My Reading Challenge Pick for “Novel by a Catholic Author”

I hope you have gotten started on your picks for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge! As promised, I’m sharing what I am reading for each category throughout the year. 


Category: Novel by a Catholic Author

My Pick: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

I’ve been looking forward for a few months to cracking this classic open. It’s currently my nighttime read, waiting patiently for me all day on my nightstand. I’m actually not that far in yet (~75 pages), but I’m definitely in it. I actually feel quite comfortable recommending it, even though I’ve barely gotten started. 

What I like: I’m totally transported into this Scandinavian (and very Catholic) world that the author has created so masterfully. Undset is a profoundly simple writer; her economy with words is perfect. She seems to get right to the story and the setting and puts you there in a way that seems effortless; but once you reflect on it you realize the vast amount of effort it must have taken for the writer.

A passage to ponder: Toward the beginning, young Kristin (the protagonist) has a conversation with a monk, who says the following:

“There is no one, Kristin, who does not love and fear God. But it’s because our hearts are divided between love for God and fear of the Devil, and love for this world and this flesh, that we are miserable in life and death. For if a man knew no yearning for God and God’s being, then he would thrive in Hell, and we alone would not understand that he had found his heart’s desire.”

You should read this if…

…you aren’t afraid of a long book and love getting lost in a transporting story, with depth, that you don’t want to end. Given that the three-volume-whole is over 1000 pages, it may indeed seem like it will never end. (A good thing, right?)

Incidentally, I happen to concurrently be reading Undset’s work of nonfiction on Catherine of Siena for the Little Catholic Bubble Book Club. Taking both books together, I find myself quite enjoying this author’s insights and writing style. She is an instant favorite that I can’t believe I didn’t discover before now!

What are you reading for “novel by a Catholic author”? Share in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #2017catholicreadingchallenge.