Reading Challenge

Read Across America Day!

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Reading Challenge | 4 comments

Today is Read Across America Day — and happy birthday to Dr. Seuss!

That’s an initiative by the NEA, the National Education Association, but there are so many other places to encourage reading, especially for adults. I had some fun sharing what I’m reading at Aleteia’s What Are You Reading pieces.

And now, I’ve picked up this book, again. One of these days I’m going to finish the entire series. Maybe. I mean, I’m retired and everything, I should be able to do it.

What’s on your bedside reading table?


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The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in good for the soul, Reading Challenge, reviews | Comments Off on The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Catholic Moms Prayer BookComing soon! The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion:A Book of Daily Reflections

Are you a Catholic mom who prays for the wisdom and patience to get through each day? Do you pray for your children, husband, family and friends, and sometimes even yourself? The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion offers a new, daily resource to make the most of those few, precious minutes you have to pause and reflect.

You’ll find encouragement when you’re struggling, reassurance when you feel alone, and comfort when you’re distracted by worry. Created by moms for moms, these hope-filled meditations touch on the issues and concerns you face as you try to get through the day with a sense of God’s presence in your life. 

I’m delighted to be a contributor to this great resource. Go ahead and pre-order so you’re ready for the new year!

Pre-order online today at:

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that reading challenge I abandoned

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Reading Challenge | Comments Off on that reading challenge I abandoned

I thought I’d bring back that reading challenge I abandoned last year. I’m just going to copy and past the in-progress list here and keep going but you might want to follow that link above for the explanation. Like so many do-better do-more projects, I abandoned this one, not because I abandoned reading altogether, but because I wasn’t reading the things on the list. I probably read more than a book a month in the remainder of 2015.

So what’s up with my reading this year? About the same, but maybe I’ll be a little more intentional about sharing what’s on my night table. Or coffee table. Or desk. Or bookshelf.


1. A totally gratuitous and vapid book that I’ll forget the moment I set it down after finishing it. I suspect this happened more than a few times last year.
2. A biography.
3. A history book. Preferably American history because I’m weak there.
4. A book about music. The Inextinguishable Symphony by Martin Goldsmith
5. A book about an artist.
6. A book of poetry.
7. A book about prayer.
8. A science-fiction novel. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
9. A book about Catholic theology.
10. A book about writing.
11. A classic.
12. A New York Times best-seller.
13. A book in Spanish.
14. A romance.
15. A murder mystery.
16. A book about a Saint.
17. A book BY a Saint.
18. A book by a friend. A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac by Margaret Rose Really
19. A book about photography.
20. A book about science. Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man Who Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick
21. A book with a pretty cover. Yes, I’m going to judge it.
22. A book with an ugly cover. I’ll stay open minded.
23. A banned book. Hey. It’s me we’re talking about here.
24. A book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, for years.
25. A book you recommend.

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5 down, 20 to go

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Reading Challenge, reviews | 2 comments

I’m still reading ahead of what I’m posting, but I’m excited to say that I am going strong in my personal challenge to read 25 books for pleasure this year. It’s a huge number for me because I do a lot of reading for work.

brewThe Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Home-Brewed Evangelization by Sarah Vabulas could fit into several categories, but I’m going with history because frankly it’s the historical snippets and trivia in the book that tickled me. I’m not likely to be a brewer, but I do drink an occasional beer. I’ve enjoyed reading about the history of brewing, and over all, the history of alcohol as it relates to the Catholic faith.

But it’s more than a history book. Vabulas weaves personal stories of evangelization through stories on the lives of saints and holy people, breweries, information on varieties of alcoholic beverages, and a collection of recipes that both instructs and entertains. She’s like the neighborhood bartender — mixes a great drink for you, serves it beautifully, and then leans on the bar with a smile and an open heart to engage, really engage, in conversations about faith, inspiration, and the Gospel. 

Vabs’ casual style and quick wit comes through right out of the gate:

Thomas Merton wrote in the Contemplation in a World of Action, “I drink beer whenever I can lay my hands on any. I love beer, and, by that very fact, the world.” I’m not sure if he loved the world before or after a beer or just because beer exists, but he’s on the right track.


You’ll want to read this book, and then impress your friends with your amazing knowledge next time you’re out for beers. Or wine. Or you know what, just having good friendly conversation over any beverage.

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4 down, 21 to go

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Reading Challenge | 4 comments

The Book Challenge Returns


I’ve actually read about 8 or 9 more books since I last posted this series in February, but time got away from me, and other lame excuses. If you’ll bear with me, I’ll try to catch up on the books I’ve read (and keep reading on my goal to finish 25 books this year that aren’t related to my work).

I explain the personal challenge here, but in a nutshell, I’ve challenged myself to read a variety of books this year, and post my reviews. So here goes with book #4.


Madeline L’Engle {Herself}

compiled by Carole F. Chase


Madeline L'EngleI loved this book. It’s a collection of snippets from Madeline L’Engle’s workshops and advice to writers. I didn’t read it in one sitting. Instead, I endeavored to read one passage at a time and reflect on her advice. It was too good, though, and I’d find that I had read 5 or 6 entries before realizing that my intent was to savor the book. Silly me. It’s just so rich, and speaks so very perfectly to my writer’s heart.

She offers the following advice about getting started, and I find I suffer from the same experience:

The hardest part is the first three sentences. Sitting down with pen and paper and just getting those first three sentences out. I sometimes have to write my way into something knowing that that first paragraph is just preliminary, but I have to write myself in. It’s like being in a cold lake and sometimes you have to go in toe by toe. Some of you can plunge in, but not always; you have to write your way into it. And then you’re swimming.




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3 down, 22 to go

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Reading Challenge | 6 comments

I just finished the third book in my ambitious plan to read 25 books this year (for pleasure — I have other reading to do, too). I think it might have fit into several categories, but I’m going to go with music. For obvious reasons.


I haven’t felt so personally drawn into a book in a long time, and I regret that it has taken me over a decade to discover The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany. Martin Goldsmith’s account of his parents’ love story, intertwined as it was with the increasing dangers of the Nazi regime in Germany, and the beautiful expression of joy through music captured my heart.

Goldsmith tells his family’s story — a love story. A story of betrayal. Of sacrifice. Of humanity — with the inhumane backdrop of the Holocaust. The looming specter of death is ever-present, except in those places touched by music.

The title, the Inextinguishable Symphony, captures the heart of the story, and the heart of the lovers whose lives are unquestionably, a symphony.


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