On my reading shelf: possible gift ideas for readers.

club master eyeglasses on pile of three books
Photo by @sincerelymedia on Unsplash

How many of you expected to be so busy without leaving your homes? Such is the life of any stay-at-home-wife/mother. Even without going anywhere but the store, we tend to have full day timers/planners. Falling into bed at the end of the day with something great to read is such a treat… especially if you can keep your eyes open long enough to read it!

A few things occupying my nightstand of ebook space are;

The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness (ebook) written by Bryan Kozlowski. I bought this book because, Jennifer L. Scott recommended it on one of her videos. I have been watching her on Youtube lately. I started reading it on the Amazon site (the Lookinside) feature and decided to buy it. I love Bryan’s wit and writing voice. He is someone I would invite over for a cuppa and Jane movie marathon or just to sit and talk about her work. If you love, Jane, and you love food I recommend this book. I think it would also make a great gift as long as you presented it to the receiver as a lark and an addition to their, ‘Jane’ collection. There is quite a lot about body acceptance written in these pages, wisdom gleaned from Jane’s books. I think any fan of Austen’s work would like this book.

Image from the Amazon site

If you follow my blog you already know that I am reading, The Holy Angels by Mother Alexandra (in printed format). My sister and I have formed a book club with just the two of us. This is an amazing book. It is meat and potatoes stuff. Whether of not you are a Christian, if you have wanted to know more about angels, this is the book you need to buy. It too would make a great gift. Here is a descriptive excerpt from Amazon’s website:

First published in 1981 and long out of print, The Holy Angels has yet to be surpassed as a comprehensive and comprehensible account of the nature of the angels and their role in our salvation. In layperson’s terms, Mother Alexandra presents the essence of everything the Church has to teach us about the angels, beginning with the Old Testament, continuing through the New Testament, and concluding with the Tradition of the Church as expressed in her theology, hymnography, and iconography. For those who long to become better acquainted with these holy servants of God and to understand their role in our lives, this book is a great place to start.


Also on my shelf is:

The winter Pascha by Father Thomas Hopco who I think is this generation’s C.S. Lewis (don’t hate me). Also in print form.

When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate ‘a splendid three-day Pascha.’ Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ’s birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church’s days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord’s Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion.

Image and quote taken from Amazon.com

Yes, I am having a hard time keeping up with my reading. I have other studies I am plowing through as well as other books I re-visit from time to time to try to keep up. The book I am keeping close and reading the most is The Holy Angels book. As I said my sister and I are discussing it and I do not wish to fall behind.

This brief list does not include books I have accumulated to read ‘one day’. Which include: The Catholic Vote for Trump even though the election is over I want to finish this book. The author has some very good insights on what is going on in our nation. Catholic or not, religious or not you can’t live in America and not know there is something very wrong with our nation right now. Something which began long before, Trump took office. Also on my list of ‘to-read’ are; Triggered by Donald Trump, Jr. (e-library book), some of the Madame Chic books by, Jennifer L. Scott (all ebooks), Everyday Wonders; Stories of God’s Providence, by V. Rev. Michael J. Oleksa. If you like Alaska this is a must read even if you are not a Christian. I find Fr. Oleksa to come across as very tender hearted with a great love for the people he serves. He has written several books about his life serving the people’s of Alaska and the history of Orthodoxy in Alaska.

Here is an interview he did.

Also in my Kindle are the books written by, Constantina Palmer:

Every monastery exudes the scent of holiness, but women’s monasteries have their own special flavor. Join Constantina Palmer as she makes frequent pilgrimages to a women’s monastery in Greece and absorbs the nuns’ particular approach to their spiritual life. If you’re a woman who’s read of Mount Athos and longed to partake of its grace-filled atmosphere, this book is for you. Men who wish to understand how women’s spirituality differs from their own will find it a fascinating read as well.

Image and quote from the Amazon.com website.

From the author of “The Scent of Holiness,” The Sweetness of Grace is a collection of stories derived from conversations with Orthodox nuns, monks, and laypeople, along with experiences of Orthodox life in South Korea, Greece, and North America. Those who enjoyed Everyday Saints will enjoy these similar stories from other parts of the Orthodox world. The book includes conversations with monastics, priests and laypeople and stories of the sweet and difficult aspects of Christian life. The stories span three continents, including experiences in South Korea, Greece, and North America.

