What we read this summer summer readings


Aleteia editors recommend books containing contemporary and classic epic stories, little-known heroic sagas of WWII, anthropobiology, Irish humor, and more.

Zoe Romanowski

Two books to suggest – one I just finished and one I’m about to read, both for an online book club.

River of the Gods by Candace Millard is a new non-fiction tale about two famous English explorers obsessed with finding the source of the Nile in the mid-1800s (Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke) as well as a man forgotten in the history books, the African guide Sidi Mubarak Bombay. Millard not only presents the historical data of their incredible adventures, but also explores the psychological complexities of the characters and their relationships with each other, bringing the story to life.

The Anthropocene in Review: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Greene became an instant bestseller when it was published in 2021. The book began as a podcast, where Greene tried to “represent some of the contradictions of human life as I live it – how we can to be so compassionate and so cruel, so persistent and so quick to despair. I wanted to understand the contradiction of human power: We are both far too powerful and not powerful enough. I haven’t started it, so I don’t know what my review will be, but apparently each chapter is a brief essay, and the style is engaging, so it’s a good one for summer reading.

Zelda Caldwell

This summer I’m on a French village kick. It all started with a French television series called “Un village Français”, which takes place in the fictional town of Villeneuve in France occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. It’s a bit heavy on the drama (soap opera-ish, really). I don’t mind, but at seven seasons, it’s also a pretty big investment of time. To make it worthwhile, I decided to find out more about what life was like in small towns in France when the Nazis took over, and what motivated these resisters and collaborators.

A chance trip to a neighborhood second-hand bookstore left me with two treasures. I start my summer reading with Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy Franceby Caroline Moorhead the story of a French village that helped save thousands of Jews.

The next is Village of Vauclusea sociological study written with irony on a rural village in the south of France after the Second World War, based on the observations of the American researcher Laurence Wylie who settled there with his young family in 1950.

Opening a page at random, I come across this observation, which in no way deters me from considering reading it: “Only two large families are respected, and they are called ‘beautiful families’. The Jouves are a young couple from the city, fervent Catholics who have “returned to the earth” out of idealism. They hope to bring religion back to religiously indifferent rural areas of France. Few of Peyrane share the ideals of Jouves but they respect them because of their social rank and admire their family of four small children.

Matthew Green

I plan to read A huge worldby Ed Yong, in which the science writer, following the ideas of German biologist Jakob von Uexküll, guides the reader through an exploration of the unique sensory world, or Umwelt, of various animals. I chose this partly because it’s just plain fascinating, but also because it ties in with an anthropobiology course I took during my Masters in Philosophy. It touches on the opening of the human, and the analogy of the indeterminacy of the human mind with the biological indeterminacy of the human being. It’s been a long time since I thought about it, but the book looks very interesting.

Phil Kosloski

This summer I started JRR Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings Again. This time I’m doing it to prepare for Amazon ring of power series which will begin in September.

Tess Barber

I don’t know which book to choose. I’ve just finished cartographers, a fast-paced modern mystery. Currently working on my path Kristin Lavransdatter (reading for the third time; I think it’s the greatest novel ever written, in any language) and two non-fiction books, Unconditional parenting and Move your DNA.

JP Mauro

I just started reading Did you hear Mammy die?, a memoir by author Séamas O’Reilly. He evokes the death of his mother. Séamas, who was only five years old at the time, had only a vague idea of ​​what death meant and ended up wandering around the wake, cheerfully asking family friends “Did you hear say that Mammy is dead? »

While the script seems macabre, O’Reilly’s writing style is full of Irish humor and thoughtful anecdotes. The memoir focuses on the innocent perspective of a young boy and how he comes to understand his mother’s death. Séamas was too young to fully remember the wake, but instead he offers the reader vivid memories of the feel of his new corduroy pants on his little hands, the endless stream of inedible fruitcakes brought by the mourners and the darkness of his room on the ground floor. the morning of her mother’s death, because her father had not returned to draw the curtains.

Growing up in a devout Catholic family, as eleven children with only their father to guide them, Séamas and his siblings live through a turbulent time at the end of the Northern Irish conflict, also known as The Troubles. The story of Séamas, however, avoids political turmoil to portray life in a large Catholic family as it continues to grow after the loss of a parent.

There are moments that draw raucous laughter from the reader, as well as heartbreaking sections that are deeply touching. This book is a must-read for any fan of Catholic literature and a worthy addition to anyone’s summer reading.g list.

Cerith Gardiner

I have a stack of books I’ve been dying to read for months; then now is the time!

I’m actually going to read Stephen King On writing in order to improve my own writing skills. Described as “part dissertation, part masterclass”, I’m sure it will give me a little insight into the craft of writing, as well as the prolific author himself.

I will also read a book called Shuggie bath by Douglas Stuart. It won the Booker Prize in 2020 (that’s how long it’s been on my shelf) and it’s about a child’s love for his alcoholic mother. It takes place in dilapidated buildings in Glasgow, and I heard it was punchy, but extremely beautiful.

Finally, I’m going to flick through a recent favorite, Looking for Frassati by Christine M. Wohar. This is one of those books that I turn to for inspiration from time to time. This is my all-time favorite saint (I know, they’re all awesome, but this guy really speaks to me!) Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. He is one of those inspiring people who are easier to understand than others. The book is very readable and very user-friendly. You can dive in and out and get great ideas for just being a better person. This is one of those books that will always be on my bedside table; probably above all the other books on my reading list!

John Burger:

of Homer Odyssey. I’ve always wanted to try and read everything on the Thomas Aquinas College list of great books, and it’s the second item in the list. I have a long way to go.

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