If it wasn’t for the influence of other people, I might well just stay in the little reading box marked “fun fiction.” I might never try anything new, and wow! Look at what I’d miss!

You could have never told me I would enjoy history, not after I suffered through high school history and negotiated my way out of any history in college. It wasn’t until my husband convinced me to read The Frontiersmen a few years ago that I started to think of history as a story.

And hey! I love a good story, whether it’s true or not!

In the present case, I have the Patheos Book Club to thank for the book I just finished last weekend, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, by Jon M. Sweeney.

It feels, at first, like you get the whole story in the title, but the fact that the title can be so explicit and the book still 200+ pages says a lot for the content.

Or it should, anyway.

It’s a story of intrigue and, for those of us who are practicing Catholics in 2012, it’s a look at how very much things have changed. The characters are full of mystery and the plot’s thick with suspicion.

How, exactly, does a pope quit? And what, exactly, happens next?

The pope who quit, as it turns out, is a pretty interesting guy. As someone with a bit too much of a tendency to quit when I get in over my head, I rather related with him.

And guess what? He’s canonized!

This book is a great read…it’s as fast-paced as a murder novel, as informative as a text, as entertaining as a gossip column.

Highly recommended!