Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

I am seriously behind on book reviews. Every time I think I am going to get a chance to review something, work gets in the way. If only I didn't have to pay bills, I'd just write reviews for you all day.

As well, I've gotten in a slew of books recently. And most of them are good, y'all. Which is why I have about six of them "in progress" all over the house.

Here is a bit of myIn Progress/To Read list, just to give you an idea.

Mary, Mother of the Son trilogy by Mark Shea
These books I actually bought and let me tell you that is a rarity around here, especially for theological materials since I am blessed with review copies from various publishers. I was not much interested in these books until I read The Curt Jester's glowing review. I really am glad that I plopped down the cash. The first book is fantastic so far and I enjoy Mark's style so much that I am picking it up instead of Frederica (by Georgette Heyer) some nights for bedtime reading. Now that's a ringing endorsement as any Heyer-lover will tell you. The Curt Jester was right on the money with this comment:
All of my hesitations about a three volume apologetics book set on Mary were dispelled. Mark's writing is informative and much of it with a smile behind it. His writing is not adversarial in any way and so any Protestants reading his book will not get any sense of "us against them." Like so many ex-Catholics, Mark is quite positive about his time as a Protestant, but is also very good at showing the cracks that he started to see when he questioned some basic assumptions or psuedo-knowledge. So I think these are great books to read both as an apologetics work and/or spiritual reading.
The Abbess of Andalusia by Lorraine V. Murray
After reading several reviews of a very unsatisfactory fairly new biography of Flannery O'Connor, it was a pleasure to read the materials on this very different sounding book about her.
In these pages you will come to know Flannery O'Connor not only as a writer and an icon, but as a theologian and apologist; as a spiritual director and a student of prayer; as a suffering soul who learned obedience and merited grace through infirmity; and truly, as the Abbess of her own small, but significant, spiritual house.
Just got it today, so I must read in a dedicated fashion to clear room. Our Catholic women's book club is going to be reading a few of O'Connor's short stories since one member offered to do the work of researching just what they might mean. (I've only read one of her stories but I was flummoxed until I read a couple of papers on it.)

This Tremendous Lover by M. Eugene Boylan, O.C.R.
This is one of those books whose name I have seen mentioned time and again in other books. I picked it out from Tiber River, part of Aquinas and More Catholic Store's review program. By the way, there are a lot of good reviews over at Tiber River and some interesting review lists as well. I must say that I received the book and was a little taken aback. I hadn't expected a 350 page, densely packed work. Also, the modern forward kept stressing the fact that this had been very popular in its day but that parts of it were necessarily out of date since it was 60 years old. However, upon flipping through it, I came upon section after section full of common sense about how to live one's faith and how to build a relationship with God in the midst of a busy life. As well, the first chapter is one I may have to excerpt here. Boylan talks about the Trinity in such a wonderful way that I felt I actually had a real understanding of something which usually just makes my head hurt. So far, I'm lovin' it.

The Power of Pause by Terry Hershey
An easy to read book of 52 reflections about how slowing down our lives will make them better and help us connect with God more. Yes, we've heard it a thousand times, but Hershey makes you want to do it. In fact, Tom and I have begun doing just that thing ... but that's the subject for a different post.

Retreat in the Real World
This is the book form of a popular personal retreat was originally offered online through Creighton University. In fact, I got about a quarter of the way through that retreat before I slipped away. Part of that was from having to print out pages to put in my notebook and so forth. (Hey, I never said I wasn't a light weight, ok?) At any rate, I am looking forward to pursuing it with this more accessible form.

The Bible Blueprint by Joe Paprocki
An engaging and simple look at the Bible which encourages us to read and study it.What has me interested in the back half which has a very interesting resource list and ideas about how to begin parish Bible studies.

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