Friday, July 13, 2018

For your summer reading: Inspire yourself and others

In summer, we sometimes find ourselves with time to spare for serious reading.
At The Observer, we receive books to review from time to time. We also bring books back from conferences we attend.
Recently, we’ve collected several non-fiction books we found interesting enough to share with our readers. (And we're giving them away, too. Enter at
These five books are both inspirational and instructive.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Baseball comic book a well-pitched delight

 (CNS photo/Ten Speed Press)
Baseball and comic books, two colorful American originals, come together in "The Comic Book Story of Baseball: The Heroes, Hustlers, and History-Making Swings (and Misses) of America's National Pastime" (Ten Speed Press) by author Alex Irvine and illustrators Tomm Coker and C.P. Smith.
This factually jam-packed and beautifully designed book is suitable for most older teens and adults. Still, parents should be cautioned: Baseball is a sport that has always included rough and crude language, a couple of instances of which are reproduced here (censored with asterisks).

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tragedies and blessings have taught Roma Downey to 'seize the moment'

(CNS photo/courtesy Simon & Schuster)
By Greg Erlandson | Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- One of Roma Downey's life lessons came from her mother's cabinet full of broken china.
The well-known actress and producer of three popular biblical movies recounts an experience growing up in strife-torn Northern Ireland. A British armored car rolled up her street, and the vibrations caused the glass shelves of her mother's china cabinet to collapse. All the china plates and bowls she had been saving for that special occasion came crashing down.
As a young girl, Roma saw her mother holding the pieces and crying. All that beautiful china had been saved for some future meal or some future guests, "but for what?" Downey asked during a recent interview with Catholic News Service. The lesson is to "seize the moment," she said. Don't put things off. It is all a gift."

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Great Caesar's ghost! Superman turns 80

(CNS photo/DC Comics) 
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Look! Up in the sky! It's Superman! And he's 80!
The year 2018 marks eight decades since the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics No. 1. It also sees the arrival of issue 1,000 of the "Action" series. DC Comics is celebrating these milestones with a special expanded edition of Action Comics as well as a book, "80 Years of Superman: The Deluxe Edition."
Action Comics No. 1,000 costs $7.99, while the book is priced at $30. Both are suitable for readers of all ages.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Book Unveils 20th Century Contemplative

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Edith Stein, who eventually became Carmelite Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, is not well known as saints go but is becoming better known, thanks to books like this one. Author Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda has given her readers a clear and readable introduction to this fascinating figure of 20th-century Catholicism, while intriguing us with some parallel historical figures.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Young Catholic invites readers to explore church's truth, goodness

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Catholic wunderkind Brandon Vogt, who joined the church in 2008, is one of the go-to spokesmen for both Catholic and secular media when they need an articulate young Catholic to interview.
A best-selling author of seven books on Catholic topics, he also is the founder of the website and content director for Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron's Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
Vogt's eighth book is a highly readable apologetic treatment of Catholicism that should attract many readers. To his credit, the book isn't organized into explanations of the traditional "marks of the church," i.e. "one, holy, catholic and apostolic." Instead, following an introduction titled "The Only Rebellion Left," the three parts of the book unpack declarations that Catholicism is "true," "good" and "beautiful."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Three new books offer prayers to help Catholic couples

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Whether they know it or not, married couples today need lots of prayer to live their vocation well. They always have, but perhaps today they may need it more than ever. Three recently published books approach this need in rather different ways.