Wednesday, November 3, 2021

An Open Book: October 2021 Reads

It's hard to believe, but we're already in November! In some ways, it felt like October flew by, and also lasted forever. It had a lot of ups and downs for me over here, and I was pretty mentally exhausted for some of the time, so it was a slower reading month for me-but I read some very thought-provoking books. It's time to link up with Carolyn Astfalk's An Open Book to chat about literature! 

Falling, by T.J. Newman

In this fast-paced thriller, just after he begins flying an airplane, a pilot discovers that his family is being held hostage and he is commanded to crash the plane, or else they will be killed. I didn't care for all of the plot elements and found some of the story a bit predictable, but overall I enjoyed this story! I really liked the way in which the story was told through the viewpoints of different characters, and I especially liked the perspective of the flight attendants. When I finished the book, I was intrigued to find out that the author spent many years as a flight attendant (and even wrote some of this book on red-eye flights), so I guess there's something to be said about "writing what you know." 

The Song at the Scaffold, by Gertrude Von Le Fort

This was a small, but beautiful story based on the Carmelites of Compiegne, a group of religious sisters who were killed during the Reign of Terror. Focused on the fictional character of Blanche, a woman seeking entrance into the convent, the story revolves around nuns and their reactions to the unrest in France at that time, touching on themes of holiness, martyrdom, fear, and vocation. I found myself tearing up at the end, and I really enjoyed this thoughtful book-it really seems like the kind of book that you can get more out of in subsequent readings, at different times of life, so I'll definitely have to read it again sometime!

Brother Wolf, by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson

Werewolves (and the Franciscan friars devoted to rehabilitating werewolves), Roma gypsies, a skeptical scholar and his daughter, and Dominicans all come together in this delightful Gothic novel. While I personally prefer the author's other Gothic novel, A Bloody Habit (I'm a sucker for anything Dracula-related, no pun intended), I really loved this book. Check out my full review on 

Rewilding Motherhood: Your Path to an Empowered Feminine Spirituality, by Shannon K. Evans

In this book, Evans invites women to really dive into their hopes, desires, fears, and dreams and embrace the beautiful, complex, wondrous gift of womanhood. As she does this, she talks a lot about spirituality, and encourages women to grow in their spirituality and relationship with God. Evans is a gorgeous writer with a beautiful heart; I have been reading her stuff for many years, and I really loved some of what she said in here-she put forth some really great challenges to help us be healthier, holier women, which then helps us in our motherhood and entire lives. However, her perspective in the book was very "interspiritual," and diving into non-Christian Eastern religions for the first several chapters of the book-and much that followed-was not my cup of tea (and hefty dose of the spiritual advice seemed a bit in the vein of the "spiritual, but not religious" movement).  

St. Martin de Porres, by Giuliana Cavallini

This was a beautiful biography of St. Martin de Porres (whose feast is today, November 3!), a Dominican from 17th century Peru. Rather than being told in a strictly chronological format, this book is more of a collection of stories about St. Martin, with some of the author's own reflections woven in. Honestly, some of the author's reflections were amazing, I thought-she tackled some big topics like colonialism, contempation-and-action, and the general path of holiness. I was also fascinated by the final pages, which detailed the lengthy process of his beatification and canonization-while his process was begun a few decades after his death, he was not canonized until over three hundred years after his death! 

Thanks for joining me this month! If you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments! 


  1. Thanks for linking up! I'm intrigued by The Song at the Scaffold. And it looks rather short, which is a bonus for me lately! I didn't seem to get much reading done this month, for whatever reason. My family either. I'm hoping that as we transition further into fall, we're all able to dive into books a little more.

    1. Thanks for hosting! I really appreciate how The Song at the Scaffold shows that a book doesn't have to be lengthy and dense to be profound, beautiful, and deep. I hope you enjoy it! It's interesting that you also experienced less reading this month...maybe we'll all be able to curl up with books more in the next few weeks before the frenzy of holidays and liturgical celebrations turn our schedules upside-down!

  2. I’ve been on a bit of a thriller kick, so Falling looks interesting! A little stressful, though!