What do you get when you mix 3 Favourite Literary Adventures and 5 bloggers? Mulier’s Meme

Mulier Fortis recently got a Kindle and is overwhelmed by the amount of books that she can download. She started a meme where us bloggers can chose our favourite books. I was tagged by Linen on the Hedgerow, who writes an exceptional blog. He has great blogging stamina and posts so promptly about current Catholic affairs that his blog would rival a news site.
Here are the rules: You link the person who tagged you.  You decide which three books are ‘essential reading’ for someone with a Kindel. Then you tag five people. You also tell them that their blog has been tagged. Don’t forget to post the rules on your blog. 
My choices may not be 'essential' but they very dear to me.
1. The Other Side Of The Story  Marian Keyes
This book is from the chick-lit hall of fame, but set in the world of publishing, which means that men who want a giggle and to learn more about publisher-politics would enjoy this book.  See the video underneath to hear Marian reading an extract.
The book holds a mirror to Irish society and I know some fellow Catholics who have read it, said that it was a chucklefest, but they would have preferred that Marian didn’t write about Irish people in such gritty detail. But Marian's books are often a satire and mockery of 'chick lit'. The part where novelist Gemma meets a guy who writes her a note using her crumbly eye pencil and calls her ‘coal scuttle angel’ is not to everyone’s taste.
But it’s probably the book that I’m most grateful for:  it was the catalyst that made me a full-time writer. I picked it up when I was 24 and thinking of leaving the classroom for journalism and book-writing.  I don’t think that I’d be blogging and working as a journalist had I not read this book.  I’d always been tempted to write about Irish life the way that Marian Keyes does, but had worried that my scribbling would be unintelligible to others. The Other Side of the Story and the fact that it has sold tens of millions convinced me otherwise.
Since 2009, Marian (above) has been suffering from 'crippling' depression and is dabbling in prayers to Padre Pio.

2. Brideshead Revisited    Evelyn Waugh
Every Catholic living in the UK needs to read this book. Everybody who wants to understand the constraints on Catholics in England needs to read this book.  The characters are from the generation in between the two great wars: too young to take part in World War I and too old to fight in World War II. But the break-up scene between Charles and Julia is still, in 2012, one of the most relevant pieces of literature for a country where Catholics are the minority. Julia is a lapsed Catholic who must decide between her faith and continuing her relationship with Charles.

3. Complete Works of Frank O’Connor
‘Irish by birth. Cork by the grace of God’ is the caption on many a t-shirt worn around Cork City. No one writes about the Cork character better than Frank O’Connor. I just have to read one page and I’m home, walking around the twisty-turny Medieval Cork streets, hearing shouts of ‘c’mon boy, c’mere ger’el’ and smelling the vinegary wafts from the waves of the River Lee.
My rule for listing the bloggers that I’m tagging: ladies first…
Jackie is a blogging mum of ten.  She doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk and is a good example of a Catholic matriarch for a global online audience. The pictures and stories about her lovely kids would inspire a lot of people to have more kids.

Katrina is a blogging athlete. Always coming up with new ideas, ever refreshing blog posts and lots of wit. I don’t know how she does it.
I won’t describe this blog – let your curiosity get the better of ya – and check it out.

For his blogging and his founding of the Guild of Titus Brandsma, Dylan made the list of Ten Amazing Catholics of 2011. I’ve since got to know Dylan in ‘real-life’ and agree all the more that he deserved to be included on this list.
Rocco needs no introduction and his blog is a light leading thousands of other Catholic blogs. His blog, Whispers in the Loggia is all the more remarkable because it has a poetic writing style and is never scathing of others or presumptuous. I got to know Rocco, after including him in the list of Ten Amazing Young People. He is a great fan of Ireland, feels at home in Dublin and loves The Frames (a local Dublin band) and Van Morrison.


  1. The interesting thing about Brideshead is that different people read it so very differently. I have non-Catholic friends who genuinely read it as the story of beautiful young lives blighted and destroyed by religion - they love the Oxford/champagne/teddy bear stuff but hate the ending. Waugh himself, however, described it as the account of the working of grace on a diverse group of people (I paraphrase). The characters end up humanly broken but reonciled to the Church. The key passage for me is where Charles describes 'all our earthly loves as vagabond language scribbled on gate posts'. The point being that any earthly love no matter how sinful, has something sacramental about it. It is so painfully sad. I also love the bit where Julia refuses him, not because there love would be bad but because it would be a kind of goodness set up against God. (I think.)If you like Waugh's Catholicsm you should also read Helena. The description of the feast of the Epiphany is very moving.

  2. Mary,

    I just found your blog b/c my husband asked me if I had a daughter he didn't know about. loved your lenten post about giving up. had to comment on this post b/c I have a book on Kindle. while not stated as Catholic (not wanting to exclude any Christians) it is firmly rooted in my Catholic faith and was based on St. Faustina, Nicole Gausseron's The Little Notebook and Fr. Raymond's The Spiritual Secrets of a Trappist Monk. Here's the link in case you're interested. http://www.amazon.com/Retreat-To-Folly-ebook/dp/B006W1EE5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330051401&sr=8-1

    off to read more of your blog...


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