Let me share with you my three favorite books of the past year. It isn't required that the book be published in the current year. Often, by happenstance, I stumble upon a book written some time ago. Better discovered late than not at all. Here are my best reads of 2015.
Fiction = The Garden of Papa Santuzzu by Tony Ardizzone
An amazing novel that captures the flesh, blood, and spirit of Sicilian immigrants who fled hopelessness for streets of gold in La Merica. Impossible to describe this novel or its author's style, which combines human emotions, historical realities (on both sides of the ocean), mystical experience that bleeds truth, and poetry in both verse and prose.
Religious nonfiction = Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love by Elizabeth A. Johnson
In this thoroughly researched volume, American Catholic theologian Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., demonstrates her great respect for the much misunderstood Charles Darwin. She makes the case that love of the natural world is an intrinsic element of faith in God and that far from being an add-on, ecological care is at the center of moral life. Beautifully written, as well as theologically astute.
General Nonfiction = The Great Reformer: Francis and Making of a Radical Pope by Austen Ivereigh
A wonderful biography of Jorge Bergoglio, S.J. (Pope Francis). Thoroughly researched and based on interviews with those "who knew him when." Ivereigh makes it clear that the pope we know today did not become the man we know today after moving from Buenos Aires to Rome.
Happy reading in 2016!!