When I go into someone’s house or apartment for the first time, I find myself especially drawn to their bookshelves. I want to see the books that they read and the ones they have on display. I like to know which ones have mattered enough to keep, which ones are dogeared and worn, and which are on the stack to be read next.
I read two books this week and really enjoyed them both. First up was The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of the Church–The Story of John XXIII and Vatican II by Greg Tobin. It’s a book that is part biography of Pope John XXIII and part reflection on what Vatican II means 50 years later. As someone who has heard a lot of things about how amazing Vatican II was, but who didn’t know much about the people behind it this book was really interesting. It reads less like history and more like fiction. I enjoyed reading about the situations that influenced Pope John as a young man that led him to want to change things in the church he so loved. Reading the history around Vatican II and all of the different players was fascinating as well. I am definitely going to check out some more in depth history of the council because this book was only able to cover so much.
The other thing that I really appreciated about this book were the glimpses it offered of the man behind the vestments. I am always interested in reading about the ways in which people follow Jesus and I appreciated the excerpts from his diary that were included in this book. (I am also really interested in reading his compiled diary as it looks fascinating!)
The next book is one that falls into the category of “guilty pleasure”. It’s one of what I call a “religious thriller”. Here’s the thing: If I pick up a book in the bookstore and it contains a combination of the following; a mysterious gospel, a vatican conspiracy, a secret uncovered, an archaeological dig, etc. I can guarantee you that I will be purchasing said book and devouring it in one sitting. The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell fits the bill perfectly. An earthquake at Masada uncovers a secret long hidden. I don’t want to give anything away, but this book was awesome. It was fun and interesting. It included fantasy elements that didn’t seem out of place. The mystery was interesting and there was just enough history to keep the whole thing from going off the rails. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you like this kind of thing I highly recommend it. It’s one of the better in this genre that I’ve read (and trust me when I say that I have read A LOT of them). Apparently this one is also part of a series which is pretty awesome because I liked the characters a lot and they are building an interesting world. I appreciate the combinations of fantasy with religious overtones. Just a really fun book.
What are you reading these days?
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