Whether holidays are the one time of the year you can do some serious reading or you are looking for a good thriller to take to the beach, several Brisbane Catholics have a recommendation to fit the bill, from travel to memoir, and crime fiction, books about saints to papal documents.
Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children around the World. A beautiful picture book in which Pope Francis responds to some wonderful questions such as “When you were a child did you like dancing?”
The Intimate Merton: His Life from Journals. A diary-like memoir from Thomas Merton, great Trappist monk and peace activist.
And I particularly look forward to the black humour of the Swedish bestseller A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.
I have four books: one on the psalms (spiritual growth), one on the death of Europe (sociology), one on divorce and remarriage (filling a knowledge gap) and one science fiction (pure escapism).
The books are: Praying the Psalms in Christ, by Laurence Kriegshauser OSB; The Strange Death of Europe, by Douglas Murray; The Trouble with Time, by Lexi Revellian; and Oikonomia, Divorce and Remarriage in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, by Kevin Schembri.
Dr Lee-Anne Perry, Queensland Catholic Education Commission, executive director
Among my “must-reads” will be Days Without End, by Sebastian Barry; and The Sympathiser, by Viet Thanh Nguyen, both beautifully written, evocative and challenging explorations of the impact of conflict on the lives of ordinary people.
Richard Glover’s Flesh Wounds will provide some light reading while Jane Harper’s Force of Nature should offer great escapist crime reading.
When I Talk to You – A Cartoonist Talks to God, by Michael Leunig. This is an absolute delight of a book with inspiring words and delightful drawings.
Benedictus – A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue. This delightful book is all about the gift blessings can be.
Hildegard of Bingen, edited by Mirabel Starr. In this delightful little book we read about St Hildegard, mediaeval abbess, mystic, artist, poet, healer, alchemist and composer of music.
Living Faith: Daily Catholic Devotions, edited by Terence Hegarty. A must-have little book of daily reflections and prayers.
Liturgically, summer focuses us on Emmanuel, God among us, and the newest Carmelite saint Elizabeth of the Trinity takes us to a quiet place within, where we can live with God at every moment. He is My Heaven, by Jennifer Moorcroft (ICS Publications 2015), offers an easy introduction to her life and spirituality.
For those who want more, Elizabeth of the Trinity: The Unfolding of Her Message, Volumes 1 and 2, by Joanne Mosley (Teresian Press, Oxford 2012) gives fascinating details of Elizabeth as a person and in her spirituality, which drew heavily on St Paul. A vivacious, musically talented young woman, Elizabeth’s intense awareness of the Trinity within her offers hope and a source of peace and stability in our fragmented world.
Hélène Mongin in The Extraordinary Parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux (Our Sunday Visitor 2015) shows us homely details of the lives of the first married couple to be canonised together, Louis and Zelie Martin.
The most enjoyable books I’ve read this year (all readily available) include Mannix, by Brenda Niall, (a splendid biography); Robert Wainwright’s Miss Muriel Matters (a feisty Australian actress and suffragist); Robert Harris’ Conclave (a fictional account of the election of Pope Francis’ successor); Tilar J Mazzeo’s Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Woman Who Saved Thousands of Children from the Warsaw Ghetto.