Friday, January 15, 2021


It's been a while since I shared some good books. So without further ado:

My Sister, My Soul: An Arabian Night's Tale by Joan Friday is an imaginative look into the lives of Sheherezade and her sister Dunyazad. I love stories about the bonds of sisterhood and Ms. Friday delivers with a superbly crafted story. Both characters are richly drawn and come to life and their growth through the 1001 nights is beautifully rendered. The details of life in the harem with both their luxuries and confines made me grateful to live here and now with all the freedoms I enjoy. It also made me want to have someone pour scented water over me, feed me peeled grapefruit, dress me in silky soft gowns, and tell me stories. Ah, the life.

The Woman in the Trees: a novel about America's first approved Marian apparition by Theoni Bell was another beautiful story about family. Think Little House meets a saint. In this case, the saint, Adele Brise, is real and Slainie's family is fictional. It starts with the terrible Peshtigo fire that killed thousands of people but which miraculously spared the chapel and the people on its grounds no doubt because of the prayers of Adele and Our Lady of Good Help. The author backtracks to Slainie's childhood, her family's emigration from Belgium to Wisconsin and the hardships they endure. Slainie's story resonated deeply with me, especially since she struggles with an unbelieving mother. I also enjoyed all the places mentioned because we lived in Belgium for a couple of years and I have a couple of writing friends in WI and keep thinking I need to make a pilgrimage to the Champion shrine. All in good time.   

The Joy of Encouragement: Unlock the Power of Building Others Up by David Jeremiah was a book that came upon my radar in such a timely manner. This Advent, the Lord placed "encourage" upon my heart and no wonder, with so many people losing hope at the way our nation is going, we need to be salt and light. I am striving to live this daily. 

Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution by Tucker Carlson is not the typical book I read. But when I saw this at the thrift store, I knew I would understand better what is going on in the US. And indeed I do. What I appreciated most is how unbiased and fair he is in his reporting, something the mainstream media seems to have forgotten.

I, of course, have no answers for the problems besetting our nation, except to pray. So at this time I want to include a very special picture book that my friend Michelle Shahid made in a limited edition: Offer it Up to the Heavenly Cup. She packed the essence of Salvifici Doloris by Pope St. John Paul II for kids.  

Finally, a few artsy books: The Snuggle is Real: a Have a Little Pun Collection by Frida Clements is pure fun. 

My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel is thoughtful and reminded me that perfect love casts out fear. I copied a couple of quotes: Fear is here to uncover your greatest wish. Every fear is connected to a wish or hope I have. Fear invites the impossible to happen.

Brilliant! 25 Catholic Scientists, Mathematicians, and Supersmart People by David and Jaclyn Warren is a wonderful introduction to several Catholic scientists, some who are saints, accompanied by beautiful black-and-white art. This is a book that many children and adults will enjoy and perhaps spark an even greater interest in learning the mind of God, for science is exactly that--giving us a glimpse into our Creator. 

Happy reading, friends. And please do tell me what gems you've come across.


Mirka Breen said...

Prayers for peaceful conduct are always needed. If nothing else, we humans are quarrelsome.

Vijaya said...

Amen, Mirka. We need all the graces of heaven poured out upon us given our fallen nature. I realize now that we cannot solve our problems solely by ourselves.

Faith said...

Brilliant is my Zoe's current favorite book; I think she's read it four times since Christmas!
Also, where do I sign up for being fed peeled grapefruit, etc.? ;) Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm living that fantasy from the other side of things. My babies are living it up at the moment!

Vijaya said...

Oooh, Zoe and me would be pals for sure. Come to visit me and I will feed you peeled grapefruit :) Babies are so lucky. I still remember when I began to feed myself how much I missed my mom feeding me. I just felt more loved, I think from the greater physical contact. And once in a while she'd peel an orange and feed us with her own hand and it was such a treat.

RAnn said...

Interesting set of books. Need to add a couple to my TBR list