Friday, January 27, 2017

The Duty of Delight (Image Books)

Dorothy Day was a Catholic convert and social activist. In 1933, she established the Catholic Worker Movement. These communities were aimed at helping the poor and homeless and tried to bring about social change. In addition to these communities, Dorothy Day also participated in the Civil Rights movement and nonviolent protest of World War II. Her cause for canonization has been opened, and so far she has been named a Servant of God. In my opinion, there are three important books one should read by her to better understand her. You of course want to read her autobiography The Long Loneliness, but after that you should also read All the Way to Heaven (selected letters she wrote) and The Duty of Delight (her diaries). I have already posted about her letters, but today I would like to tell you about the latter.

The book begins with an introduction describing how Dorothy Day kept a diary when she was younger. In doing so, she felt "recording happiness made it last longer," and "recording sorrow dramatized it and took away its bitterness." This habit she developed at an early age was maintained (probably with less frequency) in her adulthood as well. The introduction also tells us that her words "derived their meaning from the consistency, courage, and faithfulness of her life." The book then provides us a chronology from 1932 to 1980, which gives the reader context for the diary entries that are upcoming. The book is then divided into six parts by decades - 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980. Each part provides some further background information to give us additional context for the time period and what was going on in her life at the time. At 700 pages, this is a very thick book. I don't plan on reviewing this title, as I wouldn't want someone to review my personal diary (if I kept one). I will just say that the book is well-organized and provides us great insight into the mind and reality of this possibly soon-to-be saint. If you would like to know more about her than just what was written about her, then you should check out this book and its companion book All the Way to Heaven.

This book was provided to me for free by Image Books.