What I Read in April

Welcome to Quick Lit! Here are short reviews of the books I read over the past 30 days. Only 7 finished books this month, and two were quite short. But I’m so excited about one book, I had to immediately start a Facebook book club to share it with others. 

 

Quotidian Mysteries ★★★★

It’s a short book, under 100 pages, but there’s so much to unpack. Kathleen Norris is also a published poet. She excerpts a few pieces of poetry in this profoundly personal book. There’s a deep rhythm to Quotidian Mysteries, reflecting the rhythms of work at home.

 

Sanctification isn’t found only behind cloister walls, or at the foot of the altar. The majority of us are called to be in the world. God sends us into our family homes. To perform the liturgies of living and Norris addresses the restless monotony, and the quiet joys, that make up our daily keeping. I’d love to do a book club or small group reading of Quotidian Mysteries someday.

33 Days to Morning Glory ★★★★★

Fr. Gaitley’s DIY retreat has quickly become a modern classic. 33 days of short (2-3 page) readings on Mary’s example through the writings of Saints who love her. The first four weeks cover a Saint each: Louis de Montfort, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II. The last 5 days are a synthesis and preparation for consecrating yourself to Jesus through Mary.

On May 22nd, we’re starting a group reading in a private Facebook group. We will end on on the feast of the Immaculate Heart. Feel free to share with friends! It’s shaping up to be quite the mixer.

The Lost Tools of Learning ★★★

This is a foundational text of the modern neo-classical education movement. In 40-some pages, Dorothy Sayers laments the state of education in 1950s Britain and calls for the revival of the seven liberal arts. Written over 60 years ago, her description of the bleak education system (overworked teachers, compartmentalized school subjects, lack of foundations skills) is just as relevant today.

Dorothy Sayers was an accomplished author. She admits she wasn’t a child psychologist, only bases her suggestions on her own experience. I enjoyed her writing but wanted more than this small document provided.

 

The Art of Homemaking ★

I had to quit reading this one 10 pages in. The content may be useful, but the lack of editing made it incomprehensible. I’m very glad I was reading with Kindle Unlimited. Wasting money on a bad book is the worst!

 

Harry Potter, books 1-4

We’re a house of Potterheads. We were supposed to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida this year, but decided allocating that money towards our down payment savings was less frivolous. Alas.

JK Rowling’s wizarding world gets better with every re-read. I catch more of her artful foreshadowing each time. And I have a renewed appreciation for the central struggle between the good and Dark wizards. Namely, the use of power.

In some Christian circles, fantasy literature can be quite controversial. I’m not going to defend the entire genre. It isn’t all made equal. But I think the Harry Potter books are deeply, implicitly Christian. In the same vein as Tolkien’s or Lewis’ fairy tales.

Start with defining our terms. What exactly is magic? Witchcraft is an attempt to gain power over something when that power is not given to you (CCC 2117). The magic practiced by good characters in Rowling’s books is biological. Gifted via heredity or chance to some, not others.
The Dark Arts practiced by Voldemort fit the definition of this evil. He believes the way to immortality is in avoiding death. He wreaks horror and devastation, literally tearing his soul apart, in his fear of death. Yet Dumbledore says in the first book, “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Harry’s parents, who willingly sacrificed their lives, have life more abundantly than Voldemort. As Lily and James Potter’s tombstone attests. It bears a verse from Corinthians, referencing the resurrection of the faithful after Christ’s second coming: The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Thanks for reading along. Check out the other Quick Lit entries on Modern Mrs. Darcy. Care to comment on these books, or what you’ve been reading lately? Drop me a note below!

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4 comments

  1. Ok so I’m your crazy super commenter for the day. 🙂 Thank you for that analysis of Harry Potter. I had never seen that Catechism quote in reference to HP, and I think it would help quite a bit in explaining the difference between Harry’s wizardry and blunt witchcraft. Thanks Lorelei!
    Mary recently posted…7qt / what I’m loving at walmart vol. 2My Profile

  2. I second that, never seen the Catechism linked to Harry Potter, I like it! I reread all the books, I think about 18 months ago, for the first time in YEARS and they were as delightful as I remember.

    1. Aww, I’m so happy you liked it! I think it’s a very special series that’s equally enjoyable to tweens and adults.

  3. Quotidian Mysteries was a good book that I feel like I need to read again to excavate more of its beauty. I realize now that I rushed through it in a season last year when I was more concerned about reading goals and sacrificing digging deep in books like this that are meant to be savored, not sped through. It reminded me of Brother Lawerence’s Practice of the Presence of God, which I loved

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