Introducing the YIMCatholic Bookshelf

Back in January, I wrote a post named Because of the Pleasure of Finding Things Out, a title I borrowed from a book written by physicist Richard Feynman. The photo you see here accompanied that post. As I wrote then, finding things out about Catholicism is a pleasure for me.

It was probably late 2007 when I discovered Google Books.  There you will find previews of books, what they call “snippet views” or “limited previews” that have a clock running on them (I guess?) and missing pages. But there is also a category called “full view.” I really liked that because I could read the whole book for free!

That and the fact that I’m frugal (cheap, broke, or stingy depending on who I’m dealing with). I hear Kindle is great and there is even an i-Phone Kindle application too.  But I have neither device, so they might as well not exist.  I also don’t have an unlimited budget for buying books either (stingy, er, frugal) whether hardbound, paperbound, or electronic.

To make a long story short, I noticed that I could “add” books to an electronic shelf over at Google Books. So I starting building it and promptly named it the YIM Catholic Bookshelf. I sent the link to Webster and in a split second, he put it in the sidebar as a “value-added” resource for those who happen to stop by our humble blog.

Here are a couple of things to share about the Bookshelf:

A) Only books available in “full view,” with every single page available for you to read, will ever rest on our shelf. So far there are over 300 volumes awaiting your perusal. And I am constantly adding to it as well (like just now during my lunch break).

B) The “library” is fully searchable. This is a handy feature that I used when I was doing the Divine Mercy Novena posts. Want to know about purgatory? Plug the word in the “search my library” box under the portrait of our patron, St. Joan of Arc, and instantly 60 books appear with a reference to “purgatory.” Within each book there may be as few as one citation or as many as 40 in any given volume. Give it a try!

C) You can search for a person, a place, or a thing in the entire library as well as individually in any single volume. Interested in converting to Catholicism? Search “Catholic converts” and thirty (count ‘em, 30!) volumes will pop up. Or maybe you are interested in the Rosary (40 volumes!), Augustine, Belloc, Baring, Benson, or Chesterton—all the way to Utopia. All points in between are at your disposal as well. Come and see! Just click on the portrait of Our Lord on the sidebar and find a comfy chair.

D) For the books that are no longer protected by copyright, you can click the “view plain text” button on any volume and cut and paste passages into your posts, e-mails, love letters, etc.  Just don’t forget your footnotes! You can also send a link to the the book, page, and even an exact paragraph of any book on the shelf to anyone with an e-mail address. Send it to someone around the world at the speed of light. Just fasten your seatbelt first!

Which leaves me wondering: What if there had been Google Books when I was going to college? Sheesh! And note this: I haven’t read every book that sits on the shelf. But I intend to spend a lifetime trying. And you can join me too, because at the YIM Catholic Bookshelf, the light is always on and we never charge “over-due” fees.

Now, if I could just figure out how to put a free Starbucks in here, it would almost be heaven.

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  • the booklady

    Sounds great! Something a booklady like me can really use… Thanks!

  • Maria

    Superb, Frank. Well done boys.

  • Webster Bull

    @Maria, And girl.

  • Frank

    @Maria, your 20 page term paper will be due on…YIKES!

  • Mary P.

    Wow! How far technology has come. We can read virtual books that we've never bought or borrowed, much less held in our hands. Now if I could just plug the USB into the port behind my ear and download as I slept….

  • Anonymous

    God Bless Your Sweet Soul!!!! Thanks Soooo Much :-) This is a Blessings to pass on to others as well,especially us manics on up time,we love to devour the books & Catholic Apologetics are The best Food for the hungry Soul. Thanks ,Thanks , a million times -Thanks,,,

  • Frank

    @Anon 10:58PM – How do you really feel? :^)! Maybe we can wedge a Peet's Coffee in here too!

  • bt

    What a great idea, and the titles look intriguing, like "The finding of the Cross,‎ by Louis de Combes"

  • Ricky Jones

    Awesome resource, thanks!

  • Darren

    GoogleBooks is great. So, too, is, where everything is full-text. It doesn't have the "my library" feature, but it has many older works that Google doesn't. Between these two sites and all the free books to download, I might convince myself to get a Kindle.

  • Michael

    Cheers, mate!! (Downunder speak for "Thank you very much") – gotta try this. I just read recommended reading from the daily New Advent about "What every Catholic should know" – plus recommended books – to say "daunting" would be a euphemism. My book buying habits could make me go broke! (Just bought Catholic Bible Dictionary by Scott Hahn…oh, what a treasure!)Together with the YIM Bookshelf, I should be busy for a while – what do you reckon?Regards and blessings.

  • Frank

    I reckon you are right. But what fun and enlightenment, eh?!

  • Sean McGaughey

    How did I miss this? This is awesome gang. I wonder if one could grab the list as opml, for posting it to blogs, directories, etc…

  • Frank

    @ Sean: I don't know, kinda out of my depth. But when I built it, I made it "public" (whatever that means)and it has an html address as follows:;=14945307001783253416&as;_coll=1001&sa;=N&start;=0Spread it far and wide mon ami!