7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 112)

January 14, 2011 | 135 comments

— 1 —

I finally saw the hematologist about the ultrasound on my leg that was done last week. It turns out that there are a lot of clots in the superficial veins in that leg. The good news is that there are no clots in the deep veins, but the bad news is that there’s not much I can do about the pain, other than take analgesics and keep moving. Also, it’s odd that I would develop clots while I’m giving myself Lovenox shots every day. (The thought did cross my mind that the worst pain of all is having clots while PAYING $1, 000 PER MONTH FOR ANTI-CLOTTING MEDICATION.) (And yes, that is with the new, generic Lovenox.) Anyway, what we learned from all this is that my blood really likes to clot.

— 2 —

I’m hoping that the leg pain subsides more by next week, since I’ve got lots of cool stuff going on. The kids and I are heading down to Houston for me to speak at a Legatus event on Tuesday (babysitting courtesy of their grandmother Yaya), and then on Friday I fly out to San Francisco to meet with my literary agent. Hopefully I’ll feel well enough to attend the West Coast Walk for Life on Saturday. I coordinated the trip with my friend Hallie Lord, who will also be in the area at that time, so we’re sharing a hotel room for a girls’ weekend of catching up and relaxing. It’ll be a much-needed little vacation!

— 3 —

Speaking of Yaya, she finally bought a house in our area! In about a month she’ll be living just a few blocks away from us. We can’t wait. And those of you who have read my posts involving Yaya know that this will be very good for blog content.

— 4 —

My husband and I have discovered the 1990’s British comedy Jeeves & Wooster. How can I have lived 34 years and not have known about this?! Anyway, here’s something crazy: check out the main character, Bertie Wooster, in this clip (he’s the one with the red flower on his suit). You don’t have to watch the whole thing, just enough to get an idea:

Now, check this out: he’s the same guy who plays the lead in that popular American show House, MD! (Don’t watch past 35 seconds; there’s a crude comment at the end. I searched for a long time and couldn’t find a better clip):

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more dramatic transformation of an actor in different roles. What is your favorite “I can’t believe that’s the same actor!” transformation?

— 5 —

I assume you’re all planning to buy Ann Voskamp’s new book which comes out on January 18, right? I know that she has a lot of devoted fans (I count myself as one of them), so I want to offer you all a tip for how you can help her with this project: If you are planning to buy her book, do so by February 1. A book’s sales in the first couple of weeks are critical for its long-term success. Publishers use that data to determine how much they will continue to support a title, and they tend to give up on books that languish without impressive sales straight out of the gate. An high initial concentration of orders also helps a book get on bestseller lists, which is priceless free publicity. Though authors dearly appreciate purchases whenever they come, a purchase in the first two weeks is even more valuable than a purchase later. Just a tip from someone who has spent a crazy amount of time researching the publishing industry.

UPDATE: Another exciting book that’s still in the critical two-week window is Unplanned by Abby Johnson, which I hear is an absolute page-turner. Go get that one too!

— 6 —

My mom surprised us by getting us a Keurig coffee maker for Christmas. I had seen them advertised and never had much interest (I talked in #5 here about how I gave up coffee because it made me insane), so at first I was worried that we wouldn’t use it. As it turns out, we love it! My husband enjoys being able to get a cup of coffee in a matter of seconds on the weekends, and I use it to make tea every morning. When I’m juggling a thousand different things trying to get everyone out the door to go somewhere, it’s so handy to be able to just pop a to-go cup under the spout, press a button, and have my tea all ready with no further work on my part. (And the kids love it that it makes hot chocolate too.) Great gift idea!

— 7 —

I’d love to have a fantastic book to read on the plane next weekend (and Ann Voskamp and Abby Johnson’s books might not have arrived from Amazon). What are your top recommendations for non-fiction books? I love memoirs, especially about spiritual transformations (like He Leadeth Me or Son of Hamas); true adventure stories (like Endurance or Into Thin Air); self-help books that aren’t too new-agey (like The War of Art or Improv Wisdom); narrative history (like Cicero or Undaunted Courage); and, of course, spiritual wisdom (like The Everlasting Man or To Know Christ Jesus). Recommend away!


Below is a linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.


  1. Liesl

    I actually JUST posted a list of my favorite books… none of them are nonfiction though. I did just read Jesus of Nazareth by B16 and loved it (although it often went way over my head). I’m looking forward to seeing what other people recommend!

  2. Blair

    I’m sorry that there’s not a better solution for your leg. And the price of those shots, wowzers! I’m looking forward to more frequent Yaya stories, and I hope you have a fabulous CA trip!

  3. Julie

    Hahaha, I was going to ask if you’d read Heather King’s two memoirs, then I remembered that she blogged about you. I think it’s time for bed!

  4. Catholic Bibliophagist

    Glad you’re enjoying Jeeves & Wooster. It’s an old family favorite. Maybe you should take one of the books with you on your plane trip. Wodehouse is one of my favorite authors — especially when things are stressful. BTW, the same actor who plays Bertie Wooster also played the father in Stuart Little. (But with an American accent.)

    • monique

      Me and my husband watched that show and loved it! He is also in blackadder as the king. It is hilarious!

  5. Blair

    Oh, and as for books…most of what I read is parenting or homeschooling-related, but I’m loving Simplicity Parenting. I’ve also recently read and enjoyed Real Learning, The Charlotte Mason Companion, and The Montessori Method. Can’t wait to read Ann Voskamp’s new book!

