In recent months, I’ve been sent some fantastic books to review. The problem is, I have so much on my plate right now that I haven’t had a chance to give these wonderful tomes the attention they deserve! So, I put them in my basket of books awaiting review, hoping that magic will happen and they will review themselves. They didn’t, and so here in my virtual Book Basket, I’ll try to give them at least some well-deserved play.
First up is Randy Hain’s encouraging and insightful book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith (Liguori Publications, 2012, $12.99). Not only is Randy an accomplished author, but he also is a successful business man and co-founder of the popular Catholic website, Integrated Catholic Life. From the Introduction:
“Most productive journeys have road maps to guide travelers on their way. I feel incredibly blessed to have found the Catholic Church after living more than two decades with no faith in my life. Almost at the same time as my reception into the Catholic Church in 2006, I began writing about my faith experiences. This book is a candid and practical retelling of the lessons I have learned on my journey, my struggles, the knowledge I have gained, and how I have applied the teachings of the Catholic Church in my daily life. I hope the sharing of these experiences will illuminate the path and provide that road map for other Catholics and seekers of the Truth, a Truth that can only be found in our beautiful Catholic Church.”
Even if you think you’re doing pretty well on your faith journey (let me know what that’s like, will you?), Randy’s book will add even more oomph to your efforts and is organized into four parts: “Surrender, Priorities, and Truth,” “It Was a Lot to Take In,” “Struggles and Lessons Learned,” and “Authenticity, Courage, and the Integrated Catholic Life.” You can purchase Along the Way here. Please visit Randy’s website here.
Next up is Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families (Scepter Publishers, 2013, $12.95), co-authored by Patti Armstrong and Theresa Thomas. With nineteen children between the two of them, they have seen nearly all there is to see in regard to the ups and downs of family life. From the Introduction:
“In this book, you will learn of family struggles with cancer, adoption, alcoholism, miscarriages, financial hardships, and disabilities – and you will read about family joy in these very situations. You will be invited to see extraordinary love in ordinary moments; the simple cooking of a meal or the hug between a teenaged boy and his baby sister. Just like your family, these families experience pain and challenges. and just like your family, they also experience love and immeasurable blessings. It is in the love of God and love of family that joy and healing triumph.”
Truly, this is a book of triumph, one that will uplift and carry you through the tough times you’re seeing now or the ones you’ll inevitably see in the future. Everybody has them; how we endure and grow from them is up to us. That’s what Big Hearted is all about. You can purchase Big Hearted from Scepter Publishers here. Please visit Patti Armstrong and Theresa Thomas’ website here, and here.
There are days I feel blessed, days I feel beautiful (well, almost), and days I feel like I could quite possibly be bodacious, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a day in which I experience all three. Until, now, that is, thanks to Pat Gohn’s new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious (Ave Maria Press, 2013 $14.95). Pat’s the kind of woman I’d like to adopt to be my older, wiser, sister (although I’m probably older than she and far less wiser). I want to sit down and chat with her over coffee, and when I read the book, I felt nearly as if that was so. From the Introduction:
“Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious is what I’ve learned about womanhood from God, the Bible, the teachings of the Church, and from people who’ve loved me along the way. Much more than giving me a few new adjectives to express my joy in being a woman, as this book’s title suggests, coming to know the gift of my womanhood has brought me knto a deeper relationship with God, my husband, family, and countless others, including – much to my surprise – Mary. That’s Mary, as in the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom you’ll find I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding. If Mary had played guitar on stage in the seventies I might have thought she was cooler sooner. Back then, if you wanted to get my attention, you had better be carrying a six-string.”
The book includes four parts: “The Blessed Dignity of Women,” “The Beautiful Gifts of Women,” and “The Bodacious Mission of Women,” each filled with down to earth wisdom, humor, and inspiration. You can purchase Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious here. Please visit Pat’s website here.
Throw out your old baby name book. Even if you just bought it, throw it out. And if you know anyone else who has one, throw theirs out, too. They’ll thank you for it. Seriously. I promise that it comes nowhere near the scope and depth of Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur’s new book, The Catholic Baby Name Book. Oh, to have the research-abilities of my colleague Patrice! The book has 518 pages of names that include detailed descriptions with the etymology, variations, and background of each name.
Take Zosimus, for example. I mean, did you even know that was a name? Well, it is and it’s taken from a saint and pope! Here’s what the entry says:
Zosimus Saint; Greek; he who fights
Pope St. Zosimus (d. 418) was a Greek of Jewish descent. He became pope in 417. He took part in a long dispute in Gaul over which see had primacy. He planned to excommunicate the people of Ravenna for plotting against him, but he died before he could follow through.
My time is past for having babies, but I find myself wanting to peruse this book just for the fun of discovering new names and their histories. It’s even fun to look up already familiar names to see what Patrice has come up with about them. This book is a great accomplishment and is the latest in the Ave Maria Press CatholicMom.com series. You can purchase a copy here. Please visit Patrice’s website here. And, you might also like to visit the CatholicMom.com website, here.