7QT 52: My Top Seven Summer Reads


In lieu of my normal seven quick takes, here's a quick look at seven of my favorite books I've read this summer. Some of them I've finished, some of them I'm just starting. All of them I love - here's a quick look at what's on my bookshelf: 

This post contains affiliate links - if you decide to add one of these books to your bookshelf this summer, Old Fashioned Girl will receive a small amount of money through these links, which helps keep the blog going! Thank you! 

1. The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis


This summer Joseph and I started a book club for just the two of us. We packed a book on one of our first camping trips of the summer and settled in our hammock to delve into it together. Joseph and I take turns reading chapters to each other - although we've found that I like listening better and he likes reading better. 

I grew up loving C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, so I was excited to pick up something different by Lewis. The small size of Abolition of Man (3 chapters!) made the book something that was intimidating or overwhelming. 

It turns out the those three chapters were sometimes intimidating and often overwhelming. Lewis spends the book critiquing the education system of his time, encouraging his readers to become men with chests. 

"In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful," Lewis writes. 

Interested in reading the book? Want to know what the heck 'men with chests' means? Pick up a copy at your local library or check it out online


2. When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson


During the summers at the bookstore, I've had a lot of time to read. One book I've picked up over and over again during my shifts is When Harry Became Sally. Before the book was published, it hit the top of Amazon's bestseller list.

Anderson is a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He argues that the growing acceptance of transgender-ism has more to do with an ideology than a science - all while respecting the human dignity of everyone involved in the discussion. He focuses particularly on children experiencing gender dysphoria.  

“We need to respect the dignity of people who identify as transgender,” Anderson argues in the book, “but without encouraging children to undergo experimental transition treatments, and without trampling on the needs and interests of others.”

In an article in The Washington Post, Anderson commented that his goal in writing the book was to "to help people think about these issues more carefully, and to respond to those in need more charitably."

Want to read more about what Anderson has to say? Check out the book at your local library or Catholic bookstore, or online here


3. At the Heart of the Gospel by Christopher West


Christopher West's writing on Saint Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body has shaped my understanding of sexuality as a Catholic today. I've been able to attend lectures given by him twice. The first book I read by West was Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing. Joseph and I's marriage prep retreat was centered around Good News about Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching. I've pulled that book off the shelf many times since saying "I do". 

In this book, West talks about the way the sexual revolution has distorted how we see the body and our sexuality. He invites readers into the "great mystery" revealed by our bodies - a mystery that West believes lies at the very heart of the Gospel itself. 

It's been a while since I've read a book on Theology of the Body - most of the time I'm buried in blog articles about the subject. West's book has been a beautiful reversion back to an old-fashioned page turner on the subject. I love bringing this book with me to my Wednesday morning adoration hour. 

Want to discover how we can reclaim the body for the New Evangelization? Pick up a copy of At the Heart of the Gospel at your local library or Catholic bookstore, or check it out online here


4. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis


After finishing our first Lewis book together, Joseph and I packed The Great Divorce to read during our hiking trip. It's a small book, beautifully allegorical, and one I haven't read since high school. 

I'm looking forward to relaxing in a hammock this summer and digging into this book again. One of the main reasons I love reading Lewis' books with Joseph is the great discussions that come from the text - so I'm excited for some good heart to hearts soon. 

What is the great divorce, and who or what are we divorcing ourselves from? You'll have to read it from Lewis himself. Find it at your library, your local book store or online here


5. The Pope Who Would be King by David Kertzer


On a weeknight walk, Joseph and I wandered around the library. I needed to pay my library fines and relinquish a grand total of $0.90 in reparation for my forgetfulness. While there I ran across this book by David Kertzer. 

Although Saint Pope John Paul II is (and probably always will be) one of my favorite saints and favorite popes, I wanted to get to know more about other popes. I'm only a few chapters into this book, but I've loved reading it during Joseph and I's time on the porch in the evening.s It's interesting to read about the life of the Catholic church from Kertzer's perspective. 

Do you want to know about Pope Pius IX, too? Check out The Pope Who Would be King online here. Who is your favorite pope to read about and study? 


6.  Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin


It is rare that I pick up and enjoy a fiction book by an author that's still alive. Let's face it, today's authors don't line up when compared to Dickens, Austen, and Undset. However, Eugene Vodolazkin is holding his own with the book Laurus. 

The book tells the story of a Russian doctor -and that's all I know for now. Joseph and I stayed up late reading the introduction to the book together last night. I love Arsenius the Great's line, quoted by Vodolazkin in the book: "I have often regretted the things I have said, but I have never regretted my silence." 

If you love language and history, Laurus may be just the book for you. Want to join the Langrs in reading Laurus? Check it out at your local bookstore, library, or online here


7. In The Enemy's House by Howard Blum


I picked up In the Enemy's House by Howard Blum after it was suggested to me at my local library. My undergraduate degree is in history, and I loved how Howard Blum wove together historical facts and his natural gift for story telling.

When I was reading this book earlier this summer, I couldn't stop talking about it in conversations with Joseph. I had to return my copy to the library but I picked up a copy for Joseph and I to read and have around the house. It's not often that I buy books (thanks to the library and the books sent to me for review), so buying this book is a huge stamp of Chloe Langr approval. 

Check it out at your local bookstore or find a copy online here.