  6. Nancy (n.o.e.)

    Just posted my second 7 Quick Takes; what a fun idea this was, Jen!

    Our book group is reading Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity, and I cannot recommend the book highly enough. For the first time in our 6+ years, multiple members are actually reading ahead; it’s a page turning theology book!

  7. Michelle

    #4 – You can check YouTube or Netflix streaming for “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” for more British comedy from Hugh Laurie (who also plays Dr. House).
    #7 – I typically read a lot of fiction, but two non-fiction books I’ve really enjoyed have been, “The Power of Femininity” and “Love and Respect.”

    I reviewed “Love and Respect” on my blog here: http://donteatthatcookie.blogspot.com/2009/12/love-and-respect-it-works-for-me.html

  8. Jeannie

    I had to come out of lurkdom; Hugh Laurie is great! Thanks for reminding me about Jeeves & Wooster. I thought he was a great Mr. Palmer in Sense & Sensibility with Emma Thompson.

    Sorry to read about your leg pain. We will keep you in our prayers.

    I enjoyed Thomas Dubay’s Happy Are You Poor.

  9. Sarah

    I loved Breakfast with the Pope, which you mentioned a week or so ago. It was wonderful, I’d highly recommend it!

  10. Monica

    Book Recommendations: So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell; What is the What, by Dave Eggers; and for memoir: The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

    Have a wonderful trip to my City by the Bay!

  11. George @ Convert Journal

    Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned looks great. There are some wonderful excerpts online as well. I read somewhere that the edition sold directly by Ignatius Press has additional forwards included. There are also lots of good quotes, including from Archbishop Charles Chaput. As converts ourselves, also note that Abby is currently in RCIA!

    My 7QT entry this week… Making San Francisco safe from “Happy Meals.” Capitalizing on the Tucson tragedy. Thank our troops. I “heart” NY, unless I am an unborn child. The extinction of pro-life Democrats. Automated confessions and a quote of the week.

  12. English Sarah

    $1,000 per month! Ouch! Us Brits really should stop complaining about paying Β£7.20 per prescription!! While that is ironic about the Lovenox, if your blood likes to clot so easily even when taking it then it’s probably already saved you from some much more serious DVTs.

    Hubby and I were pleased to see you are a fan of Jeeves and Wooster. We discovered this show a few years back and enjoy watching it with a cup of tea on a rainy day (we get a lot of those!).

  13. Sharon

    So sorry to hear about the clotting in your legs! I hope you’re able to go to the Walk for Life. Someday I hope to attend that one; I’m blessed to live only an hour from Washington, DC, though, and I’m looking forward to the March for Life there on the 24th.

    I’m sure you’ve probably read Immaculee Ilbagiza’s book, “Left to Tell,” and being a convert you’ve probably already read all of Scott Hahn’s books. I picked up his latest book “Signs of Life” recently and I’m looking forward to reading that. I downloaded “Our Lady of Kibeho” by Immaculee on my Ipad (my favorite Christmas gift this year) and I’m going to read it as soon as I’m done with “Christ the Lord, Road to Cana” by Anne Rice.

    Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  14. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    I used to watch Jeeves and Wooster on PBS in the 1990s! I knew I recognized House from somewhere but I could not place him. How funny.

    On a more serious note, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your baby. My good friend had a some condition with her three pregnancies. Thank the Lord, you have no deep vein clots.

  15. Kathleen@so much to say

    I am so sorry that you’re going through this. πŸ™ You know you have lots of people praying for you.

  16. Tami Boesiger

    Glad to see you back Jen. Take care of yourself!

  17. Elizabeth

    Kids love Jeeves & Wooster too – I think its the facial expressions they pull! Plus the music sequence at the end.

    For reading: Philip Neri: The Fire of Joy, by Paul Turks. Have fun!

  18. Lisa @ Cheerfully Chaotic

    *Unbroken* by Laura Hillenbrand. Jen– you’ll love it. It’s nonfiction, has the adventure AND spiritual conversion components to it, and is about an aspect of WWII I haven’t really ever heard about. I loved reading Seabiscuit and thought that Hillenbrand really did a great job with this story, too.

    However, when I found out later that Hillenbrand has chronic fatigue syndrome and still managed to write a best-selling book, I felt super-lazy that I’m healthy and can’t even finish a 50 page thesis to finish my Masters. Maybe I’ll use her for inspiration… lol.

    Have a great weekend!!

  19. Pam

    Ah, Hugh Laurie. I think he does the best American accent of any British actor around. I need to watch some Jeeves & Wooster — the clips I’ve seen are great.

    Book recommendation: one of my old favorites is The Robe, by Lloyd Douglas.

    Happy mini-vacation! Oh, and Go, Yaya!! Looking forward to the funny stories. πŸ™‚

  20. Erika

    I haven’t read all the comments, so this may have been mentioned–but any of the male actors in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

    And Hugh Laurie is awesome. Crudity on House and all : )

  21. Julia at LotsaLaundry

    Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. A memoir that’s all about the story of our lives.

    Praying for those legs of yours…

  22. Melanie

    Yikes! $1,000! So sorry to hear about the pain and expense. Continued prayers for you.

    Having spent my career in financial services, Legatus is a much needed ministry to help support faithful working professionals. I had never heard of it before, thanks for sharing!

    Love all the book recommendations lately!

