Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What to Read in 2014: Link-Up

We've all been there. That moment when you suddenly find yourself with 5 minutes free, and you think, "Oh, I shall be intellectual and read a book!" ... and then you realize, you have no idea what to read.

When did I last read something other than a magazine?

When was the last time I even read the title of a book?

Do I even remember how to read?!

If you have found yourself asking yourself any of the above questions recently, then this post is for you.

The ladies of #CathSorority were talking about what to read in 2014 recently, and we collectively decided that it would be fun to do a link-up to post our recommendations for all to see.*

So let's list 'em. What are five (5) books that should definitely be on all of our reading lists for 2014?

These books can be fiction or non-fiction, Catholic or not-Catholic, written for adults or written for kids... whatever should be on our personal reading lists, we want to know!

Really. I do not care what makes your list - it can consist of anything from Theology of the Body to Everybody Poops - whatever you deem as worthy of our precious time to read next year needs to be shared with us all. (Well, wait, I lied. If anyone lists 50 Shades of Gray... you are hereby booted from the link-up. We already took a vote.)

And now, without further ado, here are 5 books that I think you should read in 2014...

Thou shalt read the book with this cover.
(1) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - I may or may not have mentioned this book once or twice  before, but hopefully this gives you the last final hint that you should read this book right now. It is my all-time, ultimate, favoritest book ever ever ever in the world, and I do not say this lightly.

This book takes the fairy tale of Cinderella and gives it a whole new spin and adds a lot of adventure. Ella is spunky and spirited, and you'll find yourself laughing and cheering and probably tearing up all at the same time. You also might find yourself having the sudden urge to slide down stair rails. You just never know! This book is written for ages 8 and up, but it really doesn't matter how old (or young!) you are. I can't wait to read this book to my little girls someday, and if I never have little girls, then I will borrow someone else's... in a totally not creepy way.

Just don't steal this book.
(2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - I've always really enjoyed reading novels that are set during the Holocaust, and this book is so well written and weaves such a compelling story that it is hard to put down.

The novel is narrated by Death himself, which is fitting since Death was everywhere in WWII. He tells the story of a girl living in Nazi Germany who falls in love with the written word after stealing her first book as a young girl. I saw a lot of myself in the young protagonist... and not just because her name is Liesel! (I mean, the author should've spell-checked her name, but whatever, I'm over it.) Death continues to tell Liesel's story, as well as the story of those around her, as he paints a picture of what Nazi Germany was like, whether or not you were Jewish. The book looks long, but the chapters are so short and easy to read... trust me when I say that you will finish the book quicker than you expect and be sad that it's over.

Can you imagine taking a stroll with Mary?!
(3) Walking with Mary by Edward Sri - I have a confession to make. I am cheating a bit by including this book on my list because I have not yet finished reading it. But! I have read up through the Wedding Feast at Cana (favorite Jesus miracle!), and I am enthralled by this book and decided it had to be on my list.

I've written recently about Mary, and this book has helped me even more in understanding Mary's role not only in Jesus' life but also in my life. The chapters each detail a significant moment in time for Mary (such as the Annunciation, the Visitation, etc.) in both a historical and Scriptural context, while also relating each of these pivotal moments to what it means for our own personal faith journey. Sri helps relate Mary's relationship with Christ to how we can better our own relationship with Christ, while also explaining why Mary is just so gosh darn special! Already, reading this book has helped me to meditate more deeply on the mysteries of the Rosary and to see Mary in a whole new light.

When in Rome...
(4) Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn - I often get asked "Can you recommend a book to read for someone who ...wants to learn more about Catholicism..." or "...is interested in converting..." or "...who wants to read about the Catholic faith without getting too bogged down...?" and this is always my go-to recommendation. I first read this book when I started to dive deeper into my faith several years ago, and it completely opened my eyes to the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith. As the Hahns, former evangelical Protestants, fell in love with the Catholic Church, I too found myself falling in love the the Church.  Their struggles with certain teachings were some of my struggles (even though I was raised Catholic), and they tell their story in a personal and beautiful way as they detail their journey to Rome.

High five if you read it!

(5) The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel - I first picked up this book because Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary said it was instrumental in her conversion from atheism to Catholicism, and I trusted her, so I thought, "Eh, I need something to read, why not?!" So I promptly got a copy from my local library and set out on an investigative journey with the author. 

Here is what I concluded when I finished reading: Everyone needs to read this book. I don't care what religion or lack of religion you are, this book outlines the evidence for Christ being the Son of God in a way that is readable and understandable for all. The book is broken up into three sections ("Examining the Record", "Analyzing Jesus", and "Researching the Resurrection"), and looks at the historical, psychological, scriptural, archaeological, medical, etc. evidence surrounding Christ. I would have to say that my favorite chapter was on the medical evidence of Jesus' crucifixion, but I learned something from all of the chapters. If you are a Christian, you need to read this book so you can talk about Jesus from more than just a Scripture standpoint. If you are not a Christian, you need to read this book because I told you to read it. That should be enough, right?

