My husband pretty famously teases (and sometimes rants) about the number of books that arrive here and get placed into shaky “I’m going to read this as soon as I can!” piles all around my office. Normally when he grouses, I say, “oh, pshaw!” but the number of books that have arrived here over the past two weeks is rather astonishing, and to his credit, the dear man (who is better than I deserve) has only shaken his head in sadness, and moved along.
But these are good books — some for men, some for women, some for everyone — and with Mothers Day and Fathers Day coming, I thought I’d show them to you, because they’ll make great gifts, and they’re also potentially great summer reads!
Because Mother’s Day is just ahead and you may still need a gift, let’s start with Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s Catholic Mom’s Cafe; a 5 Minute Retreat for Every Day of the Year. A great book to spend some time with before stepping out of bed, or right after the kids have had breakfast and are out the door; Donna-Marie gives a daily quote from scripture, or a saint or philosopher, follows it up with a little meditation and a prayer, and leaves you with a heartening thought for the day. Prayerful Positivity! That’s what every mom needs!
And there is also Pat Gohn’s Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, which I have talked about here, and Marge Fenelon’s Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues fro the Modern Mom., which just arrived!
And if Mom’s a gardener, you should have gotten her a Gardner’s Gift Pack from our friends the Dominincan Nuns of Summit, but you can still find time to get her Margaret Rose Realy’s lovely A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time
What if the interest of your Mother’s Day is a Mom-to-be? Well, how about The Catholic Baby Name Book. With more than 10,000 names and a forward by the ever-busy Lisa Hendey, this is a pretty exhaustive compendium of names for new parents to ponder in the midst of all of our Madisons, Makaylas and Jaydens. And she might like to listen to these beautiful nun’s voices, while she picks through the names! And don’t forget Sarah Reinhard’s A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy
For Father’s Day, how about The Miracle of Father Kapaun; Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero. Father Emil Kapaun was recently honored with a posthumous Medal of Honor, and his cause for sainthood has been opened. I can’t wait to read this, myself. Another book for Dad — especially if you want to nudge him a little: David Calvillo’s Real Men Pray the Rosary: A Practical Guide to a Powerful Prayer. You can read some background on that, here.
If there is a bit of pope-love and interest in getting to know our new Pope Francis more intimately, take a look at On Heaven and Earth: On Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, in which the talks and dialogues between Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka are released in English. Image Books has provided some samples and Kathryn Lopez loved it so much she was picking pearls from it and putting them into her twitter timeline! There is also Matthew Bunson’s quick-but-thorough look at Francis and the weeks leading up to his election, and — because we miss him — Pope Benedict XVI’s last book as pope: A School of Prayer: The Saints Show Us How to Pray.
Daria Sockey’s The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours is currently sitting on my nightstand, and even though I have been praying the hours for over a decade, I’m enjoying her insights. I’ve found particularly helpful her thoughts on using dead-tree breviaries over digital offerings of the Office.
Speaking of Hours and Prayer and good gifts, this just came today: The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows, the story of Dolores Hart, now Mother Dolores, OSB who kissed Elvis and then found her way to Bethlehem, CT and the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis.
If Mother Dolores seeks God with the ears of the heart, Christine Valter Paintner works with the eyes. I loved her last book, so I am looking forward to reading Paintner’s Eyes of the Heart: Photography As a Christian Contemplative Practice, which only arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had time to do more than admire the cover photo, which Christine took, and the color and black-and-white photos included within, but I really love the idea of exploring and expressing prayer through a camera lens, so I look forward to this.
For reads of a more theological bent, my mail this week also brought Peter Kreeft’s Jacob’s Ladder: 10 Steps to Truth which reads as an imaginary discussion taking place between two characters who have met at the beach.
Also, if you like to give your priest something on Father’s Day, you might want to consider Hungry and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C, which includes homilies from our own Deacon Greg Kandra, or Sherry A. Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, (which Mark Shea can’t say enough about, and I understand is positively impacting whole parishes) and Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, Making Church Matter, which my husband actually snatched from the pile and is enjoying, right now.
So…that does it for this months pile of books…so far! Lots of great stuff in there, and timely for gift-giving. Have fun browsing!