I finished my sixth book with just a day to spare and made my six book goal for July. You would think I would have an easier time meeting my goals in the summer but that has not seemed to be the case.

Master of Middle-Earth by Paul H. Kocher

Cover of Master of Middle-Earth, depicting an elderly Hobbit, quill in hand

I picked this up on vacation at a wonderful used bookstore that I mentioned here before. I don’t think I have read this book before although I had heard of it for years. When I was a little girl reading Tolkien there were not as many books about him as there are now, and I believe this to have been one of the first, written while he was still living and therefore before the publication of The Silmarillion. As such, there were times I felt I knew more about Tolkien than the author did, but it was all the more enjoyable for being a little snapshot into the time when The Lord of the Rings was not so well known,

The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice by Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J.

Book Cover of The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice with a picture of Saint Ignatius

I had been working my way through this book modeled on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and I plan to do it again more intentionally in the future. Written by a Black Jesuit, it’s meant to be done as a retreat, at your own pace, but divided into weeks and days. The author interweaves stories of the life and conversion of the founder of the Jesuits with his personal experiences of and reflections on racism and stories from the news with which we are so sadly familiar.  Prayers, reflection questions, and journaling prompts are included.

Her Perfect Family by Teresa Driscoll

Cover of Her Perfect Family with a blonde woman's face, eyes obscured by the title

This is one of the thrillers Amazon lets me download for free every month. I usually save them to read on airplanes but one day I was in the mood for something quick and diverting so I chose this one. Rather obviously, “her family” is not perfect, and we spend the book finding out more about that. It was an interesting story and the characters were three-dimensional, and I did not see what was coming until pretty close to the end.

Out of Many, One by George W. Bush

Cover of Out of Many, One illustrated with seven paintings of diverse immigrants

I was intrigued when I heard a few years back that our former President had taken up painting. He was not a favorite of mine when he served, but his conduct since leaving office has won me over, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which pairs his artwork with the stories of immigrants who have made this country great. It’s an inspiring read, and people may criticize his art, but all I know is I could not paint like that.

Quiet by Susan Cain

Cover of Quiet, gray with the title in red

This was a Georgetown book club read, and funnily I had a copy of it lying around for years in the to-read pile! As an introvert, it resonate deeply with me, and was interesting to hear some of the science. I found myself reading bits of out loud to anyone who was in the room. My biggest takeaway is that teachers need to appreciate the gifts of their introverted students and ENOUGH WITH THE GROUP PROJECTS ALREADY!

Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Cover of A Long Petal of the Sea, in shades of blue that suggest waves

This was the other Georgetown book for this quarter and once I picked it up it was hard to put down. For one thing I learned so much about the Spanish Civil War and about political events in Chile over several decades, all of which was new information for me (I have long said that my education in history is deficient). For another, the story and the characters were absorbing and the writing was lovely. Typically, what especially captivated me was the evolution of the marriage of Victor and Roser from one of convenience to deep love and devotion. Here’s the quotation that stuck with me: “Pain is unavoidable, buts suffering is optional.”

And that’s my six! I’m already deep into four new reads I am excited to share with you soon.

As always, I am linking up with An Open Book. Be sure to check out what others are reading and feel free to join in.


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