Archives for: January 2011
I've been doing a lot of reading (and listening to) books lately, and thought it might be good to share a few points about them.
On my long drives over Christmas break, I listened to quite a few audiobooks. While noisy radio commercials and the same old top-40 songs work well as a lullaby on the road, books keep me awake. Thankfully, there are a lot of places on the Internet where we can download no-longer-published audiobooks and e-books with expired copyrights.
Anyway, here are a few e-books, audiobooks, and paperback books I've been reading:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
It's been quite a while since I last read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and its prequel The Hobbit, so I was excited to see this audio available for download. The voices and sound effects are excellent. This is a fun listen. You can download it by visiting this web site.
Light of the World by Pope Benedict XVI.
This one wasn't free. I purchased it and downloaded it from Ignatius Press, which has just published this book-length interview with the Holy Father. My strong recommendation is that you pick up a copy of this book. Our current Holy Father is absolutely brilliant. In this book, Peter Seewald asks the pope all the questions people have been asking, and Pope Benedict without fail provides very insightful answers. You can see it Ignatius Press.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
This book, published in 1932, foretells of a world where humans are more manufactured than born *gasp* (that vulgar word!). This is all part of a dystopian culture where the person is objectified. All the logical consequences of that objectification come to fruition. Sexual activity is merely recreational and has no moral consequences-so children play at it in their schools and adults exchange partners all the time. If one experiences anxiety, merely go on a "soma holiday" by ingesting a calming dose of drugs. It's amazing how much of this has come to fruition in the reality of today's reproductive technologies, addictions, and lack of sexual morality. It's a very prophetic book!
You can download and listen to a free, though abridged, audiobook of it by visiting Sonitus Sanctus. It's worth a listen!
Places to Look for free audiobooks
I recommend visiting LibriVox.org, a huge database of books in the public domain that volunteers have read aloud. In my experience, the quality has been very good. I've listened to books by G.K. Chesterton, Theodore Roosevelt, Brother Lawrence, and more, from this site. If you've got a favorite old book, it might just be available.
I also recommend the blog Sonitus Sanctus, which will point you to hundreds of great sources of Catholic Audio on the Internet.
Places to look for free E-Books
I got an Amazon Kindle for Christmas, so I've become more familiar with what's out there for free e-books. Amazon.com has a good list of e-book sources on this web page. Examples include archive.org, gutenberg.org, openlibrary.org, and more.
Books I've been reading on paper.
From Scandal to Hope by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.
Fr. Groeschel discusses the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Included are a few statistics that put the true magnitude of the scandal into the context of our society's sexual abuse crisis. He points out troubling media distortions, but also makes a strongly worded appeal to all Catholics, especially the religious and the ordained, to reform. It's a good read, though he puts more blame for clerical abuse on homosexuality than other sources I've read on this topic.
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
It seems like most people don't realize that C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Narnia series on which the recent films have been based, also wrote a "space trilogy." Over the last couple of years I read the first two books (Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra). I finally picked up the last book, That Hideous Strength on my Christmas break. These books are excellent, with Perelandra being my favorite. C.S. Lewis was an absolute master of human motives, emotions, and interactions. He describes it all vividly.
In That Hideous Strength the trilogy is brought back to Earth, where a scientific think-tank has been growing in influence, but its policies are driven by (I guess) demons. But the guidance is subtle. Men are drawn to serve this organization and its ultimately evil goals by the exploiting of their own weaknesses, such as the main character's desire to always be in the elite circle of powerful people. This massively powerful organization is opposed by another organization of sorts. The clash is spectacular. Lewis described it as a "fairy tale" for adults (in the mature, not immoral, sense).
You can read more about the Space Trilogy at Wikipedia or on Amazon.
The Priest is Not His Own by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
This book, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, is a humbling read for one about to be ordained. It's a powerful description of how the ordained priest, with Christ on the Cross, is not just a priest (one who offers a sacrifice) but is also a victim. A priest's life is one entirely given over to service of the Church, and to love of God. I spent hours on my recent January retreat prayerfully reading this book and meditating on that point.
I'm officially a published author ... because I cheated and published my own "book," if you can call it that. My thesis, entitled "Prophets on the Digital Continent: Guidance for Spreading the Gospel Today" is available for purchase on both www.lulu.com and also Amazon.com.