Wednesday, April 7, 2021

An Open Book: March 2021 Reads

Happy Easter! It's a new month, so I'm joining An Open Book to chat about what I've been reading lately. There are a lot of comic books, as well as a couple great pieces of fiction and a little nonfiction! Let's dive in. 

Walking on Water, by Madeline L'Engle. 

This is a lovely reflection by L'Engle on art, Faith, and life. Her theology was a bit too quirky for me in parts (the page where she glowingly talks about a priest who changed the baptismal formula gave me a mini heart attack), but overall, I loved this book. There are so many good thoughts and points to ponder here on the importance of seeking Truth, the role of curiosity and questions in a life of Faith, and the value of story.  

A Mouse Called Wolf, by Dick King Smith.

Written by the author of Babe, this children's novel was a delightful read-aloud with my kids. It follows a mouse who is small and unimpressive in comparison to his siblings. His mother decides to give him a big name, since he is so small, so she names him Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse. One day, after listening to the elderly pianist whose house Wolf lives in, he realizes that he can sing. His newfound talent, and his budding relationship with the pianist, is delightful, and I enjoyed this book! 

Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous, by G. Willow Wilson.

Ms. Marvel Vol 6: Civil War II, by G. Willow Wilson. 

Ms. Marvel Vol. 7: Damage Per Second, by G. Willow Wilson. 

Ms. Marvel Vol. 8: Mecca, by G. Willow Wilson. 

Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland, by G. Willow Wilson.

Ms. Marvel Vol. 10: Time and Again, by G. Willow Wilson. 

I don't have the energy (or desire) to break down each of these volumes individually, so I'm grouping them together. In the final several volumes of G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel run, Kamela's story deepens and has some really awesome moments. She works with her MMORPG guild members to battle a mysterious enemy, Bruno embarks on a new life across the globe, Kamela's friends step up in awesome ways, and she has plenty of exciting adventures. A couple of content cautions: A new character does appear whose two moms make a couple of cameos, and another character has a couple of small subplots that revolve around her same-sex attraction. I didn't care for these elements of the story, but they didn't overwhelm the plot. Also, I really appreciated the social commentary in these stories, but the level of  "wokeness" gets a little preachy at times. Overall, I really, really enjoyed these comics. I love how they are fun and lighthearted and relatable while also touching on really deep themes and topics like racism, family, friendship, and navigating the tension held between different facets of life. 

A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri Nouwen.

In 1992, Nouwen gave a talk about fundraising. An informal address, it didn't have a manuscript or written form. A transcription of the recorded talk was made, edited, and ultimately, touched up and distributed as part of the Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series. This is a short book, but with some great points of reflection about the ministry of fundraising. It pushes the reader to ask questions about his relationship with money and his relationship with God. It stresses the importance of prayer and community, too. I particularly like how it mentioned that we cannot ask for money until we are free from money. While this wasn't on the level of one of the larger books that Nouwen penned, it was a worthwhile, quick read. 

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder.

Set in the fictional town of Grover's Corners, this short play presents the daily life of the townspeople throughout a span of several years. We see characters grow, fall in love, and die. The set is practically nonexistent. Not much seems to happen in this play, and yet in its very simplicity, this play is deeply meaningful and reflective. It was  written in the 1930s, and I wonder what Wilder would say if he saw our world today. His words feel so fresh and relevant provide some reminders that we all very much need. This play was extremely good and I highly recommend it!  

Ms. Marvel: Destined, by Saladin Ahmed.

This is the first volume in a new round of Ms. Marvel comics with a new author! This one is told through the eyes of an alien telling the story of the Destined One-who saved their planet-to his child. As he tells the story, the scenes walk through Kamela's encounter with aliens on Earth, her battle on an alien world, and the aftermath. I particularly enjoyed the focus on her relationship with her parents. This was a very fun volume, and it makes me excited to see what Saladin Ahmed continues to do with the character!

Ms. Marvel: Stormranger, by Saladin Ahmed.

Kamela's friends see that she is getting overwhelmed and exhausted by super-heroing all the time, so they take a girls' road trip to eat gyros...only to encounter a bunch of zombified people! Kamela has a face-off with one of her ongoing foes, and the story with her parents deepens. This volume focuses a lot on her struggle to fight evil and be there for her family when they need her-as well as her relationship with her lifelong best friend, Bruno. Some of the villain scenes in this volume were a little lackluster for me, but I really loved all of the developments with her family and friends (some great scenes with Bruno in particular!). 

Thanks for joining me this month! If you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments-I always love adding to my list!


  1. What an interesting variety of reads! I love Henri Nouwen, but have never heard of that transcription of a talk he gave.. will have to check it out!

    1. That's great that you are a Nouwen fan! Which of his books do you recommend? I've only read a few, and I'd love to add more to my list!

    2. Yes, he is one of my favorites! Here are my recommendations.. these were all so good! "The Genesee Diary", "Road to Daybreak", "The Return of the Prodigal Son", "Life of the Beloved" and "The Inner Voice of Love".

    3. Thank you! I've only read one of those, I will have to look the others up :)

  2. Thanks for linking to An Open Book! I haven't heard about Our Town in a long time. I seem to recall high schools performing it years and years ago but not lately. I could go for something simple and meaningful.

    1. It is such a good play! I wish it was more well-known, it seems like it just isn't discussed or performed much anymore-I had never heard of it until seeing a reference to it in a Susan Wise Bauer book on classical education/great books.

  3. Our Town is one of my FAVORITE plays. I cry everytime. I never thought about reading the play!

    1. It's so neat that you know this play! I had never heard of it until seeing it referenced in another book recently. I loved it so much, and I think it would be fun to see it on stage someday. I didn't cry, but I did come close!