Welcome to the U.S. Catholic Book Club

August 2022

Jane Austen’s Genius Guide to Life: On Love, Friendship, and Becoming the Person God Created You to Be

By Haley Stewart

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of the most talented novelists and insightful social critics to write in the English language. Less commonly acknowledged, however, is that Austen is also an excellent life coach and spiritual guide, even for readers far removed from Austen’s 19th-century Britain.

This is the side of Austen that Haley Stewart seeks to reveal in Jane Austen’s Genius Guide to Life. Stewart delves into each of Austen’s six novels, highlighting along the way the virtues that make each of Austen’s heroines a great example of a life well lived. Part literary exegesis and part spiritual advice, Jane Austen’s Genius Guide to Life is approachable without being simplistic and wise without being preachy. Whether you’re a lifelong Austen devotee or just dipping your toes into her novels for the first time, Stewart’s book will make an excellent companion in your literary journey.

Nathaniel Hunter, associate editor, U.S. Catholic

“In a uniquely Catholic take, popular podcaster and bestselling author Haley Stewart reveals Jane Austen’s thoughtful, deeply personal exploration of human relationships—including one with God—throughout Austen’s six novels.” —Ave Maria Press

Paperback: $16.95

Available at bookstores or from Ave Maria Press at (800) 282-1865 or avemariapress.com.

General Book Club Guidelines

July 2022

My Body Is Not a Prayer Request

By Amy Kenny

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How we talk about disability matters. This includes religious talk about disability.

Amy Kenny, a disabled scholar, talks about her experiences with ableist Christians who, however well intended, intrude on disabled persons with uninvited offers of prayer or declarations about God’s will. Their discourse often reduces disabled people to a kind of public property—and reveals prejudices against disabled bodies as less capable of imaging Christ.

Kenny reminds us that we worship a God with a wounded body and that the holistic healing Jesus offers goes far beyond quick-fix medical cures. What if, she asks, we work for disability justice and accessibility instead of fixating on disabled bodies as imperfect? “We should invite disability to teach us something,” she writes.

This book teaches us to embrace the gift and witness of disability, which enrich our theology of bodies. And the picture Kenny paints of radical accessibility can deepen our understanding of what it means to be church.

Rebecca Bratten Weiss, digital editor, U.S. Catholic

“In My Body Is Not a Prayer Request, Amy Kenny, a disabled Christian, reflects on her experiences inside the church to expose unintentional ableism and cast a new vision for Christian disability justice.” —Brazos Press

Paperback: $19.95

Available at bookstores or from Brazos Press at (800) 877-2665 or bakerpublishinggroup.com.

General Book Club Guidelines

June 2022

Seriously, God?

By Michael White and Tom Corcoran

Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran ask the hard questions alongside readers in Seriously, God? as they tackle topics such as “Why does God allow people who are corrupt or unjust to remain in charge?” They gracefully shed light on our most desperate questions with biblical wisdom, and the book is chock-full of Bible stories about people who grappled with the same questions we do today.

Throughout the book, White and Corcoran don’t pretend to hold all the answers. They posit that we haven’t seen God’s whole picture yet. In the meantime, they remind readers that “we can’t confuse God not making sense with life not making sense” and offer encouragement to guide us along the way.

Bri Rooke, editorial assistant, U.S. Catholic

“Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran explore suffering and encourage us to lean into our feelings and to take each circumstance as a chance to learn more about God.” —Ave Maria Press

Paperback: $16.95

Available at bookstores or from Ave Maria Press at (800) 282-1865 or avemariapress.com.

General Book Club Guidelines

May 2022

Faithful Antiracism

By Christina Barland Edmondson and Chad Brennan

Do Christians need another book on anti-oppression? Christina Barland Edmondson and Chad Brennan have convinced me that the answer is yes. Their new book, Faithful Antiracism, is one of the first I’ve seen that connects wide-ranging sociological data on Christians’ views of race and racism with concrete steps for building the Beloved Community.

Each chapter analyzes data from the Race, Religion, and Justice Project—national research directed by Brennan—and applies them to the gospel call to love and care for one another. The end of each chapter includes reflection questions and a prayer to help readers apply the data and studies to their own lives.

Edmondson and Brennan don’t shy away from the difficulties inherent in this work. However, in the epilogue they also dare to dream of a world where racial justice has been truly achieved. This valuable book is for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of race in the United States or driven to work toward anti-oppression.

Emily Sanna, managing editor, U.S. Catholic

“Compelled by our previous social moment and by the timeless truth of scripture, Faithful Antiracism will equip readers to move past talk and enter the fight against racism in both practical and hopeful ways.” —InterVarsity Press

Paperback: $25.00

Available at bookstores or from InterVarsity Press at 1-(800) 843-9487 or ivpress.com.

