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ABCs of the Christian Life: The Ultimate Anthology of the Prince of Paradox (G.K. Chesterton)

Fr. James Schall, S.J., describes this book as "a selection of twenty six topics arranged alphabetically and taken from various books and articles in the vast intellectual gold mine that proceeded from the mind of Chesterton." Whether on Asceticism, Comparative Religion, St. Thomas Aquinas, or Charles Dickens, this reader gives a varied introduction to the startling thoughts and phrases of a 20th-century Catholic giant. Foreword by Peter Kreeft.

Benedict Up Close: The Inside Story of Eight Dramatic Years (Paul Badde)

The inside story of the eight dramatic years of Benedict’s pontificate, researched and written by Roman journalist Paul Badde and published by EWTN. Based partly on personal discussions with the Pope, Badde covers Benedict’s decision to remove “Patriarch of the West” from his list of titles, the Pope’s betrayal by his valet, the origin of the scallop on his coat of arms, his devotion to the Face of Jesus, the misunderstood point of the Regensburg Address, the Pope’s visit to Turkey, his establishment of the Latin “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite, his Biblical exegesis, why he chose “Benedict” as his name, why he chose to resign on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and more.

Inferno (Modern Library Classics, translated by Anthony Esolen)

Dante's Divine Comedy is perhaps the Catholic work of art par excellence. As one of the greatest poems ever written it has moved countless readers and influenced artists of all kinds, while its rich theology has inspired more than one papal encyclical. This is Anthony Esolen's translation of the first part, Inferno, with the classic Gustave Dore illustrations. Make sure to get Paradiso and Purgatorio too, of course.

Lord of the World (Robert Hugh Benson)

Popes Benedict XVI and Francis both have recommended this novel by the famous convert Fr. Robert Hugh Benson. Written in 1907, the book portrays a grim future several generations hence in which mankind is completely divided between those who hate God and those who love him, leading toward the reign of the Antichrist and the end of the world. This is an annotated edition with footnoted translations of the Latin and footnotes explaining ecclesiastical terms which will make the work more accessible to new readers.

The Intellectual Life (A. G. Sertillanges, O.P.)

First published in 1920, this profound book continues to change lives today. Fr. Sertillanges, a French Dominican, exhorts those with an intellectual vocation to take it with the full seriousness and commitment it deserves. Writing with an integrated Catholic understanding of the intellect, he points out the necessity of virtue for the true intellectual (since one thinks with the whole person), shows that every study is a study of eternity, etc. The book is both spiritual and eminently practical. Time management, the balance between solitude and contact with others, one's choice of reading, diet and exercise—nothing is left to chance. This will help intellectuals, students, and even artists to fulfill their vocations and avoid the pitfalls of pride and sloth that keep so many in mediocrity.

The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College (David Clayton)

Artist David Clayton "describes how a true Catholic education is both a program of liturgical catechesis and an inculturation that aims for the supernatural transformation of the person so that he can in turn transfigure the whole culture through the divine beauty of his daily action." Training in beauty is of profound importance for the Christian life and its recovery is a prerequisite for Christian renewal. This book is especially for artists and educators of all kinds.

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