Here's what I read:
Byzantium, by Stephen Lawhead
I loved this book as much for its epic, gripping narrative, as for its compassionate eye for medieval peoples from Celts to Vikings to Saracens. As a mother with limited chunks of reading time, however, I found the foreshadowing a bit much. Must every second chapter be a cliff hanger? I've got a life to live in between the pages! Other than that, the escape was wonderful, and the novel left me wanting to dig into the history that inspired the fiction. If you like what Lawhead did with St. Patrick, you'll love this one too.
I'm beginning to believe that my love affair with McCall Smith is of the on-again-off-again variety. This time around, it was off-again. I know the whimsy of Scotland Street will catch me later, but I just didn't have it in me to get into it this month. The volume went back to the library mostly unread. Perhaps I'll try again in the summer, or maybe it's time to leave Edinburgh for Botswana and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. We'll see.
The Lenten Spring, by Thomas Hopko
This deceptively slender book is a surprisingly hard read. It's a collection of Orthodox Christian meditations for the season of Great Lent, one for each of the forty days. I picked it up around Day 20, thinking I could catch up. Not so. Each "chapter" is only a couple pages long, but provides enough fodder for hours of rumination and worthwhile - but uncomfortably close - introspection. I'm only half-way through. I believe I'll leave the second half for next year. This is a book written for Orthodox Christians, not about them. If you're a long-time member of the faith looking for an invitation to enter deeper into the pre-Paschal season, along with a sharp reminder or four of what Lent is all about, do pick it up for next spring. If you're looking for information on the Orthodox Faith, however, don't start here.
Silverlicious (and various other Pinkalicious titles), by Victoria Kann
This feels like a bit of a cop-out, but I wanted to list more than one book that I actually finished. Despite her rather trite girly-girl name, Pinkalicious is a school-girl delight with varied hobbies, creative - though groan-worthy - word-smithing, and a wonderful imagination. Kann weaves seamlessly between fantasy and reality, with simple, enjoyable, prose and fantastic illustrations. If you have an early reader in your house, check them out.
That's it for this month. Happy reading, everyone. Enjoy the feast.