Wednesday, November 19, 2014

These Just In: Interesting New Books

These are books that passed the first chapter test. Some are enticing me in spite of myself. Naturally that means that although I haven't read them yet I wanted to give you a heads up in case they entice you too.

The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life TodayThe Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today by John Michael Talbot and Michael Aquilina
In the 1970s, John Michael Talbot was new to the Christian faith and developed a habit of looking to the Church Fathers, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great for guidance. This book tells the story of how these men helped Talbot through spiritual and professional challenges throughout his life, and how these ancient Christians are relevant to the lives of modern believers today.
I'll be participating in the blog tour for this book. They had me at Aquilina. Then they threw in the Church Fathers and John Michael Talbot whose music, I'll be honest, I've never listened to. However, I'm friends with one of his longtime friends (the main deacon in our parish) and so am interested in his story. Plus, when flipping through I could see his memoir intertwines with the Fathers' stories in a way that just pulls me in.

Then Comes Baby by Greg and Lisa Popcak
Greg and Lisa Popcak lend readers the benefit of their twenty-five years experience in parenting and marriage and family counseling to help them navigate the earliest years of parenthood. They recommend rituals, routines, and tips on how to manage feeding, fatigue, and finances and how also to prioritize marital bonding and faith life, suggesting that setting the pattern early will pay dividends later ... while seeing these everyday experiences through the lens of Catholic teaching on the purpose of family life.
To be honest, I'm not going to actually read this whole book. However, I loved the Popcak's Just Married book and that gave me the impetus to flip through this one. I saw so much common sense displayed, combined with sensible Catholic grounding, that I resolved to buy two more copies to give to some young mothers I know.

Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas AquinasPractical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas by Peter Kreeft
Here are 359 pieces of wisdom from St. Thomas's masterpiece, the "Summa Theologiae," which ... have helped Kreeft in the struggles of real life, to live in the real world, to grow closer to the Lord, and he hopes they will do the same for his readers. After each passage directly from Aquinas, Kreeft provides brief spiritual commentary to help explain it and apply it - practical, personal, existential, livable thoughts. He has framed these readings as answers to questions that people actually ask their spiritual directors. Each answer is taken word for word from Aquinas.
I've been noting Jeff Miller's (The Curt Jester) progress with this book at Goodreads. Though he is a fast reader, this book's been taking him a while. I've never been interested in reading Aquinas and Jeff's slow progress wasn't inspiring me to get a copy of the book, though I am a Peter Kreeft fan from way back. Then, lo and behold, a review copy came in the mail.

And it happened. Kreeft laid a zinger on me on the very first question ...Yes, organized religion is a crutch. You mean you didn't know that you are a cripple? ... and I was hooked. These bits of Aquinas aren't easy. They require slowing down, mulling them over, and really thinking. It's been a while since I've had to do that. But they definitely look worthwhile. I'll be working my way through them at a rate of one per day. So in about a year I may be a little wiser. And maybe (fingers crossed!) a bit closer to heaven.

Chastity Is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a VirginChastity Is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin by Arleen Spenceley
Seasoned journalist and self-professed “happy virgin” Arleen Spenceley offers a mature, funny, and relatable vision of Catholic teaching on chastity for young adults. Chastity Is for Lovers provides perspective on a variety of topics—the difference between chastity and abstinence, how virginity is an affirming and valuable life choice, how the word “purity” can be harmful in ministry settings, how to date well, and why sexual self-control is the best form of marriage preparation—and gives single adults the best possible chance to find true love. She carefully avoids using language that shames readers and instead presents a view of chastity that is joyful and positive.
I'm not the target market for this book but I know lots of young women who are. That's what made me flip through the book. I kept coming across sections that caught my attention and made me want to know the rest of the story. I finally realized that I'm going to have to read this book even if it isn't aimed at me. Which says a lot about how personable this author is. And, let's face it, if I know people in the target market then I need to know what this author's saying because it could come up in conversation. Such are the times in which we live.

1 comment:

  1. "They had me at Aquilina." You're sweet. Thanks!