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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God”

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. One of my favorite books for meditating on Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary is Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God.” I was introduced to this book just a few years ago and it has since become one that I return to quite often for contemplation. Houselander’s prose writing is as lyrical as her poetry, which is also sprinkled throughout the book, and makes for a beautifully…

Continue Reading

C.S. Lewis and the Value of Revisiting Stories

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. I have always been an avid re-reader of books, just as I also delight in re-watching favorite movies and television series. In some ways, this is due to finding comfort in the familiar and predictable, knowing that my imagination is not going to be assailed by inappropriate or untimely thoughts and images. But I have also learned that the pieces I enjoy returning to can be treasure…

Continue Reading

Kat Reads the Great Books: The Iliad

It’s been over a solid decade since I read many of the “Classics” of English Literature in college; Homer, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, etc. At the time, it was my first exposure to many of these texts, while I was also simultaneously attempting to juggle many new life experiences, relationships, and responsibilities. I am ashamed of the practice, but willing to admit, that I often didn’t give my best to studying the books I was assigned to read in my classes,…

Continue Reading

What I Read: Halfway Through 2020

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…

Continue Reading