The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge!

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for a new year of reading goals! Working through The 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge this past year was really rewarding, and I found that having that list to guide me helped to broaden my reading scope and introduce a good variety of perspectives. I think it helped me be a more well-rounded reader in regard to the “voices” that are edifying and educating my faith.

So as I started to put together The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge over the last couple of months, I began to get excited about all of the books that were coming to mind for the 12 categories. The list is done, and I’m happy to be ready to share it with you! Here it is…

Continue reading “The 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge!”

My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Book by Scott Hahn”

I can’t believe we are halfway through the year aleady! If you are like me, once you get to this point, you realize that you aren’t exactly halfway through your list of reading goals. But it’s never too late to pick up the next book and keep going with your 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge. I’ve been sharing what I’m reading for each category throughout the year. 

Category: A Book by Scott Hahn

My Pick: Angels and Saints 

I listened to this book on Audible, and I love that Scott Hahn reads all of his own books. Not every author is great at reading his or her own books, but I enjoy listening to Hahn read his. The subtitle to this book is accurately descriptive: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones. Hahn is one of the most accessible theologians for explaining the biblical foundation for various aspects of Catholic tradition and theology, and this book is no exception to that. In fact that is one of the reasons a chose to put a book by him on the reading challenge for this year. Continue reading “My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Book by Scott Hahn””

My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Short Story by Flannery O’Conner”

How are you doing on your picks for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge? As promised, I’m sharing what I’m reading for each category throughout the year. 

Category: A Short Story by Flannery O’Conner

My Pick: A Good Man is Hard to Find

I’m a Flannery fan girl. I had read the collection of short stories titled Everything that Rises Must Converge, but I had never read A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. So that was an obvious pick for me.

If you have never read O’Conner, she is jarring — but on purpose. All of her stories have some element of violence in them, which brings about some redemptive purpose or conversion in the character(s). Violence is her path to redemption, because it gets a person’s attention.

In this story, as in many of her others, characters seem to be going about life stuck in a sort of “malaise” (to use Walker Percy’s term). The intentional violent elements serve to wake them up — and wake us (the readers) up too.

O’Conner is not everyone’s cup of tea, and I get that. But I think some people sometimes miss the intentionality of her use of violence in story, therefore, missing the underlying message completely. Her stories don’t fit into a paradigm of “nice Christianity” — a polite, don’t-rock-the-boat, comfortable life with faith as an accessory. No, Flannery’s stories are not nice; but they actually are not tragic and terrible either.

A frequently repeating message throughout her fiction is that there are things much worse than a violent end, and many people live with those things in their mundane daily lives. Her stories turn the paradigm of “nice Christianity” on it’s head. For a violent end that brings with it conversion is actually not a tragedy, but is salvation. For O’Conner, the tragedy is the life lived in the haze of self-sufficient modernity, ignorant of the alternative. When I read Flannery’s short stories, I see her trying to save her characters from themselves, to save us from ourselves, and to save society from itself. Try reading her with that persepective in mind, and see what you take away.

What O’Conner short story did you read for the #2017catholicreadingchallenge? If you are posting your pick on social media, remember to use the hashtag!