#OpenBook: Tom Clancy & St. Francis de Sales
Welcome back to another round of the Open Book linkup via Carolyn Astfalk! I'm sorry to say I haven't been reading much this past month - blame it on travel, Netflix, and my current propensity for reading really long novels. Happily, working a full-time job gives me a nice long lunch break, and I've been using it lately to work through the seventh book in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series.
If you're not familiar with Clancy, his novels are typically shelved with "spy thriller" or "military fiction" genres, although the books also take on characteristics of alternative history and political commentary. Stylistically, Clancy resembles Charles Dickens - he has a remarkable ability to present a dozen threads of characters and events, and slowly weaves them together, giving the reader glimpses of the big picture, then finally moves faster and faster to finish weaving a grand tapestry. His wordsmithing is fantastic, matched by his control of omniscient narration. Reading a Clancy novel requires a commitment, though - one to two thousand pages is not a quick weekend read!
Executive Orders, the novel I just finished, continues the story of one Jack Ryan, a thoroughly upright man who initially worked in the stock exchange, then as a history teacher, eventually ending up in CIA, and now in politics, where he faces new challenges to himself and his country. I hesitate to give more details, lest I reveal some of the great plot points! Reading a Tom Clancy novel is an excellent antidote to the current political situation, although I admit that it's a little depressing to look up from the story and go read the news.
Alongside my novel reading, I've returned to one of the great classics of spiritual literature: St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. Intro is my go-to read when my spiritual life has been dragging a bit, or I haven't been able to get into any other books. It's accessible, structured in bite-sized chunks, written for lay people, and altogether gentle and encouraging. I actually need to replace my copy because it's starting to fall apart.
Can't wait to hear what y'all are reading! This linkup has a habit of adding many titles to my want-to-read list. And happily, An Open Book is now hosted over at CatholicMom.com as well - check out more over there.