  23. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    #1 ~ I’m so sorry to hear about the ongoing leg pain and that there’s nothing they can do for it. Ironic that the shots for the medicine for clotting is causing clotting. Sometimes you just have to shake your head.

    #4 ~ Hugh Laurie is a pretty amazing actor. He was also one of the bad guys in 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close. Another that constantly amazes me in Daniel Day Lewis. From “My Left Foot” to “Last of The Mohicans” he became a different person entirely. In fact, I HAD to watch Mohicans over, and over, and over just to make sure it was really him. πŸ™‚

    #7 ~ I read mostly fiction as well. Good luck!

  24. Linda Wightman

    Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia. Except that it’s a bit heavy to carry on a plane, and probably won’t come from Amazon any faster than the others you’re waiting for. But it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.

    • Kate

      Such a good book! The author spoke at my alma mater a couple years ago and I was entranced. The book is a lovely mix of literary analysis and theology–very good.

  25. Kathleen

    I’m so sorry to hear about your leg. And the cost? Crazy!!

    I am reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas – very bood!

  26. Kat L

    #4 – Yeah, we thought it was hilarious when Hugh Laurie played the sweet, kindly father in Stuart Little!

  27. Tracy

    yeah, 1,000 bucks would be bad enough, but to not be terribly effective ~ OUCH! so sorry about your troubles!! Hope you thoroughly enjoy your mini vacation!

  28. Katie

    Okay, have you seriously never seen Black Adder??? Because Hugh Laurie (the man who plays Dr. House) is one of the main characters in that old Brit comedy, too! Go watch it, it’s hilarious!! He’s actually a very versatile actor who has taken on many different roles.

    Sorry to hear about the recurring clots πŸ™

  29. Melissa G

    Jennifer, You are in my prayers. A good friend of mine just started on blood clotting meds. It is criminal how much they cost!

    A book recommendation: is SHADOW OF HIS WINGS. Here’s a link to Ignatius Press, which sells it as an downloadable, audio or paperback book:

    From their site:Here is the astonishing true story of the harrowing experiences of a young German seminarian drafted into Hitler’s dreaded SS at the onset of World War II. Without betraying his Catholic ideals, against all odds, and in the face of Evil, Gereon Goldmann was able to complete his priestly training, be ordained, and secretly minister to German Catholic soldiers and innocent civilian victims caught up in the horrors of war. How it all came to pass will astound you.

  30. Nella

    I also vote that you get “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”. It’s a non-fiction adventure AND a conversion story. Prayers to you for your legs and that you have a safe trip!

  31. Courtney F.

    Oh, I love Jeeves & Wooster! If you’re enjoying the TV series, you should see about getting some of the original P.G. Wodehouse books on CD from your library. They’re great for making car rides or cleaning up the house bearable, and they always get great narrators for them who really bring all the characters to life! Best of all, they’re safe to listen to around the kids. πŸ™‚

    • Gina

      Yes, you MUST read Wodehouse (or listen to him on audio). The TV version was good, but it simply can’t hold a candle to the books. The man was one of the greatest comic geniuses of the 20th century.

  32. Elizabeth

    For the “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that’s the same actor” factor (rhyme), this one goes out to NCIS fans who have seen Hocus Pocus…. Google “Thakery Binx”

    I SCREAMED when my sister told me about this!

    While House can be really rude, I’ve found that the show is generally pro-life and sometimes very pro-life.

  33. Kimberlie

    Oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVE Jeeves and Wooster. My DH and I discovered it about 5 years ago. I was sad there weren’t more seasons to watch. Along that vein, PG Wodehouse’s book of the same title is an absolute belly-laugher. I really enjoyed it a lot.

  34. Julie F

    For historical books:

    A Life in Secrets — Sarah Helm; there are several stories going on here, about British intelligence operations during WWII, about the women who became spies and what happened to them, and about the mysterious woman in charge. Not a happy book, but well researched, well written and all around a good read.

    Postwar — Tony Judt; or probably anything by Judt. Granted, Postwar is massive. But each chapter is more or less a standalone, and this is easily the best-written history book I’ve read in grad school. Judt is a really fine author, and I think this book gives an essential overview perspective of the changes in European/western society since 1945.

  35. Kathryn

    For you I would recommend Flirting With Faith: My Spiritual Journey from Atheism to a Faith-filled Life by Joan Ball

    or, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

    Have a great trip!

  36. Beth

    Are you not allowed to take warfarin? Its a generic, does the same thing as enoxaparin (lovenox), is a pill not an injection, and costs a lot less. The lousy part is that you have to monitor your INR, you have to avoid Vitamin K, etc but at least it won’t bankrupt you.

    Hugh Laurie is terrific in Black Adder, you have to check it out. I always found Alec Baldwin to be a remarkably versatile actor too…check out his famed cameo in Glengarry Glen Ross against his work on 30 Rock. It’s mindblowing.

    Regarding book recommendations. If you liked Into Thin AIr by Jon Krakauer, check out his thought provoking book about Mormonism: “Under the Banner of Heaven”.

  37. Jeana

    Have you ever read The Trapp Family Singers? (The real story behind The Sound of Music) It’s one of my favorite books–different from the movie, but excellent. Maria’s enthusiasm for life is contagious. I wish I could have known her in real life. (As an author she wrote as Maria Augusta Trapp, not Von Trapp as in the movie.)

  38. Christy

    It might be too enormous to take on a plane comfortably, but the new biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas is incredible.

