpha Centauri, by Michael O’Brien (fiction, Ignatius Press, 2013)

Oh! Oh! Oh! I soooooo intended to finish this between Christmas and New Year’s, but since I haven’t, I don’t know when I will. I’ve been plotting how to lock myself up for a day or three and just binge-read, but it’s unlikely anyone will fall for that.

I’m not quite halfway (and this is short by O’Brien’s writing standard), so I’m looking at another 8-10 hours of reading. What a lovely problem to have, with a book that’s captured me…and that terrifies me.

In typical O’Brien fashion, he grows his characters, gets his world so colorful you forget you’re not actually there, and then BAM. Owns ya.

Up Next

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St. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found…and Then Lost and Found Again, by Thomas J. Craughwell (Image Books, 2014)

Confession: before I wrote about this book and interviewed the author, I didn’t really intend to read it. I have QUITE a pile to read, thanks, and this just seemed better suited to someone else, anyone who, you know, wasn’t me. But now I’m hooked without even reading a word. I love it hate it when that happens!

What have YOU been reading lately?

*Are you on Goodreads? I’ll see you there!

Curious about what my ratings mean? Here’s an explanation of what the stars mean to me.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2014, Sarah Reinhard

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