Sophomore year! Freshman blues are far behind, drivers’ licenses are just around the corner, and we’re finally getting the hang of this whole “high school” thing… at least, that was my sophomore experience.
I put together a list of books that I’d recommend a sophomore to read, and you’ll notice they’re all pretty different. That’s intentional, because as you make the transition from ‘just out of middle school’ to ‘young person,’ you might find that there’s a certain part of our faith that’s most exciting to you. So check these out and you might just find something that opens up a whole world of reading to you.
1. The Book of Ruth by the Word of God.
Think you don’t have time to read? The book of Ruth (it’s in the Bible – you have one, right?) is only four pages. Four pages. Whether you’re a girl or a guy, the story of Ruth’s faithfulness and trust is inspiring. Because it’s so short, you can read the whole story as a story, start to finish. Sometimes we can intimidate ourselves out of reading scripture, thinking that we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. Trust me, you can chew four pages – and you’ll be able to say you’ve read an entire book of the Bible!
2. Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft
This one’s a little bit of a brain-buster, but that’s a good thing. Peter Kreeft is a philosopher and writer from Boston, and in this book he’s put the teachings of the Catechism into something a little more manageable. The topics of our faith are broken into sections, but instead of a simple matter-of-fact answer, Kreeft explains what how the truth of our Church ties together. If you’ve ever felt like you needed someone to explain parts of the Catechism to you, it’s a great book to pick up.
3. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
This is one of my favorite books. If you’ve ever enjoyed any science fiction or fantasy, if you’ve picked up a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, this is a must-read. The book is the story of Ransom, who – long story short – gets kidnapped and taken to Mars by two unscrupulous bad guys. What’s so cool about the story is that Lewis builds everything on his Christian theology… so even though it’s fictional you’ll still recognize the truth of how God works. C.S. Lewis was a master of blending deep theological issues with amazing storytelling. Grab Out of the Silent Planet and you won’t regret it.
4. Compact History of the Catholic Church by Alan Schreck, Ph. D.
First off, let me confess that Dr. Schreck was one of my professors while I was at Franciscan University… but that’s not the reason I’m recommending his book. His Compact History is just that, a tiny book that crams in a lot of the history of the Church. We spend a lot of time learning about where our Church is now, but it can only make our faith deeper to understand where we’ve been.
Have fun reading, figure out what you like, and come up with your own list of favorites. I’ll be praying for you.