Wow, am I ever behind on book reviews. Part of the problem is that so many good books have been released lately. In addition, I’ve been on the road a lot lately with speaking engagements (including a trip to Benedictine College this past week that was an absolute highlight.) So with apologies to the authors, here is a quick list of must-read books to consider for your reading list.
Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life is a tremendous place to begin. The author, Tom Peterson, is the entrepreneur extraordinaire who created the Catholics Come Home organization. Besides being a tremendous response to the call of the New Evangelization, the organization is credited with bringing hundreds of thousands of Catholics back to the Church through its innovative advertising campaigns in dioceses around the country and internationally. The book is outstanding, and does a great job telling Tom’s story and that of the organization. I admit to a bias, since Tom is a friend and Legatus brother, but you gotta check this one out.
The next one is Choosing Joy: The Secret of Living a Fully Christian Life by another friend, Dan Lord. Bias alert once again, I think Dan is a great writer and enjoy pretty much everything he does. You may recall that at one point I wrote a blog post called “Dan needs a job!” I am happy to report that he found one, as editor at CatholicExchange.com – perfect not only to benefit Dan and his family, but the rest of us as well. You may also know that Dan’s wife Hallie is an awesome writer too – she was the driving force behind last year’s hit Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter.
In Choosing Joy, Dan has hit a home run… unless of course, you’re among the small handful of people who would rather choose misery. I was particularly struck by his story about his dad, although I’ll avoid spilling the beans. It’s another one well worth reading, you can thank me later.
Next, another Dan – this time Dan Burke, Executive Director of the National Catholic Register, Jewish convert and another Legatus brother and friend. Dan has hit a home run with his book Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. I’m a huge fan of spiritual direction, and Dan gives us the step-by-step rationale and how-to approach that will benefit every serious Christian.
Dan was a guest on The Journey Home program late in 2011 (watch the show here) and is an extremely smart guy. He served previously as head of worldwide operations for Focus on the Family, and has done a terrific job with the Register, a faithful bi-weekly paper. The book helps encourage all of us, no matter where we are in our spiritual walk, to grow in our interior life and benefit from spiritual direction… it’s another must.
In The Burden: A warning of things to come, my buddy and former colleague Paul Thigpen helps bring some of the dangers of our age into focus. This is Paul’s fortieth book, and let’s just say he doesn’t mess around – this isn’t a fluff piece. But if you want to be challenged, particularly to up your game in the midst of cultural turmoil, this is a timely way to set off the alarm. Paul is a brilliant individual, and this book is aimed at shaking the complacency out of all of us. However, it’s not a book without hope – as we know who is in charge, despite our best efforts to wrest the controls from God’s hands.
As a side note, Paul is one of the most gracious people I know – if you buy the book, it may have the “searing” effect Brian Gail speaks of in his endorsement, but you’ll have the sense that it’s for the best. Well worth it.
Last, but certainly not least, is My Confirmation Book by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, another one of my favorite authors. Donna-Marie had a relationship with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta for ten years, and it’s obvious to me that some of the saintly nun’s holiness rubbed off. I was very touched when Donna-Marie sent me a miraculous medal a while back – I haven’t taken it off since.
The books is a terrific gift for kids going through the confirmation process – in fact, I ordered a couple through Donna-Marie’s website for some very special young people who will remain nameless for the time being. For anyone who wants the perfect gift, or just to learn more about this under-appreciated sacrament, this is the book.
Particularly since writing Faith at Work, I’m more appreciative than ever just how much effort goes into not only writing, but promoting books in the Catholic press. Please consider supporting all these faithful authors, you will be thankful you did!