Image and quote from the Amazon.com website.

This is a partial list. Of course I am not reading every book at the same time. I like to rotate my reading. Orthodox books tend to be, ‘chewy’. Meaning, very meat and potatoes. You don’t skim an Orthodox book, you ‘chew’ on it for a while as you ‘mentally digest’ it.

Any of these Orthodox books would be a great choice for a Christian book club, a gift for a friend who loves to read, or to grace your nightstand/e-reader device.

What are YOU reading these days? Let me know in comments.

Abba Ammonas

Sayings by Abba Ammonas

Image result for abba ammonas

St Ammonas’ life is especially interesting and inspirational for us because of his victory over anger, a passion with which he struggled for many years. Abba Ammonas was a disciple of St. Anthony the Great and later became a bishop. He was also an outstanding expert on the Scriptures and left this world in the beginning of the fifth century.

  •  Abba Ammonas said “Go, make your thoughts like those of the evildoers who are in prison. For they are always asking when the magistrate will come, awaiting him in anxiety. Even so the monk ought to give himself at all times to accusing his own soul, saying, ‘Unhappy wretch that I am. How shall I stand before the judgement seat of Christ? What shall I say in my defence?’ If you give yourself continually to this, you may be saved.
  • “I have spent fourteen years in Scetis asking God night and day to grant me the victory over anger.”
  • Abba Ammonas was going to pay a visit to Abba Anthony one day, and he lost his way. So sitting down, he fell asleep for a little while. On waking, he prayed thus to God, “I beseech you, O Lord my God, do not let your creature perish.” Then there appeared to him as it were a man’s hand in the heavens, which showed him the way, till he reached Abba Anthony’s cave.
  • Abba Ammonas came one day to eat in a place where there was a monk of evil repute. Now it happened that a woman came and entered the cell of the brother of evil reputation. The dwellers in that place, having learnt this, were troubled and gathered together to chase the brother from his cell. Knowing that Bishop Ammonas was in the place, they asked him to join them. When the brother in question learnt this, he hid the woman in a large cask. The crowd of monks came to the place. Now Abba Ammonas saw the position clearly but for the sake of God he kept the secret; he entered, seated himself on the cask and commanded the cell to be searched. Then when the monks had searched everywhere without finding the woman, Abba Ammonas said, “What is this? May God forgive you!” After praying, he made everyone go out, then taking the brother by the hand he said, “Brother, be on your guard.” With these words, he withdrew.
  • Abba Ammonas was asked, “What is the ‘narrow and hard way?’” (Matthew 7:14). He replied, “The ‘narrow and hard way’ is this, to control your thoughts, and to strip yourself of your own will, for the sake of God. This is also the meaning of the sentence, ‘Lo, we have left everything and followed you.’” (Matthew 19:27)
  • Useful Servanthood- a book about Abba Ammonas.

Image result for abba ammonas

 Abba Anthony predicted that this Abba Ammonas would make progress in the
fear of God. He led him outside his cell, and showing him a stone, said to him,
‘Hurt this stone, and beat it.’ He did so. Then Anthony asked him, ‘Has the stone
said anything?’ He replied, ‘No.’ Then Anthony said, ‘You too will be able to do
that,’ and that is what happened. Abba Ammonas advanced to the point where his
goodness was so great, he took no notice of wickedness.

Thus, having become bishop, someone brought a young girl who was pregnant to him, saying, ‘See what this unhappy wretch has done; give her a penance.’ But he, having marked the young girl’s womb with the sign of the cross, commanded that six pairs of fine
linen sheets should be given her, saying, ‘It is for fear that, when she comes to
give birth, she may die, she or the child, and have nothing for the burial.’ But her
accusers resumed, ‘Why did you do that? Give her a punishment.’ But he said to
them, ‘Look, brothers, she is near to death; what am I to do?’ Then he sent her
away and no old man dared accuse anyone any more.

“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner!”