It is not a secret that I greatly admire Haley Stewart of Carrots for Michaelmas. In fact, while doing the 2019 goal setting with Lara Casey I had her on the list of people who helped me live a more purposeful and faithful life, even if indirectly through her example and relatable funny tweets. As the process ended up with me receiving the word “Quiet” as my word of the year, and one of the two saints from Jen Fulwiler saints generator being the patron saint of the Carmelite order, a reading challenged seemed like a good thing to do even though my goal of the year was pretty much to do less. I guess, in a way, to find the time to do this I have to commit to doing less, it counts as part of recharging my batteries and it can make my bedtime routine better, as I struggle to overcome a body clock that likes to have me bounce off the walls between 11pm and 2am. It will also provide something to bond over with Mr Knightley as we have come to an end of our Bible in a year reading plan and I’m a book and 5 chapters ahead of him on the apocrypha, and he really needs an education.
I’ve started the list with books I have already in the house to make sure that I do not keep adding to a seemingly never-ending list of books I never read, but if you would like to purchase any of these and at the same time support this blog at no extra cost to you, I have linked to titles not out of copyright as Amazon affiliates. I know some people have moral stances against Amazon and if that’s you I respect that and I’m sorry I don’t have a backup option except for Ko-fi which comes at a cost, but, for a number of reasons I won’t go into now, I don’t think it’s the root of all evil. You can find Haley’s list of suggestions on her blog.
A Spiritual Memoir
My choice for this is technically cheating, as it’s the memoir of a Protestant, however it’s a book I’ve started and abandoned not long ago which talks about his ministry in Poland and the former Soviet Union smuggling copies of the Bible, a job that involved also many Catholics and Poland still is a Catholic country and gave us the Pope of my youth so I think it kinda counts. It was gifted to me by Open Doors, the organisation that the author founded, at party conference in 2015 so it’s also about time I actually read it. I can always add a Catholic one at the end of the challenge.
Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler (they are giving out free copies)
A Classic Spiritual Work
As it happens, while my aunt was visiting and driving me (quite literally) crazy, I bumped into an old copy of this book at the second-hand book market on the Southbank and felt I needed to hold on to that idea in order to survive, so I bought it.
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (free online text)
A book about Mary
At last summer’s Walsingham festival with Youth2000 we have been given free copies and I have been meaning to do it for months now, but I have managed to lose mine somewhere in the flat.
Fr Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, 33 Days to Morning Glory (E-book shared by the Diocese of Derry. You can also buy the book, or otherwise if using the free ebook and want to donate to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception you can do so here)
Book by a Catholic Novelist
Mr Knightley has never read it and doesn’t understand my comments about my late grandmother being a lot like Lady Marchmain.
Book by a Pope
This has been laying about the house for quite some time so even if it’s technically conversations rather than an authored book, it’s on the list.
Book by a Catholic Woman
My aunt teased me for buying a feminist book since she doesn’t see me as a feminist because I am not politically on the left as she is. The joke is on her.
Karen Hurdley, Why Sunday Mass? (Out of Print)
A book about the Liturgy
Mr and Mrs Knightley Sr insisted on buying me a birthday present.
A book by an Early Church Father
Why read Augustine when you can read the guy who inspired Augustine, amIrite?
St Ambrose, The Holy Spirit (free online text)
A conversion story
Why reinvent the wheel? I heard his talk recounting this story before (but never read the book) and I found it very inspiring so it seems a good choice for an aspiring Catholic.
Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home (also available to rent on Open Library if you’re OK waiting)
A book about apologetics
I really kinda want to put Mere Christianity here because I’m one of those people who refuse to accept C.S.Lewis never formally converted to Catholicism. However, a topic that comes up all the time with Protestants is this one.
A book by an Orthodox Christian
She seems quite a badass woman and I like stories of badass women, especially women of faith.
Holding onto this book until he is actually canonised or I’ll read it last in vain hope it’ll happen this year.
A Long Catholic Book
Are there any longer Catholic books? I mean, it is technically not a single book, but to me it’s like saying that Waverley is more than one book because it’s split in parts. Plus as I write this it’s Tolkien’s birthday sooo…
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (the single book option is the cheapest as now on discount)
A book by a Catholic philosopher
You can tell I don’t like to be predictable, plus with 3 exams in Medieval Philosophy under my belt I am kinda over the whole lot.
Erasmus of Rotterdam, In Praise of Folly (free online text)
A Catholic classic
I was tempted, oh was I tempted, to stick to one of Haley’s suggestions and force Mr Knightley through the torture all people educated in an Italian school have to suffer, namely reading the Divine Comedy; then I realised a modern English translation is probably quite pleasant compared to exercises transliterating Medieval Italian and gave it a pass. This option can be exchanged with the one by a Catholic novelist based on how much of a literary snob you are.
Book by a Saint
What can I say, I like satires…this is also the book responsible for my undertaking a degree in Philosophy and he’s like 90% responsible for my devotion to the English Martyrs.
A book by a non-Catholic all Catholics are reading
I get my chance after all.
C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity (also available as part of his essay collection if you’re inclined to read more of his work. You should)
Book About a Catholic Monarch
I’m not even sorry.
A recently published Catholic book
I have toyed with the idea of Girl Arise!, but I’m doing this challenge sharing books with a man and to be honest I’ve wanted to read this for a while and feel like it’s the right thing to do.
Haley Stewart, The Grace of Enough (in a somewhat funny twist of faith, Amazon Affiliate stopped working as I needed the code for this. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.)