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In Issue 4, 2002 of Hearts Aflame Magazine writer Margaret Cooper gives tips on finding good books to read. Mrs. Cooper writes "Choosing good novels is often difficult in today's secular market where immorality and violence are the major selling attractions. There are, however, several ways to select excellent novels without compromising your principles."

The following is an outline of her guide:

  1. THE BOOK'S COVER- It is true that you "cannot judge a book by its cover".
  2. THE BLURB - Read the dust jacket cover to get an idea of what the book is about.
  3. THE AUTHOR - Read the short biography about the author on the dust jacket, in order to get an idea of what else he or she has written.
  4. SIGNS - Read the signs above the book racks to indicate the general topic of the book or ask sales clerks or librarians for help.
  5. LIBRARY REFERENCES - Use this to find out more about the author and to get an insight on their character.
  6. SCANNING - Flip through the pages and read randomly.
  7. START READING - Begin reading the book. If you find it objectionable, stop reading it.

CHH's Selection of Good Books

America's Bishop by Thomas C. Reeves
Published by Encounter Books
A Biography on the life and times of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. A very insightful and entertaining book on the life of America's best-loved Catholic bishops.

Bishop Walsh of Maryknoll A Biography by Raymond Kerrison
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.
This book tells about this heroic missioner, his work in China and his martyrdom for the faith.

Damien the Leper by John Farrow
A Biography of the Life of Joseph de Veuster. Published by Sheed and Ward.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
Published by Barbour and Company, Inc.
The inspiring tale of Corrie ten Boom and her family and how they helped protect Jews during the Nazi terror.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
Published by Sheed and Ward.
A classic book which every Christian should read and follow.

Life of Blessed Dominic Savio by Saint John Bosco
Slightly abridged from the Italian by Roderic Bright. Published by Salesiana Publishers and Distributors.
The wonderful story of young saint Dominic Savio, told to us by someone who knew him well, St. John Bosco.

Lift Up Your Heart by Fulton J. Sheen
Published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. One of many excellent books by prolific writer Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Lord of the World by Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson
published by The Neumann Press.
This novel about the anti-christ was written by Anglican convert to Catholicism Monsignor Benson and is still very compelling to read.

The Man Who Fought the Devil by Eva K. Betz
Published by The Neumann Press
One of our favorite books about the Cure d' Ars. Inspiring for both children as well as adults.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola with Translation and Commentary by W. H. Longridge
Published by A.R. Mowbray and Co., Ltd.
Another classical Catholic work written by the founder of the Jesuits

Thinking Life Through by Fulton J. Sheen
Published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.
All of Bishop Sheen's works are worth reading over and over again.

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One of our favorite authors is Betty Smith.

Betty Smith was born in Brooklyn in 1906. Although Mrs. Smith as some 60 published one-act plays and six full-length dramas to her credit, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was her first novel. She said of it, "Brooklyn is not a city. It is a faith. You cannot become a Brooklynite. You have to be born one. I was born in Brooklyn. For a long time I wanted to write about it the way I knew it. One day I bought a ream of paper and started to write."

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Published by the Blakeston Company.
This is the story of Francie Nolan and the world of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that made her. Because the family in the story is Catholic, Catholic readers will relate to many of the references.

Maggie Now by Betty Smith
Published by Harper and Brothers.
This is another story of a young heroine living in Brooklyn

Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith
Published by Harper and Brothers

Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith
Published by Harper and Row Publishers.
Touching story about a newlywed couple. Considered to be authobiographical by some.

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Pearl S. Buck was one of the most renowed, interesting, and controversial figures ever to influence American and Chinese cultural and literary history... Born into a missionary family, Pearl Buck lived the first half of her life in China and was bilingual from childhood. Although she is best known, perhaps, as the prolific author of The Good Earth and as a winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, Buck in fact led a career that extended well beyond her eighty works of fiction and nonfiction and deep into the public sphere...

Excerpt from Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography by Peter Conn

  1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    Touching novel of Wang Lung and his family
  2. Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    The story of a middle-age woman and the selfish changes she makes in her life
  3. Peony by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    A story about a Jewish family living in China
  4. House of Earth by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    This is The Good Earth Trilogy and continues with the story of Wang Lung's Sons
  5. Portrait of a Marriage by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    A study of a marriage and one of the few novels set in America
  6. Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    The non-fictional story of Empress Tsu Hsi, the last empress of China
  7. All Men Are Brothers
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    Translated from the Chinese by Pearl S. Buck
  8. Letter From Peking by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    Touching story of a wife whose husband elects to remain in Communist China and their enduring love
  9. The Proud Heart by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
    Another novel that takes place in the United States.
  10. The Patriot by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company, Inc.
  11. The Exile by Pearl S. Buck
    Published by John Day Company,Inc.
    The story of Pearl S. Buck's Mother
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Favorite Childhood Books:

Most of The Vision Books may be purchased online from Ignatius Press, by clicking below. Some are out of print.


  1. Saint John Bosco and the Children's Saint Dominc Savio by Catherine Beebe
  2. Father Marquette and the Great Rivers by August Derleth
  3. Francis and Clare: Saints of Assisi by Helen Walker Homan
  4. Saint Anthony and the Christ Child by Helen Walker Homan
  5. Fighting Father Duffy by Virginia Lee Bishop and Jim Bishop
  6. Saint Therese and the Roses by Helen Walker Homan
  7. Bernadette and the Lady by Hertha Pauli
  8. St. Ignatius and the Company of Jesus by August Derleth
  9. Modern Crusaders by John Travers Moore and Rosemarian V. Staudacher
  10. My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic by Roger Buliard
  11. Good Pope John by Elizabeth Odell Sheehan
  12. The Cross in the West by Mark Boesch
  13. Our Lady Came to Fatima by Ruth Fox Hume
  14. Saint Joan: The Girl Soldier by Louis de Wohl
  15. Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity by Alma Power-Waters
  16. Lydia Longley: The First American Nun by Helen A. McCarthy
  17. Katharine Drexel: Friend of the Neglected by Ellen Tarry
  18. Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maid by Evelyn M. Brown
  19. St. Pius X: The Farm Boy who Became Pope by Walter Diethelm
  20. John Carroll: Priest and Patriot by Milton Lomask
  21. St. Margaret Mary: Apostle of the Sacred Heart by Ruth Fox Hume
  22. More Champions in Sports and Spirit by Ed Fitzgerald
  23. Mother Cabrini: Missionary to the World by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  24. St. Elizabeth's Three Crowns by Blanche Jennings Thompson
  25. St. Francis of the Seven Seas by Albert J. Nevins
  26. Vincent de Paul: Saint of Charity by Margaret Ann Hubbard
  27. Saints of the Byzantine World by Blanche Jennings Thompson
  28. Chaplains in Action by Rosemarian V. Staudacher
  29. Charles de Foucauld: Adventurer of the Desert by Emmeline Garnett
  30. Christmas and the Saints by Berthe Pauli
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  1. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
    Sensitive story of a young Jewish girl who hides a German POW in the South, during World War II
  2. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
    The first of a series of books about five little Jewish girls and their families living in turn of the century New York
  3. More All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
  4. All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sidney Taylor
  5. All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown by Sidney Taylor
  6. Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
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Other Favorite Authors:

All of the following authors books are recommended for adults.

  1. Mary Higgins Clark
  2. Robin Cook
  3. Sue Grafton
  4. John Grisham
  5. Belva Plain
  6. Amy Tan
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This site was created on December 15, 2002 and updated on June 8, 2006.

Copyright 2002-2006 - Catholic Homeschooling in Hawaii
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