Current pile of books…

I have a lot of good books going right now. Besides trying to read a little bit of everything, I’ve also been napping more lately. Lots of good things keeping me from blogging, as you can see. But here’s a list of the books in no particular order (click any of the titles to buy them!). What have you read or would like to read on this list? Stay tuned for reviews of these and more!

1. A Little Way of Homeschooling 

edited by Suzie Andres

I started this one months ago. It’s taken me awhile, but not because it lacks appeal–I just keep starting new books! Still, this one is easy to pick back up. Each chapter is by a different Catholic homeschool/unschool mom. Because of this book, I discovered the Catholic Unschoolers group on facebook and the blog of a mom in my own home state, Karen Edmisten. Besides seeing how homeschooling/unschooling is as unique as each family, Suzie Andres does a great job of summing up how she sees unschooling as an application of St. Therese’s Little Way.

The pile currently being read (minus Deathbed Conversions which was out in the living room).

The pile currently being read (minus Deathbed Conversions which was out in the living room).

2. Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line

by Karen Edmisten

I was fortunate enough to win a drawing for a copy of this new book from the author’s blog. Since I’m looking forward to doing a review of this as well in the not too distant future, suffice it to say for now that the best part about it is that  as it sits next to my couch in the living room everyone from the babysitter to my parents and from The Hunter’s hunting buddies to my little siblings pick it up and take a look. Everyone is intrigued by it!

And, here’s my first reaction when I began the book:

Just read ch. 1–and I cried and felt inspired to be that beacon of light, even when I don’t see any effect in my friends’ lives.

So, I highly recommend this short book for your inspiration and coffee table conversation starter!

3. Red Storm Rising

by Tom Clancy

Just in case you thought I only read spiritual books (which are wonderful, of course), here’s one that The Hunter recommended. He’s more of a doer than a reader (unless it pertains to what he’s doing…), but he has lots of Tom Clancy books and has finally convinced me to pick one up and read it. I’m not very far yet, but the writing style is enjoyable, and I know I’ll learn a lot!

4. How Weaning Happens

by Diane Bengson

This is a book published by La Leche League. I love their books–they touch on so much more than just breastfeeding, it really encompasses the whole mother-child relationship. And I have a toddler, so I’m just curious when/how weaning will eventually happen!

5. When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings

by Thomas Green

You’ve probably seen my excited posts about Fr. Green’s first book about prayer, Opening to God. I mentioned that one here and here. Now, I’m excited to get started on the next book and learn more about living and growing in this relationship with God.

6. Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising almost Perfect Kids

by Gregory and Lisa Popcak

I actually read this book when Pumpkin was about seven months old. As she discovers her own will and “experiments” more with spilling things and breaking things and whatever else comes into her little head, I’m picking it back up for some of the great tips and suggestions about understanding and disciplining gently. I love the philosophy behind this book which is to tie in the Theology of the Body with parenting. Our goal? Self-donative parenting.

7. Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose

by Matthew Kelly

I started this book quite awhile ago, but it’s easy reading and really inspiring. I feel like it gives me good information to present to others if they have questions about the Catholic Church in today’s day and age.

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Books for brides

I’m a big fan of lists and of books.

It’s wedding season (we have a wedding every Saturday for the next four weeks!).

So: here’s a list of books for wedding gifts, discernment, married couples, and more! The links provided will take you straight to Amazon where you can buy the book (and a little goes back to help me as well, so thank you!).

Whether you’re single, getting married, or already married, these books have insights into what it means to be a woman and a wife.

1. The Privilege of Being a Woman

by Alice von Hildebrand

This book was such a beautiful discovery. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand were an amazing couple not only because of their beautiful marriage, but because of the writings and teachings of both regarding marriage. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand helped draw attention to the roles of men and women and of marriage in the modern world. This book, is wonderful for any woman, married or not, in discovering our feminine beauty and gifts.

(Order it right now: The Privilege of Being a Woman!)

A couple kneels in prayer before Our Lord and asking for the intercession of the Holy Family.

A couple kneels in prayer before Our Lord, asking for the intercession of the Holy Family as they begin their family.

2. Three to Get Married 

by Fulton J Sheen (click on the link above to order this wonderful book as a gift or for yourself!)

