Books, Books, Books in the Mailbox!

The daily walk to the mailbox is becoming an embarrassment of riches. My husband is not to happy when the daily books arrive, unless — as happened a few weeks ago when I was sick — he spies something that he wants to read, like When Hitler Took Austria: A Memoir of Heroic Faith by the Chancellor’s Son, which he is getting through slowly (he works so many hours!) but says he is enjoying very much.

Me, I am giddy as a kid on skates to get new books that I can read and recommend, and today was a three-fer!

Just Arrived: Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, which I may have to put down an old Terry Pratchett book to read, as much as I dislike leaving the Discworld. I love the cover, and Jonah Goldberg always has something to say that’s worth hearing, and a clever way of saying it.

Amy Welborn’s Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope I read a little excerpted on other blogs, and this book strikes me as being particularly lyrical bit of wisdom disguised as prose. A newly-widowed mom takes her children to Sicily for three weeks? Why Sicily? When “home” has been torn out from under you, why not?

And James Robison and Jay W. Richards’ Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom Before It’s Too Late — a book I confess I have not heard of, but which contains a forward from Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., and is as heavily-blurbed a book as I have ever seen: it has recommendations by Father Jonathan Morris, Fr. Robert Sirico, as well as author Eric Metaxas, former Governor Mike Huckabee and, as they say, “a host of others”. Having heard nothing of it prior to its landing in my mailbox, I can’t say much more than it seems a sort of primer/shot-in-the-arm for the so-called “religious right.”

Two books I have not yet received (although I expect one to arrive momentarily) but am very much looking forward to receiving:

Mary DeTurris Poust’s Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God It’s not going to be released until Christmas (what a stocking stuffer; half smack upside the head, half life-saver) but I think Mary is going to be speaking to a lot of Christians — not just Catholics and certainly not just women — with this book, because so many, many of us are in the throes of a terrible and often-destructive longing, if not for food than for physical perfection. Reaching for a RingDing or a perfect limb extension, the thing we ultimately seek can never be grasped or even grazed. We’re reaching in the wrong direction.

And finally, it too is not yet released, but will be soon: the reissue of Nobel Prize-winning author Sigrid Undset’s classic, Stages on the Road, with a forward written — so very happily — by me! I could sit here and gush about why this book deserves to be re-issued and re-discovered, but then I’d be giving it all away, wouldn’t I? I’ll write more about it when the book is released, but for now let me say that her essays on Margaret Clitherow and Robert Southwell, Ramon Lull of Paliua and Angela of Merici and her “Reply to a Parish Priest” are engaging, immediate and relevant to our times in very surprising ways.

Undset is one of my favorite writers. If you haven’t read her biography of Saint Catherine of Siena, you’re really missing something As as Webster Bull’s recommendation of Undset’s masterwork Kristin Lavransdatter makes clear, this writer has a way of heart, mind and spirit that is rare and exhilarating.

At over a thousand pages, some might prefer, as I do, to read Kristin Lavransdatter on Kindle. Yes, I know. I have gone over to the dark side. I still love my books, but an e-reader is a lot easier on arthritic hands.

Lastly — if you’re a book lover, and a kid-lover — swing over to The Ironic Catholic, who is trying to help a couple adopt a cute little girl who needs a loving family and good medical benefits, and is helping out in a most unique way. You might get a book out of it. Or a tote. Or jewelry, or a scarf. Or CANDY! Check it out; I just made a small donation. Every little bit helps!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Manny

    I would say ony the Undset book is my type of reading, and I think you convinced me. I’ve wanted to read Kristen Lavransdatter, but at a 1000 pages it would be a huge committment of my limited reading time. How long is Stages on the Road?

  • Manny

    No need to answer. It’s 256 pages according to Amazon.

    [It's really good, too! -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Daily books? That sounds like a bit much :)

    Perhaps, though, I can add to your burden:

    I am still like that at heart- even though, like a lot of people (many of whom the author writes about) I have to behave differentl.

    [I actually really do want to read that, DV. It's on my list! But man...that list is long. I need a few vacations by the pool to get to it! _admin]

  • dry valleys

    I saw the author on a video of TED talks. I knew I had to know more :)

  • dry valleys

    Yes, that’s why I don’t read too many month. A new book and a re-read a month is all I can generally do, so I end up ignoring most of what might have been worth reading given all day every day to read. But sometimes something screams out, “quietly” :)

  • Colet

    Thanks for the head’s up on the Poust book. I’ve read Geneen Roth’s stuff (“Women, Food, and God”, “When Food is Love”), but her “spirituality” is inane and unhelpful. Her books helped me see what the problem is, but it is such a long lasting and deeply ingrained issue for me that I could use a little hand-holding to walk out of it.

  • Barbara A. Richards

    Kristin Lavransdatter is one of my all time favorite books. And I read a lot. It is incredibly beautiful in its prose, its story, and it is a fascinating read – for anyone, but even more so for Christians. Its deeply religious themes are most meaningful. I read it years ago and want to re-read it. I want my book club to read it. Undset’s other great novel masterpiece, The Master of Hestviken is also wonderful. It goes still more deeply into matters of sin and redemption. Since I read it about a year ago, it has actually surpassed Kristin for me in my literary hierarchy . Though I love them both. Any serious-minded person of Christian faith must read these. Do not worry about the length. These books will take hold of you. They are transformative.