Kat Reads: Anna Karenina

My deep affinity for Russian literature is often hard to explain, or even to understand myself. The Russians will lay bare the worst aspects of fallen humanity, even their “heroes” are shown to be flawed and weak, and yet there are always glimpses of hope and grace and redemption. I’ve been averaging about 75 total books each year for the last few years, and yet it took me five months to read the 700+ pages of Anna Karenina. Currently, I’m…

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A Decade of Faith

This past Easter marked ten years since I was baptized and received into the Catholic Church. This anniversary, combined with my recent wedding and the beginning of a new stage of life, has certainly been cause for a great deal of reflection. A lot happens in life in the span of ten years. Ten years ago, I was barely twenty-five years old, just two years past my college graduation, and barely knew what I was doing with my life. Working…

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Our Lady of La Leche

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. When one thinks of making a pilgrimage, it’s easy to think of such far off places as the Holy Land, Rome or Fatima. When you think of going to see great sites of religious history, it’s not surprising if the mind first ventures to the Middle East or to Europe, where great dramas of history have played out for so many centuries and in so many ways.…

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The Litany of St. Joseph

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. I love to meditate on the many titles of St. Joseph. As I have grown in awareness and devotion to him over the last several years, his litany has become one of my favorite prayers. Different titles will resonate with me at different times and in different circumstances of life. I’ve also discovered that the litany can make for a good examination of conscious, drawing to the…

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The Bend in the Road

One of the things that I love about good books is how they can teach us about life and help to illumine the lessons that perhaps we have already learned. I recently finished re-reading the novel Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Anne is easily one of the most delightful and beloved of fictional characters; if you aren’t familiar with this imaginative little girl, I highly recommend checking out the book or the 1985 mini-series starring Megan Follows and…

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Flannery O’Connor

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. Only recently have I become a devotee of the Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor, although her collection of short stories sat on my bookshelf for many years. I was aware that she was an important figure, both as a writer and as a Catholic. Her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is studied at various levels in academia, and she was certainly a master at…

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What’s In A Word Count?

How long should a story be? It’s a question that I’ve asked and looked into many times over the years that I’ve been writing. I used to have a post-it note on the board in my office that listed the standard word counts for novels vs. novellas vs. short stories. I would look up the word counts of famous novels, just to get an idea of what I should be aiming for. The first Harry Potter book? Just over 77,000…

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Kat Reads: “The Napoleon of Notting Hill”

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton was published in 1904. Chesterton was about 30 years old at the time and it was his first novel, though he had been working as a professional journalist in London for a few years at that point. The first time I read this book, which was just in the last year or two, I was instantly in love. I grew up on British humor and British authors, and I quickly recognized Chesterton’s…

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What I Read in a Year: 2021

This past year has involved a lot of transitions in my personal world, and even now I am just a few months away from getting married and starting a whole new chapter in life. It’s been a wonderfully blessed time, but also a bit chaotic, and more than ever I have been appreciative of the grounding nature that books have in my life. Books can provide an escape from day-to-day stress, but they can also help to give perspective and…

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Purgatory and Praying for the Dead

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. This past year, I’ve been working my way through a reading of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy,” in which the poet narrator travels first through the circles of hell, then climbs the mountain of purgatory, and ultimately reaches the paradise of heaven. As we enter into the month of November, a time the Church has designated especially for praying for the souls of the dead,…

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