Here are my "Little Flower" answers to the four questions I ask on the first of each month:
first, what are you reading?
what do you like best about it?
what do you like least?
what's next on your list to read?
As always, I hope you'll consider your current reads on your blog and/or sharing here in the comments or on Facebook. Happy reading!
First, what are you reading?
Well, if you haven't figured out why this is called the "Little Flower" edition, it is because today is the feast of the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux. We love to celebrate this feast at our house, and soon I'll be making rose-shaped scones in this pan for the scones lovers in our house, as I do every year on this feast.
I've actually been reading a ton, but unfortunately cannot seem to get my thoughts out about these many, many books. So for now, to get my writing juices flowing, I am going to write about previously read books about or by St. Therese that would be really worthwhile to consider on this feast.
What do you like best about them?
There are two books for younger readers that feature St. Therese not so much as a character but as inspiration. Olivia and the Little Way by Nancy Carabio Belanger chronicles Olivia’s fifth grade year and her ups & downs, as she discovers the spirituality of the Little Flower. Just a wonderful book. Nancy wrote a sequel to it called Olivia's Gift, which has a subtle pro-life and modesty theme that is excellent for older girls, and that we also loved at our house.
When Olivia's Gift was first published, I got the chance to interview Nancy Carabio Belanger, and you can read that Q&A here. Here is the link to the publisher of these great books.
As far as books about St. Therese and her family, there are many. A lovely, small picture book biography for younger readers is St. Therese of Lisieux and the Little Way of Love by Marie Baudouin-Croix, translated from the French and published by the Daughters of St. Paul. It should be readily available at most Daughters of St. Paul stores. When I was searching for a link to this, I see that this author has a biography of Therese's sister Leonie called Leonie Martin: A Difficult Life. Leonie was the most troubled of all the sisters, and this book explores her psychological issues and how she overcame them. That looks fascinating and I plan to try to track that one down to read it.
We have a volume on our shelf, The Little Flower: The Story of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus by popular mid-20th century Catholic author Mary Fabyan Windeatt, but I confess none of us have read that one. I'd love to know if it is worthwhile.
What do you like least?
When I first read Story of a Soul, I did find it somewhat cloying. As the Universalis reflection for St. Therese today says, "The late 19th century was a highly sentimental period, and much of the literature about Thérèse has taken that quality and made it sweeter and sicklier still, to the point where you feel like brushing your teeth after reading every page."
But the older I get, the more I find her words much more inspiring. It's hard to explain, but those who love The Little Flower will understand. Just a little bit from today's Office of Readings, which is a selection of Story of a Soul: "Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love."
I have a friend who loves and gave to me as a gift, I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Charles Arminjon. I understand it is great, but must confess I have never finished it, though I have started it several times. Maybe this month would be a good time to finish it.
What's next on your list to read?
Really, the question here becomes, what are some recently read books to write about or neglect to write about? Just for a very few, I've read the much-hyped novel The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (meh); Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma (really good ideas and reflection from this book); The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings (so hilarious and wonderful); Wealth Watchers by Alice Wood (interesting concept about applying Weight Watchers concepts to financial health) and so many more. Maybe I will write about them soon, maybe not, but there is always reading going on here.
What are you reading this month? Do you have a favorite St. Therese book? Share away!