  39. CuppaJo

    I just spent most of a week in various airports going cross-country and back to stay with a friend having surgery because of bloodclots…SO it seemed particularly relevant that I share what I read while traveling: Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett. Paperback is lightweight so perfect for travel, and the content is very, very engaging. It’s been out for a few years so you may have already come across it, but if not, I highly recommend it!

  40. Contra

    If you’re looking for non-fiction books to read, I recommend anything by Scott Hahn.

  41. Theresa

    Trying Quick Takes Friday today!

    So sorry about your leg, Jen. My mother had the same problem … with her fifth pregnancy … in her thirties. Will say a special prayer.

    I love a good comedy. Thanks for the recommendation!

  42. Amy

    So sorry about your leg, but good that they are not deep clots. Amd Hugh Laurie–I know, right?!

  43. chris

    I also highly recommend Black Adder (though it was written by Richard Curtis, the main guy behind the atrocious yet revealing 10 for 10 promo that blew up folks that didn’t go green enough in Britain).

    And I know you don’t like fiction, but if you like the Jeeves and Wooster show, you have to read the books. P. G. Wodehouse is an amazing writer. And truly, as very good as the show is, the books are much much better. Really. Read them. You’ve already had the characters look formed for you, but still, the books are just so great.

    I hope your leg feels better, I’ll be praying for you!

    • Gina

      Yes, “Blackadder” is great (although it can be racy at times, in that droll British way)! AND it also features Hugh Laurie in some of the seasons! Just too bad Curtis turned out to be such a twerp.

  44. Denise

    I’m so sorry about your leg, although very glad that the clotting is not worse! I will join the prayers for healing and a good trip for you.

    Oooh, books!

    I have heard fabulous things about “Left to Tell”: great story about faith in horrible circumstances. But I’ll focus on adventure books since I used to be really into those at one point and it seems a niche not too filled with suggestions yet.

    I also loved “Endurance” and “Into Thin Air”. For sheer “I can’t believe he survived that”, though, the prize has always gone to “The Long Walk” by Slavomir Rawicz. On a calmer, more drawn-out “adventure over years” perspective, I was in love with “West with the Night” by Beryl Markham for years and years; simply exquisite writing and she accomplished quite a lot in her time (if not actually managing a moral lifestyle – but that doesn’t show up in this book). And from my own neck of the woods: “Arctic Daughter” by Jean Aspen; sort of a female version of the guy who went into the Alaskan wilderness only sorta prepared for survival, but with a much better ending.

  45. Denise cooper

    Hi Jen,

    I would highly recommend the Jeeves books, both novels & short stories. They are laugh out loud funny, especially the earlier ones. I used to ride the train to downtown Chicago and would have people staring at me as couldn’t stop laughing.

  46. Jesse

    Said a prayer for your clotting and I hope that your pain eases. Congratulations on your pending little bundle!

  47. Kay DeWitt

    Sean Connery from James Bond to his films of the 90’s- The Rock, Presideo etc amazes me and Also Harrison Ford from American Graffiti to any of his others.

  48. Jen G

    If you like “Jeeves & Wooster”, you may want to try to catch “Blackadder”. They’re stage comedies set at various points in history, with the main character being Edmund Blackadder. Hugh Laurie (Of House M.D.) is a part of the troupe that performs in those episodes. I think his main character is the Prince Regent, but he plays other roles as well.

  49. Susan

    Dearest Jen,

    Please remember to walk around on the plane when you fly, for the sake of your poor legs.

    Now, for the sake of a happy heart, try reading any of the Jeeves and Wooster novels that that great series is based on. I must warn you, though, that you may disturb those around you with uncontrollable laughter.

    My husband and I have often spoken of the amazing transformation between Bertie Wooster and House. Glad you’re enjoying the series.

    Also, I’m sure that I join all your readers in looking forward to many new Yaya stories now that she is so close by.


  50. Robin

    Praying for your legs. Have you tried fish oil? I know that people have to stop taking it for two weeks before surgery because it thins your blood.

    Amazing actor moment: compare Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs. Kramer” and then “Rain Man”. Wow. Just wow.

  51. Erin P

    Sorry to hear about your leg… and the expense.

    I’m glad you like Brit comedy. My hubby, SIL and I can have an entire night in just watching Are You Being Served, Monty Python, etc. I’ve aways loved brittish comedy… not a lot of us yanks “get” it.

  52. Julie @ The Corner With A View

    Ah yes, Jeeves and Wooster. So funny! Wodehouse’s Mr. Psmith character (the ‘p’ is silent πŸ˜‰ ) is also hilarious. πŸ™‚ I have to second the Michael Ward recommendation!

  53. Sandee

    #4 – Hugh Laurie is definitely very versatile. Another shocking transformation is Anthony LaPaglia – from drunken brother Simon on “Frasier” to update detective on “Criminal Minds”

  54. Leila

    I am so sorry about the continuing nightmare of the legs!! And the money…. OUCH!! Ah, the things we do to bring our children to life! “This is my body, given up for you” … pregnancy conforms one to Christ, especially pregnancies like yours. I’ll keep praying!

    As for books…. I highly recommend Architects of the Culture of Death, if you haven’t already read that. I love things that are systematic, logical and that actually teach me something new and useful. This book is not only compelling (each chapter is a small biography of fascinating and deeply troubled/sinful souls), but also educational. And one day, we need to teach our children about how the Culture of Death was built up around us.

