I love to read. And like all heavy readers, I’m always hunting for good books. I constantly ask friends, what are you reading? What books do you recommend? What books changed your life?
St. Josemaria Escriva claimed, “Reading has made many saints.” That’s so true. While some saints were illiterate, like Catherine of Siena, many of them were faithful readers. So why not follow their lead?
I spent several months trying to uncover the books they enjoyed. I read biographies, journals, personal letters, and more. I then collected all that research into a new book, titled The Saints’ Favorite Books: Read What They Read, Become Who They Are.
And here’s the best part: I’m giving the book away completely FREE to people who sign up for my new email list!
To get your copy, simply click the link below:
(If that link above doesn’t work for you, just visit SaintsFavoriteBooks.com.)
Inside, you’ll find fourteen saints and their favorite books, including:
- St. Augustine of Hippo
- St. Benedict of Nursia
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux
- St. Thomas Aquinas
- St. Ignatius of Loyola
- St. Teresa of Ávila
- St. John of the Cross
- St. Francis de Sales
- St. John Eudes
- St. Thérèse of Lisieux
- Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
- St. Teresa Benedicta
- Servant of God Dorothy Day
- Bl. Teresa of Calcutta
I also threw in a special BONUS Appendix on “The Popes’ Favorite Books.” Which book did Pope Pius X keep on his nightstand? Which book did Pope Benedict say he would bring on a deserted island? Find out when you download your FREE copy of The Saints’ Favorite Books.
After you read the book, be sure to let me know what you think in the comment box below! Enjoy!
One perk of being a book reviewer is that publishers regularly send emails, catalogs, and a steady stream of advanced review copies.
I try to review as many as I can, but I can’t get to them all. So each month I highlight a few new and upcoming books that I’m particularly excited about.
(The descriptions below are either from the publisher or from Amazon.)
by Brian Kennelly
TAN Books, 280 pages, paperback
Released on August 28, 2014
Born to a wealthy family in Turin at the dawn of the 20th century, Pier Giorgio Frassati was good-looking, popular and athletic. He spent much of his youth climbing the rugged Italian Alps, disappearing into the clouds for days at a time. He was quick with a joke or a prank and enjoyed a good time. It seemed he was blessed with everything a young man could ask for.
But he hungered for more.
Despite coming from a family of such prestige, Pier Giorgio spent most days in the slums of Turin, visiting the poor and serving the sick. His love for Christ burned within him and brushed off on everyone he came into contact with – from lepers and orphans to college friends and political diplomats. He shared his Faith with kindness and charity, and defended it passionately against the evils of Fascism, even coming to blows with Mussolini’s thugs on numerous occasions.
Pier Giorgio touched the lives of thousands, yet his high-society parents remained unmoved by the life he led as they frowned upon his religious practices and charitable work. Reaching them would be his last challenge, his final mountain to climb.
To the Heights is an unforgettable novel about Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Dig deeper than the biographical facts and discover the heart of a charismatic young man whose soul blazes brightly and uniquely among the host of heaven.
by Cheryl C. D. Hughes
Eerdmans, 283 pages, paperback
Released on August 1, 2014
On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Katharine Drexel (1858–1955) to be a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Only the second American-born Catholic saint in history, Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891 and established more than sixty Blessed Sacrament missions and schools.
In this biography Cheryl Hughes chronicles the remarkable life of St. Katharine Drexel, exploring what drove her to turn away from her family’s wealth and become a missionary nun who served some of the most underprivileged and marginalized people of her time. Through her inspiration and effort “Mother” Katharine improved the lives of untold numbers of Native Americans and African Americans, overcoming open hostility to her work from various quarters, including the Ku Klux Klan. Her saintly legacy lives on today.
Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . . . and Other Questions from the Astronomers’ In-box at the Vatican Observatory
by Guy Consolmagno, S.J. and Paul Mueller
Image Books, 304 pages, hardcover
Released on October 7, 2014
Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it’s not the first time that question has been asked.
Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?
