With this in mind, I thought you might be interested to know what books I read on my recent vacation back in Hawai'i, from which I returned late last night:
- Behold the Pierced One: An Approach to a Spiritual Christology - for the second time - by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986). If memory serves, this was the first book of Cardinal Ratzinger that I read and ever since I finished the final page I hungered for more of his writings. His thoughts in this book really get, I suggest, at the heart of His Holiness Benedict XVI. If the media had read this book nine years ago, all of the talk of the so-called "Panzer Cardinal" would have been shown to be unfounded and would have vanished. This little book makes reading during Holy Week.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012). This was the second time I read this book, too. It is the best book on introversion that I have ever read and approaches the tendency to introversion through a physiological approach, but in a very readable way, and provides helpful advice for extroverts dealing with introverts and for introverts dealing with extraverts.
- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000). This book is necessary reading for anyone who wants to get to know the heart of Tolkien.
- Jesus Christus: A Classic Meditation on Christ by the Author of The Lord by Romano Guardini (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, Inc., 2012. I believe this book is compiled of excerpts from Guardini's The Lord, though I cannot confirm that. This short book is an excellent series of meditations perfect for Lenten reading and has caused me to move The Lord to the front of my shelf of books "to be read".
- The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church by John Thavis (New York: Viking, 2013). This book is perhaps not for the weak of heart as it exposes some of the failures of members - both low and high - of the Curia. The accounts will make you laugh and sighs at the failures of those who should clearly know better, even as they also remind you clearly of the promise of Jesus that the gates of hell will not prevail against his Church.
Update: It just occurred to me to check my LibraryThing.com account to find the sixth book:
6. The Quest for the Creed: What the Apostles Really Believed, and Why It Matters by Dwight Longenecker (The Crossroard Publishing Company, 2013). This is a good overview of the Catholic faith for those who may have fallen away but are maybe thinking of returning.