Tiffany Walsh explores the benefits of sharing your Lenten spiritual reading as part of a book club.
I spoke last month about how much Lenten planning means to me, especially this year with our routines and traditions not looking the way they usually do given the pandemic. Having Lenten preparation be the same, if you will, has really lifted me up this winter. My Lenten excitement is as high as ever this year, and it caused me to reflect on another aspect of this particular liturgical season that I often focus on in my personal planning: book clubs.
As I am a librarian, I am sure it is no surprise to learn that I love to read. I love to read secular fiction and non-fiction on topics that interest me, but during Lent, I enjoy selecting some spiritual titles, whether they be non-fiction or historical fiction focusing on Biblical themes. Sometimes I will pick books to read on my own during Lent, or sometimes I will have a read-along with a friend wherein we read the same book and chat about our thoughts as we progress through the book.
In fact, book clubs can be formal, organized groups, or they can be very informal, such as the “read-along with a friend” method I just mentioned. We often think of book clubs meeting in person at a library or at someone’s home, and right now, those opportunities are not really available, but these are not the only options. Book clubs can absolutely meet synchronously online via the digital platform of choice, or can even consist of a series of text messages amongst a group of friends, whatever everyone feels suits their needs. I also see a lot of online book clubs take place via blogs, and in fact over at my blog this Lent we are reading Louis de Wohl’s historical fiction novel featuring St. Catherine of Siena, called Lay Siege to Heaven, and are absolutely loving the book!
I find a lot of solace, generally, in a small group of friends that chat frequently via Facebook Messenger. We talk about daily life challenges, share photos of kids and crafts, and request prayer. Often, we recommend spiritual books to each other and offer up things we gleaned from them. This type of informal chatting is perfect for a Lenten book if you are all interested. It’s quick and easy to get started, and doesn’t require any sort of time commitment other than reading time (which I know, can be tough sometimes!).
Dedicating time to a spiritual title is very meaningful to me during Lent. It can be a book I have been wanting to read for years, or a new title that I only recently heard about. Lenten spiritual reading, and a community to share it with, is an absolute treasure.
Are you involved in a Lenten book club this year? Or otherwise reading a spiritual title this year? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
About the Author
Tiffany Walsh is a wife and mother, a native western New Yorker, and a college librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student via her love of books, and is the author of Exploring the Catholic Classics, part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series. She enjoys writing about faith, crafting, dance, fitness and wellness. Visit her blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian.