I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, particularly because I am too ambitious, fail miserably a few weeks in, and then beat myself up about my lack of discipline for as long as I can remember what my resolutions were. So I didn’t make any this year, but I made one goal, shall we say. I want to read 30 books in 2018.
All of my life I have been a reader, but the exhaustion of parenting and new babies and little sleep has taken a toll on my book list. If I am being honest with myself, Netflix has also taken a toll—something I am also looking to remedy with my goal to read more. So far it is working out great. I feel entirely dedicated to this task, and the more I read, the more I love to read, the more I want to read, the more I drag myself out of bed every morning at least an hour before my children wake up, so that I can just read some more. So far so good. But it is only January.
That being said, I finished five books this month, and if you are looking for any suggestions, I recommend all of them to you.
- The Second Coming, Walker Percy
I love Percy. I love him so much. His novels are strange, eerie, bizarre, unsettling, and I feel them in my bones long after finishing them. This one was no exception. I discovered after reading it that it is the second part of a story he began in The Last Gentleman, a book I plan on picking up this year, as well. However, I wasn’t lost or “behind” on the details because I read this one on its own. The story follows a man who has spells of depression, bordering on insanity, and who sets out to categorically prove or disprove the existence of God. His experiment fails, and he is left questioning, only to come across a girl with supposed mental issues herself, who lives in a greenhouse. In the end, he finds that perhaps God exists after all, and that he has known Him in the love of another. It is one of the most satisfying endings—one of the best final paragraphs—I have read in a very long time.
- The Irrational Season, Madeleine L’Engle
Madeleine is the writer I most want to emulate. As always, this book is full of poignant questions and lovely reflections. I find reading her books always feels like talking to a friend. She lets us in on her wonderings and her searchings, and in her words we can find comfort and hope. My favorite parts of this whole book, though, would be the poems she intersperses throughout.
This is the irrational season,
when loves blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason,
there’d have been no room for the child.
- The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander
One of the most profoundly moving and life-changing spiritual works I have read in a long time. The chapters are short, the writing simple, but her reflections on Christ and His Mother are infinitely beautiful and infinitely practical, all at the same time.
- Joy, Georges Bernanos
After I finished Diary of a Country Priest at the end of last year, Travis gave me this book. It is little-known, recently translated, and very dialogue-driven. I wasn’t sure what to make of it until the end, which is so redemptive and filled with hope for a priest wrestling with apostasy. The last few pages alone made this book entirely worth it.
- A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
I returned again to one of my all-time favorites in children’s literature after watching the trailer for the movie version of this story, set to come out in the spring. It is as profound and magical and Christian as I had remembered it—even more so, really. I hope to read the rest in the series as the year continues.
(Consider this an open invitation for any and all book recommendations!)