What I'm Reading - Spring 2016


Ah, I love a good season-change and spring might be the most welcome of them all.  Time for another seasonal reading round-up!

Just Finished Reading

Unsurprisingly, this was a beautiful and articulate book.  When I mentioned on Instagram that I was starting it, I had a few friends who have lost close family members confirm that reading it felt like reading their own words.  I've never lost anyone close to me besides aged and sick grandparents, and I felt this book gave me more clarity and understanding of what that kind of grief feels like.  So hopefully that means it's made me the tiniest bit better equipped to be a comfort to others in their time of need.

Hang on for a sec while I blow my nose and wipe up the mascara that's running down my face...  For real though, this book really is that good.  Father Boyle is the humanity advocate that I could only hope one day to be.  He tells us about the miraculous transformations he sees happen all the time when people who have lived their whole lives as unloved and unworthy suddenly are given mirrors that show them otherwise.  His stories are inspiring without being showy, and they are tempered with the tales of tragedy and loss that prove he has earned the right to talk.  Phenomenal book.

I mentioned in the winter installment that I had just started this book, but I had to bring it back up here because I finished it and loved it so much!  This might be the only parenting book I would ever recommend to anyone.  Rather than offering prescriptions for child-rearing, Karen Maezen Miller invites you to live fully present and embrace the beautiful opportunity for mindfulness that the slow, mundane life of parenting offers.  I just can't recommend this one enough to moms of young children, and I think highly involved dads would get a lot out of it as well.

Currently Reading

I've never read a book quite like this one, and I love it for that.  Author Christie Purifoy is also a fellow blogger and one of my favorites to follow on Instagram.  She's a gifted wordsmith, especially in articulating the profundity of everyday life and the human condition.  This book is chronological and she invites us in to a seasonal journey that includes depression, hope, loneliness, contentment, and rhythm.  Far from being a page-turner, this is a book to take in slowly, to chew on chapter by chapter, and one that inspires the reader to live a slower, more studied life.

This book, you guys.  It's killing me and it's blowing my paradigms and it's doing it on purpose.  This is some of the best consistent writing I've ever had the pleasure of taking in.  But it is so slow.  So.  Slow.  I'm having a hard time getting through it and in fact our book club is meeting to discuss it this Wednesday and I'm only halfway through.  I told Eric the other day that I can't remember ever in all my life finding a book so breathtakingly lovely and yet struggling to get through it at the same time.   But I can't stop because a) the absolute art of her writing and b) I know something's going to happen here in a bit.  The reading of it has been great discipline for my modern, instant-gratification brain.

This one was recommended to me by my priest, partly because he knows I dig St. Therese and partly because he thought I'd appreciate the author's worldview.  It's a good book but I was hoping it would be more about the author's own life and perspective and less about the saint's life, since I've already read Story of a Soul.  But when Heather King writes about humanity, searching, and belonging it's so good I want to shake the book and yell, "tell me more, Heather!".  As it is I might not finish this one, but would recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the life of St. Therese, as it's more accessible than her biography.

About to Start

I'll be reading this one along with the Liturgy of Life book club, but I'm a bit behind because I haven't started yet.  So it's not too late if you want to jump in!  This one has been on my list for awhile, what with my interest in faith and human suffering, so I was thrilled when Erica selected it for our group.  I've heard it's a must-read on the topic.

This is really a devotional/study guide but I thought I'd share it here since some of you might be interested!  Colleen C. Mitchell is another blogger I adore: talented writer, social justice advocate, and missionary to indigenous mothers of Costa Rica.  This devotional takes us from Easter to Pentecost and I can't wait to sink my teeth into it.  I've floundered with formal devotionals over the years, sometimes clinging to them and sometimes running from them, but in this season of life I'm finding the slightly raised bar of structure and guidance really important for me spiritually.  You can also get this as an ebook, which is what I did, by clicking through the ad on my sidebar.  That's an affilliate link, so thanks in advance!

With the Littles

We just finished reading Matilda and Fantastic Mr. Fox to Alyosha.  As a 6 year old boy, he loves Roald Dahl and we've read almost all of his works now.  Eric isn't too keen on Dahl because of the atrociously unsavory characters.  But I think it's good for kids to sometimes see inconsiderate, selfish, and hateful behavior depicted clearly as what it is: undesirable and unrewarding. And since I'm the one making the library trips, we read Roald Dahl.  ;)

But we're going to up our culture ante a bit and start The Chronicles of Narnia next, beginning with The Magician's Nephew.  I've been itching to start this series with Aly ever since he became our son, but have been waiting until he's old enough to understand them for the most part.  I'm hoping now is the time, but we shall see!

Obviously we go through dozens of picture books a month (or week?) with Moses, but every once in awhile a new one sticks out.  Symphony City was a little treasure Eric found at the library and we all love it.  Simple, poetic writing and innovative illustrations.  This is our top picture book pick this season!


As always, I'm an eager beaver to hear what book you've got your nose in lately.  Let me know in the combox or the FB thread, por favor!

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Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)