Monday, January 17, 2011

The Weekly Bookworm: Online Reading

As a dedicated bookworm, I like nothing better than to snuggle up in comfortable chair with book. No electronic reading gadgets for me! I enjoy the weight of a book in my lap, the feel of the pages, even the smell of the paper and binding. But even I am forced to admit the convenience of online books, especially for those of us who can't always get to an academic library and/or afford to buy paper copies of every book we want to read (as much as we'd like to).

I frequently visit the following websites, which offer a wide selection of Catholic classics and/or out-of-copyright volumes about every subject imaginable.

1. SalvationHistory.com – Dr. Scott Hahn's St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology offers everything from online Bible study classes and audio lessons to a resource library packed full of interesting links to reading on Scripture, liturgy, and apologetics.

2. New Advent – Along with a full Catholic encyclopedia, New Advent provides a full edition of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica, full-text works of the Fathers of the Church, and a library of Church documents.

3. The Vatican – The Vatican website offers full-text writings from popes, councils, and Vatican offices.

4. Free Catholic eBooks – This site features pdf downloads for quite a few Catholic classics, including St. Therese of Lisieux's The Story of a Soul.

5. Catholic Treasury – The writings of several saints and theologians are available here, including two books by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

6. Catholic Spiritual Direction – This is another good website to discover spiritual classics like Jean-Pierre de Caussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence.

7. Sancte Pater – Saints' writings, reference books, Scripture commentaries, meditations, and lots of miscellaneous spiritual texts are available as pdf downloads through this blog.

8. EWTN – Just go to the EWTN library to find lots and lots and lots of interesting reading.

9. Christian Classics Ethereal Library – Dozens Catholic and Protestant theological and spiritual classics are available here.

10. Internet Archive – This site features over two million, yes two million, digitized books on a huge range of subjects. It's actually pretty overwhelming.

11. Google Books – Google provides out-of-copyright books of all kinds in full-text editions.

There are many other websites that offer good reading material, but these are the best I've found. I still prefer a good hardcover or paperback book (it's hard to snuggle up with a computer), but online editions are convenient, cheap, and easy-to-access, so enjoy a good read! 

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