With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.
by Edward Sri
Our Sunday Visitor, 112 pages, paperback
Released on August 28, 2014
The call of Christ to each of us is as heart-stopping as the moment captured by Caravaggio in his painting, The Call of St. Matthew. Jesus points, he invites-and Matthew the tax-collector must make a decision. “The Lord does not disappoint those who take that risk” and choose him, Pope Francis tells us in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.
Dr. Edward Sri, theologian, author, and speaker, unpacks The Joy of the Gospel, making it accessible and actionable. In these brief reflections Sri explores those things that hold us back, how we can open ourselves to God’s love, and the difference this can make to our joyful proclamation of the Gospel.
Pope Francis and the Joy of the Gospel reminds us that when life weighs us down, “the Lord is already there, waiting for us with open arms.”
Great for use by individuals or groups, each chapter concludes with questions for reflection or discussion, moving readers further into a renewed personal relationship with Christ.
What new and notable books are you looking forward to?
Audible is a main reason I’m able to read so many books each year. The app, which works on almost any smartphone or tablet, lets you listen to audiobooks while you’re driving, exercising, or working around the house. Audible uses professional narrators so the quality is extremely high, the selection of books is amazing, and the pricing is very reasonable.
Recently, Audible hooked me up with a special code to give my readers a FREE audiobook of their choice!
Click that image above and you’ll get a FREE audiobook of your choice when you sign-up for a 30-day trial. After the trial, if you liked your audiobook, you can continue with the basic membership at $14.95 per month (that’s cheaper than a new hardcover book, and way cheaper than a book on CD.) The basic plan gives you one audiobook download per month, and it’s the one I use.
(Note: If you’re not pleased with Audible, you can cancel the membership at any time. You won’t be charged anything if you cancel during the trial period and you’ll still keep any books you’ve downloaded before canceling. But if you’re like me, once you see how easy and convenient it is to listen to audiobooks, you’ll probably want more.)
Audible’s library has over 150,000 titles to choose from, including several great Catholic books. When you download your FREE audiobook, you might consider some of these:
- On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Pope Francis
- The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church by Pope Francis
- Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI
- Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI
- Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way by John Paul II
- Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel
- The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II – The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy by George Weigel
- Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church by George Weigel
- Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Fr. Robert Barron
- Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Defend, and Explain the Catholic Faith by Scott Hahn
- Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones by Scott Hahn
- Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots by Scott Hahn
- A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture by Scott Hahn
- Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn
- The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn
- Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy by Scott Hahn
- Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace: My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei by Scott Hahn
- First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity by Scott Hahn
- Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments by Scott Hahn
- Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Brant Pitre
- The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by Fr. James Martin
- Jesus: A Pilgrimage by Fr. James Martin
- My Life With the Saints by Fr. James Martin
- Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by Fr. James Martin
- How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas Woods
- The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning by Simcha Fisher
- Blessed are the Bored in Spirit by Mark Hart
- The Mind That Is Catholic: Philosophical and Political Essays by Fr. James Schall
- Envoy for Christ: 25 Years as a Catholic Apologist by Patrick Madrid
- Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching by Christopher West
- The Pope & The CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard by Andreas Widmer
- The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death and Salvation by Jon Sweeney
- The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage by Paul Elie
- The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul by Lisa Hendey
- The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living by Greg and Jeniffer Willits
- The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church by John Thavis
- The Confessions by St. Augustine
- The City of God by St. Augustine
- On Christian Doctrine by St. Augustine
- Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion by Peter Kreeft
- The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas by Peter Kreeft
- The Platonic Tradition by Peter Kreeft
- Ethics: A History of Moral Thought by Peter Kreeft
- United States Catholic Catechism for Adults by USCCB
I’m wrapping up a new eBook titled The Saints’ Favorite Books: Read What They Read, Become Who They Are. You’ll be able to download it FREE in a couple weeks. (Stay tuned to the blog for more details.)
But today I need your help selecting the cover! Can you visit the page below and let me know which cover you like best? Feel free to rate and comment on multiple versions. I really want your input. I’d like the eBook to look how you want it to look.
Thanks so much!