What I’m Reading Right Now
For those of you who don’t know (really, read the rest of this blog and you would know), I love to read. Generally, I have at least three books going at once: a fiction, a nonfiction, and a spiritual work. Right now, I’m a little bit more than that. Since I’m in the middle of so many things (5 books, preparing for a personal retreat, my job, and discerning my future, not to mention trying to have a social life!), I thought I would update you about what is on the reading list right now.
Main Street Vegan
by Victoria Moran
For those of you who are thinking, “Good heavens, Kaitlyn, you already have celiacs and have to eat gluten free, are you really going to go vegan, too?” you may be consoled: no, I’m not going vegan. Not yet, anyway. Every time I pick this book up, I crave meat—and usually I don’t even eat meat (unless you count the occasional midnight pepperoni binge or stressed sausage-link cravings). But I did live in community with two vegans this summer and let me tell you, they made a big impact on how I see food (thanks, Rebecca and Michael!). I am trying to be more mindful about how I feed myself and by reading more about eating vegan, I am doing that. I’m aware that a vegan diet is, overall, more healthy and gives you more energy. There is a decent amount of scientific evidence that human beings were no originally designed to be omnivores—which actually fits in with the creation myth in Genesis—and we gain more nutritionally from plants than from animals. As a result, and also out of a desire to live in solidarity with those who cannot afford luxuries like meat (and because I really can’t afford luxuries like good, grass-fed meat), I am trying to avoid meat and animal products in my diet. That doesn’t mean I’m becoming vegan (try being gluten free and giving up cheese and eggs as well, it would be really hard!), but I am trying to become what I’ve heard people refer to as respect-itarian. I eat what people feed me (as long as it’s gluten free) because I respect their gift. I eat meat from animals that have been treated in a respectful way, because I support in stewardship theology and not dominion theology. When I do eat meat, I remember to be grateful for the wealth and comfort that has been granted to me that is denied most of the Earth’s population.
Enough of my apologetics about my reading choice, now onto the actual book: I like it, but I have my reservations. I’m only through the first five chapters, not even a third of the way in, so my review now and my eventual review when I finish might be very different. For now, I can say that the author is a typical self-righteous vegan—something that my own vegan friends typically avoid. But she does make an effort to backtrack and applaud the reader for their interest even if they’re not vegan, though of course she thinks they should be. She gives the why, the how, and the practical information as well as some yummy looking (though mostly gluten-ified) recipes. I’ll hold out before I issue a recommendation.
The Mists of Avalon
by Marion Zimmer Bradley
I’m reading this book with one of my best friends. We’re supposed to be reading on our own, then discussing. We’ll see how that works.
I’m only in Chapter 9 (page 114 of 876), so I’m not very far. So far, I really like it, but I seem to be in a lull (hence the fact that I have two novels going at once). I have enjoyed the different perspective on the Church as well as a new spin on the Arthurian legends. I recommend it so far, let’s see what happens when I finish!
Light in August
by William Faulkner
I have been informed by my students (and they think they are experts on the matter) that I am the ONLY person in the world who reads Faulkner for fun. I assume this is not the case, given that someone at UD must have loved him in order for him to make it into the Core. Please, if you love Faulkner, comment below so I can prove them wrong.
My decision to read
Light in August
right now is based on three things in my life: 1) I own it (as the result of a local library selling a large stack of Faulkner, which I bought all of); 2) It is on the reading list for a PhD program I am interested in and I thought I might as well give it a try; and 3) I wanted to read some serious (read: actually good and not fluffy) literature, but didn’t want to be in the ancient world (for once). Hence, here I am reading Faulkner’s classic.
I’m a little over halfway through. Given that I only just started it a week and a half ago, I think that might actually be impressive (especially since I’m also reading
other books). But really, through a lot of it, I couldn’t put it down. I’m enjoying the story, the suspense. I’ve been careful not to look up any scholarship on the book yet so that I can actually be surprised by the ending. Faulkner’s usual ability to create a character, give you an impression of their character, then go deeper and make you question the first impression while at the same time deepening it—this is exemplified in this story. I know I will recommend this book (umm… it’s a classic, obviously), but I’ll have to hold out on the final review until I finish the story. I’m loving it, though!
Spiritual Book #1:
Twelve Apostolic Women
by Joanne Turpin
I’m reading this book for a book group. It’s good for what it is: an exploration of women in scripture. But what it is not is completely historically accurate—there’s no way to be when you’re writing about women in scripture, some of whom don’t even have names. I’m excited to be exploring these women, but a little wary of how some people who don’t have a good historical understanding of scripture might take this book for absolute truth. I’ll hold off on my review and recommendation until I’ve finished it.
Spiritual Book #2:
Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics
by Thomas J. Craughwell
This is one of the books I’m reading for
Blogging for Books
, and I chose it because I’ve had several students ask me about relics recently. I personally find relics to be a weird part of our faith (and yes, I did live in Rome and see many of them), so I thought this book might help me. It has helped a little, but the part that I really love is that I’m learning about all these saints.
The format of the book is that there is a short introduction on relics and what they are followed by a list of the most popular/regularly visited relics, in alphabetical order by saint. The author is very careful to tell not only where the relic is now, but how it got there, how we know whose it is, and who the saint was anyway. I’m loving the stories about the saints already.
My recommendation: if you’re interested in learning more about individual saints, this is a great book. If you’re looking to understand relics/be convinced they aren’t a little weird, this book is probably not for you. Then again, even this author concedes that it might be a slightly odd practice, so maybe you won’t ever be able to be convinced otherwise. I’ll let you know more when I have finished it.
So, that’s what I’m reading right now. I promise that an actual update on my life is coming soon!