Book Review: Memorize the Faith

Memorize the FaithMemorize the Faith! (and Most Anything Else): Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory MastersBook Review: Memorize the Faith by Kevin Vost

I learned about this book through Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering EverythingMoonwalking with Einstein, which introduced me to the concept of using specific techniques to memorize any sort of information. Foer’s book was heavy on his experiences training for the U.S. Memory Championship and it was interesting, but I was also curious about more of the specifics behind the techniques and how they could perhaps be used in real life. Or, more specifically, in my attempts to memorize passages of scripture.

Which led me to this book, with its seeming claim to teach me how to memorize “almost anything.”

The good:
Vost does an excellent job of really explaining the method loci of memorization and giving great examples of how to use it. He walks you through establishing your memory rooms and creating memory “triggers” for virtually anything. His writing style is entertaining and clear. While the majority of his examples are Catholic-oriented, his methods are applicable to anyone. He includes notes for adult readers, as well as younger ones and homeschoolers (in other words, how to make it work for anyone, of almost any age).

The not-so-good:
I read the book hoping for help in memorizing passages, rather than lists. Turns out passages are harder and don’t lend themselves to the method loci as well as lists. Rats.

Despite it not completely helping me with what I wanted, I still really appreciated the great job the book did at detailing specific memorization methods that really are effective. Unless you are adamantly opposed to reading a book with Catholic examples, I think it’s an excellent resource for learning to memorize more efficiently and effectively.

Recommended.

Publisher’s Description:
“They laughed when I said I could name all 27 books of the New Testament …but after I named them all in order, plus the 46 books of the Old Testament, they begged me to show them how I did it.” Yes, I know that memorizing the Faith is no substitute for living a holy life, but even devout people can’t live by truths and precepts they don’t remember. That’s why, over 700 years ago, St. Thomas Aquinas perfected an easy method for his students to memorize most any information, but especially the truths taught by Christ and His Church. As the years passed, our need for this ancient art of memorization grew, yet somehow our culture largely forgot it . . . which is why today, when you and I try to remember a list of things, we have to repeat their names over and over. Or, to remember to call the dentist, we tie a string on our finger. And we clutch at any means whatsoever to recall our passwords for ATMs, credit cards, and voicemail, our login names for Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon, and the host of other names and numbers that clog our minds and clutter our days.

Now, thanks to the delightful pages of Memorize the Faith!, you can easily keep all these in mind – and learn the Faith! – by tapping into the power of the classical memory system that helped St. Thomas become the Church’s preeminent theologian, and made it easier for him to become one of its greatest saints. Here, Catholic scholar Kevin Vost makes available again Aquinas’s easy-to-learn method – the method Dr. Vost himself has used for decades to recall names, dates, phone numbers, the first dozen digits of pi (3.141592653589) and even whether, when his wife called him at work today, she asked him to bring home ice cream and toffee . . . or was it truffles and coffee? Indeed, Dr. Vost will teach you to remember virtually anything, but he devotes most of his book to showing you how to improve your memory of Catholic truths so you can live the Faith better. By the time you finish this book, you will have memorized dozens of key teachings of the Church, along with hundreds of precepts, traditions, theological terms, Scripture verses, and other elements of the Faith that every good Catholic needs to know by heart. Memory is the foundation of wisdom. It makes holiness easier. To grow wiser in the Faith . . . and holier . . . turn to Memorize the Faith! today.

Book Details

Title:Memorize the Faith! (and Most Anything Else): Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory MastersBook Review: Memorize the Faith
Author: Kevin Vost
Category: Nonfiction
Length: 250 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Release Date: 2006
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
ISBN: 1933184175 / 978-1933184173
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Favorite Books of 2012

My top 12 books of 2012 (in no particular order). Links go to a longer review if I published one, or directly to Amazon if I didn’t. Favorite Books of 2012 - Quiet

The Book I Most Wanted to Make Everyone Read

Quiet by Susan Cain
LOVED IT. Kept reading excerpts of it to my husband, and he was really enjoying it. It’s all I can do not to push it on anyone and everyone I know.

The Books That Indicate I May Have a New Author Crush

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December Recap

December Recap

The Month in Stats
  • Books Read Last Month: 33 (8 Nonfiction, 5 Fiction, 20 Children’s)
  • Books Read For The Year: 159
Best Things I Read

Book Review: FaithGirlz! Whatever

Book Review: FaithGirlz! Whatever - The Deliberate ReaderFaithGirlz! Whatever: Livin’ the True, Noble and Totally Excellent LifeBook by Allia Zobel Nolan

A fantastic devotional for tween girls based on Philippians 4:8.

Why “whatever?” Zobel Nolan explains why in the first day’s devotional: despite it being used so often to express “who cares,” “whatever” was used by Paul in Philippians to emphasize that, well, whatever we use to fill our mind is important to God. And so it does matter, and isn’t a “who cares” thing at all. It matters because “you can change your life by changing your thoughts“.

Nolan’s devotionals are thought-provoking, even to a decidedly non-tween reader. The book is organized to follow the verse, and topics in each section include a wide range that will be applicable to her audience: friends, school, gossip, fashion, family, entertainment, and more.