General Book Club Guidelines

April 2022

Give Up Worry for Good!

By Gary Zimak

When looking for a group study book for personal growth in the upcoming year, consider Gary Zimak’s Give Up Worry for Good! Divided into eight-week sections, each with seven daily reflections, the book includes thought-provoking verses and response sections to help readers “break free from worry” by focusing on Christ in the midst of hardships.

Throughout the book, Zimak reminds readers that “we are made for joy” and invites us to turn to Christ for help with trusting the worries of life to Gods care. To do so, he suggests replacing worry with hope by focusing on the work of Christ: “Recognizing your weakness and God’s power is the secret to achieving the peace you seek.” While this book obviously won’t cure anxiety or take away hardship, it provides a good reminder to readers that when things seem out of control, we have someone on our side.

Bri Rooke, editorial assistant, U.S. Catholic

“In Give Up Worry for Good!, Gary Zimak guides readers through an eight-week program packed with insights and habits to win the battle against worry and experience the peace that only Jesus can provide.” —Ave Maria Press

Paperback: $15.95

Available at bookstores or from Ave Maria Press at 1-(800) 282-1865 or avemariapress.com.

General Book Club Guidelines

March 2022

Return to the Root: Reflections on the Inner Life

By Joyce Rupp

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Bestselling author and international retreat leader Joyce Rupp has for decades guided faithful readers toward inner peace. In her newest book, Rupp draws on a lifetime of spiritual insights that will help even the most overwhelmed and distracted feel grounded. Return to the Root: Reflections on the Inner Life includes and expands upon reflections from Rupp’s popular online newsletters to guide us through the year. With reflections, poems, and prayers for every month, Rupp helps readers reflect on how to root ourselves liturgically, in nature, and in simple everyday moments. As we enter the Lenten season, Return to the Root will help even the most stagnant spirit find room to grow.

Sarah Butler Schueller, associate editor, U.S. Catholic

“Through reflections, as well as new poems and prayers, Joyce Rupp guides us to see the essential—what keeps us rooted—so that we can feel at peace no matter the events of the world around us.” —Ave Maria Press

Paperback: $18.95

Available at bookstores or from Ave Maria Press at 1-(800) 282-1865 or avemariapress.com.

General Book Club Guidelines

February 2022

Spiritual Practices for the Brain

By Anne Kertz Kernion

It turns out that the long lineage of Christian spiritual teachers—from St. Francis of Assisi to Thomas Merton and beyond—was really on to something. Practices like nurturing gratitude, engaging in meditation, and spending time in nature have been recommended for centuries by countless saints to encourage spiritual growth and well-being, and now modern science is beginning to discover that these practices benefit not just the should but the mind and body as well.

Anne Kertz Kernion’s Spiritual Practices for the Brain examines these and many more traditional spiritual practices and, through the lens of modern scientific research, shows the surprising health benefits of these ancient practices. Each chapter provides not only scientific insight into the benefits of spiritual habits but also an approachable, practical guide to incorporating each habit into one’s life. Spiritual Practices for the Brain is a must-read for anyone looking to lead a healthier life.

Nathaniel Hunter, assistant editor, U.S. Catholic

“This book relies on the most current research to link spiritual practices to improved health. Kerning relates seemingly simple practices with powerful results for your mind, body, and soul.” —Loyola Press

Paperback: $14.99

Available at bookstores or from Loyola Press at 1-(800) 621-1008 or loyolapress.com

General Book Club Guidelines

January 2022

A White Catholic’s Guide to Racism and Privilege

By Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M.

White Catholics who seek to increase their awareness of race-based injustices in the church and world will find a welcome companion in Franciscan Father Daniel P. Horan’s A White Catholic’s Guide to Racism and Privilege. The book covers not just the history of racism at play in the church and world but also how the problem continues to exist today—and what we should do about it.

From page one, Horan makes it clear that the onus of righting this egregious wrong lies firmly in the hands of those of us like himself who enjoy privilege. While this book serves as a thorough introduction to these topics, Horan has also curated further reading lists at the end of each chapter that contain more in-depth resources (many writers who identify as nonwhite) on the themes of each chapter.

Stephanie Clary, digital editor, U.S. Catholic

“Father Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M. shares what he has learned about uncovering and combating racial inequity in our nation and in our church, urging us to join the fight.” —Ave Maria Press

Paperback: $17.95

Available at bookstores or from Ave Maria Press at 1-(800) 282-1865 or avemariapress.com

General Book Club Guidelines

See past U.S. Catholic  Book Club entries

The titles featured in the U.S. Catholic Book Club are selected each month by the magazine’s editors from submissions by participating book publishers. The publisher provides a paid advertising in U.S. Catholic magazine for the featured book.