For decades, secular bookstores throughout the country have been enormously successful at developing summer reading programs which feature popular and affordable paperbacks that can be easily carried and casually read while on vacation or simply enjoying some “downtime” during the summer months.
Now, leading Catholic internet retailer Aquinas and More Catholic Goods www.aquinasandmore.com has announced a new and distinctly Catholic version of the popular summer reading programs with which we are all familiar.
The program, launching May 29, urges Catholics to “not leave the Faith behind” when heading off to the beach, to Disneyworld, or to that proverbial cabin in the woods. The selection of 64 paperback books includes both fiction and non-fiction works and all have distinctly Catholic themes.
“Many Catholics are not aware that there are extraordinary works of fiction (novels) on Catholic themes which are edifying, informative, engaging and inspiring. At the same time, fiction is not everyone's “cup of tea” so the summer reading program offers a solid selection of books in the subject areas of education, history, comparative religion, military interest, family issues, popular culture and more.” says Ian Rutherford, President of Aquinas and More.
Along with principal publishing partners, Ignatius Press and Loyola Books, the program is offering a pre-selected free item with every two books that are purchased to encourage both interest and participation. Many of the featured titles also come with discussion guides to facilitate book clubs or book discussion groups that form around the books being offered. Online book discussions will also take place at www.catholicbookdiscussion.com. Catholic bookstores in your community may also be sponsoring local book groups.
“Parishes might want to consider forming summer book discussion groups centered around the summer reading titles to offer parishioners some “lighter fare” in the off-season summer months. Many Catholics will find the program more accessible than some other alternatives which can be more time and commitment intensive.” says Mike Davis, Sales and Marketing Manager at Aquinas and More.
At the website www.catholicsummerreading.com readers are encouraged to vote for the “top three official Catholic books of summer.” Downloadable book discussion guides for the top titles will be available there. Regularly updated, this site will feature more information on the summer reading program throughout the summer months. A guided summer reading program for young readers will also be available there.
Eight featured titles will kick-off the Catholic Summer Reading Program when it launches on May 29. The titles are:
“Another Sort of Learning,” by Fr. James Schall, from Ignatius Press, paperback $14.95, a collection of short essays. “This is a book for those who like to read and to think about the ultimate questions of existence and essence – about time and learning, about humor and wonder.”
“Canticle for Leibowitz”, by Walter Miller, from HarperCollins Books, paperback $13.95, a novel that is considered one of the greatest works of speculative fiction ever. Set in an apocalyptic future, a group of cloistered monks attempt to recover and rediscover civilization.
“Cosmas, or the Love of God,” by Pierre De Calan, from Loyola Books, paperback $12.95, a novel set in pre-war France featuring the mysterious vocation story of pious young Cosmas, a novice in a Trappist monastery. A book full of wonder and sadness and love.
“The Man Who Was Thursday,” by G. K. Chesterton, from Ignatius Press, paperback $17.95, Chesterton's classic novel, a mystery, and an allegory of Good and Evil.
“Mr. Blue,” by Myles Connolly, from Loyola Books, paperback $11.95, a novel about a contemporary Saint Francis figure that has moved generations of readers.
“Strangers and Sojourners,” by Michael O'Brien, from Ignatius Press, paperback $17.95, an epic historical novel set in turn-of-the-century rugged and wild British Columbia which follows the lives of a family of “exiles.”
“Swimming with Scapulars,” by Matthew Lickona, from Loyola Books, paperback $12.95, subtitled “Reflections of a Young Catholic” this book is a non-fiction work and is, according to the publisher, “a story of pre-modern faith lived with a postmodern sensibility.” Witty and insightful.
“Those Terrible Middle Ages!” by Regine Pernoud, from Ignatius Press, paperback $12.95, follow renowned historian Regine Pernoud as she examines the considerable misconceptions about Medieval times. An eye-opening and myth-busting tour de force.