Friday, January 13, 2017

Books of 2016 (PT 3): The Time I fell Down the Rabbit Hole of History

Since y'all have graciously stuck around through two chapter of books from last year, On the Importance of Walking Away from Bad Books & That Made My Reader Heart Rejoice, how about a third one!

You may have noticed, if you follow me on Goodreads and Twitter, that I fell down the rabbit hole of history books last year. I have zero regrets about spending more time reading about history, especially my favorite period, or all the non-fiction books that occupied my time last year. None! It was just what my brain and heart needed last year, and for that I'm grateful for having discovered two historians that totally blew me away with their writing.

I'll say this once- I am an unabashed history loving nerd. My poor parents and sisters, I kept cornering them to tell them about what I was reading and how fascinatingly alive they brought history. For me, the Middle Ages is the most interesting. It was more lively than your typical textbook would have you believe.

Ah, the moment you have all been waiting for, the reveal of which straight up history and one's that touched on historical points, and, which books helped me to grow in faith. And without further ado, here are the Best History and Faith Books of 2016!

Our Lady of Kibeho by ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza-

Simply powerful! Despite everything that happened to her, this book is overflowing with hope. Her writing is just so straight forward, which was one of the reasons that I could not set it down until the last page had been read.

Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett-

To be honest, I was not expecting this one to be enjoyable. For some unknown reason, I wrote it off before I had even read the first page...yet, I ended up devouring it because I loved how the characters learned and grew so much from their short time together.

Lily of the Mohawks: The Story of St Kateri by Emily Cavins-

Not only did I enjoy learning more about St. Kateri's story but also that of the Mohawk's. I am admittedly not an expert on Native American culture, but, (as far as I can tell) the author did a really good job bringing their culture to life.

Characters of the Inquisition by William Thomas Walsh-

I'll be honest, I loved this one! It's not often that you read a history book that covers the Inquisition through the lens of the people living during that period. It was interesting to see how the proceedings happened during the Inquisition how the courts of it were managed; I really enjoyed that it covered both the positive and negative effects. There were many facets of the story that you just don't hear about; like how more people were killed during England's persecution of the Church, or the witch trials that swept countries, versus during the Inquisition. What made it an even more fascinating read was the writing. It was anything but dull.

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich-

This was perhaps the toughest book I read last year; as in it made me ugly cry (I'm not one that usually cries)! While not 100% authenticated, yet, Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions of the Passion were heartbreaking. Most especially the Agony in the Garden and the Scourging. If you've seen the movie The Passion, it's based off of this book.  You'll need all the tissues! ALL OF THEM!!

The Bad Times by John Walsh and Christine Kinealy-

One of the most beautifully written and powerful graphic novels I read last year. This one about broke my heart as it covered the great famine that struck Ireland in the late 1800s. Seriously though, they did a wonderful job bringing to life the hard times that the famine caused the people of Ireland. It was just really well done (almos had me in tears as I was reading it prior to the start of a book club meeting).

City of Saints by George Weigel-

Have you ever read a book that just made you want to visit the place even more. Well, that is what happened when I read City of Saints last year. If I could, I would be on the first available flight to Poland to see everything it has to offer, as well, as to walk through all the places that were important to Pope St. John Paul II. George Weigel does one killer job bringing to life the culture and beauty of Poland with his descriptions.

Echo of God by Fr, Lance Harlow-

While I have not had a chance to review Echo of God yet, because words fail me, this book is a wonderful guide to True Devotion by St. Francis de Sales. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how he expanded upon, and made Francis de Sales' True Devotion more accessible for modern readers. He did a great job shining light on some aspects of the saints writing that may be hard for readers of our time to understand.

Our Lady of Fatima by William Thomas Walsh-

The appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three kids at Fatima is one of my favorites. While I knew a decent amount of the story before reading this book, it was nice to learn more in-depth about the children and the experiences that followed the event. Let us not forget about the phenomenal miracle that took place in the the by, this is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Retrial of Joan of Arc by Regine Pernoud-

While not my favorite saint, or even in my top ten (no offence Joan), I've always been curious as to why the English burned her at the stake. To me, it always felt like more of a political move them a religious one-which was kind of proved as the book takes you step by step through the retrial held around twenty years after her death, It was interesting to note the simple things she was denied during her incarceration- that of being held in the Ecclesiastical prison for women and being tried through the Church, especially since she appealed right to the Pope numerous times, and many other points. You could tell that the author really did her research whilst putting this book together. And how important it was to not only herself, but also to the French to set the record straight. Lots of politics...but then again what point of history is not steeped in it.

The Templars: Knights of Christ by Regine Pernoud-

Okay, so, The Templars is one of the most intriguing groups from the Middle Ages. For one thing, their rise to power and then sudden collapse. I've always found it to be rather suspicious/fascinating. Don't ask me how I came to be intrigued by the history of the Templars, that is one mystery that not even I know the answer to. But, I will say that Regine Pernoud did a great job presenting historical facts, in both the positive and negative, in regards to the history of the order of the Templars. While I still have questions, it was an interesting read nonetheless.

Those Terrible Middle Ages by Regine Pernoud-

*pardon me while I flail* Those Terrible Middle Ages was everything I wanted, and, oh so much more! The way she debunked those myths regarding the Middle Ages was hilarious. I could very nearly picture her sitting at a table giving a discourse and slamming her hand down upon the table as she shattered those misconceptions (of which there were many). On a more serious note, as she talked about the people's reasoning for dubbing the Middle Ages the "Dark Ages", you not only came to have  a better grasp upon what actually happened during that time period, but also to have a better respect for those that lived during it. It was a breath of fresh air!  *shoves book at every single one of you*

At long last, we have come to the end of the bookish recap of last year. If you check out the links at the beginning of the post, you will see the best and worst fiction books of last year. As well as some ramblings on upcoming changes to The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia and thoughts on last year. 

In case you were wondering, I'm not quite done recapping last year! I still would like to talk about all the anime I watched, of which there is an abundance, and maybe, just maybe, y'all can assist me in naming a new feature for the blog. One that shows you what goes on when I'm not reading, blogging, nor killing time on social media. I am at a total loss on what to call it, and am hoping that you can help me get this new blog project off the ground!

I am looking forward to another year of blogging here; and am hoping to get to know all of you much better this year. As we rocket towards my ninth year of blogging, I want to make this year more of exciting journey with you the readers of the blog. 

Tell me, what are you goals and dreams for 2017? Any books that you hope to read this year (that you've been meaning to)?

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