Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lying Awake: Some Summer Reading

My summer reading included a novel titled Lying Awake by Mark Salzman.

It was a captivating book, and I finished it in two days (that's quick for me.) If you chose to get it, be careful about what descriptions of it you read, because a lot of them, including the ones at, contain spoilers.

To see if it's at your library or to interlibrary loan it, click here.
To purchase your own copy, click here.

Here is the description on the back of the book:
In a Carmelite monastery outside present-day Los Angeles, life goes on in a manner virtually un-changed for centuries. Sister John of the Cross has spent years there in the service of God. And there, she alone experiences visions of such dazzling power and insight that she is looked upon as a spiritual master. But Sister John's visions are accompanied by powerful headaches, and when a doctor reveals that they may be dangerous, she faces a devastating choice. For if her spiritual gifts are symptoms of illness rather than grace, will a "cure" mean the end of her visions and a soul once again dry and searching?

This is the dilemma at the heart of Mark Salzman's spare, astonishing new novel. With extraordinary dexterity, the author of the best-selling Iron & Silk and The Soloist brings to life the mysterious world of the cloister, giving us a brilliantly realized portrait of women today drawn to the rigors of an ancient religious life, and of one woman's trial at the perilous intersection of faith and reason.

Lying Awake is a novel of remarkable empathy and imagination, and Mark Salzman's most provocative work to date.
Other books I read this summer include:
  • Buried Wheat by Sr. Rosamond Nugent, OSF (a novel based on the history of our community)
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (While it was difficult to read this tragedy, it gave me insight into Hmong History and Culture, as well as a deeper awareness of the Secret War in Laos.)
  • Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light -the Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta (I am actually in the middle of it.)


  1. It is very touching that you mentioned 'Buried Wheat'. Sister Caritas, our new archivist, happily found more copies of this community favorite. (The copies in our Motherhouse library looked a bit worn!)-Sister Julie Ann

  2. I am glad she found IS a great book!