#Open Book, March 2017

Alicia von Stamwitz has collected Pope Francis’s reflections on on the Blessed Mother in Mother Mary (Franciscan Media, to be released 3/31/2017), in a format ideal for daily prayer prompts and inspiration. Excerpts from the Pope’s homilies, public addresses, and daily Angelus proclamations are divided into six Marian-themed chapters. Even some of the Pope’s tweets are included (surely you’re following @Pontifex).

The collection could be particularly useful in special liturgical seasons, as an aid to periodic prayer throughout the day. This could appear to be a collection for busy people; each quotation takes only a few moments to read. That’s deceptive, though, because under von Stamwitz’s curation, the Pope’s brief reflections draw the reader away from busy-ness. His words inspire contemplation of Mary and her perfect faith in God, inviting the reader to join Our Lady in confident prayer and praise.

Something completely different is onboard my Kindle at the moment: The Ambulance Drivers by James McGrath Morris (Perseus Books Group, Da Capo Press, to be released 3/28/2017), a nonfiction account of the relationships and common experiences of American writers John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway. The title refers to their service in World War I, which deeply affected each man. I’m not far into the book but it has already grabbed me. Morris is crafting an appealing blend of biography, literature and history.

Review copies provided by NetGalley.com.