A year ago, I wrote that I was working my way through Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ (published 1958). The book still accompanies me to weekly Adoration, and when at home this Lent I keep it nearby. It takes only a few paragraphs to foster prayer and meditation.
While browsing through the Kindle store, I came across an interesting-looking book about Dorothy Day. I downloaded a sample that captivated me. Never mind the e-book; I had to have the hard copy! I’m now well into Dorothy Day: the World Will Be Saved By Beauty by Day’s granddaughter, Kate Hennessy. It’s a loving and lyrically-written portrait of Day by someone who loved her dearly, yet saw her clearly.
This seems to be my month for history books. I came across Crown and Sceptre by Tracy Borman thanks to my library’s online service. More a reference work than a compelling page-turner, it’s a survey of Britain’s monarchs from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II. Over the years I’ve had reason to study some of the Plantagenets and Tudors and Windsors, and the rest of the ruling houses are a mystery to me (aside from some dramatic figures like Victoria and George III). Time to fill in the blanks.
My favorite recent discovery from a used-book store is The Refugee: a North-side View of Slavery by Benjamin Drew. It’s a 1969 reprint of an 1855 book. Drew went to Canada to interview formerly enslaved people who had escaped the American South. He transcribed the brief oral histories and collected them for his fascinating and unsettling book.
What’s on your shelf this month? Let me know in the comments.
Something about winter makes my To Be Read list grow by leaps and bounds. Despite being an avid hiker, I was unwilling to go outside during a recent record-setting cold snap. I used the time to dive into some of the books that have been waiting patiently for me.
At last year’s Catholic Writers Guild conference, I had the chance to meet Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and pick up his book Father Augustus Tolton: the Slave Who Became the First African-American Priest. Designated “Venerable” by Pope Francis a couple of years ago, Fr. Tolton’s is a story of persistence and faith against obstacles higher than anything I’ve ever faced. The book contains biographical information, but is not strictly a biography. Its story is of faith, applied faith, and it challenges me as a Catholic reader to question how I’m nurturing and applying my own faith.
Walking is my exercise, discipline, and delight. I love being on a trail pretty much anytime of year. I like reading about other walkers’ adventures. But how to walk? Don’t I know that already? Annabel Sheets wrote 52 Ways to Walk as if to say “here. Learn something.” She invites readers to use their senses along the way, listen to the sounds of each environment, sing while walking, walk a “ley line” (a new term for me). She calls her book “my love letter to walking.” It’s fun and it gives me new ideas.
I’m taking the time for a hefty biography of The Revolutionary Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff. It’s time I learned more about this man’s role in our nation’s founding.
My own book, my first one, came out a few weeks ago: Pro-Life Journeys. It’s a weird feeling to be the author rather than the reader! I like hearing readers’ reactions to the book. We’ve had some good conversations, and I hope many more are ahead.
A few promotional notes: Pro-Life Journeys is an Amazon Kindle Countdown Deal until 2/7/23: 99 cents for the e-book. And if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you already have access to the e-book via your Amazon account.
I published Pro-LifeJourneys a few weeks ago in a so-called “soft launch,” but it felt pretty intense for this first-time author! It’s been great to meet interested readers and to share the stories from Pro-Life Journeys about some of the remarkable people I’ve met in the course of my work.
The paperback version is available on Amazon along with the e-book. Readers in my area can also get the paperback directly from me, with a quantity discount not available on Amazon: two or more copies (purchased at the same time) for $6 each. You can contact me using the form on the home page of this blog.
There’s no formal book tour, but I’ve been delighted to accept invitations from local friends to speak about the book. The result is always good conversation. Pictured below: a visit to my community TV studio for an interview by neighbor and legislator Jeanine Notter.