"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 Reads, Update #1

Completed First Quarter:

The Book of Ecclesiastes, a book of the Old Testament, KJV Translation.
The Book of Song of Songs, a book of the Old Testament, KJV Translation.
The Iman’s Daughter: My Desperate Flight to Freedom, a confessional memoir by Hannah Shah.
The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church, a non-fiction book by John L. Allen Jr.
The Book of Proverbs, a book of the Old Testament, KJV Translation.
Compassionate Blood: Catherine of Siena on the Passion, a non-fiction devotional by Romanus Cessario, O.P.
What Jesus Saw from the Cross, a non-fiction devotional by Antonin Gilbert Sertillanges, O.P.
The Wife of Pilate, a short novel by Gertrude von Le Fort

Currently Reading:

Julius Caesar: Life of a Colossus, a biography by Adrian Goldsworthy.
Some Desperate Glory: The First World War the Poets Knew, a book of history and collected poetry by Max Egremont.
The Hunger Angel, a novel by Herta Müller.
The Virgin and the Gipsy, a short novel by D. H. Lawrence.
A Room with a View, a novel by E. M. Forster.

Upcoming Plans:

“The Secret Sharer,” a short story by Joseph Conrad.
“Gods,” a short story by Vladimir Nabokov.
 “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
“The Light of the World,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
“Marius,” Volume III of Les Misérables, a novel by Victor Hugo.

I posted my plans for 2017 a month late and so I guess it shouldn’t surprise that my first quarter update is a month late.  But I have to say I have read quite a bit these past three or four months, perhaps one of the most productive quarters of reading in a long time.  Some of those books were not planned up front.  John Allen’s The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church was a Goodreads Catholic Thought book club group read.  It was nearly five hundred pages of recent trends in Catholicism, and projection of what they may mean.  I never posted on the book.  It wasn’t exactly my type of reading.  John Allen is a prominent American journalist who reports on Catholic news.  The trends were interesting; some of the prognostications are already out of date.  It felt like it was journalism, and so it read fast.  On the positive side, John Allen is really connected to the church issues, and I put value in his thoughts and opinions. 

The Imam’s Daughter was an impulsive purchase which caught my eye and I read the nearly three hundred pages in five days.  That’s super-fast for me.  It was such an intense read that I was glued to it.  Several nights I stayed up late reading through it.  It’s a non-fiction memoir of a Muslim girl living in north England.  I posted once on it, but it was not complete.  I will shortly complete with a second post.

For Lent I actually completed three books, two non-fiction books, both by Dominican friars: Compassionate Blood by Romanus Cessario and What Jesus Saw from the Cross by A. G. Sertillanges—and one work of fiction, The Wife of Pilate by Gertrude von Le Fort.  It was a busy and holy Lent.  I’ve posted several times on the two non-fiction works.  You can find them in my March and April postings.  Le Fort’s novella, The Wife of Pilate, is a fictional rendering of Claudia Procula—the wife of Pontius Pilate—who had that dream of Christ before the crucifixion (Matt 27:19) and tried to dissuade her husband from prosecuting Jesus.  It’s a really well told story and I do intend to make a post on it.  So stay tune.

Finally I completed three Old Testament books toward my annual Biblical reads. 

Before Lent had started I was in the process of reading several secular works.  I am a good sixty percent through Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel, a good twenty percent through D. H. Lawrence’s novella The Virgin and the Gipsy, and a good twenty-five percent through E. F. Forster’s novel A Room with a View.  I will now pick up on those works.  It has really been a really busy and fun reading time these past few months.

Now here’s an oddity.  I did not read a single short story this quarter.  That’s really unusual for me.  If I’m going to read my goal of 24 for the year, I’ll have to really focus on it. 

Happy reading.

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