*Please note that the "we" was a bunch of ladies saying "Let's do a link-up!" followed by "Liesl, when are you posting the link-up?!?!"**

**I'm totally happy to do it though... link away!


Since so many people are also posting a list of what they would like to read in 2014, I'm encouraging you all to also list what you would like to read this year! After all, this gives us recommendations as well, right?

Here is a very crafty image of a few of the books I plan to read in 2014!

1. Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler - I just pre-ordered my copy, and was probably more excited than I should have been to get a tweet from the author herself!

2. Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson - Because stories are fun and the Pope is awesome.

3. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan - Anything by Ian McEwan is a must-read on my list.

4. Dune by Frank Herbert - I started this in 2013 but the holidays distracted me... I hope to tackle it again.

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - Because the Hunger Games made me hungry for more dystopian literature (heh, get it, hungry?!).

6. No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers by Michael Novak - This book was listed on Strange Notions... and the author also happens to have the same name as my organic chemistry lab professor from college (not the same person) so it must be a good one.


And now, for the link-up!

Here are the very strict rules and regulations:

(1) Your post should include five (5) books. If you post more than five (5) or less than five (5), I will seek you out on the interwebs and beat you with an e-stick.

(2) Please include a link and/or picture of the books so we can judge the book by it's cover. Very important.

(3) Include a link on your post back to this here mother post so all the other people in the world can find it and post their own recommendations. Go ahead and steal the graphic above for your post, too.

(4) Be sure to visit the other posts in the link-up and read all the books they tell you to read.

(5) If you tweet this post and/or your post, you can use the hashtag #WhattoReadin2014... or make up one that is better. #Becausemyhashtagsareusuallylongerthanthetweet

(5b) Also, if you tweet your post to me, @LieslChirps, I will retweet you! This is a very coveted honor.


  1. I am terrible at following directions. I got so excited that I posted books I want to read, not recs. I will edit my post and include a list of the books I just read that were awesome!


    Who are the saints of God? God's saints are those who are under His covenant. A covenant is an agreement between God and mankind.


    Psalm 50:5 "Gather My saints together to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (NKJV)


    Deuteronomy 33:1-3 Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2. And he said: "The Lord came from Sinai, And dawn on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came with ten thousand saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them. 3 Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hands; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words.(NKJV)

    Yes, those under under the old covenant were saints of God. The people under the old covenant were saints and they did not have to be placed in a canon of saints and then enacted by the ecclesiastical rule of church authority and approved by Moses.

    1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (NKJV)

    All men in God's churches are saints. The body of Christ are God's saints; one and all.

    Ephesians 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was give, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. (NKJV)

    The apostle Paul did not consider himself a candidate for beatification. Why not, because there is no such title of "Super Saint" found in Scripture. Paul said he was the least of saints.
    If there was a class of God like "Super Saints" that men could worship, by petition them through prayer, the apostle Paul certainly would have qualified. GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD, HE DOES WANT MEN TO WORSHIP ANY SAINT, DEAD OR ALIVE, BY PRAYING TO THEM.

    Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints---(NKJV)

    These Christians were not praying for dead saints. These were live saints praying for other live saints. Saints are all members of the body of Christ; nothing more and nothing less.

    There are no Scriptures that mention a beatification of saints, through a canonical process; thereby turning a selected few into "SUPER SAINTS."


    The qualification for sainthood under the new covenant are:
    A. FAITH: John 3:16
    B. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10
    C. REPENTANCE: Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38
    D. WATER BAPTISM Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21

    When you come up out of the watery grave of baptism you are saved, you are a child of God, you are a member of the Lord's church, your are part of the body of Christ, you have been clothed with Christ, you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, your sins have been forgiven, you are a member of the church of Christ, you have been raised to walk in a new life, you have been washed by the blood of Jesus, you are in the kingdom of God here on earth. YOU ARE A SAINT!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

  3. YES. Ella Enchanted. It has been too long since I've read that :)

    @Steve - I appreciate that you're intentions are to help, but you're wasting a lot of energy copying and pasting that. If you're open to some discussion (with any hopes of talking about what you pasted here), start with a shorter comment and Liesl (and I) can go from there.

  4. Dune, as in Lady Jessica? Yep. My sci-fi nerd parents named me after than book. I've only seen the movie...


I l.o.v.e. reading your comments!

I would love even more to be able to respond to them, so pretty please link your e-mail address to your name!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...