Another month, another chance to tell you what I am reading. You all should be glad I plowed through my “in progress” reading and finished four books since I last caught you up on my bookshelf. Right now I only have one (ONE!!) active book going. But it’s a real doozy, so I’ve been tempted, so so tempted, to start an easier one to read concurrently. Stop me.
Though you should be so glad I spared you the bad graphic design I had been working on for this earlier tonight.
I feel like I can’t even describe what happens in this book without spoiling it – everything is laid out so specifically. I love unreliable narrators and tangential plots in a mystery, but there are a few tangents in this book that made me groan. It was an enjoyable read, though, and I would recommend to people looking for a Gillian Flynn follow-up, though this one is less dark than any of her novels.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
After finishing this book, I looked at all my belongings in horror. I had recently done a major reduction in my crap-having, but the precepts of the “KonMari” method require an even more discerning approach to one’s “stuff.” I am waiting to be a bit more settled in my (somewhat) new apartment before going all-in on what “brings me joy,” but I will definitely be implementing her method with my books, clothes, and knick-knacks. Based on how many people have asked to borrow my copy of this book, I don’t think I’m alone. It’s out on loan now, but I’ll know where I will turn when my spring cleaning fever kicks in.
Between Heaven and Mirth – James Martin, SJ
So, it’s Lent, and you may remember I am only reading spiritual books through the season. It’s actually been a really positive experience so far. (Full disclosure: I have also been listening to Dragonfly in Amber, the second Outlander book, and also read part of an issue of Washingtonian, but listening and magazines are not reading or books, respectively.)
I had started Between Heaven and Mirth prior to Lent, but held off on finishing it until after Ash Wednesday. This book is uplifting, encouraging, and hopeful. The arguments at its core are not groundbreaking or shocking, but it’s a good reminder of what it means to “Rejoice always!” and how integral joy is to the spiritual life, even in a somber season. Because Fr. Martin is a Jesuit, this is definitely skewed to a Christian perspective even though he addresses other faith traditions. Some of his anecdotes will be familiar to people who know his work, but the book is worth a read for the reminder to be grateful, to carry joy to other people, and to be open to the grace of God even through suffering.
Life of the Beloved – Henry Nouwen
This book, guys. THIS BOOK. I absolutely devoured it. I was so hungry for everything in it, and I am so glad my high school classmate, Marissa, recommended that I jumpfrog my reading list to get to it.
I need to devote some more space and some more time to this book, but for now… Nouwen addresses what it means to live as a child of God. A huge question for such a slim volume, but he cuts to the heart of many of our modern insecurities and issues in lovely, straightforward language. I have a reread or ten ahead of me – I can use the reminders daily of how to live in this broken world, accepting the love of God and sharing that love with others.
Orthodoxy – GK Chesterton
This book is dense. I’ve read like 20 pages, and it’s on another level. I’ll get back to you on this at the end of Lent, probably. Or the end of next Lent.