Over the weekend, in a move that was a bit overdue (but warranted given our weirdly chilly few weeks), I hung out my first batch of laundry on our clothesline.

towels on line

Bliss, I tell you!

The other bliss is the batch of books I've been diving through lately. Seriously: what a spring for new books!

Recent Reads

God's Favorite Place on Earth, by Frank Viola (David C. Cook, 2013)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is the kind that shakes you out of your comfort level with stories you thought you knew from the Bible. Viola maintains that Bethany was God's favorite place on earth, and he makes a pretty good case for it. I enjoyed how he told the story from Lazarus's viewpoint at the beginning of each chapter and then dug into it as the last part of each chapter. This was a book that surprised and delighted me, and I highly recommend it as one for spiritual growth and deeper insight into the Gospels.

Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st Century, by George Weigel (Basic Books, 2013)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I actually bought this book because our pastor recommended it and kept talking about it. In fact, he mentioned to me that he was reading it for the second time, which is remarkable because

(a) I've known him long enough to know that he doesn't hang onto books after he's read them and he rarely rereads them RIGHT AFTER he's read them the first time and

(b) the references Father kept making to things in the book were astounding and curious.

As it turns out, I would consider this required reading. If you consider yourself a practicing Catholic trying to grow in your faith, get this book. Whether you agree with it or disagree with it, it will make you think and consider how Catholicism is changing and transforming—and how it needs to continue to adapt.

Part reference, part history, part insight, this book won't be leaving my house on any sort of lending adventure. I consider it an invaluable part of my Catholic library. Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

How To Deliver A TED Talk: Secrets Of The World's Most Inspiring Presentations, by Jeremy Donovan (Createspace, 2012)

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I don't know when the last time I rated a book so low was, but this book was truly a disappointment. Maybe it's that I've heard so many amazing things about TED Talks and about how the TED people get everything right. Mistake #1: this book isn't written by them. Mistake #2: and it's not written that well. If you're looking for a good book about public speaking, I can recommend some others. This one is better than nothing, I suppose, but it left me wanting.

quilts on line

Current Reads

More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity, by Jeff Shinabarger

I'm a chapter-and-a-half in and already raising my eyebrows. I expect this book to change my worldview, and I don't say that lightly (and, really, I didn't want my worldview changed!). Maybe I'll finish it this week—I think it's going to be a fast read.

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, by Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) & Abraham Skorka

On Friday, I said this would be the next book I would read. I can't let my faithful followers down, and guys! This book! Is as amazing as I thought it would be! I'm six or seven chapters in and wow! Wow! WOOOOWWWWW!

I thought it might be awkward to read the back-and-forth conversation (I find interviews tiresome to read sometimes), but it's NOT. At. All.

Just go get a copy of this book. Don't wait for reviews to pour in. Go. Trust me. You DESERVE this book!

Save, Send, Delete, by Danusha Goska (John Hunt Publishing, 2012, fiction)

I thought I'd whip through this book. The other two people whose reviews I follow and love did. But...I'm not. I'm enjoying it a lot and finding it brain-stretching-good, but I'm not reading it fast. I do hope to finish it this week (so many other books to read!), but we'll see.

What have YOU been reading lately?

*Are you on Goodreads? I'll see you there!

Curious about what my ratings mean? Here's an explanation of what the stars mean to me.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2013, Sarah Reinhard