Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ
Though I’ve known the name Joe Paprocki for a while, this was the first book I read by the catechetical expert. I carried it with me to Zambia with the plan of leaving it with the teachers I met there, thus sharing the wealth and lightening my load on the way back. In the end, it was really hard for me to part with it!
I love the clarity that Paprocki brings to his explanation of the fundamentals of Jesus’s life and how our lives can be changed by Jesus’s friendship and love. Lots of lists and subheadings make this an easy book to navigate and to excerpt for classes and discussions. There are extensive references to pop culture, movies, and recent history, to tie the themes to the lived experience of the reader. I hope my friends in Lusaka find the book as helpful as I did!
Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court
I’m not quite sure what inspired me to download Sandra Day O’Connor’s history of the Supreme Court, other than my curiosity about everything. Though the writing occasionally gets bogged down in the sequential, (“and then this happened, and then this happened”), it’s a valuable review of the judicial system in the United States. I am embarrassed to admit I needed a refresher on Marbury vs. Madison, and this book provided it nicely.
I really wanted to give Joan Didion a hug after reading this recent bit of memoir. What would be a run-of-the-mill meditation on growing older is muddled in the best possible way by the Didion’s reflection on having been predeceased by her daughter. Her ongoing doubt about having been a good parent adds another layer of melancholy. Though it is just as brilliant as her other writing I was glad Blue Nights was only 200 pages so I take a break with a more hopeful book.
Pilgrim: Risking the Life I Have to Find the Faith I Seek
Having read a lot of spiritual memoir in recent months I am convinced that it is a really hard genre to get right. I think Lee Kravitz gets it right here. On the surface it’s another rich guy’s midlife crisis, but Kravitz’s earnestness and willingness to look outside of himself for answers make him an endearing narrator. By describing his yearning for spirituality during youth he demonstrates that he is seeking more than just something to make him happy but an authentic experience of listening and connecting. He deals gently with faith, finding ways to explain why some of his test-runs with religion didn’t satisfy without every being dismissive. It’s a hopeful, positive book, though I get the sense he glossed over some of the struggles he had with his family while “risking the life he had”.
What did you read this month?
Disclaimer: Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post. Purchases made through these links send some change into my piggy bank at no additional cost to the purchaser. Under the Influence of Jesus was sent to me by the publisher with no expectation of a review or other promotion.
claire bangasser says
I have read Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond and am now reading a book he recommends, Robert Sardello’s Silence, The Mystery of Wholeness.
I love the fact that you read all sorts of books 🙂
Margaret Felice says
I would ask if you recommend the Rohr, but I have yet to find writing by Rohr that is not highly recommended 🙂
I try to keep a diverse reading list, especially during the summer when I have a little more free time. I went about five years without reading a novel so I’m trying to make up for that now. I can’t quite articulate why it’s good for me, but I know it is.
Joe Paprocki says
Hi Margaret and thanks for the wonderful review of my book, Under the Influence of Jesus! I’m thrilled that my book made it to Zambia! Thaks for taking the time to share your thoughts! -joe
Margaret Felice says
Glad to spread the word, Joe! I think your book in particular will build on a lot of the work we did with the faculty at our Ignatian Identity Collaboration. It was a great resource to leave with them for next steps.