  55. Sarah

    I hope you have safe travels, and feel better soon.

    I recommend “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze” by Peter Hessler.
    Her traveled to China to teach English. This is a really interesting look at China. The author is Catholic, so he talks some about hardships his pastor had gone through, etc.

  56. Julie

    I know that you typically seem to read spiritual books, however the one that popped in my head was the one http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/guernsey//book/. I think it did because it was a great book (I “read” it via audiobook narrated by Juliet Mills) and because you had House up there on an earlier quick take. I know that he is British but for me, a House fan, to see him speak in his native accent is really weird. I will have to check out the Jeeves show, I enjoy British humor. The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Book Society (or whatever the name of it is) is a lovely book about Great Britian during WWII and is written in a fabulous format, has memorable characters, and is a bit educational as well. I do not remember any bad language. It is a feel good book with substance. I enjoy your blog a great deal and hope that your pregnancy goes well for you and your family.

  57. Katie

    Glad the leg is nothing too serious, but prayers for the pain!

  58. matching moonhead

    We have a Tassimo and love it! Only thing is that the pods are expensive πŸ™

  59. Terri

    Brain Gails…”Fatherless” and the sequel “Motherless” can’t put them down. Excellent Catholic reading.

  60. Trista

    I can’t wait until Abby’s book arrives at my house.

  61. Katherine

    For a book recommendation: The Lamb’s supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth witch looks at Mass as it relates to the Book of Revelations.

    As for actor transformations I think Meryl Streep from Silkwood to The French Lieutenants Woman.

  62. Jamie

    What interesting information about the publishing industry! Good to know!

  63. Wendy from Zoom

    Just a thought about the clots: is it possible that the generic is not working as well as the name brand? I know this can be true for certain heart medications, although I don’t know if it’s true for this one. Something to ask your doctor.

    Also, do you know that Jeeves and Wooster was first a collection of short stories by Wodehouse? Very fun!

  64. Kara

    He was also the dad in Stuart Little! When I watched it after having not seen it in a few years, I was shocked! Lol!! He’s a great actor.

    Enjoy your trip and the walk for life! We will be at the Phoenix one, I hope!

  65. Susan

    Praying for you regarding your clotting problem. I’m a little worried because riding in airplanes has been associated with blood clots in the legs. I’m sure you’ve discussed it with your doctor.

    I’m looking forward to more Yaya stories.

  66. Lisa Schmidt

    I’m in at #53 and 54. (53 is a broken link. Sorry Jen; I posted too quickly!) 7 Quick Takes on how to foster vocations in honor of National Vocation Awareness Week!

  67. JaneC Duquette

    I would highly recommend P.G. Woodehouse. My favorite is Uncle Fred Flits by. You have Yaya, he had Uncle Fred. My current favorite non-fiction book is Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky about saving Yiddish books. He won a MacArthur genius award for his work to save Yiddish books and he can tell a story.

  68. Jay

    Left to Tell was an amazing non ficton about the Rwanda genocide.

    • Margeux

      I second this-riveting story of forgiveness.

  69. Monica

    God’s Smuggler is an amazing memoir of a man who worked for years to bring Bibles behind the iron curtain. It’s by Brother Andrew. He’s Protestant, not Catholic, but it’s a really cool story!

  70. Debbie

    Glad to hear you are doing well, Jen. Prayers coming your way πŸ™‚

    Just a few days ago I did some back searching on your blog under “books” and noticed one of the books you mentioned you were interested in is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie TenBoom(sp?). A fantastic true story that took place during the holocaust. I recommend it highly. Just to reinforce others’ recommendations for “Left to Tell,” “Into Thin Air,” (both non-fiction) and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” for fiction. Very easy to pick up and put down, pleasant writing style and good character development. A dash of history thrown in for interest that doesn’t get too heavy. A good story.

    Actors: Agree re: Daniel Day Lewis only for me I was thinking about him in “A Room With a View” (one of my FAVORITE movies) versus DDL in “Last of the Mohicans.” I, too, had to look closely to see if it was the same person!


  71. Debbie

    oh, and p.s. “The Glass Castle.” After having two friends recommend it and assure me it was not depressing, I read it. I swear I read it slack-jawed with a mental “Oh my G_d, I can’t believe they did that!” Amazing story of growing up with very negligent, but loving, parents.

  72. Jet


    I love The Temperament God Gave You by Dr. Art and Larraine Bennett. It is extremely helpful and you will find yourself classifying people you know by temperaments. Great fun!

    Here is the online version: http://www.sophiainstitute.com/client/products/prodpdf/027.pdf

    Enjoy your time away!


    • Jet

      Sorry for the confusion-not the full version, but an intro to each temperament, examples of saints with strong temperaments and a test to determine your temperament. Just enough to pique one’s interest in the book.

  73. Jamie Jo

    Hi Jen!
    I installed my first edition of this fun Friday thing you do!!
    Thanks for letting me join in!

  74. MemeGRL

    Just a quick note to say thanks for mentioning the “critical 2-week window.” I had never given thought to the pre-order numbers giving rise to support for the books but now that I think of it, it makes total sense. Have a good weekend!

  75. Sally Thomas

    Sorry about the clotting — will keep you in my prayers.

