In Like a Lion Reading Update

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CatholicMom-booknotes-logoYou know, we’re here in the beginning of March and I’m remembering all the reasons I love (and hate!) March here in Ohio. I’ve had quite enough snow and I’m looking forward to the “out like a lamb” part of the month, not least because we have some fun stuff planned for spring break in a few weeks.

It was a good reading week, thanks in part to a looming review deadline and to a long waiting room visit. So, here goes:

Recent Reads

My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir, by Colleen Carroll Campbell (Image Books, 2012)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m always a little scared, lately, when I agree to read something that is either biography or memoir. Though they can be well-done (and often are), they can also represent a genre that, well, sends me packing and screaming and launching a book across the room.

I was unable, though, to turn down the chance to read Colleen Carroll Campbell’s new book, My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir. And then, about halfway through, I was unable to put it down.

Bottom line: GREAT BOOK. If you want to read my full review, you can go on over to my blog. On Friday, I have a special interview with Colleen Carroll Campbell coming to Book Notes.

C.S. Lewis–A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, by Alister McGrath (Tyndale House Publishers, 2013)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been fascinated with C.S. Lewis in a arms-length sort of way for quite some time. I read the Chronicles of Narnia in late grade school and loved them. I rediscovered and reread them with my husband when the first movie came out in 2005 and loved them even more.

His fiction has continued to fascinate me since my childhood, though I didn’t start really reading it until The Screwtape Letters in 2006 and then following with an immersion in the Ransom (Space) Trilogy, both of which I highly enjoyed. Screwtape, in fact, ranks as a book I keep multiple copies of, because I hate to not have it on hand. It’s better than an examination of conscience in many ways.

So I was very interested in the Patheos Book Club’s discussion of the newest C.S. Lewis biographyC.S. Lewis–A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, by Alistair E. McGrath. And then, about 20 pages into it, I remembered something: I don’t usually like reading biographies.

I ended up liking it A LOT, and I highly recommend it. I’m glad I read it, in fact. (My full review is over at my blog.)

The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid, by Greg Willits (Servant Books, 2013)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t intend to read this book in one sitting…and I didn’t. It was two sittings. 🙂

It’s a fast read and it’s just as good and impassioned as I expected it to be, having listened to Greg in a number of places for a number of years. He’s one of my favorite voices on this topic of the New Evangelization, because he’s so practical and down-to-earth about it.

It’s not available until May, but don’t let that stop you from pre-ordering it now. It’s the kind of book that begs you to dog-ear and mark it with notes in the margin. The best part, as far as I was concerned, was the prayer at the end of each chapter. I thought about turning them into a novena for the New Evangelization for my own purposes (though there are 12 chapters, so it doesn’t quite work).

Awesome book that should be required reading for pretty much everyone I know.

Current Reads

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to to the Transfiguration, by Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 2008)

I’m zipping along on this, and I’m ignoring the parts of it that soar right over my head. I continue to enjoy Pope Benedict’s conversational style and accessible writing style. He’s making me think about things in ways that never would have occurred to me. I love that: an everyday person considering theology in normal language. Truly, that’s the most brilliant part of this book!

33 Days to Morning Glory, by Fr. Michael Gaitley (Marian Press, 2011)

Here’s another wonderful book: rereading it brings out even more the beauty of it. I continue to be impressed by Fr. Gaitley’s ability to both interpret and apply the deep and difficult aspects of Marian consecration and the writings of brilliant saints.

Frozen Footprints, by Therese Heckenkemp (Tumblar House, 2012, fiction)

I have to be careful when I crack this one open, because I start to act deaf and unable to part from my Kindle. My family is no longer amused by my “Mommy’s reading a really! good! book!” excuses and demands things like food and help with the essentials. I don’t know why they insist on pulling me away from my pleasures in life. What’s wrong with them, anyway? (Just kidding!) (Maybe.)

New to My Review Shelf

Contemplative Provocations, by Fr. Donald Haggerty (Ignatius Press, 2013)

This book looks so fascinating to me, and one that I think will really impact my prayer life:

A great many religious people undertake a serious dedication to prayer. They are moved by a longing for a deeper encounter with God that beckons them as a distant light at night on the sea. Yet far fewer become true contemplative souls, for it is difficult to continue the quest for God in the face of many obstacles.

For those who are spiritually courageous and full of desire for God, this book will provoke them to persevere in this ultimate adventure in life-the more complete discovery of the living God. Thematically unified by the notion of God’s ultimate transcendence to our limited human knowledge, this work offers a rich profusion of insights on the life of prayer and the pursuit of God.

A key to spiritual growth is the understanding that the hiddenness of God becomes a paradox in the experience of a soul seeking him wholeheartedly. Rather than enjoying a more intimate familiarity with God, the soul advancing in prayer is likely to experience more intensely the concealment of God. This surprising truth undergirds true contemplative prayer. It is a reason why every contemplative soul, and every saint, is inflamed with a never satisfied thirst for God.

The format of this book has a contemplative appeal. The reflections based upon the Church’s rich tradition of contemplative prayer are short and concise, stimulating the intuition. They can be read independently a few at a time, or as a series of connected thoughts. Most importantly, they provoke a desire to enter more generously into one’s own relationship with God.

Emily Post’s Manners in a Digital World: Living Well Online, by Daniel Post Senning (Open Road, 2013)

This is a find from Amazon Vine, and I admit, I picked it because it looked fun. And maybe useful…

For generations of Americans, the Emily Post Institute is the authoritative source on how to behave with confidence and tact. Manners in a Digital World is its up-to-the-minute, straight-talking guide that tackles how we should act when using a digital device or when online. As communication technologies change, our smartphones and tablets become even more essential to our daily lives, and the most polished and appropriate ways to use them often remain unclear. As anyone who has mistakenly forwarded an email knows, there are many pitfalls, too. This essential guide discusses topics such as:

  • Why you need a healthy digital diet that includes texts, emails, and calls
  • How to appropriately handle a breakup announcement on social media
  • What makes for the best—and the worst—online comment
  • How to maintain privacy and security for online profiles and accounts, essential for everything from banking to online dating
  • How parents and children can establish digital house rules
  • The appropriate, low-maintenance ways to separate personal and professional selves online
Emily Post’s Manners in a Digital World is for technophiles and technophobes alike—it’s for anyone who wants to navigate today’s communication environment with emotional intelligence.

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 2013, Sarah Reinhard

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