Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Readin', Having A Blast!

TBM Topic 14: Summer Reading

"Summer Readin', Having A Blast!" by Julie Robison
"Bright Maidens: Summer Reading" by Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
"In Which I Pretend Perfect Weather Exists" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We're here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

I wish I could tell you more about my summer nights than the sad fact that I got home from work around 9:30 p.m. last night and was so tired/ too frazzled to write (I write for work; too much typing and thinking yesterday). Alas, my summer days are driftin' away and oh! Oh, those summer nights... reading late before bed. I recorded a video of me briefly discussing the six books I am into right now. I'm technically juggling more than six books right now, but such are the reading habits of a chronic multi-tasker!

Julie's book list
Second Friends: C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation by Milton Walsh
Thy Will Be Done by St. Francis de Sales
Departed Angels: The Lost Paintings -by Jack Kerouac, text by Ed Adler
Surprised by Canon Law by Pete Vere & Michael Trueman
Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam by Cardinal Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict XVI and Marcello Pera
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

What are you reading right now? Tell me more, tell me more!

Bonus: Fr. Schall on why it's better to read a few authors than to stray through many.


  1. Good morning, Julie!
    I'm inspired by your post this day! Thank you! As I begin my work, I have this opportunity to think, reflect, engage in a spirit/intellectual way with your video blog elaborating on your current reading list. Whew! What a doozy of a list! I hope this response arrives and is met with the gratitude and enthusiasm that I feel composing it!

    I appreciate, first off, your commitment to the Bright Maidens blog, and using this other medium (video) to communicate with readers; (it's so creative, too, given your level of writing exhaustion?!) :-)

    RE: Book List--
    1. Your first rec makes me curious about Ronald Knox and then wonder if you've ever read what sounds like a similarly constructed text, "The Life You Save May be Your Own: An American Pilgrimmage" by Paul Elie.? Here's a blurb about it: "Four 20th-century writers whose work was steeped in their shared Catholic faith come together in this masterful interplay of biography and literary criticism. Elie, an editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, where three of the four writers published their work, lays open the lives and writings of the monk Thomas Merton, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, and novelists Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy."

    I LOVED IT! And read it while traveling and doing documentary, literacy work in South Africa. Life-Changing!

    2. As a Visitation Companion (a lay woman committed to the order of sisters that St. Francis de Sales' co-founded) I've been revisiting his slim volume of "Golden Counsels." Such wisdom! Simplicity! Grace! Compassion! Hope he offers me in my daily walk....I highly recommend this for your purse, morning, non-driving commute, bedtime meditations! Are you familiar with it?

    3. Jack Kerouac? You go, girl! I wonder if you'd ever blog about an image from this text? Just a thought!

    4. Canon Law? Now, you have me wanting to hear your perspective on ex-communication! (As I imagine you and I might differ on how we get cut off from God's love, embrace from an external source, the church's elect? vs. how we cut ourselves off daily in so many ways. :-))

    5. Your description of "Without Roots" gave me pause. At first I mis-read your typed title/ author and thought it could be a text by Karen Armstrong. (Have you read any of her work on the three monotheistic relilgions?)

    I so appreciate the idea of catholics really learning from followers of Islam in our practice. I want to pick this book up now....Memory: I think of being on the island of Zanzibar, a predominantly muslim East African country, at the call to prayer...Staying in my friend's flat, preparing for a writing workshop with teachers there, and finding myself pulled back to north Minneapolis, and the sisters I am connected with, who likewise pray at intervals during the day (the liturgy of the hours.) What is it to stop and reflect five times a day? Turn toward God? What would our world look like if we all did this? If catholics, muslims, (jews, buddhists, athiests) all paused to consider what was going on in their day and breath in and out in love? (Ack! Is this relativism? I hope not!)

    6. Yea for Tolkien!
    Yea for your words on poetry! I think of this as a form of prayer...the focused meditation and commitment to concise language. Attempts at capturing the divine in our midst...?

