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· Spiritual Direction,Books,Life Coaching

The Joy of a Good Book (or two, or three...)

To say that I am an avid reader would be the understatement of the century. My best day is when I spend the whole day on the sofa reading, getting up just for fresh tea and pee breaks.

When my kids were younger and we were homeschooling, the library was our best friend. Most of our curriculum was nothing more than reading a LOT of books on a wide variety of topics. While most people found their books on hold by going to the shelf with the initial of their last name and then sorting through the various last names until they got to their own, we had a whole shelf just for us - no joke! We went through at least 50 books a week.

Now that lack of space has forced me to go digital (I mean, who wants to lug around 3-4 books in case one finds oneself with time on their hands to read? Or pack 12 books in their suitcase when they travel? Or balance their current reading list on their oh-so-small bedside table?) and Kindle has become a brilliant (and money-guzzling!) tool.

However, a couple of years ago my daughter talked me into checking out Scribd, a book-streaming app kind of like Netflix for readers. It took me a while but when I finally got on board I was hooked!

Scribd allows you to add - and read - unlimited books for a low monthly fee of about $12.00CAD ($8.00US). I've explored and read dozens and dozens of great books I would have otherwise overlooked because I wasn't willing to pay the price for a book I wasn't sure of. It is VERY rare that the book I want to read isn't on Scribd.

My budget also prefers the Scribd option. 🤣 🤣

One of the precious finds I discovered on Scribd was the book "The Hawk and the Dove" by Penelope Wilcock. It's a book about a Yorkshire monastery in the 1400s.

I know, The concept sounds boring in the extreme, but for some reason it intrigued me. Here is the book description:

14th century Yorkshire: the time of Chaucer. Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot of St Alcuin's Benedictine abbey. An arrogant, impatient man, a hawk trying hard to be a dove - his name in religion is "Columba" - he is respected, but not loved. A sudden, shocking act of violence changes everything. As the story unfolds, this community of monks, serious about their calling but as flawed and human as we are, come to love their ascetic but now vulnerable leader. They lived six centuries ago, yet their struggles are our own. Finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones.

In the first two books you hear the stories told by a mother to her daughter and you jump between the modern and the ancient. Starting in book three, it's just the monks.

Penelope Wilcock is a beautiful writer. I'd read the books for that alone. The story - if your walk with Jesus matters to you - is so engaging and deeply challenging. The theology is rich beyond description and works well whether you're Catholic or Protestant.

I finished the book too soon, and to my joy, I discovered eight more in the series. I read all nine books three times over this past year, and each reading planted the richness of the story and the beauty of the theology deeper and deeper in to my heart. I have affectionately named this series "My Monk Books."

Once I finish my annual reading of "Mister God, This is Anna" (another magical, life-transforming book - also on Scribd) I will likely dive back in and read all nine again, at least once! I rarely read a novel more than once, but these books seem to provide such food for the soul and delight to the imagination, and they help build a solid foundation for a bigger faith as I pursue a more contemplative lifestyle and a richer communion with Jesus.

If you're curious but unsure of spending money on a book you think could well be dreadful, you can sign up for Scribd for free here, and try out the first book at no risk.

Or you can take the risk and get the first book on Amazon here in whatever format you prefer. If you also want to check out "Mister God, This is Anna" on Amazon you can find it here.

I would LOVE to hear your experiences with these books if you've read them. Please post in the comments so we can chat about them. MI would LOVE to discover some new peeps!

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