Awkward social moments on the internet, Episode #397. You get a Christmas gift book in the mail, utterly unexpected. From your editor. It arrives just when you’ve made a cup of coffee and have ten minutes to do nothing at all. You open to a random page, get sucked in, read a chapter. Flip flip flip, another good chapter. The terrifying verdict: I didn’t know it was going to be such a good book.
I don’t want to be a sycophant, and Elizabeth Scalia assured me I Don’t Want to be a Hoo-er!* was a token of her appreciation, not a review copy. Authors like to mail their books the way grandmothers like to show off baby photos.
What You Get: A collection of essays culled from the very best of Elizabeth Scalia’s writing over the last several years. Most of the essays are previously published, and I was pleased to see that one of my all time favorites of her online writing was in the collection. Some are just seeing light of day for the first time, and understandably: They touch topics so exquisitely, excruciatingly personal that even when the writer is, finally, removed enough to let that bit of her heart out to air, the internet really is not the best place.
Why it’s a Fabulous Book: Because someone crossed a blog with a printing press, and ended up with a hybrid so stunning it makes Monsanto jealous. Readable, intellectually and spiritually engaging, and you can consume it in five minute snippets, not necessary to start at chapter 1.
Who will like it: People who enjoy Little-Way spirituality combined with commentary on current events. A few of the essays are of more interest to those with familiarity with the hot Catholic news topics of the past decade. Many of the essays are not political or newsy at all. All of the essays are full of good spiritual punch for ordinary folks in the pews grappling with the normal miseries of everyday life.
Why I secretly love it so much, and think it needs to stay in print for a very long time: I have this thing for period historical documents. Give me Jane Austen, or GKC, or Odo of Cluny, and I know a whole lot more about history than one gets from reading breathless generalizations about “What people believed then!” As a snapshot of Catholic thinking in the early 21st century, this book is brilliant.
Summary: Love it enough I’m leaving it lying around the house for the spouse and teenager to stumble upon. Great book. Merry Christmas to me.