I have not been this excited about a QT post in months. Thanks to a friend who inspired me by saying that she’d love to see a 7QT of must have books that every Catholic should have on their shelf, I have had the opportunity to chat with and reconnect with some great Catholic authors. I also got to learn a little more about one of the owners of Holy Heroes, a fantastic Catholic Educator company. When I reached out to our own Ink Slingers, as well as a number of well known and upcoming authors, here is how I posed the question. “After the bible, if you had to pick just one book, to have on your library shelf what would it be?” Well, brace yourself my friends – do they have some great books suggestions for your summer reading!
Quick Take 1)
“My favorite book aside from the Bible would probably have to be Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. That was the book which, when I encountered it as a teen, opened my eyes to the scope and beauty of the Catholic faith for the first time, as well as setting off an explosion in my imagination that I have never really recovered from. Every time I re-read this short book of nine world-shifting essays, I encounter something new, something that makes me think, something that makes me laugh, something that makes me cry. It’s one reason why I am setting out to do an illuminated version of it with illustrations done by Catholic artist Jason Tako, to help other people encounter this amazing book, which was Chesterton’s personal manifesto of why he believed in Christ and His Church, and which has become mine. Pray we are able to finish it!”
I told Regina after she shared this with me that her description of this book has inspired me to look for a copy for myself. Perhaps I will wait for her illuminated version of it!
You can find her work at www.ChestertonPress.com
Quick Take 2)
Philip Campbell whom my family discovered through Homeschool Connections is the author of the sourcebook The Rending of Christendom which I reviewed last June. When I asked him to pick that one book he responded with: “One book I think every Catholic should have on their bookshelf is Socrates Meets Jesus by Peter Kreeft. Though the book is older (1987), it is truly timeless in its message. The book tells a fanciful tale of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, who is mysteriously brought back to life on the campus of a modern divinity school in New England. Here Socrates comes face to face with contemporary Christians and uses his famous Socratic method to discover the identity of Jesus Christ. Socrates Meets Jesus gives us Peter Kreeft at his best, demonstrating the rational foundation of the Christian faith while taking us beyond reason to encounter the God-Man who came to redeem humanity. A classic study of reason-meets-faith, Socrates Meets Jesus is must reading for any Catholic.”
Philip Campbell, author of a Tale of Manaeth, is a popular history teacher with Homeschool Connections, a Catholic provider of online live and recorded classes for high school and elementary homeschooled children. He is currently writing a series of four middle school history textbooks for TAN Books. The series called “Story of Civilization”. Volume I, “Ancient Times”, will be available this May, with subsequent volumes following each year thereafter.
Quick Take 3)
When I posed the question to Jenny Ryan, owner of Mothering Sunshine, she shared: “I would choose, Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking because, as she says, “The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.” If I can’t be entertained by endless books, I could be entertained by endless cooking. I love reading this book and learning new tips and tricks from Julia. She didn’t even begin to learn to cook until she was into her late 30’s. Her book and her life are an inspiration to me!”
Quick Take 4)
Kathy Clark is the Canadian author of Guardian Angel House , The Choice and A Whisper in My Heart. When asked what would be the one book on your shelf after the bible she shared this: “For a lover of good books and reading, answering the question what ‘one’ book should be on everyone’s shelf is both extremely difficult and yet at the same time, simple. As soon as ‘the one’ book pops into my mind, hundreds of others line up behind it clamoring to be included. Yet each time, it is that ‘one’ that always comes first. It is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Majestic in both scope and length, for me it is a book that contains all the elements that a good book should have: it is well written; has an engaging plot; has strong, clearly defined good and bad characters as well as those who grow from flawed, into good people. Through the lives and circumstances of its main characters most of our emotions are aroused. We come to understand the plight of the less fortunate in our society and grow in compassion towards them. We are challenged to reflect on our own lives and ask: what would I have done? Les Miserables is a book that shows, in a many faceted way, the challenges of living a noble, Christian life.”
My children and I have read both A Whisper in My Heart and Guardian Angel House and, really, every home library should have these books on their shelves. I am looking forward to reading The Choice her third and most recent novel, which is set in WWII.
You can read more about Kathy here.
Quick Take 5)
I decided to ask one of the faces behind Holy Heroes, Kerri Davison. She shared the following: “If I had to choose only one book to have on my bookshelf I would choose, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. I would choose it because it was written by a Saint (who is also one of the Doctors of the Church) for the sole purpose of directing souls to Heaven–a practical guide for people busy living in the world! It is organized so that you can pick it up, read a short section in any time you can snatch from the day and still benefit from it. Or you can look up a topic of interest and just read that section and come away enlightened. The benefits can be reaped without needing to read it straight through, and every time you pick it up, you will find something quickly that will resound in your soul and inspire you to amend your life. It is easy and accessible for a busy mom like me, yet is so complete and profound in its content and guidance that for 400 years Catholics have continued to read it. Like the teachings of the Church, it is timeless.”
Kerri & Ken Davison, married for 27 years, have eight children. They are the co-founders of Holy Heroes and are committed to teaching and living their faith with their children and through their business. Kerri has a BA from Rutgers, an MA from the London School of Economics, and a JD from Syracuse University, but she prefers to go by Mom.
Quick Take 6)
And here are a few must haves suggested by some of the Catholic Sistas’ Ink Slingers:
Misty: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. A beautiful story of a deeply flawed but grace-filled Catholic family as observed by the adult son’s secular friend. Shows the myriad ways God works in the lives of people of diverse backgrounds and temperaments.
Karen: A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot. I have read the book at least twice and while the strategy for ordering life to be daunting, incorporating the smallest morsels of her advice have really produced good fruit for my family. She offers an order for your commitments in life (prayer, self, spouse, children, home) and several questions reflections before laying out a strategy for a daily and weekly schedule.
Kerri: Rule of St. Benedict: St. Benedict’s Rule was intended for monks as their rule of life. Written in the 500s it helped form monastic life throughout medieval Europe and is still applicable today. Families can find a lot that applies to family life since the Rule was written for people living in community. It’s also a great guide for living a simple life.
Quick Take 7 Allen Hebert, one of our writers who pens for us under the category of Perspective from the Head when asked to choose the one book shared that for him it would be In Conversation With God. Because as he put it “this book is a very thorough and motivational companion to sacred scripture and always encourages me to go deeper in my relationship with Christ in the midst of everyday life.”
As you can see I have, once again, cheated and slipped in a few more than seven but one can never have too many books to choose from, especially when it’s a list like this one. This was so much fun that I hope to repeat it again. In the meantime be sure to share in the comment section what is the one must have book you would keep on your shelf, after the bible and catechism, of course.
Don’t forget to visit This Ain’t the Lyseum.
Christi Gareis is a homeschooling mother of thirteen, with four children still at home. Her youngest child can boast that she was an aunt before she was born. Christi has been blogging since 2005 and has three blogs. In addition to blogging, Christi has been published on Catholicmom.com as well as in CCL’s magazine Family Foundations. She also wrote the section on How to ‘Prepare Your Child for First Reconciliation’ in the book ‘101 Stories of Reconciliation’ by Sister Patricia Proctor.