Do I know a good book, or do I know a good book? All those times I directed you toward Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede, I knew what I was doing (as so many of you have been kind enough to email me) and now, once again, I direct you toward a book you will be very glad you own. (Yes, I’m in an ‘It’s all about me’ mode. Live through it!)
Jim Martin has a real winner with My Life With the Saints, which is published by Loyola press, and you can read a snippet of over at Amazon. Apparently it is doing phenomenally well, with over 10,000 copies sold (correction: 12,000) and it is on its third printing. For a book about saints that is remarkable and it is well-deserved, too.
Martin has apparently been kept busy with book signings and such, and I’ve just learned from him that Loyola – in the typical manner of publishing houses – has decided to really market its big hit by planning an amusing series of ads on the side of a building which faces a Chicago expressway. The ads highlight the book with funny slogans like, “Let Saint Anthony help you find your way home.”
Very clever, and the book deserves the push.
You must especially read his lovely essay on his rather reluctant visit to The Marian Shrine at Lourdes, but all of his ruminations are terrific, whether they are on Thomas Merton, Mother Theresa, Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis, Dorothy Day, the Ugandan Martyrs or St. Jude – Martin’s own special “saint of the sock drawer.”
And I know this will sound weird to some, but booklovers will understand when I say this is just physically a great book. It is exactly the right size and weight – not too cumbersome, nor too light. The cover design and layout is splendid (the graphic is taken from the stunningly beautiful tapestries of the other-wise nausea-inducing cathedral Mahoney erected in Los Angeles) and even the parchment endpapers are a joy!
I like parchment.
It’s a great book. Except for Brede, I have never harangued you repeatedly about books. I simply suggest a thing and good-naturedly move on, but in this case, I feel compelled to re-recommend a book which you might have missed when I first brought it up during Lent. It is perfect for summer reading; you read an essay, put it down, come back to it, start another…believe me, as Mr. Garfinkle used to say when we were growing up, you’ll like, and you don’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate a man’s wonder at the lives and passions of his fellow Christians!
Which reminds me, Martin’s got another terrific book out there, In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, which follows Martin’s movement out of the corporate world and into the Jesuits; my Jesuit-educated hubby enjoyed it quite a lot, as did I, of course.