Open Book: Book Recs September 2021

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup, shared also at Catholic Mom!


This Month’s Covers

Love & Responsibility John Paul II: A Simplified Version by Monsignor Vincent M. Walsh

From Amazon:

This project has been Approved by the Vatican Secretary of the State. In his brilliance, Pope writes in a style which is difficult for the average reader. Therefore the goal of A Simplified Version is to allow the brilliance of the Pope’s thoughts to be grasped by a wider audience. All of the words, thoughts and reasoning processes in this book are the Pope’s. Nothing has been watered down. Therefore the reader will see the beauty of his ideas and the clear flow of his reasoning.

My Thoughts:

I love JPII. I have found him difficult to read. Even this simplified version had some jumbly bits, but all in all, it was way easier to finish than the original Love & Responsibility without losing its authenticity. 5/5

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park

From Amazon: In a riveting narrative set in fifteenth-century Korea, two brothers discover a shared passion for kites. Kee-sup can craft a kite unequaled in strength and beauty, but his younger brother, Young-sup, can fly a kite as if he controlled the wind itself. Their combined skills attract the notice of Korea’s young king, who chooses Young-sup to fly the royal kite in the New Year kite-flying competition–an honor that is also an awesome responsibility. Although tradition decrees, and the boys’ father insists, that the older brother represent the family, both brothers know that this time the family’s honor is best left in Young-sup’s hands. This touching and suspenseful story, filled with the authentic detail and flavor of traditional Korean kite fighting, brings a remarkable setting vividly to life.. 

My thoughts: Got this from the library to pre-read for my 11yo, as we’re doing a quick dip into Asian history before we fully open up our ancient Western history study for this school year. It was a very sweet read that I enjoyed, with believable characters in an emotionally challenging situation, playing family honor versus duty to king and country, not to mention the youthful quest to become master of one’s emotional landscape. It’s a very easy read, however, and (seriously not bragging here) the reader in question just started Lord of the Rings, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to entice her to pick this up. 5/5

Falling for Your Madness by Katharine Grubb

From Amazon: Eccentric literature professor David approaches Laura for a counter-cultural, rule-filled relationship filled with poetry, flowers and bottom-less cups of tea. He makes it very clear to her that they are just friends. If she wants to be more — if she wants to be sweethearts —┬áthen she is the only one that can move them forward. Laura is smitten by his humor, his charm, and his English accent (which turns out to be fake). In his company, she has never felt more beautiful or ladylike. David tells Laura that the reason he has these rules is because he is bound by the laws of chivalry, both body and soul. Then Laura finds out the real reason, one that’s ancient, filled with legend and magic. Yet Laura has complete control of this madman. Should she release him or tell him she wants more? Is he eccentric or just mad? Falling For Your Madness is not just a romantic comedy, but it also asks the question, who has the most power in a relationship? The lady? Or the gentleman?

My thoughts: I have had this on my TBR pile for so long that it’s embarrassing (so writer friends who’ve given me books to review in the past five or so years? It’s not you. It’s me.) Anyway, this was a fun, sweet read with a romance that makes the reader ask all the best questions about relationships. I do have qualms with how David never quite learns to use his rules as tools rather than being ruled by them (and more details than that would be spoilers), which would have made the relationship more satisfying for me, but as wish-fulfillment stories go, this one’s pretty fulfilling. 4/5 stars


Kristin Lavransdatter : Reader, I gave up. Seeing her make the emotionally intoxicated decisions she was making at Nonnesetter… it was like watching a slug pour salt on itself. It’s okay to have boundaries, even in highly acclaimed Catholic fiction.

What are you reading?  Don’t forget to link up YOUR #OpenBook reviews over at Carolyn’s!

One comment

  1. Mayhap Kristin Lavransdatter is to you as Brideshead Revisited is to me. LOL But, way shorter. It’s freeing to set a book aside though and be content that it’s not for me and just because it seems to be others’ favorite, it doesn’t have to be mine. (Thinking of Redeeming Love here too, in Christian fiction terms.) Also, I’m like Charlie Brown with a kite, so any child in any time or place that can keep that thing up in the air (esp. away from the beach) has my respect. Thanks for linking to An Open Book!

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