Books offer different approaches to Catholic history, historic figures

“American and Catholic: Stories of the People Who Built the Church” by C. Walker Gollar. Franciscan Media (Cincinnati, 2015). 225 pp., $19.99. “Forty Catholics Who Shaped the World in Which We Live” by Clare Smith. St. Paul’s (Staten Island, New York, 2015). 260 pp., $19.95. C. Walker Gollar is a historian but, equally important for…

Roll over, Poor Richard: Catholic Almanac well into its second century

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Thinking in terms of the little engine that could, the annual Catholic Almanac, which sells about 5,000 copies each year, not only could, it can and does, each and every year since 1904. A world of Catholic information gets packed into its 640 pages. And in the almanac’s 116 years, two men…

Keep it or toss it? The key to decluttering

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo; Ten Speed Press; October 2014; 213 pp; $16.99 By Ann Jonas For The Visitor Spring is approaching, and many of us are starting to think about spring cleaning. Advice and inspiration to tackle decluttering and organizing are available in…

Get to know Jesus better this Lent

In his newest book, Father James Martin says Jesus ‘understands our lives because he experienced our lives’ “Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus” by James Martin, SJ; HarperCollins Publishers; February 2016; $18.99; 144 pp. Review by Ann Jonas For The Visitor In April 2015, Jesuit Father James Martin was invited…

No flight of fancy: Historian tells story of gifted Wright brothers

“The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough; Simon & Schuster; May 2015; 336 pp; $30 By Ann Jonas For The Visitor Soon after reading “The Wright Brothers,” David McCullough’s new biography, I took a trip to Oregon and back. While soaring though the skies at an altitude of some 30,000 feet, I marveled at how Orville…

Prayer books for Advent, Christmas, Year of Mercy

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Here is a list of new books suitable for reading during Advent, the Christmas season and the Year of Mercy: “Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Pope Francis” by John Cleary. Liguori Publications (Liguori, Missouri, 2015). 136 pp., $11.99. “Goodness and Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas” edited by Michael Leach, James Keane…

Book Reviews

By Ann Jonas For The Visitor Several books have recently been published to help us observe the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Here are three notable titles that can help make our participation in this holy year more meaningful. • “The Holy Year of Mercy: A Faith-Sharing Guide, With Reflections by Pope Francis” by The Word…

New children’s books on saints, traditions make great Christmas gifts

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The following books are suitable for Christmas giving: “Drop by Drop” by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, illustrated by Carrie Gowran. Loyola Press (Chicago, 2015). 39 pp., $4.95 Sylvie is a girl from Burkina Faso who is eager to go to school but cannot because she is tasked with the daily chore…

For the love of books

Minnesota author tells engaging story about the power of reading “Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse” by Faith Sullivan; Milkweed Editions; October 2015; $26; 456 pp. By Ann Jonas For The Visitor P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) was the author of nearly 100 novels and more than 200 short stories; he also penned lyrics for musical comedies. Born in…

New book promotion seeks to help people ‘rediscover Jesus’

Parishes can purchase books at special rate The Visitor According to bestselling author Matthew Kelly, research suggests that until people have a personal relationship with Jesus, many other efforts to engage them are useless. “The thing is, most people don’t have this deep relationship — they know they don’t have it and they don’t know…