Recently posted on Facebook

August 13, 2009 § 2 Comments

If you are familiar with Facebook, you probably the drill with these “notes”. You fill it out, tag a bunch of people, and hope that everyone else with fill theirs out and re-post it so you can see what they said. A couple days ago my loverly cousin J. tagged me in one where you list the first fifteen books that pop into your head. Wordy little me did a little more than simply write titles — I had to give a mini-review. Without further ado, for your reading pleasure:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The most recent Austen novel I re-read. Also, the first Austen book I ever read and possibly the first “real” book I read.

2. Middlemarch by George Eliot. These very long sprawling novels are fun, though they do not translate well into film. Fr. Pritzl (Dean of the School of Philosophy) assigned this one for Lenten reading one year.

3. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thakeray. Another excellent, albeit very long, novel.

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Does not even merit the proper formatting. :P I remember this one because I hated it. No joke: I actually shredded it and threw it in the trash can when I was finished. It tries to be profound and ends up giving you a headache. (Hopefully no one reading this list liked it, but if you did I am willing to take you on.)

5. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I devoured this one in four days. French novels are my absolute favorite books to read.

6. Camille by Alexandre Dumas. In my opinion, one of Dumas’ finest works about a “woman of the world” who actually falls in love.

7. Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI. The best spiritual work I’ve read, second only to the Bible. I have re-read it three times and rely on it when I teach RCIA. If you do not have a copy, BUY ONE.

8. Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. Another awesome spiritual work, wonderful for anyone trying to discern their vocation in life.

9. When God Asks for an Undivided Heart by Fr. Apostoli. Hopefully this isn’t a huge revelation to anyone, but I read this a couple years ago when I was very seriously considering religious life. Though I later discerned it was not for me, this book gave me a truly profound understanding of the beauty of the calling to celibacy. A must for any Catholic.

10. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. I fell in love with Nicholas…I think I must marry someone just like him.

11. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. I can’t count how many times I have reread the Herriot books. They are true comfort food for the aching soul, “balm for the heart pricked by life’s thorns” to quote a friend. ;)

12. Meditations by Renee Descartes. This philosophical work affected me profoundly and is one of the very few works that I went on to study, re-read, and even outline several times on my own outside of class. I don’t have it as well memorized as Ibn Sina did the Metaphysics, but I am working on it.

13. Beautiful Swimmers by William Warner. William Warner wrote several books but this one is the best. Like James Herriot, Warner has the gift of drawing you right into whatever colorful world he writes about. By the end of the book, you feel as though every object mentioned (in this case, the book is about the life of crabbers in the Chesapeake Bay), every character you’ve met, is dear and well-known like the trinkets on your mother’s bureau.

14. The Silent World by Jacques Yves Cousteau. This book by Jacques Cousteau inspired me to become a scientist.

15. Intro to Metaphysics by Heidegger. The only other philosophical work I read several times on my own; Heidegger was a genius and regardless of how much you disagree with his philosophy you cannot contest that simple fact. My own understanding of life and the meaning of existence matches his very closely. (The cover to the book is one of my favorites too…so stark.)

As a n.b. I want to add another book called Sarah’s Song by Janice Burns that I would have posted in the original fifteen except that I can never recall the title of the book. It is the autobiography of a truly courageous woman who shows what love really means; after contracting HIV/AIDS from her husband, she decides to stay with him and care for him as he slowly succumbs to the disease. Soon after the book was published, Janice also died as a result of HIV/AIDS.

Please feel free to post your “fifteen” in the comments! I’d love to hear your lists.

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