Life is Grace

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver)

  1. The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
  2. Falling Angels, ibid
  3. Chronically Happy: Joyful Living in Spite of Chronic Illness, Lori Hartwell
  4. Please Understand Me: Character & Temperament Types, David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates
  5. Katherine, Anya Seton
  6. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
  7. Victorian London: The Life of a City, 1840-1870, Liza Picard
  8. Elizabeth’s London: Everyday life in Elizabethan London, ibid.
  9. Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey, Allison Weir
  10. The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece, Jonathan Harr
  11. Thunderstruck, Erik Larson
  12. Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Storm in History, ibid
  13. The Warrior Queens, Antonia Fraser
  14. Mary, Queen of Scots, ibid
  15. Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King, ibid
  16. Journey From the Land of No, Roya Hakakian
  17. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebecca Wells
  18. Little Altars Everywhere, ibid
  19. Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal, Alexandria Johnson
  20. The Hidden Writer: Diaries and the Creative Life, ibid
  21. Wisdom of the Celtic Saints, Edward Sellner
  22. Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self, Joyce Rupp
  23. Praying by Hand: Rediscovering the Rosary as a Way of Prayer, Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O.
  24. The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society, Henri J.M. Nouwen
  25. Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life, Nouwen, et al
  26. Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir, Joan Chittister
  27. The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully, ibid
  28. There is a Season, ibid
  29. The Story of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Woman’s Life, ibid
  30. The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Inner Growth, Gerald May, M.D.
  31. Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal, Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
  32. How Much is Enough? Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture, Arthur Simon
  33. The Challenge and Spirituality of Catholic Social Teaching, Marvin L. Krier Mich
  34. Cloud of Witnesses, Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday
  35. Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint, Donald Spoto.
  36. The Bible: A Biography, Karen Armstrong
  37. How Firm a Foundation: Leaders of the Liturgical Movement, Robert L. Tuzik, ed.
  38. Prayers of the Women Mystics, Rhonda De Sola
  39. Woman, Why Do You Weep? Spirituality for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Sandra M. Flaherty
  40. Touching the Holy: Ordinariness, Self-Esteem, and Friendship, Robert J. Wicks
  41. Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality, Bradley P. Holt
  42. Pilgrim’s Almanac: Reflections for Every Day, Edward Hays
  43. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  44. Hitler’s Willing Executioner’s: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
  45. Wait ‘Til Next Year, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  46. Light a Penny Candle, Maeve Binchy
  47. Tara Road, ibid
  48. Quentin’s, ibid
  49. Scarlet Feather, ibid
  50. Silver Wedding, ibid
  51. Evening Class, ibid
  52. The Glass Lake, ibid
  53. Firefly Summer, ibid
  54. Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, Geraldine Brooks
  55. People of the Book: A Novel, ibid
  56. The Chronic Illness Experience: Embracing the Imperfect Life, Cheri Register
  57. Dim Sum, Bagels, and Grits: A Multicultural Adoption, Myra Alperson
  58. Lincoln: A Novel, Gore Vidal
  59. Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents, Deborah D. Gray
  60. Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest, Christina Baldwin
  61. Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language From the South of France, Kristin Espinasse
  62. Coastliners: A Novel, Joanne Harris
  63. Five Quarters of the Orange, ibid
  64. Chocolat, ibid
  65. A Vision of Light: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel, Judith Merkle Riley
  66. In Pursuit of the Green Lion: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel, ibid
  67. The Water Devil: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel, ibid
  68. The Birth of Venus: A Novel, Sarah Dinanat
  69. Murder in the Rue De Paradis, Cara Black
  70. Murder in Belleville, ibid
  71. Murder in the Marais, ibid
  72. Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis, ibid
  73. Murder in Clichy, ibid
  74. Murder in Montmartre, ibid
  75. Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl, Debra Oliver
  76. Hardball: How Politics is Played by One Who Knows the Game, Christopher Matthews
  77. Lean Forward Into Your Life, Mary Anne Rademacher
  78. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  79. Good Living With Fibromyalgia, Arthritis Foundation

All while typing this list I kept thinking of two of my favorite readers: Emilie, and my mom. “Oh, I’ve got to tell Emilie about this one,” I’d think, only to remember…I’ve had more time to get used to my mom’s death, but I still can’t help wanting to call her on the phone to tell her every time I discover an especially intriguing, complex, mystery story.

But still. Today, this is how I honor them, and the legacy they’ve left me, a legacy filled with love and appreciation for the power and mystery of language. And I’m grateful, too, for the many friends with whom I still share a mutual love of books, of delight in a cleverly turned phrase, in that magical feeling of discovering something new and traveling on a magic carpet–all thanks to our common love of the written (and spoken!) word.

And mom, it’s taken me many years, but I finally–well, mostly–forgive you for all those horrible puns.

(For an example of another friend who loves words, too, check out Liz’s beautifully written recent post.)

3 thoughts on “books: 2008

  1. Wow, Barbara, you really are a voracious reader! I’m amazed. I drool over the thought of reading this many books in a year. I sneak in those chapters whenever and however I can, but my list isn’t quite as long. It was fun to read what you fed your mind with this past year, but I especially liked your reflections at the end. 🙂


  2. Barbara says:

    Well, as to the number of books I read last year, remember that I don’t have nay kids, and my fibromyalgia kept me house-bound for over half of the year!


  3. Barbara, the kid factor does come into play. As for the fibromyalgia, thank God for those books that helped keep your your mind occupied. I know others who suffer with this and I’m sorry to know you’re among them. It’s a big cross…but you’re such a light despite it all. Thanks for that.


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