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Grotto Team Picks: What We’re Reading

Happy World Book Day! Find out what the Grotto team is currently reading.

It’s a strange time: you’re home, working remotely, a little too cooped up for your liking. If you have more free time on your hands than you suddenly know what to do with, may we suggest cozying up with a good book? Libraries have digital collections to borrow from, or it could be a great time to explore the world of audio books. You could also show some love to your local bookstore by placing an order online. In honor of World Book Day, here are some titles that our team enjoys: 

Jessie: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I first read Adichie in a college course, and I wish it hadn’t taken me that long to discover her incredible, culturally-infused writing. Purple Hibiscus is the first book Adichie published, and this beautiful and heartbreaking coming-of-age story is a wonderful introduction to her voice and writing style. This review from Publishers Weekly sums it up well: “In a soft, searing voice, Adichie examines the complexities of family, faith, and country through the haunted but hopeful eyes of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood.”

Makaela: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kioysaki

This book was recommended to me back in high school as a way to help me learn how to handle my finances before heading off to college. I never got around to it, as I am typically a Nicholas Sparks kind of reader. Boy, do I wish I read this back then. Author Robert Kiyosaki emphasizes the importance of financial literacy, from learning about cash flow to building your wealth by investing in assets. The lessons you read within this book are what you can carry with you throughout your life and career. And don’t worry if you don’t know squat about financial terms. Kiyosaki makes everything easy to understand from the front cover to the back. 

Josh N.: Cactus League by Emily Nemens

As an avid baseball fan, I’m sorely missing the game due to the delayed start to the season. I’m hopeful we’ll get some baseball this summer at some point, but it’s tough to launch into spring without my favorite teams. So I found myself drifting to this book by Emily Nemens because it takes place in Arizona during spring training. The book is organized with nine chapters (one for each inning of a baseball game) and each chapter follows a different character in and around a fictional MLB team tuning up for the season: from an all-star outfielder to a team owner to a floozy groupie who knows how to attach herself to a floundering player. Each character is on their own journey, and Nemens expertly weaves their paths together. The baseball descriptions are spot-on, which is an achievement itself, but the stories are even better. 

Ben: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul

This book has been my spiritual go-to book for many years. It’s a diary written by St. Faustina, a nun from Poland in the early 1900s. The diary is all about her encounters with Jesus and His divine mercy He has for the world. It’s a wonderful book to pick up — I find myself pausing to reflect after every passage.

Javi: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel the best thing to be reading in these times? Probably not, but A Canticle for Leibowitz is an incredibly thoughtful and exciting tale of a group of monks in the desert who have preserved the last of humankind’s scientific knowledge after a nuclear apocalypse. This is my second time reading the book, and there’s something comforting about reading how people might rebuild in the face of disaster. 

Becky: Golden State by Ben Winters

I just started reading Golden State, a novel taking place in a future world where society is governed by absolute truth. Unlike traditional dystopian novels that are written from the perspective of those who go against the grain, this story takes place in the mind of Laszlo Ratesic, a man who zealously serves the Golden State (a nation existing where California once did) in a special force called the Speculative Service. So far, I’ve just dived into what his responsibilities entail in this position — enforcing the law through speculating and uncovering contradictions of the truth — but I can already tell there is some internal dissonance within Laz as he considers what is truthful and what is not.

Liz: Becoming by Michelle Obama

I put off this book for a long time, not wanting to dive into a story that included politics while our country seemed so fractured. I regret that choice. This book nurtured me as it recounted Mrs. Obama’s journey from the south side of Chicago to Princeton, Harvard Law School, meeting Barack, and becoming the First Lady. Divided into three sections — Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More — this book is a cultural touchstone that I highly recommend. 

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