I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016: In the Books / By the Books

We are officially one week in to 2017. Happy New Year!

But before I look ahead, I decided it was good to reflect ever so briefly on the books I read in 2016. In reviewing my list, I'll admit I was more than a little disappointed I only read 18 books...and then I realized that all of the articles and books I read for grad school are not included...so then I felt a little better (because all of that was QUITE A LOT).

So, here they are - Kelly's books of 2016 (The ones in bold are the ones that especially resonated with me, and a short description of these is provided below the list):

1. Pax (1/18/16)
2. 7 Women and What Makes Them Great (3/18/16)
3. Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky (4/9/16)
4. When You Reach Me (4/16/16)
5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - audiobook (5/7/16)
6. Room 24 (5/7/16)
7. Land of the Blue Flower (short story) (5/25/16)
8. The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer (6/5/16)
9. All the Light We Cannot See (6/21/16)
10. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (7/28/16)
11. Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (8/1/16)
12. Eight Hundred Grapes (8/2/16)
13. Brooklyn (8/6/16)
14. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena (8/9/16)
15. Mother Teresa: No Greater Love (10/9/16)
16. God, Help Me: How to Grow in Prayer (11/20/16)
17. A Man Called Ove (12/19/16)
18. Small Great Things (12/26/16)

Room 24 - Already reflected on this one - you can read my original blog post here.

The Way of Serenity... - And this one too - check my post out here.

All the Light We Cannot See - I picked this one up upon the recommendation of my mom and sister, and I finished it on my Dakotas road trip. It's a beautiful story of two young people growing up during (and before) WWII. (To say much more would probably be an injustice to the books and its potential readers, so I'll stop here.) It's got a lot of pages and seems daunting, but it's quite a fast read because it's hard to put down.

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - What struck me most about this books was the beautiful language (word choice, sentence fluency, etc) of the author. It tells the story of two young children, one who is Japanese (a girl) and one who is Chinese (a boy). It takes place during WWII in America, and, at that time, many Japanese Americans were being transported to work camps (out of fear of the Japanese due to Pearl Harbor). There is love, there is loss; there is sweet, and there is bittersweet. Do yourself a favor and read it. It's probably one of my all-time favorites...and I definitely cried while reading it more than once.

A Man Called Ove - This was one of my recent list additions; finished it on the plane home for the Christmas break. The author's writing style was phenomenal, and I feel that it allowed me to get a better look into the full range of human development from young teen to older adult - what life events shape someone's life? How do we really know someone if we don't know his/her story? Good old Ove...what a guy...

Small Great Things - This is Jodi Piccoult's latest novel, and, like all of her others that I've read, it was a real page-turner (and, as per usual, had a huge twist of plot near the end). At the heart of the story is a struggle of coming to terms with the role of race in America (especially in the judicial system) - what's taboo and what should be focused on instead. But, as Jodi Piccoult comes to show the reader, race does matter, and it needs to be talked about. 

So, there we have it. Books, books, books! I just can't get enough, especially of the really good ones - the ones that tug at your heartstrings, the ones that make you laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time), and the ones that make you think.

By the books, 2016 was pretty darn good. Onward and upward with 2017!

1 comment:

  1. Planes are *the best* for getting some solid pleasure reading done. I read two whole books on my two trips back East at the end of the year.

    You should definitely count your grad school books! I always did, when I read the whole book. I wish articles counted, too, although my reading isn't academic, so I do it in Pocket, and that does give me a rough year-end word count.