A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What I'm Reading

I have a confession to make: I haven't read Deus Caritas Est yet. Oh, I've started it. I printed it off pretty quickly once I found a link. I've read about half of it. Still, though I was eager to print it off, I didn't devour it the minute it came out. . . am I slipping? Is this what the backsliding of a Literate Catholic looks like?

Nah. It's just that I've got a mountain of books that I started reading and set aside to read other things, plus new books keep arriving (ok Teresa, time to stop buying yourself belated "birthday gifts") and I want to read them. Then that's not counting all those books I got at a Paulist Press blowout last year and haven't read yet. And did I mention how susceptible I am to used books? C'mon- it's only $2.00! Plus shipping! And all of this is just "fun reading," in addition to the academic work that I am reading, or was supposed to be reading, or want to be reading. There are still some books from my comprehensive exam list that I never read and would like to read.

So here's the list. Here's what I'm reading, in the loosest sense possible.

Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend. This is probably the hottest Christian self-help/pop-psychology book of the decade. And it may well deserve to be so trendy: it' s good. I don't know if I've really learned any life-changing insights, but I have been forced to view some aspects of my behavior in an uncomfortably honest way. Recommended for people who like this sort of thing, or who have boundary issues, though the sad thing is that most people who have boundary issues don't know it, and wouldn't know it unless/until they read the book.

For Women Only, by Shaunti Felhahn. I think that this book would be more useful if I hadn't recently read Eggerich's Love and Respect, which really is potentially life changing. One difference between the two is that Shaunti did some actual sociological research, and her book is based on her research. This may impress some science-minded readers more than Eggerich's book, in which the "evidence" is generally drawn from letters and testimonies of people who've gone to his conferences.

Living the Jesus Prayer, by Irma Zaleski. I hadn't read much on the use of the Jesus Prayer, though of course I'd heard of it. Prior to beginning this book, I was under the vague impression that the Jesus prayer was prayed just like the rosary, but without mysteries. I now realize that the purpose of prayer is really quite different. In any event, I am reading this book for a little extracurricular project I'm working on- more on that later, perhaps.

The Bible in a Year. (OSV's edition, edited by Paul Thigpen.) Um, I'm still on December. And the pages are already falling out. Enough said. I think that when I DO finish, I'm going to come up with a lighter Scripture reading schedule.

A Summer Knight's Tale, by Ronda Chervin and Gene Grandy. Let me say first that I enjoyed Ronda's earlier novel, Ties that Bind. This book, however, may be beating me. I don't know if I'll finish it. It's interesting, but just too "preachy," and there are two many stylistic problems. And although I got 167 pages into it, I still don't really care about the characters. For me, that's a major setback. I want to care about the characters in my leisure reading. Heck, I want to care about the characters in my "work" reading, too. I have always disliked Wuthering Heights precisely because I thought none of the main characters were worth caring about.

At Home in Mitford. I've been reading the first Mitford novel for what seems like a year now. It's good, but I don't think that I've become a Mitford-o-phile. I think for some reason, the fact that you can put the book down and come back to it whenever you have time is a major plus. For me, it's a hindrance: I am tempted to simply put the book down and never come back to it.

And that's what I'm reading now. I may follow this post up with a list of "what's on the plate:" all the books that I WANT to be reading but am not. Or maybe I won't. Who can say?


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