Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Good Reads for Peace Offerings

I’ve been asked when my third novel will be done and sadly, I don’t have a time frame, but these books are better reads anyway. So don’t hate me if that was you who asked ;) You will love these peace offerings. Joining Moxie Wife Five Favorites and Housewife Spice's What We’re Reading Wednesday to review five recent reads:

1. The Romance of Religion by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.  Though I am not a regular reader of Fr. Dwight’s blog, I knew I had to get my hands on his book when I saw the title. As a romantic idealist in a cynical world, I was interested in what Fr. Dwight had to say about Catholicism on this palpable tension I often feel against the outside sphere, even among the most Catholic of circles.  I was beyond floored at the display of wisdom, intelligence, and compelling prose of this book.  Fr. Dwight proves that “the child at the heart of each one of us is a romantic” albeit layered under masks, hurts, skepticism, pride. Fr. Dwight argues that all of us long for truth, beauty, goodness, faith, hope, and Jesus! The adventurous  journey with which he took me made me fall deeper in love with my religion.  He penned so many philosophical truths worth quoting and highlighting that I couldn’t help but draft a meme so that this outstanding book can make its way around the social media.  Bravo, Fr. Dwight and thank you!

2.  My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Campbell.  This spiritual memoir is an excellent read. Not only is it well-written, informative and inspiring, but is also a moving and page turning tale of a soul’s glorious transformation.  Ms. Campbell begins with a night of partying in college when she first felt the hallow ache of a longing for God, and because the experience is so parallel to mine, I was hooked from the get go.  Ms. Campbell has documented varied life experiences that will resonate with a lot of readers such as caring for an ill father, infertility, and career-climbing.  The way she draws lessons from the saints for each of her struggles and triumphs is a tour de force.  St. Jerome once said: “When we pray, we talk to God.  When we read, God speaks to us.” In reading this, I could almost hear the communion of saints whispering me advice from their lives and writings.  You will want to share this book with your spiritual sisters without waiting for a special occasion.

            3.  The Dancing Master Julie Klassen.  Julie Klassen always does an excellent job of taking me to Jane Austen’s world.   In “The Dancing Master,” Ms. Klassen focuses on Alec Valcourt, dancing and fencing instructor and the heiress, Miss Julia Midwinter and a cast worthy of an Austen novel:  an uptight town matriarch, a warmhearted neighboring family, and characters with connections to secret pasts.  I love the lyrical language and the  mystery that Ms. Klassen always imbues into novels. The Dancing Master isn't as romantic as her other novels but I liked the hero's noble character so much that I rank it as my second favorite next to “The Maid of Fairborne Hall.”

4. Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words by Servant of God Lucia Dos Santos.  If your impression of Fatima’s message is the third secret, you need to read this book, a memoir that Lucia wrote in obedience to her Bishop.  Lucia describes in very simple language, the personality of Jacinta, what their experiences were like, what Our Lady said, and how she appeared to the three shepherd children.  Reading a first hand account of Fatima made me appreciate what seers go through to publish a message of heaven.  They are, all seers, persecuted and tested by the Church, their families and even the most faithful Catholics.   But persecution and controversy never alter a truly authentic private revelation, and the fruits are always a good gauge.  This book made me wish there were more intimate memoirs of saints and seers cause I don’t think I’d read anything else.

5. The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortich. If you haven’t read Anne’s New York Times bestseller of a first novel, “Julia”, you should.  It’s a story of Juliet Capulet’s descendant who travels to Italy to find her past, and chances on her soul mate. Ms. Fortich’s second book, “The Lost Sisterhood” is just as well-written, history-packed and adventure –ridden as her first novel. Diana Morgan, Oxford philologist, is offered a mysterious chance to travel to Amsterdam and there unravels the “truth” behind Greek mythology and the Amazons’ prominent role in history. Ms. Fortich’s remarkable research and writing talent exquisitely weaves two stories together. Fiction writers will learn from her the art of writing two well-crafted novels in one. HOWEVER, I cannot recommend “The Lost Sisterhood” to readers like me who like entertainment and escape due to disturbing themes: heavy-handed feminism and a distinct "pro-choice" soapbox moment, paganism, brief cannibalism and unnecessary sex scenes. In short, read “Juliet.”



8 kids and a business said...

There's a teetering pile of books that are waiting to be read on my bedside table but if I could pick just one book out of your good reads recommendations, it would have to be Sr. Lucia's book. Good luck with your book!

Mary N. said...

Hi Anabelle,
Thanks for the book recommendations. I've only read 1 out of the 5 - My Sisters the Saints, which I loved! I have read some of Fr. Longenecker's books but not this particular one.

Jessica said...

My teen daughters love Julie Klassen. Too bad about The Lost Sisterhood. I hate it when I can't recommend a book, but I appreciate an honest review.