April Reads 2019

books, catholicism, Harry Potter

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

I did plenty of reading this month, trying to get my hour a day in. It often turned into a lot more than an hour though with all the post-dissertation free time. I’m still making my way through the Harry Potter series (I’d like to be done prior to the baby’s arrival) and through CathLit2019. I read a lot more nonfiction and had a nice return to some historical reading set in the Amazons.

One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler

I loved One Beautiful Dream. It was definitely one of my favorites for this month and I know I will be returning to it again. You can read my review of this book here.

Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI

 

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

 

One of my April goals was inspired by this book. Sometimes Writing Down the Bones got a little too woo-woo for me, but I think it did have some great practical suggestions.

The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb

I thought this book was kind of underwhelming. You can read my review of it here.

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

I have a review of Lanier’s book to be published elsewhere hopefully soon. I’ll share a link to it is up, but for now all you need to know is I am not a cat person.

River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candace Millard

I liked River of Doubt. It combined some of my favorite things history, politics, and the Amazon rain forest. You can read my review of this book here.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling 

Goblet of Fire…the one where it all gets a little real, all too real.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Another re-read. There is a reason why Seven Habits is an absolute classic.

What did you read in April? Any big reads planned for May?

Advertisements

Thoughts on the Burning of the Notre Dame

catholicism, daily life

Bruno and I spent five days in Paris during our honeymoon. Living that graduate student stipend life, we spent five nights in what was basically a tiny attic converted to an apartment four blocks away from the Notre Dame. We arrived in the evening and after dinner at a local cafe, we walked to the famed cathedral. It was our first and most frequented stop during the entire trip.

I knew I wanted to see it — I grew up watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame over and over (side note: how was this ever a children’s movie?). But I do not think I expected it to startle me in the way it did. I could not get over the church’s beauty and how overpowering the whole structure felt. I had goosebumps. I cried. It was like my eyes could not feast enough on the church. We walked around and I exclaimed over the flying buttresses and we sat at a cafe, close enough so I could keep looking, enjoying drinks before we walked back to our attic.

57429748_438734816938104_2069486032587325440_n

56927150_362787004444955_7601185785626230784_n

Every day we stopped by the cathedral. On Sunday we went to mass and I was filled with wonder again. I could not — and still cannot — get over the fact that men, people living and breathing just like me, made this over two hundred years. It made me feel small, but also a part of something larger and greater. Here I am, a mere student, but also a Catholic, a true lover of Western Civilization and everything it stands for, appreciating one of its greatest accomplishments. I prayed to God and took holy communion in the same church many have done before me since the 13th century.

56960640_402557160322674_7335003259016314880_n

I was checking the Boston Marathon results after CrossFit when I saw the Notre Dame was on fire. Marathon forgotten I checked to see if it were true. I cannot blame pregnancy hormones for how much I cried over that church yesterday. I love the Notre Dame and I love what it stands for. I hate throwing around words like “awe” and “sublime,” but there I felt those things. There I physically felt the sense of something greater. It devastated me to know that it will never be the same.

I’ll admit now I feel angry. As everyone mourns (and Macron claims it will be rebuilt), I want to point out this cathedral has been neglected for years. After visiting Paris and the experience I had at the Notre Dame, I learned how little money the church had to keep up with repairs. I learned that the Friends of Notre Dame frequently went to Americans for help with upkeep.

I can only suspect this comes from taking the cathedral for granted the way western civilization as a whole is taken for granted. I cannot help but feel frustrated with those who see the damage done to the Notre Dame as a great loss, but do not connect that to the loss and negligence of the culture that helped to create such a structure.