Book Recommendations

Book Recommendations February 7, 2012

A reader writes:

Its the question I always hope to hear from my non-Catholic family, but now that its happened I’m freezing up on the spot. My brother leads a small group book study with a few people from his church and says they’re getting tired of books “from navigator press if you know what I mean.” I think I know what he means…at least I know what I would mean if I said that. Anyway, he asks if I can recommend anything? So we’ve got a group of evangelical oriented Presbyterians with no real deep affinity for Calvin but perhaps a mild interest in looking to the larger Christian Tradition to deepen their faith. In fact, I’m guessing they would relate more to CS Lewis than they would to Calvin. Subject matter can be contemplative, philosophical, family life or anything really.

So what’s are book recommendations that wouldn’t be initial overwhelming but might perhaps become a “gateway drug” to the faith or at least stir a bit of further curiosity? I’m not looking for direct Catholic apologetics, just a subtle invitation to consider something…bigger.

I’m thinking perhaps Gerald Vann’s book on Aquinas or Kreeft’s summary of the Summa. Also Rod Bennet’s book on the early father’s “The Four Witnesses” is a thought, but I’m still mulling it over. Chesterton will of course be suggested, but I’ve found that he’s not always the slam dunk for others that he is for me. There’s just so much to choose from…sigh. Anyway, I’m hoping you get this question more often and have a ready list or or even a couple of quick thoughts to rattle off that would click.

Hmm. Well, I have some favorites I list off at my book recommendations page here. Also, if they are up for fiction, may I heartily recommend Mike Flynn’s magnificent Eifelheim, a wonderful, fascinating and heartbreaking first contact novel set in Germany on the eve of the Black Death in the 14th century. Great, great book. Or, if you prefer, you could read Dante’s Divine Comedy which is actually written by an inhabitant of the 14th Century. 🙂 That should give you some grist. Oh, and if you want something modern and more non-fictiony theological and not particularly apologetics oriented, may I recommend Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did by Yr. Obdt. Svt. It’s pretty plainly Catholic and I don’t try to hide that, but it still might be of interest to your gang. It’s about the ancient apostolic habit of reading Scripture with the Four Senses of Scripture (literal, allegorical, moral, anagogical) in mind. Hope this helps!

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