My Reading Challenge Pick for…”a novel by a Catholic author”

I’m down to the last four categories of my 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge. How about you? I am continuing to share what I am reading for the challenge with you. This was a repeat author for me…and a beloved one!

 

 

 

 

 

Category: “a novel by a Catholic author”

My Pick: Gunnar’s Daughter by Sigrid Undset

I fell in love with Norwegian and Nobel Prize-winning author Sigrid Undset last year when I read her epic Kristin Lavransdatter and, about the same time, her biography of my confirmation saint, Catherine of Siena.

Undset is a writer with a profound gift for communicating universal themes of the human experience. Kristin Lavransdatter (both the book and the masterfully-written heroine) still pervades my spiritual imagination; and Catherine of Siena set a new standard for biographies of saints. I’ve written about both books here and here, for last year’s Reading Challenge.

Gunnar’s Daughter, written 10 years before Kristin Lavransdatter and a fraction of its length, is a really quick read…really quick. In fact, it’s a real page-turner. If you have a rainy day and a comfy chair, you might rip right through it. I read it over a couple of days. Here’s the crazy thing though: when I finished, it felt like I had just read an epic! The story and the characters make you feel that way. Though it had none of the intricate layers and extensive plot lines of one of Undset’s 1,000-page novels, the character sketches were none the less thick, real, and lasting in your memory.

If you are sensitive about certain content, read a summary of the plot that doesn’t give the story away. Though rape and childhood death are elements in the story, they are not explicit. (She’s not that kind of writer.) Her characters are such real people — ones that could live during any point in history. I’m just impressed at how much of them she could give me in so few words.

Another interesting element of the novel is that it is set in eleventh century Norway and Iceland, about 300 years before Kristin Lavransdatter’s time period. This is Norway’s pre-Christian era. So you get a sense of how different the religious culture was from a few centuries later during Kristin’s era. In fact, famed king and saint Olav, referenced many times in Kristin, is a character in this novel. Good historic fiction is my favorite way to absorb the history of a time, place, and people.

If you haven’t read Sigrid Undset, this might be a great entry point.

 


What did you read for “a novel by a Catholic author”?

 

Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey

Wonder & Whimsy: “Weekend Coffee”

Now and then I like to share the helpful, enjoyable, and inspirational things that I have come across lately. Perhaps some of these might be just the thing you were looking for…

#1 — Quote from Bishop Robert Barron

I get Bishop Barron’s daily Gospel reflections (which you could sign up for here) delivered to my email. He had a beautiful take on the Transfiguration from Sunday’s Gospel passage:

“The Jesus who is both divine and human is the Jesus who is evangelically compelling. If he is only divine, then he doesn’t touch us; if he is only human, then he can’t save us. His splendor consists in the coming together of the two natures, without mixing, mingling, or confusion.”

#2 — Book Lists!

I am a sucker for a slug line that promises a curated list of books, and I find Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy to have good suggestions and well-organized lists. Ladies, here is one that sparked my interest: “25 Must-Read Classics for Women.”

I heartily agree with many on the list…Little Women, Kristin Lavransdatter, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables… How many have you read on the list? How many are on your TBR list?

#3 — “Weekend Coffee”

So, I love good coffee, but good coffee beans are hard on the wallet, especially if you brew them daily. So I have invented “weekend coffee” for myself. 🙂 I had my husband pick me up a bag of Kenyan beans from a local roaster/coffee shop (Vigilante) around the corner from his school. I think it was probably $20 (!), but I deserve that two mornings a week. My new moto: **parent hard-play hard.** (During the week it’s Aldi organic/fair trade for $5/bag.)

Do you have any favorite finds to pass on to me? Post them in the comments, please!

 

Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey

The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge!

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for a new year of reading goals! Working through The 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge this past year was really rewarding, and I found that having that list to guide me helped to broaden my reading scope and introduce a good variety of perspectives. I think it helped me be a more well-rounded reader in regard to the “voices” that are edifying and educating my faith.

So as I started to put together The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge over the last couple of months, I began to get excited about all of the books that were coming to mind for the 12 categories. The list is done, and I’m happy to be ready to share it with you! Here it is…

Continue reading “The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge!”