What’s on my nightstand

Even with a hectic schedule, I always find time to read.  That’s a non-negotiable for me.  I can usually work in a chapter or two before bed, depending on how tired I am; usually, on a weekend morning, I can read a bit over coffee, while the boys are entertained with an episode of “Curious George.”   I think it helps that I’ve always been someone who maximizes any reading opportunity that comes her way.  (As a kid, I used to read while brushing my teeth, which always drove my sister crazy.)

I tend to have several books going at once, too, which may sound totally disorienting, but which actually works well for me.  That way I can read heavier stuff when I’m more alert, gentler stuff at night before bed, and spiritual books during my little moments of prayer.  Here are the titles I’ve got going at the moment, all of them fabulous.

Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison is a totally engaging  memoir by the woman who worked as Lady Astor’s personal maid for over thirty years.   She gives an insider’s view on what it was like to be in domestic service to the upper crust, and even though I already knew a lot about this from all those episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, I’m learning a lot that I never knew before.   The book is a totally engrossing look at a way of life that rarely exists anymore, and if you’re a Downton fanatic like me, you’ll eat it up.

Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul by Brett Hoover offers a fascinating look at comfort: what it means, the many ways we pursue it, the sacrifices we make to achieve it, and the spiritual implications of a life lived in avoidance of suffering.  Brett Hoover is a Paulist priest (and, long ago, was my very first editor at BustedHalo.com), and I love how he weaves together so many different ideas in such an effortless, engaging way.  The book provides much food for thought.

I was recently sent a review copy of God Will Provide by Patricia Treece, and it’s a wonderful aid to my prayer life.  Treece discusses the “radical faith” of many saints and other giants of spirituality, and gives tips for developing our own ability to trust in God’s goodness.  Check back later for a full review.

This weekend, my mom brought over a copy of Christina Katerina and the Box by Patricia Lee Gauch.   I adored this book when I was a kid, and it’s a joy to re-read. Christina Katerina takes an empty refrigerator box and turns it into a castle, then a clubhouse, then a racecar … her ingenuity knows no bounds.  It’s a totally delightful hymn to childhood imagination.

Also a re-read: the cozy Over Hill and Dale by Gervase Phinn.  This is the second book in his series of memoirs about his adventures as a school inspector in Yorkshire, charged with visiting rural and urban schools.  Phinn has been called the James Herriott of education, and that’s a great description.  Like Herriott’s books, this series has lovely countryside, touching and funny stories, and lots of heart.  It’s a great read-before-bed kind of book.

That’s me!  What about you?  What are you reading these days?

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