Monday, 23 July 2012

Help needed...what is your favourite book?

Holidays are looming and I need to build up a stock of reading matter to restore some sanity after a hard couple of years since we had a complete break.

           Please speak up if you have any suggestions

I am in need of inspiration and where else would I turn to for help except to you my dear fiends friends?

Now please don't go off half cock and lumber me with the Summae Theologicae, I need to coax my brain into some form of activity not detonate a nuclear warhead in it.

So what am I after?

Here is my specification:

Fiction, modern day, some aspects of the Catholic Faith OK but also some pace and excitement (but nothing by Dan Brown if you get my drift). I have already laid my hands on two novels by Shusaku Endo (The Samurai and Silence) and am hoping that they will cut the mustard.

Any further suggestions (polite ones) will be most gratefully received and I shall sip a glass of Raki in your honour (d**n! Now you know where I'm going).


  1. A couple of summers ago, I read my way through about twent Dick Francis novels. They were great: mental chewing gum; fill the conscious part of your mind and leave your subconscious in peace. Depending on your taste, Agatha Christie might do the same. P D James or Dorothy L Sayers are a step up, in that they'll set you thinking about religion alongside detection: maybe right for the second part of the holiday. You can pick up the old Don Camillo books cheap second hand. If you've got time and don't mind cold war stuff, the Len Deighton trilogies stand the test of time (Faith, Hope, Charity; Hook, Line Sinker; Game, Set, Match). Some of the old thrillers stand up: anything by desmond Bagley or Alastair MacLean; or Helen McInnes come to that.

    Anyway: it's a start.

    If you give David Copperfield a try, and promise you'll persevere through the first 100 pages, I'll do you a Dickens reading list and you won't read anything else all summer!

  2. I was going to suggest Endo's "Silence", so am glad you beat me to it! Hope you enjoy it! A member of the hierarchy lent me his copy, which was very kind of him... so I better check to make sure I returned it to him!

    I have just been reading some of Michael Davies' works on the liturgy. "Pope Paul's New Mass" -- excellent (five stars and above)!!

  3. I also recommend the Don Camillo books. There is also a series of books by Bud MacFarlane that are very exciting.

  4. I'm so happy NancyL mentioned Guareschi's Don Camillo novels and stories. These are very difficult to find, but they are solidly Catholic and laden with much to consider as well as lots of humor / humour. They are not children's books; some incidents are grim.

    Despite the clunky title and even clunkier cover art, Ronald Rylchak's HITLER, THE WAR, AND THE POPE is a thoroughly documented refutation to all the 1960-ish Soviet disinformation about Saint Pius XII.

    I have heard that the new translation of KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTIR is a great improvement over the older one.

    And, hey, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster yarns are super light reading.

    Thanks for the opportunity to babble!

    -- Mack in Texas

  5. Here is something a little different it is called The Dog by Kerstin Ekman. Only a short book so will not take up too much of your time but one that has something about it that will cause you to remember it for a long time.

  6. Here's one to make you laugh out loud (though the ending might disappoint you, perhaps): "Fludd" by Hilary Mantell - what happens in a Lancashire Catholic mill town when the bishop attempts to impose "reform".

  7. Try Thomas Eidson's "St. Agnes Stand" or (if you don't like westerns - and it's more than that anyway)Ron Hansen's (another Catholic)"Exiles", a novel about G.M. Hopkins, or Lucy Beckett's "Postcard from the volcano" (superb)or, if you haven't read it, Jane Austin's "Sense and Sensibility" OR if that is too heavy, "Toad of Toad Hall"

  8. I find John Grishom novels great. I have downloaded many of them onto my Kindle along with the Divine Office - (available from - and you can choose whichever Ordo is relevant!) and bout thirty Catholic books - some of them free from Amazon!
    Hope you have a most enjoyable holiday!

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  10. Hi Richard
    This is my third attempt this morning to leave a comment but they just disappear half way through. So if you have received two half written comments please just delete them. I am not offering a book suggestion because, since my husband & I have such different tastes in books, I think men & women must be programmed differently when it comes to literature. I wanted to tell you that I have just posted that amazing poem, Our Lady of Britannia, on my blog. I found it on your Stabat Mater so I have credited you and Pearl with links back to both of your blogs. Once again I am in your debt. Have a nice holiday. God bless you.

  11. Richard,
    How about Bede's Ecclesiastical History Of The English Church and People-this will keep your Canonical and Theological brain ticking over! Dicken's Great Expectations-this will help you to remember that although, you away from it all you are still part of the human race-as the book covers well all of the Human Condition and emotions pride and greed etc! Pope John Paul 1-Illustrissimi-this will help you to meet and get know everyone on holiday except me; as I am not in it! Have a good and safe holiday-take a crate of Newcastle Brown Ale that far better than any Raki-CHEERS!

    God Bless,


  12. Michael, yes, I have a very old copy of Bede's History of the English Church, a bit heavy for me now though (brain in advanced state of decay).
    As for Great Expecations...I read it for GCE Eng. Lit., and will never return to it!
    God bless.

  13. This one's a nice quick read; it has Holmes and Watson with Pope Leo XIII, Father Brown and Flambeau.
    Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Ann Margaret Lewis

    And this is a title Archbishop Chaput wrote in 2008; has an American focus, but still good for all Christians:
    Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life by Charles J. Chaput.

  14. Though not fiction, I would suggest "A Priest Forever: The Life of father Eugene Hamilton" by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. It is the story of a seminarian with cancer who was given papal permission to be ordained early and was ordained three hours before he died. A "can't put it down," tear-jerking, faithful true story.

  15. Fr Larry, many thanks, it's now on my list.

  16. I love Muriel Spark for her witty, insightful novels. I particularly like Memento Mori, although her best known is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.