    Well, it will be all too obvious from my Seven Quick Takes post that I have been reading nothing but the mid-century English novelist Barbara Pym lately. A friend sent me a big box of her books, and my teenager and I have been plowing through them. Today she and I sat late at the breakfast table, each of us with coffee and a book, laughing at intervals . . . That doesn’t really address your book request at all, though if you like Jeeves and Wooster, you might also have fun with Barbara Pym, all of whose novels are comic takes on mid-century English life, involving spinsters, vicars, anthropologists, librarians, and unrequited love. Very good fun. (and her autobiography in diaries and letters would technically count as non-fiction, though it’s not that spiritual . . . )

    Hope your leg pain subsides!

  76. Elena

    On the upside- if you’re ever in a severe trauma, you know you won’t bleed to death (which is one of my secret fears)! Hope the pain subsides soon!

  77. priest's wife

    …gotta to wake up super early to blog anything good- I cam up with NADA with my sweet baby-toddler on my lap and the 3 year old whining about popsicles

  78. Lucy

    I just read Ann Voskamp’s book on my Kindle! LOVED IT! I will be buying the hardcover too, since I want to read it again. I know you’re not a big fiction fan, but I really recommend The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. I was amazed when I read it. And if you haven’t read it, I’d HIGHLY recommend Father Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father.

    I hope your leg feels better. I’m on anti-clotting meds, too, and that would irritate me big time!

  79. Anna

    What’s Math Got to Do with It? by Jo Boaler. Potentially relevant to your homeschooling, I’d say.

  80. Magda

    Try “Salt of the Earth” This interview with then Cardinal J Ratzinger brought skeptic Peter Seewald back to the Church. There are two books that follow in this trilogy. Pope Benedict is amazing!

  81. Kit

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Dan Woolley’s “Unshaken,” about his time trapped in the rubble after the Haiti earthquake, and spiritual lessons from that. Haven’t read it yet but I probably will, since everyone is raving about it (it was just released also)

  82. Angela

    #4 I can’t believe that’s House!

  83. Amy

    Hi Jen,

    I’m glad to hear that your clots are not of the more serious deep-vein variety and I hope you’ll be feeling better in time for your trip(s). My book suggestions….well in the spiritual memoir category I would highly suggest Girl Meets God, and if you feel up to fiction then Excellent Women by Barbara Pym or The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by L. King – both great plane books.

  84. Kris, in New England

    Jennifer I hope your vein issues give you some relief. I had to do Lovenox shots for 3 weeks after a total hip replacement in early 2009; those shots aren’t bad but to have to do them daily for an undetermined amount of time? Wow!

    So I’m trying my own twist on your 7 Quick Takes Friday. I just don’t think I have the imagination to come up with 7 things on fridays!

  85. Becky Saucedo

    I am surprised that your Dr. is letting you travel with the leg problems you’re having. I’m not allowed to sit in a car or plane for more than an hour and that’s just as a precaution. I’ll pray for safe travels. Do take care of yourself.

  86. Regina

    Jennifer, I feel your leg pain. I’ve never come across anything that gives relief. So sorry for you, and always feeling sorry for self. Book recommendation: Friendship of Christ by Robert Hugh Benson–short.

  87. Maria

    Read P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves & Wooster books! They are so, so much funnier than the tv skits. Most of the humor in the books actually comes from the language. Only a fraction of it translates on screen. You must read them!! They are just the best comedy out there.

  88. Jess

    Great tip about the book!

    And I hope your legs is better soon- and nothing too serious!

  89. Martianne

    I haven;t visited your site in far too long and love it… I don’t love hearing about your health issues though. I mean, I have no problem hearing about them, I simply wish you were not having them. So, saying a prayer for your healing and health! And, also one for a safe and blessed upcoming trip for you!

  90. Bender

    I was going to mention Stuart Little, where he plays a geeky dad in glasses.

    Then there is the opposite problem, which is fairly common these days, where any number of different actors all look and sound and act the same, one homogenized glop.

    I mean, along those same lines — what’s the deal with the guy they picked to play Steve McGarrett in the new Hawaii Five-O? Talk about your bland actor fading into the background of other actors. He looks the same as 1000 other guys. Come on, Steve McGarrett? Jack Lord practically made him an icon. Well, at least they kept the opening music theme.

    • Bender

      Cary Elwes is another actor who has been a bit of a chameleon (and apparently, he’s a Brit too).

  91. Douglas

    If your blood likes to clot that much, you might be a good candidate for platelet pherisis donation when your pregnancy is over. http://www.unitedbloodservices.org/learnMore.aspx

    Never heard of Jeeves and Wooster? What bibliophile worth their salt is missing P.G. Wodehouse in their library? πŸ™‚

  92. Lydia

    Thanks for hosting this! My sadly neglected blog is receiving new life.

  93. Adell Neulander

    I am an avid reader of spiritual nonfiction. I highly suggest a small book written by Sister Briege McKenna. Miracles Do Happen includes her conversion and many many of the healings God has used her for. She has had prophetic dreams, also has been given images and scripture passages from God to help physically and spiritually heal. She is involved in retreats for priests worldwide, although she does do some public speaking. Go to SisterBriege.com You will not be disappointed.

  94. Jeff Miller

    I read “Unplanned” yesterday in basically one sitting. A gripping read and as I am sure you would appreciate a conversion story. Abby and her husband are currently being giving instruction in the Catholic faith by one of St. Blogs’s own.

