2018 Reading Selections
Special Guest: Connie Rossini, Trusting God with St. Therese
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Standing Strong: A West Brothers Story by Theresa Linden
COMMENT DURING FEBRUARY’S SRBT FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK (signed paperback to US Mailing Address, ebook to international addresses)
Having just confessed his sins to his priest–more sins than a kid his age should have–Jarret jumps in his Chrysler 300 and races to the outskirts of town. Emotion overwhelming him, he pulls off the road and flings himself face down behind an outcropping of rocks. Ever since that life-changing night in the canyon, Jarret has felt the presence of the Lord in his soul. Now that presence is fading. Is it his fault? How will he remain faithful without it when he still struggles against the same temptations? Meanwhile his twin brother, Keefe, questions whether he has a calling to religious life. He’s gone along with Jarret’s bad schemes for years. Is he worthy of such a calling? What would he have to give up to pursue a vocation? Keefe reads everything he can about St. Francis and the Franciscans, but he’s afraid to talk to his father about the Franciscans’ upcoming discernment retreat because his father seems closed to faith. Is he ready to go all in? Follow the West brothers in this contemporary teen fiction as they struggle through temptations and trials down paths they can barely see, toward goals they desire in the depths of their hearts.
Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day by Carol Benoist and Cathy Gilmore
Meet the Risen Jesus with an amazing bunny—and his amazing tale—in this beautifully illustrated hardcover children’s book. Children will learn about Jesus’ friendship and comfort through the eyes of a timid bunny rabbit who experiences firsthand the love and joy Jesus brings. Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day is sure to be a family favorite every Easter.
Full Cycle by Christopher Blunt
Full Cycle – winner of Best Inspirational Fiction in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards – tells the story of eleven-year-old Alex Peterson, whose physical disability makes him one of the least-athletic boys in his school. Still, Alex dreams of doing something unimaginable: the 200-mile, one-day Seattle to Portland bicycle ride.
COMMENT LIVE TO WIN YOUR COPY OF FULL CYCLE! (One winner will be selected at random from live commenters during the show; a signed hard copy to a US mailing address OR eBook to non-US address).
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
A 2018 major motion picture, in A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle introduced the world to the wonderful and unforgettable characters Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe. When the children learn that Mr. Murry has been captured by the Dark Thing, they time travel to Camazotz, where they must face the leader IT in the ultimate battle between good and evil—a journey that threatens their lives and our universe. A Newbery Award winner, A Wrinkle in Time is an iconic novel that continues to inspire millions of fans around the world.
The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
Ten-year-old William receives a wooden model of a medieval castle as a gift. It has everything he could possibly want, right down to a miniature drawbridge, a portcullis and a silver knight. In this enthralling story that weaves the everyday problems of growing up with magic and fantasy, the castle introduces William to an adventure involving magic, a ferocious dragon, a wicked wizard, and his own personal quest, where courage will finally triumph over fear.
Featuring Special Guest Joseph Pearce. A native of England, Joseph Pearce is senior editor at the Augustine Institute; the editor of the St. Austin Review, an international review of Catholic culture; series editor of the Ignatius Critical Edition; and executive director of Catholic Courses.
Joseph has hosted two 13-part television series about Shakespeare on EWTN, and has also written and presented documentaries on EWTN on the Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. He has participated and lectured at a wide variety of international and literary events at major colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Europe, Africa and South America. He is also a regular guest on national television and radio programs, and has served as consultant for film documentaries on J.R.R. Tolkien, Francis Thompson and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy
The Scarlet Pimpernel narrates the story of a rich English baronet who rescues French aristocrats facing the guillotine. He also taunted his enemies after each rescue by leaving behind a card that has a small flower on it – the scarlet pimpernel. It is a brilliant adventure story set at the time of the French Revolution. The plot is fantastic and rarely lets the readers pause for breath as it oscillates between London society and the dark night in Coastal France.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
This bewitching play, Shakespeare’s final work, articulates a wealth of the playwright’s mature reflections on life and contains some of his most familiar and oft-quoted lines. The story concerns Miranda, a lovely young maiden, and Prospero, her philosophical old magician father, who dwell on an enchanted island, alone except for their servants — Ariel, an invisible sprite, and Caliban, a monstrous witch’s son. Into their idyllic but isolated lives comes a shipwrecked party that includes the enemies who usurped Prospero’s dukedom years before, and set him and his daughter adrift on the ocean. Also among the castaways is a handsome prince, the first young man Miranda has ever seen. Comedy, romance, and reconciliation ensue, in a masterly drama that begins with a storm at sea and concludes in joyous harmony.
