Linking up with Jessica for What I’m Reading Wednesday!
Usually, I like to stick with one book, power through, and move on to the next but I find myself having started three books at the same time. I think it helps that I’ve got a novel, a theology book, and a collection of letters so the genres are varied enough.
Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers
I’m a sucker for stories about aristocratic dilettantes – I know, such a wide array of books fit that description, right? – so I’m surprised it took me so long to read the Lord Peter Wimsey novels. I’m on the third one now and I am just delighted by them. They’re engaging and easy to read so I like flying through them before bed since I’m trying to kick the “fall asleep to that episode of The Office you’ve seen literally 23 times” habit. I mean, I though this part was particularly funny and it’s from a chapter entitled “A Use for Spinsters,” which is hilarious all on its own:
“Miss Climpson,” said Lord Peter, “is a manifestation of the wasteful way in which this country is run. Look at electricity. Look at water power. Look at the tides. Look at the sun. Millions of units of power being given off into space every minute. Thousands of old maids, simply bursting with useful energy, forced by our stupid social system into hydros and hotels and communities and hostels and posts as companions, where their magnificent gossip-powers and units of inquisitiveness are allowed to dissipate themselves or even become harmful to the community, while the ratepayers’ money is spent on getting work for which these women are providentially fitted, inefficiently carried out by ill-equipped policemen like you.
I also love Parker, the straight man, and the fact that he’s not a complete dolt like his character can be in a lot of detective novels.
Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942 by Edith Stein
I try to start my day with some spiritual reading, a habit long ingrained from daily “quiet time” in college, which I achieve with spotty success. I decided to get this from the Divinity School library (ah, the joys of the student spouse Yale ID) after asking a friend from our parish who has a particular devotion to St. Teresa Benedicta what to start with of Edith Stein’s. She recommended her letters, which were somewhat difficult to get into. They start with her correspondence pre-conversion when she was studying phenomenology so a lot of her early letters were about her studies, but as I get farther along, I’m starting to get more of a sense of her personality and her instrumental role in many other women’s conversions.
I’m also trying to understand what it means to have a friendship with a particular saint. St. Monica was my confirmation saint and I ask for her intercession frequently, especially for help with our little Adeodatus since she knows sons pretty well, but I still feel like I don’t quite get having a devotion beyond the very intellectual “I have read your books / about you in books” sense. #FormerProtestantProblems, I suppose. I realize now why starting with Edith Stein’s letters is a good move; it gives me some inkling of who she was as a whole person, not just her ideas. I welcome any suggestions on this front.
After You Believe by N.T. Wright
N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope was instrumental in convincing me of a sacramental view of reality and my friend read this one recently so I thought I’d also give it a shot. He also came to the Div school in November and my husband and his friend got to drive him to and from the airport which was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Christopher and I got to meet him too.
Anyway, that’s my first What I’m Reading Wednesday. I love, love, love friends on Goodreads so please add me over there!