Jen’s community bulletin board
I am drowning in requests to mention stuff on my blog. I get at least one email per day that ask me to link to something, and my P.O. box is often packed with books. I’ve always been torn about this because a lot of the things people send me are really great and I’d love to give them a plug…but there’s no way I could do a post about every single one.
So I’m going to try something new: below I’ll post a list of some of the best stuff people have sent me recently. If it’s helpful to others, I may do it more regularly, like once a month or once a quarter. Here we go!
~ 1 ~
I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of the new book Breakfast with the Pope by Susan Vigilante. Though I haven’t read the whole thing yet, I did skim it, and it looks delightful. Vigilante’s voice is honest and authentic as she talks about her struggles with infertility, feelings of failure, unrealized dreams and chronicles the events that led to her having breakfast with Pope John Paul II. It’s on my list to read as soon as I get a chance.
~ 2 ~
Theresa Doyle-Nelson let me know about her book Saints of the Bible: Exploring Scripture with Holy Men and Women. Especially on the heels of my work on the Saint Generator, this looks like a fantastic book. In it she chronicles the lives of saints who are specifically mentioned in Scripture. It gets great reviews on Amazon, and I have a feeling that it’ll be a welcome addition to our family library.
~ 3 ~
If you’ve read Abbot Joseph’s blog, you know that any book he writes is going to be fantastic. So I can’t wait to dig into his latest work, A Place Prepared by God: Through the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, Paradise Will Not Fail Twice. From the product description:
Mary is offered to us by God not merely for our admiration or veneration, but as a real, living Mother with whom we can personally relate, in whose loving company we can walk on the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Through these pages, you will discover a Woman whom you have perhaps not sufficiently understood before, who shines through the pages of Scripture and the whole experience of the Church, and who invites you to a richer spiritual life.
I need to hurry through my current reads so that I can get to this one as soon as possible!
~ 4 ~
Here’s a gem that’s both inspiring and informative: Set Free to Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body by Marcel Lejeune (whose excellent blog is here). As a convert on TOB-related issues (abortion, contraception, etc.) I was delighted to see this book. I think that the format, a series of individual personal essays, is perfect for making the subject personal and accessible. And it doesn’t shy away from the tough issues: its writers talk candidly about personal struggles with everything from pornography, same-sex attraction, abortion, celibacy and the trials of married life. A really excellent book.
~ 5 ~
A reader sent me a copy of Kimberlee Conway Ireton’s book, The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year. I admit that at first I skipped over it: I’d received a lot of other books that week, and already have quite a few books about celebrating the Church year. However, when I had a moment to flip through this one, I was very impressed. Its part memoir, part how-to format makes it an enjoyable book to read for entertainment over a cup of tea. Also, I’m pretty sure the author is not Catholic, Anglican or Orthodox, so this might be a good intro to the Liturgical Year for Christians from denominations that do not traditionally observe it.
~ 6 ~
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not big on fiction, but John Eklund’s book The Third Testament does look interesting. It’s the story of a widower who ends up in a web of intrigue after being called in a dream to record the next testament of the Bible. Author Eklund is a faithful Christian (he clarifies in an attached interview that he does not think there really could be a Third Testament as the canons are closed), but wrote the book to convey a rich story with themes about the dangers of secularization that will strengthen believers in their faith. Sounds intriguing!
~ 7 ~
“It seems like you and your readers are interested in discernment,” Chris Pham of Catholic TV writes. Yes! So what does he have for us? A free online TV series on discernment (scroll down to see a list of all the episodes). It’s led by Fr. Tim Gallagher, author of Discerning the Will of God. I’ve only had a moment to glance at some of the videos, but I’ll definitely be back to watch them in full. What an excellent resource!
~ 8 ~
Here’s a blog to add to your reading list: the Hendrick family’s stories of living in Haiti. I first heard about it from one of my readers, and I’ve been eagerly reading their archives ever since. Check out this post and this post to see what kind of content you can expect from their blog. Challenging. Touching. Eye-opening. Great stuff.
~ 9 ~
This Christmas I got some of my gifts from Christian mom Melanie Gillespie of Trendy Traditions, and I was once again blown away by the quality of her products. The heavy, glistening rosary I got for a family friend included custom beading with her name, and a handy card with the Mysteries of the Rosary on it. From the details in the jewelry itself to the careful packaging, you can feel the love Melanie puts into each product. If you’re looking for a religious gift, I sincerely recommend Trendy Traditions.
~ 10 ~
I originally met the folks at Faith Calendars after writing them to tell them how much I love their Catholic day planners, and we’ve been in touch ever since then. This year they were kind enough to send me the gift of a 2011 day calendar. It is perfect for my needs as a busy mom. (You should see my one from last year — every page is filled.) I loooove this little calendar, and highly recommend it if you’re in need of a weekly calendar/planner that incorporates the Faith into each day.
I have tons of other books and links waiting in the wings, but I’ll stop for now so the list doesn’t get too overwhelming. What do you think? Is this sort of thing useful/helpful?