Here is a selection of items currently on the bookshelf at my home, that I felt were worth sharing with you…
1. Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family, by Maria Augusta von Trapp
As our world continues to pick up the pace with more technology, industry, and construction, it is increasingly difficult to run into the hills and sing of how they are alive with the sound of music. Enter Maria von Trapp. This lovely woman is not just a character in a hit musical. She truly lived, and she knew how to live well. Born in Austria, Maria lived through both world wars. Throughout her life, she held her faith close to her heart, and lived it out beautifully through rich liturgical celebrations and traditions that span centuries. Then, she wrote this book. Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family takes you to the very beginning of the liturgical year, a very good place to start, and provides recipes, music, games, and stories to supplement your family’s journey of faith. This beautiful hardcover copy is laid out with gorgeous illustrations, and can be purchased from Sophia Institute Press here. A gift from one generation to the next. An excellent addition to any home.
2. St. Clare of Assisi: Light from the Cloister, by Bret Thoman, OFS
This book is a page turner. I was reluctant to read it when I realized that it was historical fiction, but be assured, this author has done his homework! There is an extensive list of notes explaining everything that we know about St. Clare and how facts about her life are woven into the storyline of this book. I was struck by St. Clare’s willingness to suffer for the sake of another, by her compassion for the plight of the poor, and by her courage in renouncing everything to follow Christ. St. Clare endured many difficulties, and had to wait a very long time for full approval to live the way she envisioned living. Her witness and dedication to her calling is an example for us all. This is a remarkable book, available from TAN Books here. Highly recommend.
3. The Satisfied Crocodile: Essays on G.K. Chesterton, by James Schall
I am quite certain that author James Schall and G.K. Chesterton would be very good friends. Schall has a way of pulling out some intriguing Chesterton quotes, and adding a contemporary twist to his wit. I enjoyed this book immensely, and there was so much food for thought provided. I have marked many pages that I would like to revisit. This was my first encounter with Chesterton, and I found his passages delightful. He is perhaps a prophet for our time. This book contains a large collection of quick little chapters that touch on a wide array of topics worth discussing. It would make a very fun book club selection and could be especially helpful in broadening the minds of youth. Witty, engaging, and insightful. This book is available from TAN Books here.
4. Poverty: Responding Like Jesus, Edited by Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, and Conor M. Kelly
I was hoping for a comprehensive overview of the issue of poverty, and this book delivered. This book pulls essays from a variety of people, both those who have directly experienced poverty and those working to combat it. You’ll hear thoughts from Dorothy Day, St. John Chrysostom, Pope Francis, and more. Highly quotable, interesting, and thought provoking. This book is available from Paraclete Press here.
5. Gregorian Chant Melodies I and II, from the Monastic Choir of St. Peter’s Abbey, Solesmes, France
In the presence of the recent Notre Dame Cathedral fire, many people knelt and sang in the streets. What a beautiful sound! These CD collections offer the sound of beautiful Gregorian Chant music from France. Flowing through the liturgical calendar, and various parts of the Mass, these selections are sure to lift your heart to a spirit of prayer. The other day, I thought I was hearing angels singing. Then, I realized that my young children had flipped on Gregorian Chant upstairs. So, it was not angels, but it was the next best thing. It was the sound of this beautiful music. This is currently on my bookshelf, next to my CD player. And it will stay in my musical rotation for a long time to come. These CDs are available from Paraclete Press here.
6. The Chestertons and the Golden Key, by Nancy Carpentier Brown & Regina Doman Titles
I found this book delightful, and my 5 year old daughter did as well. It is a sweet little story of a child who became friends with the great author G.K. Chesterton. He encourages her in her writing endeavors. Perhaps I enjoyed the book so much because I needed to hear his words of encouragement, too. This is a fictional story, but it is one based on the true story of the Nicholl family, whose lives were impacted by their friendship with the Chestertons. I would just like to add that every time I pulled this book aside, it disappeared, because my daughter kept taking it into her room to read at bedtime. This book is available from TAN Books here.
7. A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints, Paul Thigpen
This is a helpful resource as a writer. The book contains a variety of headings and interesting quotes from many saints. There is much to learn from the words Paul Thigpen has selected for inclusion. Anyone involved in writing projects of any kind – homilies, books, blog posts, or even term papers – will benefit from having the insightful quotations in this book available. It is a handy resource to keep on your desk, but also could be read as a devotional, or straight through cover to cover. This book is available from TAN Books here.
8. The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, by Harriet G. Lerner, Ph.D.
To make a long story short, I am working on overcoming some unhealthy anger that took root in my childhood and adolescence. As an adult striving to follow Christ more and more each day, I’m seeking to put aside childish things. This book is really helping. This is the book that I’m reading currently. I would caution you that the author uses language I do not always approve of using, but the stories and situations presented are, thus far, incredibly eye opening and helpful. There’s a whole story about how this book came into my life, but suffice it to say, I’m reading it for a reason, and looking forward to finishing it soon. This book has been helping women for over 30 years, and is available from Amazon here.
Now it’s your turn. What’s currently on your bookshelf??