Do you read one book at a time, or several at the same time?
I used to strictly read one book at a time, and I usually didn’t even think about what to read next until I had finished it. But now that I have kids, my reading time is limited. In fact, I usually have a stack of books waiting to be read.
In general, I’m also reading things for various book clubs and Bible studies, and not just because I want to read them, which means I have to read multiple things at the same time if I want to keep up with the group.
I’ve found I like this new style of reading, though, because reading disparate things at the same time helps me find connections between them, and this will often lead to insights that I would have missed had I only read one of them. Perhaps even if I’d read both books, but not at the same time, the connection wouldn’t have come to mind.
Usually, I’m reading a spiritual (almost always Catholic) book for book club, a self-help book or a parenting/homeschooling book either for a different book club or on my own, a particular book of the Bible for Bible study, and hopefully, a new fiction book every other week or so. I also read the daily Mass readings each morning, but that’s with more of a focus on “What does God want me to do today?” rather than for general learning.
So with all that background, here’s what I’m reading right now:
My book club is reading Chiara Corbella Petrillo, A Witness to Joy by Simone Troisi and Christian Paccini. This is about an Italian woman who died a few years ago after delaying cancer treatment in order to give her unborn baby the best chance for survival. It’s translated from Italian, and the idiom reflects this. I’m almost done with this one, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. I’m looking forward to discussing it in book club.
I’m also reading Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection for an online book club. This book is subtitled Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life. Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I’ll probably write an in-depth review of this book when I’m done with it, but she talks a lot about shame and fear and vulnerability, topics which don’t get a lot of airtime in mainstream discussions.
Our Bible Study took a summer break where we watched Bishop Robert Barron’s video series Catholicism: The Pivotal Players. This was interesting, and also filled with beautiful images of various churches and other places where these illustrious people lived. But since we were not studying the Bible in-depth, I took this opportunity to go through Fr. Michael Gaitley’s DIY retreat book 33 Days to Merciful Love, which is a study of St. Therese (The Little Flower) and her Little Way in preparation for a consecration to Divine Mercy. Like his first book, this one is intended to be read every day for 33 days leading up to a Marian feast day, followed by the act of consecration. I did mine to end on the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, and it was a great experience. The book is powerful and deep, and it’s not meant to be merely read, but rather prayed.
Finally, for fun, I’ve been reading novels by Sarah Addison Allen. The first one I read was The Sugar Queen, which was her second one. I liked that one enough to borrow the rest of them from the library. I then read her first, Garden Spells, which I also liked but not as much. I’ve got two more waiting to be read when I have some free time. I don’t think I can really describe them very well, but they all include a mysterious, unexplained magic related to family and identity and belonging.
So that’s what I’m reading. What’s on your bookshelf or nightstand or e-reader? And any suggestions for books I should check out next?