For those of you who don't know, I am a book addict. My family can attest to this. I am never without a book to read. At every possible moment, I am reading. I go back and forth between reading "fluff" (anything Nora Roberts, Twilight, James Patterson) and reading "religious" books. To be honest, I usually prefer the fluff simply because reading is my escape. With books, I can go anywhere and be anything. I have made an effort to read Christian Fiction, but I found most of it to be, well, crap. Most of it was way too Protestant for my Catholic soul. Until now, the only decent Catholic fiction I had found was Michael O'Brien and his Father Elijah series. Then, I discovered the "new" Anne Rice.
I have been a fan of Anne Rice for many years. I thoroughly enjoyed her vampire books as well as some of her novels. What I didn't realize was that she had a major "reversion" to her Catholic faith a few years ago and has now dedicated all of her writing to God. Her first series is "Christ the Lord". The first book, "Out of Egypt", is a story from the perspective of a seven year old Jesus and his family's return to the Holy Land after their self-imposed Egyptian exile. One thing I have always enjoyed from Anne Rice is her historical accuracy. She always thoroughly researches her time periods and is able to truly place you there. This book was no exception. We travel with this young child, through the political upheaval after the death of Herod, from the temple in Jerusalem to the tiny village of Nazareth. We see the struggles of a young child, trying to understand who he is.
The second in the series, "Road to Cana", begins with a 30ish Jesus, just before he begins his ministry. Here we have a man, knowing his divinity, and not sure what to do with it. Anne Rice does a fabulous job of presenting a very human Jesus, while never ignoring his divinity. Not an easy task! In Diaconate Formation this year, we are immersed in the New Testament. While reading all the textbooks has been interesting, I think Anne Rice managed to really bring it all alive. She pulled stories from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and other apocryphal writings. She studied many respected New Testament authors and theologians. She managed to pull all of that together and give us a fiction story that maintained the Jesus of the Gospels. Extremely well done.
So, if you are an addict like me, or you are just looking for a good read, I highly recommend the "new and improved" Anne Rice. She also has a brand new book out called "Angel Time" that I am hoping to find at Barnes and Noble this week. If any of you have read any of these, let me know what you think!