King of the Shattered Glass by Susan J. Bellavance
Beautifully illustrated in color for young elementary school readers, King of the Shattered Glass is a gentle parable about asking for forgiveness and receiving God’s mercy!
GIVEAWAY! Comment on the video by April 30 and be entered to win your own copy of King of the Shattered Glass!
Special Guest: Allison Gingras of Reconciled to You
A Subtle Grace by Ellen Gable
FINALIST: 2015 IAN Book of the Year, Historical and Romance 1896, Philadelphia. In this stand alone sequel to “In Name Only” (2009, FQP), “A Subtle Grace” continues the story of the wealthy and unconventional O’Donovan Family as they approach the dawn of a new century. At 19, Kathleen (oldest daughter) is unmarried with no prospects. Fearing the lonely fate of an old maid, her impatience leads to an infatuation with the first man who shows interest. The suave, handsome son of the local police chief seems a perfect match. But will her impulsive manner prevent her from recognizing her true love? A disturbing turn of events brings a dark shadow that threatens the life-long happiness she desires.
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
This coming-of-age story captures a vanished world of outdoor action and introduces Mark Twain’s two most enduring literary characters, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. In a novel that Twain termed a “hymn to boyhood,” Tom and Huck fish and swim in the Mississippi River, search for buried treasure, and hide in a haunted house. Tom Sawyer falls for pretty Becky Thatcher, tricks his pals into painting a fence for him, and stages an elaborate prank on the schoolmaster. Around the edges of this idyllic boy-life, however, loom dangerous events in the fictional village of St. Petersburg: Tom and Huck witness a midnight murder in a graveyard, the killer escapes from the courtroom while Tom is testifying, Tom and Becky become lost in a labyrinthine cave, and two sinister villains plot robbery and revenge against a wealthy widow.
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Dying for Compassion (The Lady Doc Murders Book 2) by Dr. Barbara Golder
What happens to a new love when an old one appears to claim first rights to a man and a marriage? Just as Telluride Medical Examiner Jane Wallace and Irish writer Eoin Conner take their first steps toward romance, Eoin’s beautiful wife Fiona arrives to resume her long-abandoned life with Eoin. When Eoin discovers that Fiona was responsible for the denial of their annulment, he returns to Ireland to find the proof to free him to marry Jane. After Fiona is found dead in her hotel room, Eoin is indicted for her murder. Unwilling to leave the matter solely in the hands of Irish authorities, Jane goes to Ireland to follow the evidence wherever it leads. She leaves behind a tangle of problems in Telluride, where it is left to her trusted friend Father Matt to unravel the mysteries at home, unaware that they hold the key to Jane’s mystery abroad.
Shane by Jack Schaefer
In this true Western classic Jack Schaefer tells the story of a mysterious stranger who finds himself in the Wyoming Territory joining local homesteaders in their fight to keep their land and avoid the intimidating tactics of cattle driver Luke Fletcher. While trying to leave his gunslinging days behind him, the mysterious stranger, Shane, is tested by Fletcher and his men. In Shane, Schaefer executes a perfect Western narrative while exploring the overarching themes of virtue, the human condition, and a man’s search for self.
Sisters of the Last Straw 1: The Case of the Haunted Chapel by Karen Kelly Boyce
The Sisters of the Last Straw and the Case of the Haunted Chapel is the first in a series of children’s books that convey the fun-filled story of a group of misfit nuns. These sisters and their madcap adventures teach the importance of tolerance and forgiveness. Each book focuses on the virtues of Gospel living and the frailties of human nature. While children delight in the humor and fast-paced exploits of this special group of nuns, they learn the need to be forgiving of the faults of others and to look for the good in all people. Children are enchanted and entertained with the humorous escapades of the characters while learning the importance of basic Christian values, growth, and love.
