My thirteen year old son and I listened to the audio CD version of this book on a trip we took last weekend. It had been recommended to me by many, maMy thirteen year old son and I listened to the audio CD version of this book on a trip we took last weekend. It had been recommended to me by many, many people. I always have difficulty reviewing religious books. A book may offer theological depth, but be poorly written. This book is simplistic, a plain narrative of a 4 year old child's claim to have been to heaven during a life-threatening surgery. It's no great work of literature, but it has a good message. I don't claim to believe this child 100%. After all, I have a five year old, and I know how often she surprises me with her inventiveness and her ability to recite back things that were said when we didn't think she was listening. But I am glad I got a chance to finally "read" (well, actually, "hear") the book....more
“Nature, in Dakota, can indeed be an experience of the holy.”
I ran across a review of Dakota on Goodreads, and couldn’t believe I had not heard of t “Nature, in Dakota, can indeed be an experience of the holy.”
I ran across a review of Dakota on Goodreads, and couldn’t believe I had not heard of this book before. As a native North Dakotan and someone who is on a faith journey herself, Dakota seemed to be a must read for me.
The author, Kathleen Norris, has had an interesting journey in her own right. She was born in Washington DC, but spent summers in South Dakota with her grandparents. Eventually, she found her calling as a writer (poetry, to be exact) and furthered her career in New York City. Like many of us who left small towns and suburbia for urban centers, Ms. Norris felt that she had outgrown the religion she grew up with. And yet, she still had a spiritual longing. In Dakota, through a series of essays and poems, the reader is able to journey with Kathleen Norris as she navigates her spiritual inheritance and finally makes peace with it.
“Ironically, it is in choosing the stability of the monastery or the Plains, places where nothing ever happens, places the world calls dull, that we discover that we can change. In choosing a bare-bones existence, we are enriched, and can redefine success as an internal process rather than an outward display of wealth and power.”
This is such a beautiful book. Norris’ writing is breathtaking and in Dakota, she bares her soul in an effort of devotion and instruction. I will have to read this again and again....more
In my search for the excellent and literary Christian novel, I decided to give this one a try. There are a number of lists which rated Redeeming LoveIn my search for the excellent and literary Christian novel, I decided to give this one a try. There are a number of lists which rated Redeeming Love the tops in Christian fiction, and a few of my Goodreads friends have also given favorable reviews to this book.
A retelling of the Hosea and Gomer story from the bible, Redeeming Love is a about a man, Michael Hosea, who is told by God he should marry a prostitute. The year is 1850 and the California Gold Rush is on. Women are scarce and the brothels do a brisk business. Angel was forced into selling her body from the time her mother died, when she was 8 years old. Feeling demeaned and unworthy of love, Michael Hosea has a hard time proving to her that she is loved by him and by God.
I was really hoping that this novel would rise above other works of Christian fiction, but frankly, it doesn’t. It’s just okay. The historical setting doesn’t help as the author is more concerned with feelings than with historical accuracy. That said, if you enjoy Christian fiction or romance novels, you will probably love this one. I’m still waiting for that novel that can take God and literature to the level of Michaelangelo’s art....more
I thought I’d squeeze in some Christian fiction to get my mind (and heart) focused on the right place as we kick off the Advent season. Set on the U.SI thought I’d squeeze in some Christian fiction to get my mind (and heart) focused on the right place as we kick off the Advent season. Set on the U.S. homefront during World War II, While We’re Far Apart is a touching story of family separation. A father is serving overseas and kept apart from his two children. A son is trapped in Hungary studying at the Yeshiva, while his father desperately searches for information about him and fears for his safety. And both of these families grieve the loss of wives and mothers taken from them by means of a tragic automobile accident.
As the book progresses Austin addresses the issues of anger at God, forgiveness and trust that even in despair, God can bring goodness. Austin’s novels are easy to read, but always with a great story and an even greater message. A perfect book for the holidays....more
Our church decided to purchase 1,000 of these books and give them away to parish families this Christmas. I decided I had been lax on my spiritual reaOur church decided to purchase 1,000 of these books and give them away to parish families this Christmas. I decided I had been lax on my spiritual reading, and endeavored to squeeze this one in during the holiday.
It was a wonderful book! James Martin is a Jesuit priest (and an excellent writer, I might add), who tells the reader about several saints who had an impact on his journey to becoming a priest and his own personal struggles. I had been introduced to several of these saints already, but Martin pulls out those attributes (some previously unknown by me and a little more obscure), that he identified with. Presenting the biographies in this way is not only refreshing, but it is often humorous as well.
Of course, with all books of this nature, the purpose is to help the reader to draw closer in their own faith journey, Martin does an excellent job of pulling together the lives of the saints, his own life and the reader’s life, in a way that gives food for thought and provides for spiritual growth. After reading My Life With the Saints, I found a personal connection with Thomas Aquinas that surprised me. Maybe Aquinas is praying for me. You never know… 4 1/2 stars!...more
Continuing on with my 52 Books Around the World Challenge, Left To Tell is my selection for Rwanda. As with many of the books set in Africa, it depictContinuing on with my 52 Books Around the World Challenge, Left To Tell is my selection for Rwanda. As with many of the books set in Africa, it depicts the horrors of war. The systematic genocide of an entire race of people by former friends and neighbors, is about as low, dark and ugly as the human race can sink. But this book is different, because it doesn’t just plop you down in the middle of unthinkable horror. Ms. Ilibagiza may have been trapped in a closet, fearing that at any moment the killers would find her, but she wasn’t alone. I’m not referring to the other women who shared that tiny bathroom – I’m referring to God. Immaculee had moments of beautiful communion with her creator during that siege, and her surrender to Him helped to bring her peace and keep her from harm.
Left to Tell is a inspiring testament to the power of faith, forgiveness and hope. There is a message here for everyone....more
This summer I agreed to take part in a reading series hosted by the mother’s group at my church. The ladies that chose to take part in the program votThis summer I agreed to take part in a reading series hosted by the mother’s group at my church. The ladies that chose to take part in the program voted on the books they’d like to read, and then the books were selected based on the votes. The second book I’ve read for the series, >i>Discovering the Feminine Genius is so good, I knew I had to review it for my blog.
The author takes the principles from Pope John Paul II’s writings – especially from Theology of the Body – and puts them in a highly readable and personally applicable format. I’ve always felt that a good faith-based book should do three things: draw you into a closer relationship with God, teach you more about your faith, and finally, help you further along your faith path by giving you some practical suggestions to help you in your day to day life. This book clearly does all three.
Our American culture is so contradictory to the tenets of the Catholic faith – I would dare say to most religious beliefs. Zeno’s book is an important counter to the misinformation fed to us by modern media. It discusses the divine purpose of womanhood (and indeed all humanity) as one of union and communion. With each other and with God. That said, she also stresses that all women “are called to spiritual motherhood because motherhood is knit into the very structure of a woman’s being.”
The beauty of this book is that it so eloquently affirms woman’s role in God’s grand design. It explains the teachings of the Catholic faith as it relates to women and relationships in a way that makes perfect sense. In this day and age, when American culture’s misunderstanding of the Church’s positions is so prevalent, a book like Discovering the Feminine Genius is so important....more