Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not a prissy nun story

You should know up front that nuns are part of my life. I learned to read from the fabulous Sister Barbara Ann of Sacred Heart grade school in New Brunswick, NJ 1966. (Just in case she surfs the net and should see this, you rock and I'm forever in your debt.) This was an up hill battle on her part, so she deserves a mention. Also I had a stash of Dominican vocational pamphlets in my dresser drawer in high school, but deep in my heart I knew two things. I couldn't be that good and I was too interested in boys.

I recently grabbed Forever and Ever, Amen by Sister Karol Jakowski. It is a memoir of her years of training to become a nun. She is the last person anyone in high school thought would be a nun. She even set a difficult challenge to the Infant of Prague in order to prove that she was being called to a vocation.

Hers were difficult years. Convents were in a state of turmoil and change with the coming of Vatican II. Karol found the idea of mindless subserviance difficult to swallow too. The book was such an honest and fun book to read. She tells the good and the bad of convent life and training. I don't think I could have lasted. Most people would have laid bets that she wouldn't. However as people left or were sent home, the unlikely nun in training remained. Her class started with 50 women and 7 remained to take their vows. Her vows stuck to this day - Forever and ever, Amen.

I want to know now what happened after. Her page is at

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


It is probably telling about where I stand in this economy that my bookmark for a book on the very, very rich was a Taco Bell receipt.

Richistan chronicles the almost separate world of the boom in millionaires. Frank began the book as an article for the Wall St. Journal. He chronicles their views on themselves as much as the perks of their wealth. I enjoyed the chapter with the philanthropy - Glimmer of Hope. It was at times hard to fathom their lifestyle and staff. It was also suprising find out that for all their money many of them are deeply in deep keeping up with the Jones millionaire style.


Several years ago I fell in love with Cunningham's book Crowns, which was the stories of women in their Sunday church hats and a story in their lives. It was a wonderful book that just touched me deeply.

Cunningham has teamed up with noted author Connie Briscoe for Jewels: 50 phenomenal Black women over 50. The format is the same - a black and white portrait and a two or three page story from the women involved. This time some of the women were famous and some less known to the public, but all would be considered very successful. I am wondering if that is why I enjoyed this book just a little less than Crowns. However it was a good book and the women's roads to success interesting.