- Portis, Charles — True Grit (215 pages)
- Simpson, Joe — Touching the Void (210 pages)
- Bardin, John Franklin — The Last of Philip Banter (207 pages)
- Millar, Martin — The Good Fairies of New York (278 pages)
- Millar, Mark — Kick-Ass (190 pages)
- Sachar, Louis — Holes (225 pages)
- Baxter, Stephen — Moonseed (523 pages)
- Buchan, John — The Thirty-Nine Steps (152 pages)
- Bukowski, Charles — Post Office (167 pages)
- Palahniuk, Chuck — Fight Club (211 pages)
- Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
- Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
- Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
- Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
- Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)
- Moore, Brian — Catholics (87 pages)
Page count: 3516.
I've been wanting to read something by Brian Moore, as I keep reading comparisons to one of my favourite authors, Graham Greene. Black Robe has been sitting on my shelves for a while, but then something I was reading online brought this slim novella to my attention, and on an impulse I bought a copy from Amazon.
The subject of Catholics is interesting enough and timely, as the Catholic Mass is once again undergoing a transformation in the English-speaking world. It describes a near-future world in which the changes instituted in Vatican II have been extended to such an extreme by subsequent councils that Catholicism, watered down and über-ecumenical, is hardly recognisable. But in one little pocket of the world, a monastery on an island off the coast of Ireland continues the old traditions: the Latin Mass, confessions, vestments, referring to priests as Father, etc., etc. The Vatican can't have such dissension, so it sends an emissary to "persuade" this monastery to toe the line.
The experience of this emissary, the American James Kinsella, Catholic priest (as opposed to "Father," for priests are no longer addressed by title), at the monastery and his conversations with the Abbot form the greater part of the book and is mostly very interesting and thought-provoking. However, I found the ending unsatisfying and unclear. I felt as though there were more to be said and done on both sides and was left scratching my head.