Books for people willing to be happy

Ooh I’m so excited.  Look what I got today:


Walked into church this morning feeling a little rumpled and not quite myself, and who had set up shop in the narthex? My favorite local catholic bookstore.  Which is sort of like running into the ice cream truck, Santa Claus and your best friend all at once.  Happy happy.  Tons of cool stuff on display, but I had to stop looking after I spotted Manalive and Julie Davis’s book.  Doesn’t do to spend too much on books when the spouse is so very nearby.


So, about the book. (Happy Catholic’s — not the other one by the other happy catholic, because I haven’t read it yet, plus probably you have):

Apparently I have this secret fear that my favorite internet authors will write bad books.  I thought Eric Sammon’s book would be too hard for me, because he is so much smarter than me.  Not so.  I was sort of nervous about Julie Davis’s Happy Catholic book for the same reason.

I was double nervous about the Happy Catholic book because it is inspirational. And sometimes inspirational-genre books have heart-warming stories about boys named Johnny who teach their parents important lessons about The True Meaning of Christmas, and then the mother dog who sacrifices her life to save the puppies and three orphaned children . . . you know what I mean.  One takes ones chances.

Julie, on the other hand, tackles questions like: Why does Han Solo deserve our attention?  How shall we rank Oprah, Miss Manners, and Jesus?  And is it possible Monty Python is more catholic than we realized?  Even in The Life of Brian? Plus lots of Fr. Benedict Groeschel quotes, so that pretty well settles it.

Four-and-some reasons this one is a keeper:

  • It’s reliable.  Solid catholic thinking, neither to the right nor to the left.
  • Written for ordinary catholics.
  • You don’t have to read the whole thing.  You just open to a random page.  Better than a magazine.
  • It’s entertaining.  So you’ll probably mean to read just one quote-n-meditation, but then stick around for the next one.  Worse things could happen you know.

What I like most: Julie grapples with popular culture head-on.  Lots of quotes from popular books, TV shows, movies.  And she doesn’t always agree! Sometimes, there’s a quote that sounds good, the kind of thing that someone says at a dinner party and everyone’s nodding and agreeing with it, and you want to say something very uncharitable because really even though it sounds so wise, it’s just drivel.   Julie takes quotes like that and answers them directly:  What’s the underlying truth?  What’s the lie?  What’s a catholic to do with that sentiment?

–>  For this reason, I think this is a great book to keep lying around in reach of teenagers.  It’s a textbook on critical thinking in disguise.  Oh and a sermon or 200.  And a lot of Wizard of Oz.  With an index.

I give it an I’ll-think-you’ll-be-pretty-happy-with-it Recommend.




2 thoughts on “Books for people willing to be happy

  1. I. am. so. happy!

    Thank you, thank you. The only thing worse than being afraid of reading those sorts of inspirational books, is being afraid of having WRITTEN one of those sorts of inspirational books. Sunshine and lollipops …

    This sentence made my husband cheer (yes, actually) and made me so very proud, “It’s a textbook on critical thinking in disguise.”

    Again, thank you so much!

    1. I once thought up a short story idea (didn’t write it) about a guy who was suspected of the unsolved crime in the neighborhood, but actually his furtive behavior was because he secretly wrote heartwarming internet-spam.

      [But many people are helped by these things. So I must not get too curmudgeonly. Plus probably one day I’ll come to really love those Chicken Soup books after all, and then, wow, the humility.]

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