book report - winter 2018

I started reading again! Huzzah. No idea how long it's going to last, so I'm reviewing while the book reviewing's good and linking it up for 7 quick takes with Kelly

Regina Doman
This one's not pictured in my stack, but only because I just passed it along today to a friend. Regina Doman is the publisher of (now defunct, I think, but wonderful) Chesterton Press, and we hosted a Catholic book fair at the boys' school last year with CP books. She also wrote Angel in the Waters, which I think is the best pro-life picture book around, plus a smattering of other successful books for teens and children. Our book club picked The Shadow of the Bear for February, and I'm looking forward to discussing it in a few weeks. It's the first in Doman's fairy tale novels series, which retell the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales. In Doman's telling, teenage sisters Blanche (Snow White) and Rose (Rose Red) encounter Bear, a mysterious figure with a dark past. I haven't read much "young adult" genre books, so I don't know if they all are a little heavy-handed in their narration and themes, as I found this novel to be. But that didn't stop from immediately ordering the next book in her series once I finished it. On to Black as Night!

2. Scoop
Evelyn Waugh
A hilarious case of mistaken identity played out on a foreign stage against the backdrop of (possible) war and British journalistic sensationalism. I understood about 85% of it and had to look up at least 85 words in the dictionary. 

3. Helena
Evelyn Waugh
Oh, ohhhh, a book that surprises--without resorting to cheap thrills or page-turning plot twists to cover weak writing--is a rare thing indeed. I confess that I knew nothing much about neither St. Helena nor the book, not even that it was a fictional account of St. Helena's life and her quest for finding the true Cross of Christ in the Holy Land. I knew one deeply important fact, though: Helena was the only of his books that Waugh read aloud to his children. And that's all I needed to know, really. Beautiful. 

Christopher Beha
A friend recommended this and I have to circle back with him. It took me three or four tries to get into it, but once I did, I finished it in two days. Quite a world apart from Waugh, Beha's book is set in modern-day New York and follows characters through the mire of the writing process, the dying process, and religious conversion. Not a book for everyone, but for those fascinated by those three topics (*raises hand*) and those not troubled by a little language and a few mild bedroom scenes, it's a trip of a book. I liked this review of it.  

And in the cookbook category, I checked out from the library:

5. Danielle Walker's Celebrations

6. Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well and Feel Great 

7. I'm also leafing through Angela Liddon's blog-to-book cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simple Plant Based Recipes.

These books have gorgeous photography on nearly every page (and all three are well over 200 pages long) and lovely food styling. I'm pretty sure the food is probably delicious, too. But most of these recipes, though plant or paleo-based, still contain added salt and oil, which I'm doing my best to avoid during dinner this Lent.

And, as beautiful as they are, I feel like they're more suited toward being display pieces in pretty kitchens that have white subway tile backsplashes. #notmykitchen 

Amazingly enough, my little Eat to Live cookbook--checked out from the library and now full of so many water stains, flecks of carrot peel and spilled chili powder, I'm embarrassed to say--which has about eight pictures TOTAL in it... When I need a dinner plan, that's what I open. Last night we made enchiladas with this avocado salsa on it that I found at Walmart, and MAAAAAN. Delish. 

Next up on the reading list (as I wait with baited breath for Black as Night to get here) is Barbara Pym's Glass of Blessings, recommended on the Catholic World Report annual book roundup, either from this year or last. 

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