Yeah, I actually considered not doing this, since who really cares what I think. But, since my little boy Judah was sick over the weekend, I had some extra time at night to compile this list. So, take it for what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
Knox Bible- I love this Bible, not only because of the translation, but even more so due to the high quality craftsmanship that went into produce this volume. Even though I had mine rebound in goatskin leather, there are days where I long for the leather hardcover. Not many mind you, but enough that it reminds me how great a job Baronius did with this volume. Baronius Press is a model for Catholic book and Bible publishers. The language is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is well worth having if you are into slowly reading through the scriptures.
HarperOne NABRE- I still consider this the best edition of the NABRE on the market. I would have given that ranking to the Oxford's Catholic Study Bible NABRE, but they still haven't updated the reading guides. HarperOne has produced a beautifully designed page, utilizing red coloring in a tasteful and contemporary way. The only drawback is that the imitation leather cover is a huge disappointment, so stick with the hardcover.
Roman Breviary- 1961 by Baronius Press- I actually don't own this, but since I regularly pray the Little Office I'd love to get one someday in the future. Unfortunately, with a price tag of $359, that will likely not happen anytime soon, although it may not be available for very long.
Divine Intimacy- As a friend of mine comments, this book is truly spiritual weightlifting. Baronius provided me a review copy back in the summer and I have been praying with this regularly ever since. Formed in Carmelite spirituality, "every day it offers two meditations, in liturgical arrangement, that enable the soul to enter the conscious presence of God and to reflect on the theme of the day. These are followed by a ‘Colloquy’ that helps the person at prayer to start a friendly conversation with God where acts of praise and love, petition and thanksgiving are made, together with good resolutions for the future. Here we are at the very heart of prayer, which is a heart-to-heart encounter in faith with the living God." And, of course, since it is from Baronius, it is made of the highest quality materials.
God's Bucket List-Teresa Tomeo: If I were to recommend a book to give to a family member or friend who you think is close to taking their faith seriously, but are just not quite there yet, I'd go with this one. Why? Well, it makes the case that when one decides to discover God's will in their life, they will actually experience such great happiness and fulfillment that they will wonder how they lived any other way. I know of so many people who I think are so close to turning to the Lord, but are afraid of the cost of doing so. This book is a big help, and is written in a popular and approachable style that anyone can read it. Teresa mixes in both Catholic teaching and her own personal stories to weave a compelling case to put our trust in God's bucket list for our lives. Image has provided me a review copy of this book.
Word and Image: The Hermeneutics of the Saint John's Bible by Fr. Michael Patella: As most of you know, I love the Saint John's Bible. This is a beautifully illustrated volume by one who was intimately involved in its production. It includes a lot scriptural insights and cross-references related to the various illuminations.
Coffee with Jesus by David Wilkie: This book is a lot fun, well worth the $12 I paid for it. It has made me both pause to think a bit, as well as laugh out loud. I even use a few of the strips in class.
The following are three albums that were released this past year by Catholic artists who deserve your attention.
Theandric- The Door of Faith: A beautiful collection of songs that reflect on many of the themes of our Pope Emeritus and our recently concluded "Year of Faith."
Matt Maher-All the People Said Amen: Probably the most well-known of all Catholics in the contemporary Christian music scene, Matt Maher's latest is a wonderful mix of new studio tracks and live recordings. I have probably listened to this album more than any other over the past year.
Audrey Assad- Fortunate Fall: This has become a standard each and every night, since the pleasant melodies and enchanting voice of Audrey helps our children meditate upon the scene of the Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane, also known as go to sleep! Highly recommended!