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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

Welcome to my own personal exploration of life through reading the great books of the world.

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Monday, March 19, 2007

9 Short Books That Will Change Your Life Forever

A book doesn't have to be long to have long-reaching effects. Here are 9 books that can profoundly change you, in order from shortest to longest:
  1. The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence (96 pp.): Brother Lawrence was a humble monk who cooked for the monastery, but found God in the daily chores of his life. This book contains the lessons he learned about experiencing God's presence throughout his entire day.
  2. The Rule of St. Benedict (112 pp.): St. Benedict wrote this to regulate the lives of the men with whom he lived in community, but it has since become one of the most practical guides to spirituality in the history of Christendom. The Prologue alone is life-changing.
  3. Abandonent to Divine Providence - Jean-Pierre de Caussade (119 pp.): Surrendering to God does not mean losing ourselves in the process. de Caussade's beautiful book should be read slowly and savored deeply.
  4. To Know as We are Known - Parker J. Palmer (125 pp.): Palmer's book explores how our motives for learning shape what we learn. If our reason for learning is to gain power or control, then what we learn will only lead to destruction and misery. Should be read by every student and every teacher.
  5. Prayer for Beginners - Peter Kreeft (125 pp.): Kreeft's simple primer on prayer can work wonders on a person who is beginning to pray, but can also help give focus to those whose prayer life has become stagnant. Like all Kreeft's works, clear and practical.
  6. What Does God Want: A Practicial Guide to Making Decisions - Michael Scanlon (127 pp.): An excellent guide to knowing the right thing to do, no matter how small the decision. Simple to read, profound in its effects.
  7. Life and Holiness - Thomas Merton (128 pp.): Merton writes about how our daily work and activities can lead us to holiness.
  8. The Journey: A Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims - Peter Kreeft (128 pp.): Using a journey as a metaphor, Kreeft introduces us to the main schools of modern thought and explores each of them. The readers meets the Skeptic, the Cynic, the Nihilist, the Materialist, the Relativist, and others.
  9. Lying Awake - Mark Salzman (181 pp.): The only novel on the list is a beautiful story of a nun who is a poet and a visionary living outside Los Angeles in the modern day. A realistic yet respectful portrayal of convent life and the struggles and joys of living a life of religious vocation.

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:39 AM

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