Library Grabs: The Pope and Paolo

OK, Jeff has shamed me into posting more regularly. Jeff used to be the occasional reviewer around these parts and recently he is practically running the show. So, best intentions and all that, but I am going to try to post more often. And part of that is writing about books I find interesting but may not actually read or review.

Do you ever visit the library and check out books despite the fact that you have a house full of books you own and a Kindle full of books not to mention the books publishers would like you to read and review?

Me too. In fact, my family is famous for checking out bags full of books whenever we visit one of the many libraries around town.  For my part, I will admit I often check out books just to have more time to look them over or because I want to read them but usually give up and return them unread after reality sets in.

So I thought it might be interesting to share with you, dear reader, books that caught my eye at the library but that I may not ever read/finish or review.

To kick things off, here are two books I picked up during a short stop at the library during soccer practice when I stopped in to drop off some movies.

The Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis

In his first book published as Pope, and in conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis here invites all humanity to an intimate and personal dialogue on the subject closest to his heart—mercy—which has long been the cornerstone of his faith and is now the central teaching of his papacy.

In this conversation with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli, Francis explains—through memories from his youth and moving anecdotes from his experiences as a pastor—why “mercy is the first attribute of God.” God “does not want anyone to be lost. His mercy is infinitely greater than our sins,” he writes. As well, the Church cannot close the door on anyone, Francis asserts—on the contrary, its duty is to go out into the world to find its way into the consciousness of people so that they can assume responsibility for, and move away from, the bad things they have done.

The first Jesuit and the first South American to be elected Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has traveled around the world spreading God’s message of mercy to the largest crowds in papal history. Clear and profound, The Name of God Is Mercy resonates with this desire to reach all those who are looking for meaning in life, a road to peace and reconciliation, and the healing of physical and spiritual wounds. It is being published in more than eighty countries around the world.

I was ostensibly looking for something to read during my kids soccer practice and this seemed like an interesting book to dip into. Plus, it is a subject I find interesting despite not being Catholic.

Like Family by Paolo Giordano

When Mrs. A. first enters the narrator’s home, his wife, Nora, is experiencing a difficult pregnancy. First as their maid and nanny, then their confidante, this older woman begins to help her employers negotiate married life, quickly becoming the glue in their small household. She is the steady, maternal influence for both husband and wife, and their son, Emanuele, whom she protects from his parents’ expectations and disappointments. But the family’s delicate fabric comes undone when Mrs. A. is diagnosed with cancer. Moving seamlessly between the past and present, Giordano highlights with remarkable precision the joy of youth and the fleeting nature of time. An elegiac, heartrending, and deeply personal portrait of marriage and the people we choose to call family, this is a jewel of a novel—short, intense, and unforgettable.

I still have The Human Body sitting next to my desk making me feel guilty for never reading it so perhaps it was that which drove me to pluck this off the shelf.  Or maybe it was just a short novel that I felt I could read quickly …

Any impulse library pick-ups for you lately?


Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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