As some of you may have noticed, the book reviews on this site have been of books that were published 50 years ago or more. My own library at home consists of many books like this that I found all over the place where I live. Recently, I have been forced to reflect on what has happened to many good Catholic books that were published in those days.
Comparing the literature that is published now with the books that I have at home, it seems to me that books written back in those days were much more centered on arousing devotion and helping people cope with the problems that they encountered in their spiritual lives. For the most part, this holds with contemporary literature as well. Much of what is published as Catholic literature is either for information or inspiration.
Yet there are books published today that could easily be read like the works of yesteryear. For example, Fr. James Martin’s “My Life with the Saints” is an outstanding acheive because it brings us face to face with some of the greatest saints of our time. It is a book that allows us to learn about the Communion of Saints and the way that the saints interact with us in God’s mysterious and unmistakable ways. While not being sentimental, this bookallows the reader to think about his relationship with God and the saints. It is more than a mere memoir, but a magnificent story of awakening as well.
For the most part, Fr. Martin’s book is one that is a best seller because it is so different from what has been offered on the Catholic book market for so long. Apart from TAN Publishers, which republishes old classics and chestnuts, and Ignatius Press, it seems to me that there are very few Catholic publishers that publish quality Catholic literature. I’m sure that there are, but they seem few and far between to me.
I think it is really important, therefore, for me to set up a list of books that I highly recommend for readers of this site. I will update it periodically and I hope that it will help you in your devotional life. Below are the first 12:
1. My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin
2. Our Lady of Fatima by William Thomas Walsh
3. Philip II by William Thomas Walsh
4. A Woman Clothed with The Sun (Image)
5. Fatima: The Great Sign by Francis Johnston
6. St. Francis of Assisi by Ivan Gobry (|gnatius Press)
7. Jesus Christ by Fr. Ferdinand Prat, SJ (Two Volumes)
8. Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Fr. Gemelli
9. The Story of A Family by Fr. Stephane-Joseph Piat, OFM
10. Celine by Fr. Stephane-Joseph Piat, OFM
11. Under the Shadow of His Wings by Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM
12. Life of Christ by Fr. Giuseppe Ricciotti