I always love the joy of researching how I'm going to use my Christmas gift cards. And there is no gift card that I adore more than one to my favorite online shopping destination, amazon.com. I've been wanting a nice Bible for a long time, one that is attractive but small enough for travel and personal devotions. I also wanted a "study" format with notes of some kind, in a Catholic translation. I read the scriptures often via Mass readings and in the Liturgy of the Hours (I'll post about that separately one of these days), but I've never kept up a daily devotion of reading the Bible chronologically each day.
So, with my amazon booty this year, I thought ahead to Lent and the new devotions I'd like to start in the hopes of fostering a new habit that I keep up, and I researched Bibles. As quickly becomes the case with any online research I do, I became absorbed and wiled away hours and hours doing this, and I loved every minute of it :) I looked into the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, translated by some highly regarded Catholic apologists and published by the orthodox Ignatius Press. Impressive, definitely, but I have to admit it's a bit too "scholarly" even for the Catholic Librarian. I also couldn't find one in the format I'd like, aesthetics-wise. I have paperback Bibles (they rip) and plain hardback (binding broken). I wanted something a bit sturdier. I'm hard on books :)
My interest was piqued by the New American Bible, frequently used at Mass. I had a paperback of this translation in the past, and it was always my favorite. It disintegrated rather quickly, but I used it in a Bible study that I belonged to in law school, and I really liked it. It has extensive footnotes included throughout the text, and the translation is more aimed at regular people, if you know what I mean, but not as loosey goosey (not a bad thing at all, it's just a difference) as the Good News Bible or The Message. I own a copy of the New Testament edition of The Message and really like it, that's just a completely different entity. Check it out at amazon, it's the Bible translated sort of like a novel. It's cool.
Anyway, I viewed numerous adorable New American Bibles. Different colors, cute zip-up cases, one with a magnetic close. This was more of what I was looking for. I finally settled upon a New American Bible published by Fireside, a well-regarded publisher of Catholic Bibles, called the Catholic Companion edition. Couldn't you just die with how cute that name is? It has a soft, faux leather cover, and is embossed with a crucifix on the front, and a full rosary on the back:
I received it this week, and it's *beautiful*. I chose the burgundy, pictured above, but they also make it with a black cover/tan back, and ivory cover/pink back, and these have a one decade rosary on the back. They are all really, really pretty. You can see them here. They have a full dictionary at the back (the librarian in me really digs this sort of built-in reference material) with all kinds of cool entries, like "Patron Saints" with a full listing of key saints (I found that St. Ferdinand III is the patron of engineers, at Mike's request, just from this list), and "Eastern Catholic Churches" with a full description of each. They also include maps, a listing of all popes with years of reign, and a beautiful silk ribbon to keep your place. I love mine, and I've been a good Bible reader and have read a chapter each evening. I'm starting in the New Testament (I get very bogged down in the Old Testament right around Leviticus) and so far, I'm loving the footnotes and the format. It only takes a little bit to make the Catholic Librarian very, very happy.