My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Review: The Monastic Heart: 50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life

The Monastic Heart: 50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life The Monastic Heart: 50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life by Joan D. Chittister
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has 50 chapters; one for each monastic practice. The chapter title and subtitle provide a brief hint on the topic … such as Bells (Remembering), Hospitality, Silence, Cloister, Community, Solitude (you can see how some of these are related if not repetitive). A short summary (aka thesis statement) follows the title, then there is a reflection on the topic within the Benedictine monastic life/history and that is followed by a section called "Integrating the Practice" (how you and I can incorporation this practice in our more secular life. The chapter ends with a quick quote that is designed to restate the core concept of the practice.

For such as ambitious work, it is fairly well put together and it is an easy read … perhaps not in one sitting though. At times it seems to be covering the same ground, just from a different view point. At other times, it seems the author tries too hard to connect the monastic practice to the secular life and I had trouble connecting to that. Regardless, each chapter dose provide the reader with things to contemplate on and maybe come up with their own way of getting to the underlying concept of each practice … the summary of which would be to create your own community and sacred spaces where you can find and nurture a relationship with a loving God, and with a broken world.

Although it was very interesting, it ultimately was not quite what I was looking for

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheMonasticHeart #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.