The Grace Crasher by Mara Faro
Armed with a Jesus fish that might be swimming in the wrong direction, Julia must pretend to be “born again” for her Christian housemates—cute EMT Mark and his church-lady mom. Their place is within walking distance (cough, stalking distance) of Dylan, her latest musician crush. Mark knows she’s faking her faith. But he needs someone like her to crash his dull routine. So he protects her secret and brings her to his Evangelical church. Hiding her Catholic past, she bumbles her way through hand-raising worship. Other times she sneaks into Mass. Meanwhile, Mark explains how to be “saved.” (Sure, she needs saving—from her alcoholic dad, her copier-jamming job, and Mark’s suspicious mom.) But does he just want to save her? Or date her? Then Dylan sings her a song at open mic. Suddenly she’s torn between two guys, flubbing her way through three different churches, and completely confused about life. Will it all crash down around her, or will she crash straight into grace?
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
Freckles is a young man who has been raised since infancy in a Chicago orphanage. His one dream is to find a job, a place to belong and people who accept him despite his youth and the disability of having only one hand. He finds this place in the Limberlost Swamp, as Mr. McLean’s Limberlost guard of precious timber. In the process, he discovers a love for the wilderness and animals he encounters every day on his rounds and a burning desire to learn about all the new birds and plants he sees on his rounds every day. He also finds and falls in love with a girl he calls the “Swamp Angel.” This is the story of his plucky courage in sticking to his job in the swamp, and his adventures in learning about the natural world he finds himself in every day. He is befriended by the “Bird Woman” and with her help learns to love the Limberlost he has been hired to guard.
Seven Riddles to Nowhere by Amy Cattapan
Because of a tragic event that took place when he was five-years-old, seventh grader Kameron Boyd can’t make himself speak to adults when he steps outside his home. Kam’s mom hopes his new school will cure his talking issues, but just as he starts to feel comfortable, financial problems threaten the school’s existence. Then a letter arrives with the opportunity to change everything. Kam learns that he and several others have been selected as potential heirs to a fortune. He just has to solve a series of seven riddles to find the treasure before the other students. If he succeeds, he’ll become heir to a fortune that could save his school. The riddles send Kam on a scavenger hunt through the churches of Chicago. But solving them won’t be easy. With the school’s bully as one of the other potential heirs, Kam and his friends must decipher the hidden meanings in artwork and avoid the mysterious men following them in a quest to not only keep the school open, but keep Kam’s hopes for recovering his voice alive.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
An Unexpected Role by Leslea Wahl
The devastation of a ruined summer. The gift of a second chance. Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self? After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.
The Things We Knew by Catherine West
When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t? After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares. Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister. As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.
10 Steps to Girlfriend Status (The Birdface Series Book 2) by Cynthia Toney
Wendy Robichaud is on schedule to have everything she wants in high school: two loyal best friends, a complete and happy family, and a hunky boyfriend she’s had a crush on since eighth grade—until she and Mrs. Villaturo look at old photo albums together. That’s when Mrs. V sees her dead husband and hints at a scandal down in Cajun country. Faster than you can say “crawdad,” Wendy digs into the scandal. She risks losing boyfriend David by befriending Mrs. V’s cute grandson, alienates stepsister Alice by having a boyfriend in the first place, and upsets her friend Gayle without knowing why. Will Wendy be able to prevent Mrs. V from being taken thousands of miles away from her? And will she lose all the friends she’s fought so hard to get?
