I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom on An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading over the past month.
A Saint Michael Treasury of Prayer and Reflection
by Carol Puschaver
Blurb: Make no mistake. Satan is very much alive — and hellbent on revenge. He is waging war against humanity, and indeed against all creation, with the reckless abandon of one who has nothing more to lose. Cast out of heaven; crushed at the foot of the Cross, he is multiplying evil and outrage and scandal to unprecedented effect as he “strikes at [the] heel” (Gen 3.15) of “fallen mankind” (St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, Revised Edition, 9).Without question we are living in a time of increasingly brazen evil. That is to say, a time of extraordinary and abundant grace also. Christ has already won the final victory over Satan. By His grace, we stand strong against the forces of evil. By that same ineffable grace, we stand in the company of holy angels — most especially the glorious Warrior Archangel Saint Michael.And the high ground belongs to us!
My review: This is a beautiful booklet dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. If you thought the only St. Michael prayer was the one we sometimes say at the end of Mass, then this book will be an eye opener for you. Included is a history of the St. Michael prayers as well as a chaplet and reflections. Highly recommend.
Unspeakable Beauty by Joshua Elzner
Blurb: When Adam awakes without a past, he is impelled to ask the question, “Who am I?” and yet this question itself is already cradled in the awe of first discovery, in which his heart is stirred to childlike wonder and playfulness at his contact with a beautiful world that he had almost lost forever. But whenever his memory comes flooding back in, and his whole being is shaken by the trauma of a painful life, will he be able to retain his childlike wonder, and will he be able to answer this question, both for himself and for others?
His only hope lies in letting himself be buoyed up by what has gone before him, carries him now, and will always remain—a mystery greater than himself and yet enfolding him in his uniqueness, a mystery knitting his life together with the lives of so many others in a tapestry that, while composed of light and darkness, of joy and sorrow, of profound hope and inexpressible anguish, is nonetheless a masterpiece of unspeakable beauty.
My review: The author can write well and the story is engaging. My only criticism is that it’s very, very long. For those who can handle lengthy books, this is a good read.
Jazz and Other Stories by Dena Hunt
Blurb: Like jazz music, these singular life stories play out in an improvisational current of tragedy, comedy, drama, and discovery. A little girl in rural Georgia, a young woman in Germany, a Floridian priest, a history professor in New Orleans, and others all contribute verses of experience—some with joy, some with sorrow, and some with shock, or even violence. Written over a period of many years by an award-winning author, these stories and their characters make up a varied collection of life’s jazz-like rhythm, its recurrent refrain of surprise, its terrible and beautiful crashes against the cymbals. Not one of the stories is about love, but they are all, in their different ways, love stories.
My review: This is a new book by my favorite author, Dena Hunt. I’ve read some of the stories and they’re wonderful. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!
Peace Among Brambles by May Akonobi
Blurb: Mma loves children. Preoccupied by this love and the desire to have her own children, she rushes into marriage with Joey, throwing overboard her mother’s wise counsel to pray and seek God’s will. The honeymoon is a dream come true for Mma and her new husband. But when they return home, Mma finds that Joey’s mother and sister have moved in. What follows is a challenging time for Mma. How will she face her new situation? Will she ever realize her dream of having her own children?
My review: This is a beautiful story of a young Nigerian woman, who yearns for children. She marries quickly without praying to God for guidance. What follows is a series of life lessons for Mma, who eventually learns to trust in God.