Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Much to the great frustration of my wife, I have a passion for books. I love to read them -- and to collect them.

Here's a question for my faithful readers -- all six of them!

What are your favorite books, and what books have made the greatest impact on your lives? (Not including Sacred Scripture -- let's assume that as a given!)

I'll start:

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church by Hans Urs von Balthasar

The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon

Boy, a shrink would have fun with THAT list!

There are others -- but this is good for a start!

Papa Z

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Blogger Fr. James said...

I suppose I'm one of your six readers!! :-)

I too love to read, and the books that have been most influential to me have been those books which have galvanized my own conversion from a Protestant to a Catholic worldview. These books include:

1) "The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism" by Louis Bouyer

2) "The Spirit of Catholicism" by Karl Adam

3) "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating

4) "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" by Scott Hahn

I could probably list a half dozen more, but off the top of my head, these books really confirmed the reason for the change of direction in my own spiritual journey.

Fr. James Hamrick
Lamb of God Church
Thurmont, Maryland

1:16 PM  
Blogger JTKlopcic said...

That would make me Two of Six...

I think the most influential books in my life are (in no particular order):

Dominic, by William Steig. This is his first book, way before Shrek or any of his award winners. I read this as a child, and the adventurous nobility of the title character and his philosophical musings have probably sunk deeper into my soul than I realize.

Tom Swift and the Cosmic Astronauts, et al. Yes, the science and enginering is almost laughable by any serious standards, but the characters still ring true to me after all these years. The personal integrity and resourcefulness of the title character made him a hero in my eight-year-old eyes.

The Hobbit The first "real" fantasy book I ever read. Enough said.

The Dungeon Masters Guide Carried me off into fantasyland. I think I'm better now....

For the Life of the World by Fr Alexander Schmemann. This book opened my eyes to a world-filling sacramental theology, which I have just begun to explore.

I'll post more as I think of them (and if anyone really cares)....

11:31 AM  
Blogger David Zampino said...

Greetings, my friends! I'm glad that I've gotten a response! Fr. James, "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" is one of the books I've reviewed for (I would shamelessly invite all and sundry to check out my reviews on! I'm a top 500 Reviewer.) Joel -- you're not going to believe this . . . but I've collected Tom Swift, Jr. books for 20 years! Believe it or not, I have all 33 volumes (including the almost impossible to find "Tom Swift and the Galaxy Ghosts") in the picture covers, with a few of the variant editions as well. I LOVE those books! And "The Hobbit"? What can I say!

Have you noticed that the "Shire theme music" in the "Lord of the Rings" movies is a theme/variation on "This Is My Father's World"?

One can only hope . . . ("Leaf by Niggle" anyone?)

11:47 AM  
Blogger JTKlopcic said...

Whoa!! You have all the Tom Swift Jr series?? Way cool! I have about half of them in various editions. Almost miraculously, they survived the attic fire -- I had pulled the box out to find one to read to my boys, and it never made it's way back in....

I don't know how many times I've listened to "In Dreams" or found myself humming the opening bars, but I don't think I've ever compared it to "This is My Father's World". It fits, to a point. The lyrics are vague enough to hold just about any interpretation, methinks, including a Catholic one.

1:37 PM  
Blogger MommaBlogger said...

Hmm, does that make me 3 of 6? :D

Let's see. Favorite books. I'd have to say I have favorite authors more than favorite books, so I'll go that route.

1. Mary Higgins Clark. I know there's a formula to her books, and I STILL can't figure out who did it until the end. But she has some good writing.

2. I've recently discovered William X. Kienzle, a Catholic murder mystery writer. Good writing, and the Catholic theme makes it fun.

3. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis, and of course the Chronicles of Narnia. I'd say of those two collections, I like Perelandra and The Last Battle the best.

4. I also have a few oddities that I re-read over and over again, The House of Stairs, and The Mark of Merlin.

5. I also like Jack Higgins, good old war mysteries.

Can you tell I like murder/mystery type books for the most part?

8:51 AM  
Blogger Flea said...

I am now one of your six (oop! now seven!) readers.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis (I love all of Narnia and the space trilogy, but Eustace as a dragon is my life story in a nutshell)

What's So Amazing About Grace, by Phil Yancey

You're really making me choose favorites? You know that's like asking me to choose a favorite child, right?

Fiction: The Potluck Club, by Shepherd and Everson

Thorn In My Heart, by Higgs

Some Wildflower in My Heart, by Jamie Langston Turner

Exodus, by Leon Uris

Okay. I think I'm done for now. Too many to choose from.

9:53 PM  

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