Friday, September 30, 2011

New on the Shelf

A couple of review books that popped in ... both looking quite readable, I must say.

  • Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor by Jana Reiss
    This wry memoir tackles twelve different spiritual practices in a quest to become more saintly, including fasting, fixed-hour prayer, the Jesus Prayer, gratitude, Sabbath-keeping, and generosity. Although Riess begins with great plans for success ("Really, how hard could that be?" she asks blithely at the start of her saint-making year), she finds to her growing humiliation that she is failing--not just at some of the practices, but at every single one. What emerges is a funny yet vulnerable story of the quest for spiritual perfection and the reality of spiritual failure, which turns out to be a valuable practice in and of itself.
    I've actually read the first two or three chapters of this, I must admit. The style is easy to read quickly. This early in, I am wondering if the author ever becomes fond of a saint because she never seems to lose the flipness enough to give it a solid try. However, it is engaging and early days ... so we shall see!

  • The Emperor of North America by John McNichol
    This is the second book of The Young Chesterton Chronicles, which from reading the first couple of chapters reminds me irresistibly of Harry Potter in the way he and his friend interact. That's not a bad thing. I'm interested in both Gilbert's romantic hopes and the mysterious horror which was set before us at the very beginning. The only thing I'm sorry about is that it is practically impossible to get my hands on a copy of the first book of the series, Tripods ... which is about a Martian invasion. Oh yeah ... more on this soon I'm sure.


  1. If nothing else, I do have a copy, and I just forwarded your blog post to John, maybe he can sell you a copy directly.

  2. John, IRL - no - but Julie was one of the first people to encourage my aborted blogging attempts and one of the first blogs I followed. So I feel like I know her and I'd certainly be willing to pay book rate postage to send her my used copy of Tripods - especially since I can probably figure out where to get another copy :D Of course I'll need to get the new copy signed by the author to match the original :D

  3. I'm so glad to know that this book is now out. I enjoyed the first one.

  4. Paul ... you are so kind! I don't want you to have to pay for anything! I see that Amazon has some used copies listed that are in decent shape. After I've read this one, I'll take the plunge and go backwards in (book) time to get this one. Perhaps I'll have Christmas money by then! :-)

  5. Good news! The 2nd printing of Tripods has just been released! You may now go to and scoop it up! :D

    God bless,

  6. I read the first book The Tripod Attacks and quite enjoyed it. Though it wan't well received in the Chesterton community as far as I could tell.

    The first book is available on Kindle now.

  7. Thanks, Jeff. You're very kind. I truly hope you enjoy the 2nd one as much.

    Once again, the good news is that the 1st book is available again over at Sophia press. Hooray! :D

  8. Thanks for the scoop on the first book, John!

  9. Over the way is a barrow piled with books. A lean young man picks them over eagerly. A working lad: a hungry-looking young man. He counts out six pennies and buys a book. I am curious. I edge up and look. Milton's Paradise Lost! And he so hungry; and lucky, too, in the long run! A thing you always remember happily is the way you starved yourself for books.

    - A Manchester street scene in H. V. Morton's The Call of England, 1936