Grandmama’s Pride by Becky Birtha
Every summer, Mama, Sister, and Sarah Marie take the bus down south to visit Grandmama. The three of them sit in the back of the bus, because, as Mama says, it is the best seat. Later, on a walk into town, the girls don’t drink from the water fountain because Grandmama says she’ll make fresh lemon-mint iced tea when they get home. Throughout the summer, Aunt Maria teaches Sarah Marie how to read. Then Sarah Marie notices signs in town she hadn’t been able to read before, like the one on the bathroom door that says, “White Women” and another that says “Colored Women.” Sarah Marie faces a hard realization about the segregated South. But in the fall she reads about events happening in places like Clinton, Tennessee, and Montgomery, Alabama. And by the next summer, when they go back to visit Grandmama, they all sit in the front of the bus.
Special Guest: Sr. Helena Burns, FSP, He Speaks to You
Intermission by Serena Chase
Intermission is a heart-wrenching contemporary YA romance set against a backdrop of musical theatre and family drama. With coming-of-age themes that honestly explore the gray areas of the moral dilemmas the characters face, this novel traces the path of one talented teen girl as she crosses painful thresholds of first love, faith, and betrayal to take the necessary steps toward adulthood, independence, and the dreams that set her heart on fire. [Due to content involving instances of verbal, emotional and physical abuse directly and indirectly perpetrated against the main character, this book is recommended for ages 14+]
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
This beloved Newbery Honor-winning story about a feisty heroine is sure to enchant readers new and old. At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate… Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.
The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland by Susan Peek
An insane king. His fleeing daughter. Estranged brothers, with a scarred past, risking everything to save her from a fate worse than death. Toss in a holy priest and a lovable wolfhound, and get ready for a wild race across Ireland. Will Dymphna escape her deranged father and his sinful desires? For the first time ever, the story of Saint Dymphna is brought to life in this dramatic novel for adults and older teens. With raw adventure, gripping action, and even humor in the midst of dark mental turmoil, Susan Peek’s newest novel will introduce you to a saint you will love forever! Teenage girls will see that Dymphna was just like them, a real girl, while young men will thrill at the heart-stopping danger and meet heroes they can easily relate to. If ever a Heavenly friend was needed in these times of widespread depression and emotional instability, this forgotten Irish saint is it!
Theme: Memento Mori
Bleeder by John Desjarlais
When classics professor Reed Stubblefield is disabled in a school shooting, he retreats to a rural Illinois cabin to recover and to write a book on Aristotle in peace. Oddly, in the chill of early March, the campgrounds and motels of tiny River Falls are filled with the ill and infirm — all seeking the healing touch of the town’s new parish priest, reputed to be a stigmatic. Skeptical about religion since his wife’s death from leukemia, Reed is nevertheless drawn into a friendship with the cleric, Reverend Ray Boudreau, an amiable Aquinas scholar with a fine library — who collapses and bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Once Reed becomes the prime ‘person of interest’ in the mysterious death, he seeks the truth with the help of an attractive local reporter and Aristotle’s logic before he is arrested or killed — because not everyone in town wants this mystery solved…
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
The bells clang above plague-ridden London as Robin lies helpless, cold, and hungry. The great house is empty, his father is fighting the Scots in the north, his mother is traveling with the Queen, and the servants have fled. He calls for help but only the stones hear his cries. Suddenly someone else is in the house, coming towards Robin. It is Brother Luke, a wandering friar, who takes Robin to St. Mark’s Monastery, where he will be cared for until his father sends for him. At last, a message comes–Robin is to meet his father at Castle Lindsay. The journey is dangerous, and the castle is located near the hostile Welsh border. Perched high in the hills, the castle appears invincible. But it is not. Under the cover of a thick fog the Welsh attack the castle. And Robin is the only one who can save it…
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When little Sara Crewe is brought from India to London to join Miss Minchin’s school, she arrives a princess – cloaked in velvet and feathers, surrounded by extravagant affection. Then disaster strikes; her father dies and his business fails, and Sara is cast into poverty. Now a beggar, and used by the school for back-breaking work, she must depend on her imagination, and the kindness of strangers, to lift her above the misery of her circumstances. A dramatic reversal of the traditional ‘rags to riches’ formula, A Little Princess, by the author of The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a truly magical story about the power of optimism in the face of adversity, which continues to enchant readers of all ages.