For each day’s devotion, Zobel Nolan concludes with “food for thought” and “second thoughts,” which give more insight on the topic or related verses, or give a question to ponder, and “divine thoughts” – a brief prayer relating to the day’s topic.

The book is strongly targeted to it’s audience so even though the subject matter might be appropriate for older teens or boys, the language and examples make it a poor choice for any readers other than tween or young teen girls. That’s not meant as a criticism; I’d happily give the book to my tween nieces, but would search out another volume for my tween nephew.

One of the aspects that I most appreciate is the practical steps Zobel Nolan suggests for putting the principles she discusses into action, and I wish she’d included them for every day’s topic.

Recommended.

Publisher’s Description:
Did you know you can totally change your life by changing your thoughts? Well, you can, and WHATEVER can get you started. With examples based on girls just like you, each of these 90 devotionals will show you how to fill your head and your heart with virtues taken straight from Philippians 4:8, helping you grow closer to God and the totally abundant life he intended for you. Girls will learn how to shut out gross, crude, impure, stupid, and just plain dumb “stuff,” that leads to sin and estrangement from God and substitute what’s true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy and excellent. What’s more, this book will help girls look at the word WHATEVER in a fresh, new, and exciting way, so they’ll be able to live the 4:8 life, 24/7!

Book Details

Title: FaithGirlz! Whatever: Livin’ the True, Noble and Totally Excellent Life
Author: Allia Zobel Nolan
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction / Devotional
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Book Review: What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend

Book Review: What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend by Laura VanderkamWhat the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days OffBook Review: What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend by Laura Vanderkam by Laura Vanderkam

If you’ve read a lot of time management books, or even Vanderkam’s own book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam (which I highly recommend), not much of this short ebook will be super original. You have time on your weekends to accomplish a lot towards your goals. The key is to be intentional about how you use that time, instead of allowing it to slip away.

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Reading Challenge Progress – January

2013 Reading Challenge ProgressAre you taking part in my 2013 Reading Challenge? It’s not too late to join in.

If you’re blogging about your progress, feel free to add your post link below – it’ll stay open all month. Or you can leave a comment on the post.

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What I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2013

This doesn’t just include books to be published in 2013. My list includes books that I’m waiting on the library holds list because they’re still fairly new and popular. It also includes books that are new to me. And it also includes books that I simply haven’t gotten to, because my to be read list is out of control, but I am very excited to finally have a chance to read them.

So, in random order, my most anticipated books to read in 2013:

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Blog Break

I’ll be taking the week off from blogging, but I’ll be back next Monday with a post on the books I’m most anticipating reading in 2013.

Enjoy your week! And I hope you’ll come back on Monday to let me know what books you’re excited to read next year.

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Planning for 2013: Starting a Blog? (or Trying to Improve a Blog?)

If you’re not a blogger or planning on becoming one, today’s post won’t be all that relevant. How about a great biography instead? Or just come back Dec 31 for non-blogger-specific content.

Now, if you are a blogger or wanting to start a blog in the new year, there are some terrific ebooks out there to help.

Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: 31 Days to Build a Better BlogIf you’re brand new to the blogging world, ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging is excellent. While I don’t think I’d truly try and start a brand-new blog and immediately begin blogging through the book, this is a great resource for walking you through some of the steps you’ll take as you begin publishing and promoting your blog.

Once you’ve passed the initial stage, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is another ProBlogger resource that is very helpful. The tasks are all simple enough that they’re doable in one day, and they all are worthwhile tasks too – it doesn’t feel like they’ve tried to pad the book to reach 31 by including meaningless ideas.



Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: No Brainer BlogIf you need help with the bigger-picture aspects of blogging, Hayley Morgan (The Tiny Twig) has a new ebook out that may be just what you’re looking for. The No Brainer Blog is designed to help you cast your vision, define your voice, and refine your (virtual) space.

What does that mean exactly? It means figuring out why you’re blogging – what’s your purpose and motivation for spending your time blogging instead of all the other things you could be doing instead. Figuring out your writing style – are you serious or silly? Do you write rants or thoughtful insights? Your style needs to match your content, but most importantly it needs to be you. It also means figuring out your (virtual) space. Design matters, and the look of your blog needs to fit your content and style. Yeah, I’m still working on that last one.



Planning for 2013: Starting/Improving a Blog: Simple BloggingIf you read Rachel Meeks’ blog Small Notebook you’ll have a good idea if you like her style. I do, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed her ebook Simple Blogging so much.

My biggest issue with the ProBloggers books is that they can sometimes feel like they don’t get the whole blogging-during-spare-moments thing. Meeks gets it – her book’s emphasis is yes, on helping you grow your blog, but recognizing that you may be blogging in your spare time and that’s not going to change. A focus on making the most of the blogging time you have, and recognizing what your core message is? Perfect.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Planning for 2013: Meal-Time Help

If you’re wanting to make some gradual improvement to your diet or kitchen routines in 2013, there are several ebooks that can help.

Planning for 2013: Meal-Time Help: Easy HomemadeWanting to stop relying on premade mixes or other processed food? Easy Homemade by Mandy Ehrman is a super-useful compilation of homemade recipes for lots of kitchen basics – drinks such as lemonade and smoothies, seasoning mixes like taco or chili seasoning or Italian dressing, condiments including ketchup or barbeque sauce, and lots more.

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