    As great as the Jeeves & Wooster TV Show is and as much of fan of Hugh Laurie as I am for that, Blackadder, and House – the books are even better. P.G. Wodehouse is the funniest Catholic novelist ever and his books go beyond just Jeeves & Wooster. I’ve never read a bad P.G. Wodehouse novel and I have read 26 of them over the last several years and there are more I haven’t yet read. He was a brilliant writer in the form of screwball comedy and could take the simplest plot and make it pure joy to read with his dialog. Plus much of Wodehouse works are free and available on Project Gutenberg and LIbrivox.

    As for non-fiction recommendations you mentioned some of my favs. Have you read any of Blessed Columba Marmion? He was a spiritual directory par excellence and his books are chocked full of good advice. “Christ, the Life of the Soul”, “Union With God”, and “Christ and His Mysteries” all have good translations from Zaccheus Press. Or how about some Dietrich Von Hildebrand? His “Transformations in Christ” is pure gold.

  95. Deborah

    Our parish women’s book club just finished an incredibly moving book called a A Song for Nagasaki. I think you would love it. It’s about a Japanese doctor who converts to Catholicism (from Athiesm) and survives the Atomic bomb. It’s a true story; can’t recommend it highly enough…I just ordered Set Free to Love-Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body after you recommended it. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m excited about it!

  96. Sally Thomas

    Linda Wightman — We knew Michael Ward when we lived in Cambridge (UK), when my husband was doing his Ph.d! I’m so happy to see a recommendation of his book. (makes me feel kind of secondhand famous!)

  97. JoAnna

    Have you ever read “Anne Frank Remembered,” the memoir by Miep Gies (the woman who helped hide the Frank family)? It’s a favorite of mine.

  98. Jenny @Home is Where You Start From

    Jennifer, we love-love-love Jeeves and Wooster at our house! We have them on on dvd..sadly, they did a short number of them. The books are a hoot, and there are more stories in the books then what were made into the show.

    yeah, it’s hard to believe he is House! He’s also in Stuart Little, and he has a short part in Sense & Sensibility- he’s pretty diff. in that one, too.

    so glad you don’t have DVT..I am curious about your blood condition, I was given a diagnosis of Reynaud’s syndrome, yet the 1st Dr. also told me that my blood clots in the capillaries and to take baby aspirin, my next Dr. insists I have Reynaud’s but I am a bit worried there is more going on.

  99. ~ Nona

    THE QUESTION OF GOD(Armand M. Nicholi) is based on Dr. Nicholi’s popular course at Harvard comparing the beliefs and lives of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis respectively. Both were atheists, Freud a life-long atheist, while Lewis’s conversion transformed not just his thinking but his life. Fascinating.

    WITNESS by Whittaker Chambers is one of the preeminent autobiographies of the 20th century. Chambers’ life and transformation from committed Communist and atheist to a believer who ended up testifying against his closest friend in the underground makes for compelling, gripping reading. Likely to be at your library.

    THE WAY THE WORLD IS: The Christian Perspective of a Scientist by Sir John Pokinghorn, who was a professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge and then left to become an Anglican priest, is really interesting reading.

    AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Benjamin Franklin is wonderful. I try to re-read it every decade or so. I’m due. Maybe you and/or some of your readers will get to it before I do. Likely to be at your library.

    JOHN ADAMS by David McCullough is an excellent exploration of a life that has profited and benefited so many for so many generations. Again, in your library for sure.

  100. Elizabeth Mahlou

    Sorry to hear about your clot problem, especially the pain. I wish I had some helpful advice, but I don’t. I have never heard of this before. I do, however, had advice for San Francisco. Bring warm clothes. Our weather out here on the California coast has been unusually cold recently, down to freezing and below.

  101. Marcelina

    When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption . By Wesley Adamczyk

  102. Jen

    OK, Jenn you really need to look into amazon mom. You can get free 2 day shipping and then you get more if you order baby items from amazon. Just a thought. I hope that your legs get better. Mine would ache too. I’d microwave a damp towel for a few seconds and wrap up my legs in the middle of the night. I don’t know if that would help for you.

  103. julie

    i just ordered unplanned and amazon recommended “No Turning Back , a Witness to Mercy.” It is about a priest who had a HUGE conversion experience. Also I started reading the Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. I don’t know it you’ve read his books before, but so far it is awesome!!

  104. Kat Holmstrom

    Thank you for recommending Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” – I clicked on your link to amazon and read the first couple of pages. I discovered that I could order it immediately for my Kindle instead of having to wait until next week. I will start reading it this afternoon!

  105. nina

    I just ordered Abby’s book. It arrived immediately.

    (Also, during Advent I re-read Caryl Houselander’s Little Way of the Infant Jesus—one of my faves. Read Caryl Houselander!)

    Also, let us know if you DO find you can go on the Walk. I’m still undecided….but the rest of the fam will be there. πŸ™‚ [I know, I know…. but I hate car trips….the back, the veins, the tiny-bladder-syndrome, etc. etc. :)]

  106. KyCat

    books – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I think that I’ve recommended it before, but I’m seconding someone else’s recommendation this time.
    actors – Ted Levine played Captain Stottlemeyer in Monk and was Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb in Silence of the Lambs! It took my husband a while to convince me and I had to block it out of my mind to continue enjoying him on Monk. Quit a transformation!
    Daniel Day Lewis was amazing in My Left Foot and I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t disabled! When I saw the ads for Last of the Mohicans, I was confused that another actor would use the same 3 name name!
    Prayers are being sent for your legs. I hope that your trips go smoothly and your health does not cause you any problems.

