So many good books and more on the way! And it just occurred to me that it's easier to take pictures of the books I have on hand instead of copying the covers from Amazon. One of the few reasons I like having a smart phone. LOL.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate diCamillo reminded me very much of her first book, Because of Winn-Dixie, not just for the quirky characters but for how accurately she portrays children, how they think, how they feel, and what they pay attention to. It also made me cry a little for all those children who are missing a mother or a father, or both. I realized towards the end that although the book will end on a note of hope, that the reality for these children is still bleak. They make the best of it, but it's never the ideal. Children deserve so much more.
Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff. I really enjoyed this book about Sam, a boy who struggles to read but one who is gifted with the language of wood. Although the plot was predictable, what I appreciated is how well the author captures the longing of children. Sam's friend longs for stability (why are artist parents in books always portrayed as free spirits and wanderers?); Sam longs to know he really belongs to his family, and not some other family.
The Rule of St. Benedict in English is less than a hundred pages but it's one that I'll be reading often. I really hope to apply this to our family life because it seems the most sensible thing to do. He calls it "a little rule for beginners" and encourages to follow without fear. "Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation." And "If you hear His voice today, do not harden your heart." He has such a wonderful insight into the human heart, its frailties. He speaks of the duties of the abbot: "regulate and arrange all matters that souls may be saved and the brothers may go about their activities without justifiable grumbling." with discipline to "amend faults and safeguard love." You can see easily how this applies to parents. He tackles subjects like obedience, humility, restraint of speech, prayers, reverence, proper amount of food and drink, daily work. This entire book is a GEM. I highly recommend it.
Little Sins Mean a Lot: Kicking Our Bad Habits Before They Kick Us by Elizabeth Scalia. I read a review of this on Catholic Mom and thought, this is the book for me! How many of us are compelled to commit murder or adultery? Not many, I hope :) It's the little sins that we allow to foment that if left unchecked become big sins. I know that in a culture that has no concept of right and wrong, it can seem like a strange and too scrupulous a thing to focus on little sins (because you know, we are basically good people), but the author has made her case beautifully. She covers 13 bad habits, from procrastination (do all writers procrastinate as much as I do?) to gossip to sins of omission. She gives examples (many from her own life so it's lovely getting to know her as well), what Catholicism has to say about these sins, practical suggestions on breaking away with a short prayer at the end. Another gem of a book. I think perhaps in June I'll tackle the first bad habit: procrastination. Who knows, maybe at the end of 13 months or perhaps it will take 13 years I might be a mite holier. Pray for me.