1. “A Concise History of the Catholic Church” by Thomas Bokenkotter. This concise history is over 500 pages long—that alone tells you how complex the Catholic Church is. Reads like a textbook, which isn’t bad considering the topic. Recommended for newbies as well as those looking to brush up on their Church history.
2. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. Didn’t take me long to start and finish this book. Essentialism is not a collection of productivity hacks, it’s a way of life, a way of doing everything differently. It’s about working smart, prioritizing the important things in life, and seizing control of how you spend your time.
3. “Take Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters” by Laura Thompson. Intriguing subject matter and entertaining account, but the story meandered and felt long-winded. I was able to finish though. Three stars.
4. “1924: The Year That Made Hitler” by Peter Ross Range. Of all the books about Hitler, most focus on Hitler the leader, not Hitler the man. Range’s work focuses on the latter. Hitler considered suicide after his failed putsch, and most thought the NSDAP was dead. But prison was the best thing that could’ve happened to Hitler, for it allowed him to write Mein Kampf and reassess his approach to obtaining power.
5. “The Art of Praying” by Romano Guardini. Great work for those seeking guidance on establishing better prayer habits and reinvigorating one’s relationship with God. Guardini got verbose at times though, so I could only give it four-and-a-half stars, not the full five.
6. “First Person” by Vladimir Putin. It’s a series of interviews not just with Putin, but also with his wife, his daughters, one of his former schoolteachers, and others. Some parts were interesting, some parts dry. It added to my understanding of Putin but not too much. That’s why Steven Lee Myers’ “The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin” is now on my to-read list.