Thanksgiving is time for turkey and stuffing, football and parades, and probably will involve politically-charged family debates, the re-telling of favorite stories, and conversation about Christmas wish lists. Spice up your Thanksgiving meal not with new recipes or hot-takes about current affairs, but a list of good reads instead! Here are three new books on the Catholic scene that would make excellent additions to your reading list (or great early Christmas stocking stuffers).
How Catholic Art Saved the Faith
by Elizabeth Lev
“Caravaggio may seem the most unlikely choice to spearhead a public-relations campaign for the Catholic Church. This aggressive, unconventional artist rarely followed rules – whether legal or artistic – and was more frequently under arrest than in Eucharistic adoration. Yet this brilliant painter joined several other ‘misfit’ artists – hypochondria Barocci, alcoholic Anibale Carracci, gritty Ribera, and scandal-ridden Artemisia Gentileschi – to become the visual-arts SWAT team of the Catholic Church in an age of crisis, the post-Reformation era.”
So begins Elizabeth Lev’s brilliant exploration of art in the Catholic Church after the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. With beautiful, full color artwork on practically each page, Lev takes us through a visual explanation of the Church’s teachings on everything from the Sacraments, intercessory prayers, and the dignity of women in the Church.
This book is beautiful: visually stunning, well written, and explores and explains issues of both doctrine and history from the perspective of beautiful art. It makes a great gift, or just a great “look what I’m reading” book at your holiday table.
Buy it here.
Side by Side
by Lori & Ava Ubowski
Lori Ubowski, a Catholic musician based in Florida, began journaling with her daughter, Ava, years ago. A simple, easy way for them to communicate and share their thoughts and feelings, she and her daughter have since compiled a mother-daugther journal that’s easy to use, visually engaging, and simply fun.
With short saint bios and fun little word searches, along with chances for moms to tell their daughter stories about their childhood and ask their daughter about her hopes and dreams, this great little book is the perfect gift to give and share. Lori and Ava have created a great resource and excellent memory-maker of a book, which will be cherished by moms and daughters for years to come.
Buy it here.
Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
by Shaun McAfee
A wizard of the Catholic media world, Shaun McAfee posits a straightfoward and simple thesis in his latest work: how to use media, and renew technology, in such a way that is used for the advancement of the kingdom of God. With practical examples and insights, McAfee doesn’t just present the “theory” of social media and using the internet, but explains how the digital world is a space and place that can be used for effective evangelization.
The best part of the book comes at the end, when McAfee explains, in detail, how to wield the power of the internet well, and what pitfalls to avoid. With tips about not being self-centered in using social media platforms, not “purging” from social media to the point of blacking everything out, and only concerning yourself with metrics and stats. This information is invaluable, because it comes from someone who is well-versed in this world, a veritable expert
Give this book to the young adult who is always glued to their phone while sitting at the Thanksgiving table, or read it yourself if you’ve become a scrolling zombie of late.
Buy it here.
Around the Year with the von Trapp Family
by Maria Augusta von Trapp (yes…that von Trapp)
When this book arrived, I was stunned. As a big fan of The Sound of Music, I immediatley started flipping through it to find a delightful exploration of things to do in the home to celebrate all the liturgical seasons. With beautiful little reflections on all the major liturgical feast days, Maria von Trapp teaches readers a bit of history, explains traditions and customs, and offers hymns that can be sung as a family to celebrate the feast. This book is simply delightful and Catholic families will greatly benefit from having it on their shelves!
Buy it here.
The Grace of Enough
by Haley Stewart
Haley Stewart is the Molly Weasley of the Catholic world. With 4 children, a marathon running husband, a delightful blog, an excellent podcast, and lovely little Instagram stories throughout the day, Haley is a woman to watch, becaus eher insight and wisdom is invaluable to may. Her new book from Ave Maria Press, The Grace of Enough, is a wonderful challenge to all of us to fight materialism. Telling the story of how her family went and lived on a farm for a year, Haley shares what it meant for her family to get out of the rat race so they could live the Gospel and pay attention to the will of the Lord. At a time of year when we can become consumed by Black Friday sales and stuff to put under a tree, Haley’s book challenges us to look past presents and pay attention to the presence of God in our lives.