C.S. Lewis, Catholic Church, Children's Literature, Classic Literature, Dinosaurs, Faith, Fiction, Kat's Reading List, Neil Gaiman, Young Adult Literature

What I Read: 2021 Mid-Point Check-In

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice for you, it is easy enough to search and find any of the titles that I mention.

So, I am about 40 books into the year. I knocked out a lot of books on audio at the beginning of the year, while I was working at the old house to get it ready to sell. I managed to keep up the habit for a little while in the spring, while the weather was nice enough to get in a good walk every day. But now the summer heat has set in, most of my exercise is being done at the pool, and I’m back to physically reading my books.

Audiobooks are great, but I’ve found that, personally, I only like listening to books that I am already familiar with. It’s hard for me to concentrate or process new information if I am multi-tasking, even if the multi-tasking is just taking a walk outside. Luckily, I also really love to revisit books I’ve already read! Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and reads his own audiobooks in his sublime British accent, and so I was very happy for the opportunity to go through nearly all of his novels again this past winter. I also revisited Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, which I read for the first time a few years ago, before tackling Crime and Punishment. When I was in my walking phase, I listened to C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces, which I consider to be Lewis’ best work of fiction. It’s very haunting and poetic and invites deep contemplation, but I probably wouldn’t have made the time for it in my general reading line-up and so it was lovely to incorporate it instead into my fitness regime. It definitely made me more excited to take my walks each day.

With several of the books I’ve read so far, I struggled with which category to put them in. Great Lion of God is historical fiction, but historical fiction about the life of Saint Paul. In This House of Brede is about Benedictine nuns, but it is still a narrative work of fiction. The Hiding Place has strong themes of faith through out it, but is primarily a memoir from the time of the Holocaust. And The Beer Option and Out of the Ashes are both written with Catholic perspectives, but they are just as much about modern American culture as they are about the faith.

There are a few distinct themes that run through the non-fiction books I’ve been reading, which shouldn’t be too hard to pick out. The fiction books are dictated mostly by my monthly book club and then whatever happens to fit my mood. The books about faith are likewise inspired mostly by mood and the Holy Spirit.

Fiction

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Audio)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Audio)
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Odyssey by Homer
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (Audio)
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Non-Fiction

T. Rex and the Crater of Doom by Walter Alvarez
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte (Audio)
The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good by Elizabeth L. Cline
The Art of Character: Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film, and TV by David Corbett
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture by Anthony Esolen
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker by Mike Rose
Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott
At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott
The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Condition, Methods by A.G. Sertillanges, O.P.
The Beer Option: Brewing a Catholic Culture, Yesterday and Today by R. Jared Staudt
Eat Smarter: Use the Power of Food to Reboot Your Metabolism, Upgrade Your Brain, and Transform Your Life by Shawn Stevenson
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Faith

Great Lion of God by Taylor Caldwell
Saint Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton
Mary Magdalene in the Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich by Anne Catherine Emmerich
7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn
The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
With Glory and Honor You Crowned Them by Matthew Manint
Saint Catherine of Siena and Her Times by Margaret Roberts
Three to Get Married by Fulton Sheen

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