Staff Bookshelf March 2024

We are welcoming the warmer weather here at the Press, alongside new reads and new faces—including Journals Coordinator, Rachel Daley! Featured in this staff bookshelf we have a lovely variety of genres, some of which include sports, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, theology, romance, and more!

Trevor L

I am reading J.L. Carr’s masterful “How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup”. According to The Guardian,  “It is one of the greatest football novels ever and a penetrating report card from a world where fiction rarely lingers,  at once a comic masterpiece and a study in national temperament that the doughtiest social historian would struggle to match.”  I agree. It’s an eccentric tale, one that has helped take my thoughts away from the sad demise of my favorite team, Charlton Athletic, who needed two attempts this year to knock Cray Valley Paper Mills FC of the Isthmian League out of the FA Cup. 


I am currently reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. This is her debut novel and follows two college students, Bobbi and Frances, who meet an older couple in Dublin’s art and literary scene. I am normally a big fan of her work, but this one just isn’t hitting home for me. I find the main characters really unlikeable (arguably the point of the book) but it makes it very difficult to get through. Hoping that in the second half Rooney’s genius will reveal itself to me!


Although I am not very far along yet, I am currently reading The Hours by Michael E. Cunningham; this is the combined edition with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, as well as an introduction from the author. The novel fictionalizes the lives of three women: Clarissa Vaughan, Laura Brown, and Virginia Woolf, herself, as she begins to write her novel Mrs. Dalloway. As the story progresses, the three women’s narratives begin to intertwine, and eventually come together. The Hours is incredibly meta, haunting, and hilarious, all at the same time. 

Trevor C

I just finished reading The Door by Magda Szabó. The story follows a Hungarian writer who has recently been un-blacklisted and moves to Budapest. She learns that she will not be interviewing for a house cleaner/cook but that octogenarian Emerence will be interviewing her, for she does not clean just anyone’s house.

Emerence is the largest figure in the small neighborhood/building where the writer resides: she cleans the various houses, sweeps the snow, mends the clothes, fixes the lights and knows everyone’s business. The novel details the relationship between the two women as their lives become more and more enmeshed. It is a haunting novel about interdependence, human relationships, and aging set against the barely-visible backdrop of totalitarianism and historical atrocity.


The Hobbit on audio. And with my daughter, L.M. Montgomery’s sequel The Golden Road, which features the immortal line, “He felt fine when he went to bed, but when he woke up, he was dead.” [To the author’s credit, it’s in a story within the story.] Also, any repeat readers of these posts may be glad to know I really finished Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Unset on audiobook after 45 hours. I won’t say anything about the ending except to say that I was glad for every hour, however unpleasant they were for Kristin herself.


I’m reading Caesarius of Arles: Life, Testament, Letters, a translation of primary sources on a renowned sixth-century bishop, monastic founder, reformer, and dynamic preacher. This collection is accompanied by a scholarly introduction and notes that provide a colorful window into life and faith in early medieval Provence. The translator/author is CUA’s own Prof. William E. Klingshirn of the Greek and Latin Dept. I wish that I had read this book sooner!


I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez. It’s my first time “reading” anything by the author and I’m impressed! It’s a romance between a big-city doctor and a small-town carpenter. Will they make it?!? I’m optimistic. My only squabble is with the male narrator and the voices he attempts–yikes!


I’m currently reading Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. I assume she’s most well-known for Station Eleven, which I loved (and the TV adaptation was pretty good too). This novel is based in multiple time periods, from the early 1900s to the 24th century. All of the characters appear to be tied together by a strange occurrence that is similar for all of them, and it’s possible that one of the characters appears in all of the time frames. 100 pages in and it’s quite compelling!


I’m reading the first volume of Jon Fosse’s Septology, which first came to my awareness when it won the Nobel prize this year. Fosse is a Norwegian Catholic author, and Septology is a doppelganger novel in which one version of the main character is a painter whose masterwork is an image of an x-shaped cross, and the other is a man broken by divorce and alcoholism. The prose is beautiful and devastating, the narration is doing intriguing things that I haven’t quite figured out, and I’ve already had to put it down twice because I broke down crying—in a good way (I think).

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