Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Used Books: U.S. Catholic Readers' Favorite Books Are Tattered and Torn with Love

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Used Books: U.S. Catholic Readers' Favorite Books Are Tattered and Torn with Love

Article excerpt


BOOKSMART. URBANDICTIONARY.COM DEFINES IT AS "1. A very smart person who bases his or her arguments on facts from books. 2. To have brains."

U.S. CATHOLIC readers might just be considered booksmart; the majority say they turn readily to books to educate themselves about their faith. But books aren't the exclusive source of their smarts; readers might also be called magazine-smart, personal conversation-smart, papal encyclical-smart, and even blog-smart based on the other places they're going to deepen their knowledge.

While Pat Blackledge of Leeds, England turns to "books, periodicals, talking to others, and the Internet" to educate herself, she adds, "Most things in life inform one's faith. Sometimes the less obvious people or things add more depth than the more obvious pious literature."

Marian Howard of Knoxville also likes to learn by reading. In addition she says, "I use the Internet with caution, and I talk to people who know more than I do."

Mixing the old with the new, Jared Tomanek of Victoria, Texas turns to "reading, podcasts, blogs, conferences, and Mass" to learn more about his faith.

Still, U.S. CATHOLIC readers surveyed are bibliophiles. While they base their knowledge on much more than what they read in books, they can often be found with their noses in them. Eighty-nine percent consider themselves average to avid readers who finish at least one book a month.

PEOPLE WHO LOVE BOOKS TEND TO HAVE STRONG OPINIONS on them. When asked about their favorites, readers responded enthusiastically, often unable to name just one writer or book, and they gushed over writers of mystery to books about the mystery of God.

Pat Nelson from Jennison, Michigan says her favorite writer is James Patterson, who pens thrillers, while Marie Getty in Hays Landing, New Jersey says she likes P.D. James, Reginald Hill, and Christopher Fowler because "I really enjoy British mysteries."

U.S. CATHOLIC columnist Alice Camille says Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is her favorite author. "I've been madly in love with Sherlock Holmes since I was 12," she says.

Hans Kung is Nicholas Narloch's favorite. "Kung is a Spirit-gifted modern-day prophet in our midst."

Kung--along with Thomas Merton, Joan Chittister, Elizabeth Johnson, James Martin, and Richard Rohr--was a popular pick among readers when asked about their favorite writers addressing issues related to the Catholic faith today.

Jennifer J. Knight of Yankton, South Dakota says that "of a dozen favorites, one is Joan Chittister [because she's] a lucid, common-sense, holy Benedictine woman of great courage." Former head of the Dominican order Father Timothy Radcliffe tops U.S. CATHOLIC contributor Krissy Peterson's list. "He references things we experience in our secular lives and is able to relate those things to our faith lives."

Carmen Aguinaco, U.S. CATHOLIC contributing editor and director of Claretian Publications' Hispanic Ministry Resource Center, says, "Lately I read G. K. Chesterton's collection of essays on the reasons why he became a Catholic, and I truly enjoyed the humor, intelligence, and sensitivity."

A WHOPPING 97 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS SAY THAT BOOKS don t have to be specifically about faith to offer religious or spiritual insights, evidenced by their selections for the books with the greatest effects on their faith lives. …

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