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What We’re Reading

I used to be an insanely avid reader. Then, I grew up and things called “responsibilities” butted their aggravating heads into my reading time. Probably sometime in college, I made the subtle switch from reading for the sake of pleasure to reading because it was assigned, or reading something that was going to augment what I was learning, researching, or whatnot. I realized that was a sad shift, and have been consciously trying to read more in the first category. Tom and I like to keep at least one novel going, and sometimes also another non-fiction. Here’s what we have going right now, as well as my own individual list!

Out loud/Together:

Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset

We loved Kristin and wanted more Undset, so we started this a few months ago. St. Catherine’s story is very Italian– dramatic, intense, over-the-top. She’s equal parts inspiring and non-relatable. I’m hoping we can finish this during Lent.

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

This was recommended to us based on our love of Austen. Trollope is quite funny, and we’ve enjoyed this one, though I don’t think it quite stands up to Austen.


Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

This one I just finished reading on Kindle from the library e-book system. I had heard it raved about and I loved his Freddy and Fredericka, so I was eager to see how this one is. Basic conclusion: WTF. And, put more elegantly… seriously, what is this tripe? It’s fantasy masquerading as pseudo-historical fiction but it’s mostly just utterly ridiculous. I mean, the totally unrelated 20-100 page (NOT exaggerating) tangents and descriptive narratives aside, the book just has no coherency.  The theme… is there one? I seriously couldn’t figure it out; the most obvious thing seemed to be the author screaming, “Oh look! I know words! Big words! I can make crazy, convoluted, un-readable metaphors and sentences and call it a story!” Oh, and the ending is a pick-your-own-adventure, too. I feel like I wasted several weeks of my life reading this over 700 page tome of tawdry writing. Don’t do the same! Also, I looked up review on Good Reads, just to be sure I wasn’t crazy and totally missing something, and man, some of the reviews had me cracking up! (And no, I wasn’t crazy). Here’s an excerpt of my favorite:

“In a certain now-distant era in the vestibules of verbiage, a diamond-dusted nor’easter came brightly brushing, softly sifting, sewing the perspectives, peripheries and promenades … with perilously prolix page-counts .. that persisted then, all along the gridded avenues of the grandest city that Time had surely ever decreed.

It was the City Of Books, and this was the kind of book, nay, the Very Kind and most-principal example, that was written then, and by rights most highly regarded by the Reading Citizenry to deck the halls and paper the walls.” 

So, basically, I wish I’d never read it and that Helprin confined himself to what he does well: humor.

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

The Pope’s fave book. More Italian drama/romance/adventure/intrigue– and so far it is awesome!

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

I like that I can pick this up and read a chapter here and there. Which is to say, I started it last May, and just now got back to it. 🙂

What are you reading? I’m always, always looking for good recommendations, particularly for fiction!

4 thoughts on “What We’re Reading

  1. I had my first Helprin experience lately and felt THE SAME WAY! I read In Sunlight and In Shadow (which to be fair, several of my Helprin-fan friends claimed was his worst) and found myself gagging on the wordiness, not to mention gagging over his horribly misogynistic representation of women. And if I am getting all up on a feminist horse, you know something is REALLY too much.

    • Hah, Hannah, exactly!! And yes to his failure at portraying normal/human women in this one too. Everyone on Facebook is telling me that Soldier of the Great War is really good, so maybe I’ll give him another shot…in a few months.

  2. I love that you two do books aloud with each other. Lowell detests books. Haha! 😉

    I just read UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand. Such an amazing story! One of my sisters loaned me Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James that I plan to read soon since I am a huge P&P fan (all Austen really), and am always disappointed, but enjoy in my own way, different spin offs to the original. I am reading Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking at the moment and keep God Is Near Us by [then] Cardinal Ratzinger in my purse to read when I get a chance to pop in to visit the Blessed Sacrament.

    I try to keep a balance in my fun and educational readings. I too used to be an avid reader, but then life happened and I soon found it difficult to read more than one or two at once, or at all! I think I have found my new groove, though, so here’s hoping I can keep it up. Going to look in to some of the books you mentioned, thanks for the post!

  3. Pingback: What I Read in 2015 |

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