What I'm Reading Today
Join me with my afternoon cup of tea as I browse the internet for good free online (Catholic!) reading.
August 3, 2018
I love Robert Hugh Benson's introduction to his novel, Lord of the World:
"I am perfectly aware that this is a terribly sensational book, and open to innumerable criticisms on that account, as well as on many others. But I did not know how else to express the principles I desired (and which I passionately believe to be true) except by producing their lines to a sensational point. I have tried, however, not to scream unduly loud, and to retain, so far as possible, reverence and consideration for the opinions of other people. Whether I have succeeded in that attempt is quite another matter."
Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
July 23, 2018
I found a real gem today! This page features Catholic freebies and the ebook is a novel about Saint Thomas More.
A Man Born Again: A Novel Based on the Life of Saint Thomas More by John Edward Beahn
July 7, 2018
If online Catholic fiction is your thing, you're unlikely not to run across Katharine Tynan. After all, she published one hundred and five novels! She was also a poet and an activist with ideas both Catholic and feminist. Today I'm reading some of her poems.
Katharine Tynan at PoemHunter
December 5, 2017
At CatholicAuthors.com, Eva K. Betz talks about her desire to write for teens.
"I am eager to go on with these teenage books because children nowadays seem to be offered such shoddy 'heroes' in too many cases."
Internet Archive offers several of her books in audio format. Happy listening!
Knight of Molokai by Eva K. Betz
The Man Who Fought the Devil by Eva K. Betz
Priest on Horseback by Eva K. Betz
The Quiet Flame by Eva K. Betz
Yankee at Molokai by Eva K. Betz
December 2, 2017
Here's something a bit different. I feel like I found it browsing through a forgotten box in a second-hand bookstore. It's a Catholic reader, full of short stories and edifying essays.
The New Fifth Reader by The Catholic National Series
November 30, 2017
The Comedienne by Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont appears in a list on Catholic book-lover Brandon Vogt's blog. His list of Best Catholic Books of All Time was compiled by Fr. John McCloskey.
Originally written in Polish, Project Gutenberg has the English edition of The Comedienne:
The Comedienne by Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont
November 28, 2017
What's the next best thing to reading great Catholic fiction?
Reading about great Catholic fiction!
If you're poor like me, you can learn a lot just by reading the previews at Google Books. Here's one about contemporary Catholic fiction:
The Fine Delight: Postconciliar Catholic Literature by Nicholas Ripatrazone
November 24, 2017
I've been waiting for this one to come into the public domain. It shows up time and time again on lists of all-time Catholic classic novels and finally, here it is!
The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos
November 21, 2017
If you're like me, you like the idea of reading the classics more than you actually like reading them. That's why, when I impulsively decided to read Chaucer, I looked for a modern English edition.
The Canterbury Tales - Modern English by Geoffrey Chaucer
November 15, 2017
Learning that Shakespeare was a practising Catholic made my appreciation for the Bard and his stories so much greater! (For more info on that topic, check out my William Shakespeare & Friends page.)
William Shakespeare & Friends
Today I'm at a very handy page that gives summaries of his plays, explores themes and even offers a link to Shakespeare plays in modern English!
Learning About Shakespeare
November 13, 2017
I just discovered Jane Lebak today and what a treat!
Jane Lebak is a contemporary author whose novels sell at Amazon. But here's a page with some of her free offerings.
Today I read Why Jesus Wasn't Born Nowadays. LOL (And I don't say that about everything I read!)
Why Jesus Wasn't Born Nowadays and other stories by Jane Lebak
November 12, 2017
Free Online Catholic Novels is devoted to finding great free fiction online. Alas, there are many novels I'd love to list, but they aren't in the public domain yet. This is an exception. The Nun's Story was written in 1956 and is (not surprisingly) about a nun. As both nun and nurse, Sister Luke finds herself in the Congo where her faith is tested to the point that she contemplates returning to the outside world. It was made into a movie, starring Audrey Hepburn and was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
The Nun's Story by Kathryn Hulme
November 7, 2017
If Catholics and literature go together, how much more so Catholics and history!
Last time it was Quo Vadis, set in the first-century. Today I'm going to check out John Henry Newman's Callista, set in third-century Rome when Christians were still being martyred.
Callista by John Henry Newman
November 4, 2017
If you've enjoyed the movie, you'll love the book!
Today I sat down at my computer and decided to check out Quo Vadis. I love the stirring scenes of the early Church meeting together and St. Peter being recalled to Rome with the words, "Where are you going?" He returns and finds he's needed to encourage the martyrs.
But, of course, there's a long and very readable story leading up to that pivotal scene. I was immediately drawn into the story with this opening paragraph:
"Petronius woke only about midday, and as usual greatly wearied. The evening before he had been at one of Nero’s feasts, which was prolonged till late at night. For some time his health had been failing. He said himself that he woke up benumbed, as it were, and without power of collecting his thoughts. But the morning bath and careful kneading of the body by trained slaves hastened gradually the course of his slothful blood, roused him, quickened him, restored his strength, so that he issued from the elaeothesium, that is, the last division of the bath, as if he had risen from the dead, with eyes gleaming from wit and gladness, rejuvenated, filled with life, exquisite, so unapproachable that Otho himself could not compare with him, and was really that which he had been called, arbiter elegantiarum..."
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
October 30, 2017
If you've ever found yourself without plans when all your school friends were off on their holidays, you'll understand the sad phrase "Left overs." (But the story gets better!) It starts with this wonderful opening paragraph:
"It was the week after Commencement. The corridors, class-rooms, and study hall of Saint Andrew’s stretched in dim, silent vistas; over the tennis court and the playground there brooded a dead calm; the field, scene of so many strenuous struggles, lay bare and still in the summer sunlight; the quadrangle, that so lately had rung to parting cheer and “yell,” might have been a cloister for midnight ghosts to walk..."
Killykinick by Mary T. Waggaman
October 28, 2017
The Great Irish Novel may not have been written by the Banim brothers, but I like what New Advent has to say about them:
"The Banims may be justly called the first national novelists of Ireland. They knew their countrymen not as the strange, grotesque caricatures too often portrayed in fiction, but as members of the great human family with noble impulses and generous traits. Their work, however, is notably free from patriotic bias."
You'll find links to the novels of John and Michael Banim on the homepage. Brew a pot of tea and enjoy!
John and Michael Banim by New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
October 26, 2017
Father C. John McCloskey III's article, Newman and the Importance of Catholic Literature, could easily serve as an intoduction to anyone coming to Free Online Catholic Novels. It answers, why Catholic literature in the first place? It mentions authors whose works you can find here.
He concludes by saying:
"With the general decline in knowledge of Catholic culture, it’s a good time to start that Catholic Book club with your friends, as well as pagans, agnostics, or fallen-away and potential Catholics. And there are plenty more great works where these came from. Who knows? Maybe you will one day write one yourself!"
Newman and the Importance of Catholic Literature by Father C. John McCloskey III