It’s been quite some time since I posted a good old-fashioned book review. Our public library shut down back in March and is only just beginning to reopen, so a shortage of new reading material has been a bit of a problem. I mean, I know it’s insignificant compared to the hardships that so many others are facing right now, but I can’t deny that it’s annoying. Especially since we’re spending a lot of time cooped up inside at the moment. All I can say is, thank goodness for free ebooks, fast Amazon shipping, and our amazing local indie bookstore. I think I would have gone crazy without them.
Who Does He Say You Are?
This was one of my Lenten reads and it did not disappoint. I highly, highly recommend this one for every woman (teen and up) who desires to enrich her faith life. This book contains so many beautiful insights and will give you so much food for prayer. It’s challenging in the very best way, and as comforting as a hug from your best friend. I can see myself coming back to it again and again when I just want a good Scriptural reflection to direct my prayer.
I’m reading Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son this Lent (following along with the Abiding Together Podcast’s book study) and it is SO BEAUTIFUL. The book describes Nouwen’s deeply spiritual encounter with Rembrandt’s depiction of the homecoming scene from the parable. This experience taught him not only to see God in a new way, but also served as a window into his own soul. I really appreciate Nouwen’s insights into the workings of the human heart and his willingness to be incredibly vulnerable and honest about the struggles and sufferings he experienced on his own spiritual journey. Because in the end, we’re all really prodigal sons and daughters trying to find our way back to our true home.
A voice, weak as it seemed, whispered that no human being would ever be able to give me the love I craved, that no friendship, no intimate relationship, no community would ever be able to satisfy the deepest needs of my wayward heart. That soft but persistent voice spoke to me about my vocation, my early commitments, the many gifts I had received in my father’s house. That voice called me “son.”
For this week’s Monday Miscellany, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve been reading recently, and what I’m planning on reading in the near future. School (and life in general) have been super busy these past few months, so pleasure reading has kind of been pushed to the back burner, but a looming library due date forced me to get back on track. I finished my first book of the year (woot woot!!) and just picked up a few new ones from the library, plus a few Lenten reads (because I’m nothing if not ambitious when it comes to reading). But I know you’re really just interested in the books, and not my overly-optimistic reading list, so here you go!
How Green Was My Valley
I just finished this one, and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s something magical about diving into a historical work and being transported to a different time and place, to experience life vicariously through the protagonist. This one is a coming of age story that vividly illustrates the effects of the Industrial Revolution on a small Welsh mining town. Llewellyn’s simple prose, written in dialect, not only accurately depicts the way in which the characters would have spoken but also evokes the lyricism of the Welsh language. It was a beautiful book and one I can see myself rereading.
It’s been quite the year on the reading front. I read twenty-four books in total, which means I met my goal of two books a month. (Yay!) Some of the books I read this year were fantastic, some were just good, and some were less than stellar. Instead of listing them all, which would make for a VERY long blog post, I decided to feature the standouts. Listed below, in no particular order, are my top six books of the year.