    7. Never read any Graham Greene. (*Blush* Confession*.)

    My fiction list currently includes "Ann Patchett's "State of Wonder" which I picked up on Sunday, after finishing "Run" two weeks ago. She baffles me, in a blessed way, as I marvel about her imagination and journey through so many characters...

    Thank you, again. I didn't set out to compose such a long response. :-) I will re-post your link now on the Vis Sister's facebook page, and invite other readers to check out your list!

    As our co-founders St. Francis and St. Jane say, "Live+Jesus!"


  2. I totally agree with you about balancing one's reading between prose and fiction. I read a lot of books by various Evangelical authors as a way to prepare myself for seminary as well as to better understand some of the different ways in which the Gospel is preached from the pulpit by different Evangelical preachers and after reading three or four of these books in a row, let me tell you some fiction is definitely in order. Although, ironically the last fictional book I read was Loss and Gain by John Henry Newman, which as much as it was fiction, was still falling into my educational category of ameliorating my understanding of worldview. I might need to find something like Dan Brown to go indulge in for a little book candy for a week or so. :)

  3. I love the video blog!!! If you're looking for something to read, ASK JULIE!

  4. I did! It should pop up now... blogger sometimes takes a while with longer comments (which is fine, yours is AWESOME). I am so glad you are inspired-- it makes me happy to have such wonderful people reading... er, watching! I appreciate the feedback too.

    1. I own the Paul Elie book but have only started it multiple times. I need to set aside real time to read it, it is very good so far! I love all four of the writers he covers. Ronald Knox wrote a few beautiful apologetic books (including The Hidden Stream) and translated my favorite version of St. Thomas a Kempis' The Imitation of Christ. He needs more exposure and needs to be read more-- he is brilliant!

    2. I have not read "Golden Counsels," but I will certainly look for it now! It sounds lovely, thank you for passing on the title, I had not heard of it before.

    3. I should blog more about Kerouac! Good to know there is interest, I will certainly write a few things up and share his art.

    4. Another topic to blog on for sure! I wrote a bit on excommunication when I wrote on Gov. Cuomo, but not specifically (http://thecornerwithaview.blogspot.com/2011/03/tbd-cuomo-denied-communion.html & http://thecornerwithaview.blogspot.com/2011/03/gov-cuomo-follow-up.html)

    I think it is a last resort, but you're right-- more people unofficially cut themselves off in their own lives. The difference is the person being excommunicated has been approached at least three times and repeatedly refuses to repent and amend his/ her life.

    5. I have not read Karen Armstrong. It's interesting you say that though, because National Catholic Reporter endorsed this book, and I usually steer away from their likes and dislikes. I do not think it is relativistic to acknowledge that we Catholics have a lot to learn from other religious practices. I learned new ways to pray from my Protestant friends in college, which helped deepen my own Catholic faith. Relativism has to do with rendering all beliefs equal, to which Catholics cannot believe, if we truly believe the Nicene Creed. Muslim's faithfulness to prayer and God is certainly one thing I admire about their religion, even if I do not agree with its claims to truth, love and God.

    6. Absolutely!!

    7. First recommendation: The Heart of the Matter -- especially since you spent time in Africa. One of my favoritest books, hands down.

    You're the second person today to recommend Ann Patchett, so I'll have to look her up!

    Thank you for your response! Vive Jesus!

  5. Ben, how did you like Loss and Gain by John Henry Newman? Do NOT read Dan Brown!! If you need book candy, read The Man Who Was Thursday by GKC or The Little Prince or anything Narnia related by C.S. Lewis or Dr. Seuss-- NOT DAN BROWN, please.

    E-- glad to hear it! :D

  6. You're writing a book on Jack Kerouac? That's pretty cool! Was he religious at all? I don't know much about him but what I've heard is never religious.

    Nice list! I still have never made to reading Thy Will Be Done. Just got caught up in other things. I still want to though.

  7. What a great list, Julie. I am especially interested in #1 for my husband, the convert, and #2 for me, who is always questioning suffering.

    P.S. Love the necklace!

  8. I love the video blog thrown in the mix! Your book list is not for the faint of heart, but that's why it's a good one...and why you're so awesome! It was great to see your face and hear your voice.