  107. Rosemary

    SO happy to hear there were no deep blood clots! Will pray especially about your pain at Living Waters prayer group at St. Max’s tomorrow night. My book choices are:
    “The Scarlet and the Black” (the true story of the priest portrayed by Gregory Peck in the movie of the same title) and “The Closing of the Muslim Mind” by Robert R. Reilly. I also recommend “Left to Tell”, about Rwanda.
    And, I’m glad Yaya will be there to provide more stories for your posts — and to enjoy hugging her grandkids!

  108. Rachel

    Jeeves and Wooster! I’ve only seen a little bit of it, but my sister and I are learning the opening theme song (she on violin, and I on piano). It’s an awesome song!

    Hopefully you will be feeling better this week!! I’ll keep you in my prayers!

  109. Amy @ Tiny Blessings

    I have finally gotten my hands on The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin and I’m loving it! If you haven’t read it, I’m only about 1/4 of the way through, but I’d recommend it so far.

    Can’t wait for more Yaya stories! πŸ™‚

    • Jen G

      I’m reading this book as well, and would recommend it!

  110. Lisa Lap

    Books rec’d: “Heaven Song” by Christopher West
    and “The Red Tent” …don’t remember the author:(

    Praying for your healing and your pregnancy :))
    Enjoy your mini-vacation and girl time..so important!!
    Love your blog!!

  111. Jen G

    For books that are simple yet profound, I would recommend anything by Fr. Jacques Philippe. “Searching for and Maintaining Peace” is a favorite of mine.

  112. Sandie

    The Anchoress has a post up that reminded me how much I enjoyed Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain.

  113. Cathy McConn

    I love conversion stories and the recent Chosen published by Ignatius has 23 of them, including Steven Mosher, a hero. I give it to all my friends. Some are the typical intellectual conversions but others are more “oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-this” stories. Like the true life witch.
    Also, for real-life adventure and absolute heroic resolve to live, try The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Devil at My Heels by Louis Zamperini.
    Both are fantastic testaments to the will to live. (see Deuteronomy)
    Living in Houston near YaYa, and directing the Gabriel Project, which helps pregnant moms.

  114. syd

    I just finished reading The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture by Wendell Berry. Absolutely beautiful essays on the idea of food and community, place. I also just finished Condoleezza Rice’s autobiography, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family which I read in one night.

  115. Sarah

    I LOVED Unbroken…excellent writing and an amazing true story of survival the likes you can’t even fathom.

  116. Therese

    Prayers for you, Jen! I also have thrombophilia and it’s awful to know that you’ve had the pain (and expense!) of the shots while continuing to clot. In addition to asking about the efficacy of generic vs. name-brand, I hope your doctor may be considering increasing your dosage. Also, my maternal-fetal specialist urged me to avoid soy (hard to do, since it’s in lots of things) because soy is full of estrogen and estrogen can cause clotting. Have a great trip and an uneventful remainder of pregnancy!

  117. 'Becca

    I hate to rain on your parade in #6, but I’m always suspicious of the healthfulness of anything that involves hot plastic for food/drink, especially when it’s going to be consumed by an expectant mother, so I briefly Googled to see if the K-cups are known to be risky. No reliable reports, but they do contain polystyrene which is a known endocrine disruptor. What I HAVE to tell you is that I found this page where multiple commenters link their LEG PAIN to the use of K-cups. You got the machine for Christmas, and your leg pain started right after Christmas. Coincidence? Better take a few weeks off the K-cups and find out!!

    If your to-go cups are a disposable type with plastic linings, that may be a problem too. You deserve a real cup!

  118. berenike

    #6 – does it not make tea with water the same temperature as for coffee?

  119. amy2boys

    Recent books I loved: Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Exenrider, Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation by Stephanie Mann, Don Juan de Austria and The Quiet Light by Louis De Wohl.

  120. MelanieB

    It’s kind of late for your plane trip; but I think you’d love A Song for Nagasaki by Paul Glynn, a biography of a catholic convert and survivor of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

  121. natalie

    I am new to your blog, I found you through Scott Hahn, I am a cradle catholic with 16 years of Catholic education, trying to find my way back to the church. I wish I could say that I have an indepth literary repitore. As a working Mom, I spend most of my time reading marketing white pages. However, I am reading a book right now that I love. It is a story about life, love and faith. It is non-fiction. I found out about it while wiki-ing Nicholas Sparks faith. I was pleasently surprised but not shocked to read he and his wife are practicing Catholics. The role of faith in the two books I read by him were very touching and familiar. Anyways it is 3 WEEEKS with my Brother. I am not done with it but have found it very touching. This is my first comment to a blog ever so please use that as how strongly I recommend this book.

  122. Sue

    Men, Women and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri

    I’ve used this book to teach teens at our parish. It’s a great book, good for understanding JPII’s Love and Responsibility.

    And on a different track: The Closing of the Muslim Mind by Robert Reilly

    It is a very interesting book that looks at the root of terrorism.

  123. Genevieve Valenzuela

    Looking forward to the funny stories. He’s actually a very versatile actor who has taken on many different roles. I had never heard of it before, thanks for sharing! I’m so sorry to hear about your leg.

  124. redpath

    Astounding difficulties here. I will be very contented to search the document. Thanks a lot and i’m taking a look forward to hint a person. Would you like to generously fall me a snail mail?

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