planted {spine poetry}

we make the road by walking
an altar in the world
a thousand splendid suns
keepers of the covenant


a few Irish (and British) books for St. Patrick's Day

In previous years, I attempted to shed some light on the real person behind the very green, often raucous holiday called St. Patrick's Day (here and here). However, I have finally read enough Irish books to compile a small list of recommended St. Patrick's Day reads. So here you go:

Patrick: Son of Ireland | Stephen R. Lawhead
I'll start with the obvious choice. Although Lawhead's writing style tends to be a little dark for my taste, I enjoyed this informative work of historical fiction about the life of spoiled, wealthy Succat Morgannwg and his journey to become Saint Patrick.

Only the River Runs Free | Bodie & Brock Thoene
Another historical novel, Only the River Runs Free contains vividly painted characters that help bring a story involving the tension between Irish Catholics and Protestants to life. It also makes a good Christmas read, being set on Christmas eve in 1941. I wrote a brief review of it two years ago.

The Shadow Things | Jennifer Freitag
Here is where I cheat a bit, as this novel is actually set in southern Britain. My reasoning is this: St. Patrick was born in Britain, and this novel had a similar feel to Patrick. This beautiful novel has a riveting plot and very well-written characters. And, to quote my full review, "The introduction of a loving God provides a beautifully stark contrast to the fear-motivated paganism, which, while I can say nothing to the historical accuracy, was explained well."

Surprised by Joy | C.S. Lewis
This book provides a fascinating, inspiring, remarkably relateable look into C.S. Lewis's youth, from his childhood in Belfast, Ireland, to his studies at Oxford. It's a book to savor. If you're a fan of Lewis, this is definitely a must-read.

The Princes of Ireland | Edward Rutherfurd
At 778 pages, this epic novel may seem daunting, but don't let its wonderfully massive size scare you away (actually, that's partially what drew me to it!). The Princes of Ireland paints a beautiful, sweeping image of ancient Ireland through well-written stories encompassing major events and popular legends. Far from dry and dense, it will suck you into its pages.

The Crows of Beara | Julie Christine Johnson
If contemporary fiction is more your style, this one's for you. Something of a cross between the movie Leap Year and a Barbara Kingsolver novel, this book contains beautiful Irish landscapes, refreshingly believable characters, and a poetic story. It is a narrative of both people and place, and I highly recommend it.