This book helped me as I discerned my vocation and call to marriage, even before beginning a relationship. Archbishop Fulton Sheen writes about the beauty of a God-centered marriage and the role of married couples as an earthly image of the Heavenly Love of the Trinity! What a gift to live this vocation!

3. Married Love As a Way to Holiness (On Monday Evenings: Speaking to Families)

by Fr. Joseph Kentenich

Fr. Kentenich founded the Marian Movement called Schoenstatt (which means Beautiful Place). The movement began 100 years ago in 1914 when a group of young men made a Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother in a little chapel in Germany. Since then, this Covenant of Love with Our Lady as spread across the world. Fr. Kentenich lived in Milwaukee, WI for 14 years. It was there that he gave weekly talks to married couples at a German speaking parish. These talks are compiled in this book and are still so practical and inspiring today. I especially appreciate that he tells us not to try to live a monastic life, or to feel stressed when we don’t have the regular prayer hours of nuns and monks–our spirituality, and our way to sainthood, lies in a different path.

4. By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride

by Alice von Hildebrand

As I said, the von Hildebrand’s have wonderful insights into married life! This book would make a perfect gift to a newlywed. Alice von Hildebrand writes each letter to “Dear Julie” and gives such practical insights into every day married life as one adjusts to living with one’s spouse. She discusses the outside friendships of the husband and wife, the ins and outs of living with differing personalities and moods, and other practical things only discovered when you settle in to the rest of your life with another person.

5. Cana is Forever: Counsels for Before and After Marriage — A Catholic Guide to Dating, Courtship, and Marriage

by Charles Hugo Doyle

From what I can tell, this book has been used in the past as a marriage counsel and preparation booklet. While some of the advice for dating is, well, dated, the principals and ideas certainly hold true regardless of time and place. I can’t remember how I came across this book originally other than that I was always on the look out for guides as I discerned my vocation and courtship.

6. Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family

by Dietrich von Hildebrand

Yep, I told ya! The von Hildebrands are indispensable when talking about books on marriage! The Hunter and I read this together (reading quietly over each other’s shoulders) during our Adoration visits when we were first courting. The ideas are reassuring and revitalizing when preparing for or living the married life. With our modern over-sexed culture, realize the true purpose and beauty of intimacy within marriage is a wonderful thing (that is: unity of the couple and procreation–both important, not just one or the other, they cannot be divorced!).

7. One in Mind in Heart in Affection

by William Richard Clark

This is another old book that I came across in my discernment process. It is short, but practical. Once again, the theme is the love and mutual self-giving that is necessary in marriage–and the things that one evaluates about the other when courting and preparing for marriage.

8. Love Letters to My Husband

by St. Gianna Beretta Molla

What a wonderful saint is St. Gianna, or as her daughter calls her, “Saint-Mommy.” Yes, a mother, a wife, a doctor, and a dedicated Catholic laywoman, she is an example of heroic faith in our modern day. St. Gianna died in 1962, leaving her husband and four young children with her example of faith and love. These letters are genuine, human, and shining forth with not only her simple and whole hearted love for her husband, but also with her love for God.

9. Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor

by Pietro Molla

This book is by St. Gianna’s faithful husband (surely he is in Heaven now with his wife as well!). His testimony is another wonderful example of the love that was present in their marriage. As a side note, I have met two of their children, and they, especially the youngest daughter, Gianna Emanuela, radiate faith and love as lived and passed down to them by their beautiful parents.

10. Man & Woman: A Divine Invention

by Alice von Hildebrand

Ah yes, you guessed it. Another book by one of the von Hildebrands. In this book, Alice von Hildebrand breaks down and delves into more of her husband’s philosophies on marriage.

11. Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love

by Dietrich von Hildebrand

You get the idea. The von Hildebrands are a endless resource for advice, inspiration, and hope for your marriage and marriage in our modern day. Read something by the von Hildebrands starting today!

BONUS BOOK don’t forget the husbands and grooms!

While many of the books above are great for couples, I’ve written about them as how they inspired my journey to marriage and my role as a wife today.  Here’s a book that I’ve given in the past to grooms:

The Dietrich von Hildebrand LifeGuide

This book is a compilation by topic of quotes by Dietrich von Hildebrand  applying to many aspects of life. Just at a glance or a search for a topic, you’ll find advice and food for thought! It’s short and a great guide for even the non-readers we know.

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