Apparently, yesterday was World Book Day. I thought that was last month. Books are a central part of my day, every day. I’m currently reading four – two are religious books, one is a daily through Easter and the second is a weekly for the entire liturgical year. The other two are: Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Jamie Raskin Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir by Marie Yovanavitch
My Top 5 Books in the last six months are (and yes, I’m well aware that there are more than five books on this list.):
The entire Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam B. Schiff After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made by Ben Rhodes Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown State of Terror: A Novel by Hillary Rodham Clinton & Louise Penny The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times Magazine Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci Mankiller: A Chief and Her People by Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accesible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
One week ago was World Book Day, although everyday is a good day to read a book. This is proved by the fact that this is one week late. Things happened, one of which was laziness, but not entirely. Last week was a particularly not great one, but nothing that can’t be overcome.
This is the list of books I read since last Monday. The ones with the asterisk are the ones that I completed before tonight (although most were not read entirely in seven days.)
Daily Reflections for Lent: Not By Bread Alone 2022 by Amy Ekeh and Thomas D. Stegman, SJ
Thirsty and You Gave Me Drink from Clear Faith Publishing, various authors
Quantum by Patricia Cornwell *
Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone by Rev. James Martin, SJ
Spin by Patricia Cornwell *
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The NY Times Magazine *
The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton
Never Tell by Selena Montgomery (Stacey Abrams) *
Search Me: A Way of the Cross in Solidarity with the LGBTQ Community by John T. Kyler *
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside by Nick Offerman
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. –
My thought daily are with Ukraine, each morning and throughout the day checking on updates. My thoughts have also been with my parish (and selfishly myself if I’m being completely honest) as the search continues for a new pastor. I wrote a short reflection on Facebook a day or so ago, and I do feel a slight weight lifted as the parish trustees announced on Sunday our new incoming pastor (who will start at the end of April).
A friend described her feelings as “being at ease with the decision” and I would agree with that sentiment. I’m not anxious although it helps that I’m acquainted with the new (to us) pastor and looking forward to his ministry, but of course, my feelings are bittersweet. Fr. Jerry, my only priest so far in my journey would talk during his homilies at funerals as the bittersweetness of the Christian journey: we who are left behind are sad, but the one whose gone home is with Jesus and so how can we resent that.
I’ve written before about my struggle to move forward in my faith and my practices and I’m reminded of something else that Father Jerry so wisely said during funerals.
He has also talked about a life that’s not ended but changed, and I think with this new pastor announcement, I feel that my Catholic journey isn’t ended, but it has changed, and with this resolution, I may be able to be changed and follow this new path. I also feel more reflective things to say on this subject, but my words need a bit more study and discernment.
At the moment as I look around at my messy table and my busy calendar, I hope that I can spend some prayer and meditation time to get back on track for Lent. There are other challenges ahead, and I need to organize myself for them. It may be time for a list; a very, very long list.
On this World Book Day, I’d thought I’d share my favorite books.
The Magic Tunnel by Caroline D. Emerson was my very favorite book as a child. I still have it although the book jacket is almost long gone. It takes place in New York City and the main characters, children about my own age at the time took the subway and ended up somehow in New Amsterdam. It was a combination of my favorite things: time travel, history, and being that I lived in NYC it seemed plausible to my child mind.
Maybe one day I would get on the subway and end up somewhere far away and long ago.
My second favorite book came to me as an adult while working at Waldenbook’s. It was the cover illustration that caught my eye, and of course the title: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman.
Like The Magic Tunnel this was also historical fiction, no time travel though; this time taking place in Medieval Wales during the time of Llywelyn Fawr, the Prince of Wales. It set my on a path of learning Welsh history and discovering myself. I was enthralled with the story and even more enchanted by the author’s note that revealed how much of the fictional account had actually happened, including burning mattresses, adulterer’s murdered, and in the third book a kidnapping by pirates! Not to mention the release of Llywelyn’s son from the King’s custody as spelled out in the Magna Carta no less.
Everything you could ask for in a book!
The most recent books I’ve read (out of about eighteen for the year so far), and all that I would recommend include:
Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker,
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho,
When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, and
Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat by Michael Giorgione.
World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration of books and the written word organized and proclaimed by the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). On their page can be found information and resources on their programs and the reasoning behind the beginning of this observance and its choice of date.
Books I’ve Read So Far This Year:
Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling (on the 1st)
Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study – Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda
The President is Missing – A Novel by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
The Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of the Single Biggest Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast – Tim White, Randall Richard, and Wayne Worcester
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction – Neil Gaiman
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero – Timothy Egan
The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump – Andrew G. McCabe
Believe Me: a memoir of love, death, and jazz chickens – Eddie Izzard
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance – Barack Obama
A Holy Mosaic: Love, Diversity, and the Family: Inspiration from a Pope Francis – Michael O’Neill Mcgrath OSFS
Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law – Preet Bharara
Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus – James Martin, SJ
Not by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2019 – Mary DeTurris Poust
Lenten Reflections – Bishop Robert Barron
I’m currently reading these three books:
Rejoice and Be Glad: Daily Reflections for Easter 2019 by Michelle Francl-Donnay, Jerome Kodell, Rachelle Linner, Ronald Witherup, Catherine Upchurch, Jay Cormier, Genevieve Glen
A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals – Selected and edited by Jonathan Montaldo
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
I use my library’s ebook library extensively and I take advantage of deep discounts or sales through Book Bub on Facebook and through Email. My Kindle is never without one or two books that I read simultaneously.
Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
Answer in comments.