I probably have two people to thank for ensuring that I’ve read something other than Go, Dog, Go over the past two years. The first is the lovely and witty Laura, who, what a year ago(?) agreed to read Heather King’s Redeemed with me. Or maybe I agreed to read it with her. Who knows. Anyways, thus began the makings of an on-again, off-again long-distance book club of two (plus Claire for Anna Karenina). It’s been fun.
The second person is my sister-in-law Betsy, who introduced me to Goodreads. If you’re not on the site and have read, like, more than one book in the past year or are even just contemplating reading a book sometime down the line, you should join. It’s like the Pinterest for list-obsessed people (me) who like to think their days consist of endless cups of coffee (well, there is truth to this), a place of honor at a local cafe, and nothing else to do but write and read. Ha. What I do like most about Goodreads, though, is how easy it is get new book recommendations and read reviews both by friends and writers whom you can follow. For instance, I’ve never met Webster Bull, but I liked his old blog, and he likes Sigrid Undset (so, instant affinity right there), so I’m willing to bet that the books he adds to his “to-read” list are worth checking out. In my ample spare time, of course.
Anyway. All this is to say that I’m trying to read more/break myself of the mommy drug that is Facebook.
What I’m reading now:
- Bad Religion, by Ross Douthat.
I started this a couple months before Felix was born and flew through the first section, which offers a historical survey of America’s mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic, and black churches over the past century. So far, I’ve found that the most fascinating part of the book — I think that for us Catholics, especially, when we go up in flames over issues, we tend to set our vision and arguments in a post-Vatican II context: I’m liberal, because I believe in the progressive spirit called for by the Council, or I’m conservative because I don’t believe there was such a “spirit” in the first place, etc. Stepping back and looking at the history of the Church in the U.S. by even just an extra 50 years is enlightening and thought-provoking. Having a newborn has caused the non-fiction to slide down on my list of current reads, but I look forward to finishing it.
- The Reed of God, by Caryll Houselander.
Oh my goodness. I don’t know how I made it through four years at Steubenville without stumbling across Caryll Houselander, but she is good. This is one of those books that I lingered over for so long, because every other page is a stunning meditation on the Christian life, that I might as well go back and start reading it again from the beginning. And lest you think this is just another smarmy, saccharine book on Marian devotion, let me say: this woman’s got herself some snark. My one complaint is that, other than this book, much of Houselander’s work seems to be out of print and thus either sold in ratty condition or at exorbitantly high prices online. I want more.
- Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery.
I have Laura to thank for this, as I somehow skipped over the Anne books — and even the movie — as a kid. This is what I read on the couch while nursing Felix, and I’ve had many literal laugh-out-loud moments, followed by me forcing Luke to pause whatever he’s watching so I can share another delightfully incisive one-liner from L.M. Montgomery.
- Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh.
Switching back and forth from the girly blitheness of Anne of Green Gables to the disenchanted Charles Ryder is a bit of a literary bi-polar experience, but my woman’s group at church wanted to read Brideshead, so here I am, on page 11. I hear reading/saying I like anything by Waugh will firmly ground me as a legit “young, Catholic intellectual,” (definitely my goal), so I’m pressing on. (Do I lose intellect points if I start comparing it to Downton Abbey?)
Anyways. Kid #2 is up, so back to the grind. After I check Facebook.
What are you reading?