April is a busy month for my family: two birthdays, plus Easter. So I did a lot of reading in the car—or rather, listening. The library’s audiobook feature is handy.
The Idea of a University, by John Henry Newman
Genre: Education, Literature
This is a series of lectures given by the founder of the first Catholic college in Ireland, in the 1800s. He asks questions such as, “What is the purpose of a University?” “Is theology a scientific study?” and “Should we teach practical skills in a University?” I liked his ideas, but he could have said them in twenty pages instead of two hundred and fifty.
Towering by Alex Finn
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
A fairly entertaining retelling of Rapunzel. It has a believable setting, given the fantasy nature of the story. But the story itself wasn’t all that engaging. I can read a good book for hours on end, but this one was easy o put down. Overall, so-so.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
I was very happy with the ending of the Divergent series—much more than the ending of the Hunger Games. While the Hunger Games ends with despair, Allegiant ends with the hope of restoration and redemption. It’s definitely worth finishing the series.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Wow—talk about an intense book. I listened to this one, and was very confused when it started. The first narrator is mentally disabled, and jumps between memories without telling the reader. When I finally understood what was happening, I could follow it better. A classic book, but be forewarned—it’s not for the faint-hearted.
So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
This is the first book in the popular So You Want to be a Wizard series. I’d heard about this series for a while, and thought I’d read the first one. If I was anywhere between the ages of ten and fifteen, I would be chomping at the bit for the second one.
Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
This set of three essays is arguably Lewis’ most important work. He discusses the problems associated with modernist thought, which ends in the abolition of humanity.
The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
A book about magic, chocolate, and love—pretty cute. It’s not one of the best young adult fantasies I’ve read, but was worth the four or five hours I put into it.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical Fiction
After the film came out a few years ago, a friend of mine read the book and recommended it to me. So I put the movie on hold until I had read the book. It was fantastic. Educational, entertaining, heart-rending—definitely worth the read.
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Genre: Christian Literature
I thought I had already read this book; my mom had read it to me when I was little. But then I started it, and realized she must have read me the children’s version. Written in the 17th century, it’s full of “Thee” and “Thou” and “must needs be.” But I still liked it—Bunyan communicates spiritual practice through narrative, which was revolutionary at the time.
As for my favorite out of all these… It’s a close run between Abolition of Man and The Help. But one is fiction and the other non-fiction, so I should be allowed to choose both, right?