What We Read
We read books by Catholic women. It’s just a theme we began when we started to meet regularly. We first read the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, which was written by a Norwegian Catholic author named Sigrid Undset, before we were actually a book club. Then when we decided to become a book club it seemed like a novel yet logical idea to go ahead and read more books by Catholic women, partly just to see what we could find.
Books by Catholic Women are Not Always Religious
Many of our books have a Catholic or Christian or spiritual theme and quite a few don’t. That’s because our only criteria is that the author be a female Catholic. So we’ve read some very diverse themes and genres.
A Very Resilient Book Club Theme
I’m glad we decided to stick with this idea through thick and thin. Really, it never has been very “thin.” We have almost always had multiple ideas about what to read and if we didn’t we’ve had a steady stream of sources from which to glean. Plus, it provides a handy framework for that perpetual book club question, “What should we read next month?”
Where We Find Books by Female Catholics
Without a doubt two of our top sources would be classics by saints and spiritual writers and leads from other books and periodicals.
A Few Good Sources
We take titles from the Book sections of the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor because a few of us read those weekly newspapers often. I’d say the number of titles by men outweighs those by women but that’s not a bad thing for us, because like I said we usually have plenty of ideas floating around. We certainly do read the Denver Catholic Register, being in Denver and all, and have found a few titles there over the years.
I am sure we’ve taken some ideas from First Things, a monthly journal.
One ongoing source of an amazing amount of reprinted and new fiction and non-fiction is the Ignatius Press catalog.
Resourceful Book Lovers
We have a couple of members like Amy and Dianne who collect far more than the average amount of used books and Gina who checks out more library books in a week than some people do in a year. They are bound to run across unique and fresh reading material by all sorts of authors. Sometimes we can tell by the material if our author is Catholic. Other times we have to dig a little online or by skimming a biography. Many times we infer that the author was baptized a Catholic (if not still practicing); for instance a woman writing about her devout Catholic mother was probably brought up Catholic.
A Great Idea
If you have a women’s book club and you’re not quite satisfied after a few years of the classics or you’re annoyed by picking a best seller out of a hat only to have it turn out badly I’d recommend you give our idea a try. I will soon have a more comprehensive list of the titles we’ve read over the past 12 years, and I estimate it is more than 60 so far. It is an amazingly fun way to learn about people (past and present), places, redemption and spiritual growth, history, politics and tons of other topics!!