Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Reading

So, do you have any plans for your summer reading yet?  I love reading on our back deck - it's got open areas for reading in sunshine and covered areas for reading in shade, cushioned chairs and a coffee table to put my feet up on (I put my coffee there too... always a little precarious when feet and coffee share the same resting place.)  

I'm trying to put together a few ideas of books I'd like to read if I ever get a calm moment out there in the back yard.  I've got a few things waiting for me on my Kindle - the old non-Fire model so it's the kind you can read in bright light!  I'm s-l-o-w-l-y working my way through the Father Brown Mysteries and I downloaded Les Miserables because I started reading it in high school and figured I should probably finish it before my own children are in high school.  I've also been itching to re-read Wuthering Heights, and I just finished a Fulton Sheen and should probably get another since I love him so much.  I recently uncovered a novel from one of my favorite authors that I haven't read before, so I'm hoping to finish Pippa Passes by Rumer Godden.  But - what else??  Do you have any great recommendations for me???  (Though you may recommend them, I'm not likely to read many books on Parenting or Planning Your Home School Curriculum this summer - I've kind of over-done it in those areas the past couple months and have finally realized you only need to read two or three and then after that you've pretty much heard it all...)

If you are interested in some of my recommendations for books to read any time of year, here you go.  (The first are books I've read recently and think they're worth passing on, though not necessarily the best thing I could ever come up with.  The last ones with lots of stars, etc... are a few of the suggestions I come back to time and again.)

Dion: the Wandered Talks Truth, Dion DiMucci - in this memoir Dion DiMucci (singer/songwriter of 1960's hits Runaround Sue and The Wanderer) candidly speaks about the negative influence he faced in the rock and roll business and how he survived (literally) by coming to Christ and eventually returning to the Catholic Church.  I really enjoyed it because I'm so familiar with a handful of his tunes and so many of the groups and tunes he referenced throughout. It might not be as entertaining for someone who has never heard of him before.  Dion's not an author, he's a rocker and a Blues man, but he still manages a fairly compelling read.  I especially liked  a bit he wrote about concerning music after his conversion: he was developing a love for the Blues, but was having a hard time reconciling that style of down-and-out music with the joy of life in Christ.  One day while reading the Psalms, he realized, Hey wait.  This David, here, is singing the Blues.  The Blues isn't complaining, it's just laying your heavy heart before the Lord.  Fun stuff like that fills the pages.  There's plenty of serious material too - lots of soul searching and questioning the meaning of it all, especially as he watched many of his friends in the rock and roll business fall prey to the lures of fame and fortune.  (If you can hum his tunes, you'll enjoy it.) 

My Sisters, the Saints, Colleen Carroll Campbell - a lovely spiritual memoir in which Colleen writes about the relationships she developed with several Saints throughout her adult life.  She often relied on the wisdom of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Liseux, Bl. Mother Teresa, St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), and Our Blessed Mother, to carry her through difficult times and to appreciate life's blessings.  

(haha - this Amazon image (2009) is very different from the 1970 edition I got from the library...)
Children and Parents, Rev. Fulton Sheen - I read the first half and skimmed the second half as it was mostly about teens and I'm not going to get worked up about all that until it's time.  Much of the first half was about parenting with authority because we ourselves are under the authority of God the Father.  It was a good read - reminders of stuff that you probably already know but need to have someone like Sheen whack you over the head with... in that one-liner style that only he is capable of, of course!  I have a lot of it underlined and dog eared... even though it it a library book.  (Even as she reads this, my librarian mother is planning a special reprimand for the next time we meet... that is, if she's not already typing it here......)

Who Gets the Drumstick?, Helen North Beardsly - this was a reread  from my childhood that I actually read again a couple months ago.  It is the true story of widow Helen North and widower Frank Beardsly and how they met through his sister, a Catholic nun.  When they eventually married they had a combined family of 18 children!  I love this book for Helen's supernatural perspective on love, marriage, second-round marriage, and large family life. And of course, it's always fun to hear what it's like managing a home of that many people (they had two more of their own!)  Read it!  It's quick, easy, and fun!

The Pope and the CEO: John Paul II's Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard, by Andreas Widmer.  This was a fun read because you get a little insider scoop on life as a Swiss Guard... that's really why I chose it.  But the "Lessons," though geared toward corporate leadership are worth reading as anyone can certainly apply them no matter what his/her vocation.  I certainly appreciated them... after all, a mother is CEO, CFO,  COO, and much more!  (just ask my husband... he doesn't want my job!)  

A Guide to Raising a Child with Type One Diabetes, and 101 Questions and Answer about your Child's Type Diabetes  - not necessarily your standard fare, but very informative if you're in the market for that sort of thing.

****** Books that are so captivating you'll want to read them a second time ******

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two American Who Risked Everything To Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II, by Robert Kurson.  A seat on the edge of your seat biting your nails true story.  Sooooo good!  (doesn't that sound like an intelligent endorsement...)

Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand.  Wow.  This story is difficult to read because of the trials faced by former Olympian Louis Zamperini after his bomber plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, but it's a fascinating story of survival and a life redeemed. Another one that's tricky to put down.   


Don't forget to leave me some recommendations!  Or else I really might be stuck slogging through Victor Hugo... :)  

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