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Extended Audio Sample Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writers Life, by Kathleen Norris Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (956 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathleen Norris Narrator: Kathleen Norris Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In Acedia & Me, the acclaimed author Kathleen Norris explicates and demystifies the forgotten but utterly relevant concept of acedia, a term that has often been understood as spiritual sloth, but really signifies the serious malady of being unable to care. With great insight and candor, Norris explores acedia through the geography of her life as a writer, her marriage and the challenges of commitment in the midst of grave illness, and her keen interest in the monastic tradition.

She writes of her and her husband David’s battles with acedia and its clinical cousin, depression, and traces acedia’s path through literary and religious history, exposing the damage it does not only to individual lives but also to our culture as a whole, as we are desensitized by ever more intrusive distractions and lose the ability to care about what is truly important. Thus, she finds that the “restless boredom, frantic escapism, commitment phobia, and enervating despair” that we struggle with today are “the ancient demon of acedia in modern dress.”

An examination of acedia in the light of theology, psychology, monastic spirituality, the healing powers of religious practice, and Norris’ own experience, Acedia & Me is both intimate and historically sweeping, brimming with exasperation as well as reverence, sometimes funny, often provocative, and always important.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Polly | 2/14/2014

    " I loved the sections that read like memior. The lengthy quotes from the desert fathers and mothers, on the other hand, were far less interesting or engaging, at least for me. I thought there was a lot more about monks than marriage or a writer's life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tracie | 1/29/2014

    " The concept of acedia really drew me into this book, as I readily identified with it--spiritual slothfulness, or as I put it, "knowing what would make you feel better, yet not doing it". Or as St. Thomas Aquinas expressed it, "not following the demands of love". The author, Norris, says acedia is not the same as depression, although they are first cousins. Anyways, I felt like the book was not well organized and somewhat repetitive. Then it seemed like acedia became the underlying cause for everything: greed, materialism, overly busy lives, etc, and I felt the intial meaning got a tad lost. BUT, despite all that, I would still recommend this book because I think a lot of people get little attacks of acedia throughout their lives and this book names it and gives some ideas for how to combat it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michelle | 1/27/2014

    " I have read all of K Norris' prose (I believe)--she's one of my favorites. This book starts out a little slow talking about acedia--what it is and what it means in the grand scheme of things, but then it moves into the more personal. All of Kathleen Norris' books that I've read have been prose (she's also a poet) and there's always the mention of her poet husband with health problems...and in this book you get more of the story and the story of parts of their marriage. It was really interesting--heart-breaking and hopeful. Really a good read--I will be thinking about this one for a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by John Kirwin | 1/12/2014

    " Kathleen Norris shares her life experiences and relates the comfort she recieved from the Benedictine tradition. The medevial church regarded Acedia, or self-centered apathy, as one of the seven deadly sins. "

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