Wanna get some great books to read over the summer (if you’re a bookworm like me)? I love reading about the Catholic Church, but I will admit that I need a break every once in a while. Here are some titles I recommend for fun reading. Hope you guys enjoy and have a great summer! (This list is in no particular order.)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova Six stars for this one because it’s awesome enough to earn an extra one! This book is the perfect blend of history with a touch of fantasy. Do you like vampires? Cool stories about historic figures? Odd secrets? Crypts? This is the book for you.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck In all honesty, you’ll have to read this book in high school (like I did this past year), so why not get a head start? It’s actually a great little book, really short, and an easy read. But it has a TON of stuff in it. For my fellow English lovers, there are parallel scenes, touches of imagery, and interesting universal messages. For those who love a good plot, there are two friends, a desperate wife, ranch workers, and a little accidental murder on the side. This book is a little depressing, as its overall message is about loneliness, but it’s a good read.
A Separate Peace byJohn Knowles This book has a bit of everything. It was also assigned reading for our English class this past year, but I honestly enjoyed it. Two friends, betrayal, jealousy, trees, accidents, fake wars, loss of innocence, mock trials, and a sad death…and a Christ figure. Sound interesting?
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury You guys already know how much I love Ray Bradbury from my tribute post, so I won’t go into that again. But this book is truly FABULOUS. Each time I read it, I find another reason to love it all over again. One of my absolute favorite books EVER. Let me be clear, though: it’s not sci-fi! This book has something to tell us now, not something to tell us in 100 years. Read it and see what you get from it.
Daddy’s Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark I have been a devoted Mary Higgins Clark fan for many years, and this is my favorite book that she’s written. It’s about a girl who grows up after the murder of her older sister when she was small…and she uncovers thereal murderer. Wonderful…and scary. Seriously, this book terrified me during some parts. You’ll see.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott This is a classic and it’s a great book. I know some of you guys are thinking, “Gee, what is WRONG with this kid?!”, but you just don’t know what you’re missing. This book contains beautiful writing and beautiful lessons within its pages, so I highly recommend it to everyone.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Brought me to tears a few times! This book is about pride, fear, betrayal, and forgiveness.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Strong women who live through a tough situation in Afghanistan. Wonderful story!
*The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson The author’s idea of what really happened to the boy king. Great historical fiction!
*A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George This woman is Mary Higgins Clark for the U.K.! Any of her murder mysteries are amazingly well-written and have great plots with characters you’ll love and enjoy (at least I did…).
Anyway, those are just a few suggestions to get you started. Let me know what you guys think of these books!
* I recommend these books and anything by these authors, but I wanted to caution you about something. These authors (in these particular books and in their other works) use sex scenes frequently. Now, the plots are great because they’re both brilliant writers…but the sex scenes are pretty involved (for lack of a better word). So I encourage you to either skip over these scenes (which you can easily do) or to not even buy the books if you will be tempted to read those scenes because reading them might open up the occasion for lustful thoughts. Just a warning.
Okay, I know that title sounds a bit random…but I thought this was so cool that I wanted to share it with you guys. I take theology classes offered by our diocese, and our homework for this past month was to do a review on any movie we chose and to then analyze the Christology in that film. I, being a Harry Potter fan, chose to do my assignment on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II…and it was actually a really fun project.
I guess I sort of considered the idea of biblical references in the Harry Potter books and movies, but I’d never had the chance to actually sit down and analyze them. So, this was part of my response in the assignment:
This movie included aspects of both high and low Christology. The Christ figure in this movie is the main character, Harry Potter. Elements of low Christology emphasize Christ’s humanity, which is seen in Harry’s sorrow over the deaths of his friends. This scene in the movie echoes Christ’s sorrow over the death of Lazarus (John 11:32-37). Low Christology can again be found in Harry’s fear as he goes to meet Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, which is a parallel to Christ’s fear during His agony in the garden before His betrayal and arrest (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42). High Christology emphasizes Christ’s divinity and is shown in that Harry is not defeated by death or evil, which is represented by Lord Voldemort. This element of the story hearkens back to the Resurrection because Harry effectively “rises” from the dead like Jesus (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18). The final battle between Harry and Voldemort also contains elements of high Christology because this scene represents the final and definitive battle between good (Harry) and evil (Voldemort). This scene takes the viewer back to the Book of Revelation where Christ’s divinity is shown in His victorious defeat of evil and those who oppose God (Revelation 19:11-21). This film, then, represents a Gospel harmony because it contains elements from all of the different Gospel accounts.
Any other Harry Potter fans reading this? I thought it was really cool…but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, just thought I’d share.
I don’t know how many of you guys have heard of Professor Elie Wiesel. He’s the author of Night, one of the (if not the) most famous accounts of the Holocaust. If you’ve never read it, it’s a great book with a lot of material for reflection. I both highly recommend it to you and highly caution you: it has a great message, but it’s very real and very sad (to say the least).
Earlier this year, I had the great opportunity to go and hear Professor Wiesel speak at a local college. I don’t want to go into everything he said because I don’t think I could accurately put it down for you guys to read, but there was one point he made that I want to share. A friend of mine wrote this quote down after we got back from listening to his speech:
“The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness; it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy; it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death; it’s indifference.” -Elie Wiesel
I just found that really interesting. Maybe the worst thing in the world isn’t war, death, bombs, or hunger. Maybe the worst thing in the world is the human indifference that allows these things to happen.
Just something to think about.