| Goodreads’ recommendations usually leave me scratching my head. It seems to make irrelevant connections, like Oh, you’ve liked a book with a red cover before – try this! But, I was intrigued by the Goodreads algorithm putting The Catholic Hipster Handbook in front of me. I’m not Catholic, but I did go to Catholic school for a bit. I don’t label myself as a hipster, but that’s only because I’m too busy with my vinyl collection and third-wave coffee and pipes to worry about labels. And as an attorney I love a good handbook. Good job, Goodreads!
I wasn’t familiar with Tommy Tighe or his catholichipster.com site, prior to his book. Based on his website, it looks like he is a marriage and family therapist and a writer. In this book, he’s assembled a stable of contributors over there to help him with writing an eclectic mix of progressive ideas with Catholic thought and tradition. Tighe contributes the most essays in the book, but there are over a dozen other writers included, include Jeannie Gaffigan. (If you recognize the last name, she is married to comedian Jim Gaffigan and I believe she writes his shows for him.)
Most essays follow a formula of including a short contemplation, a prayer, the biography of an obscure saint, and an activity to take part in in light of the saint. The format makes it easy to pick up and put down the book when you only have a few minutes. The reader can also reflect for some time on the nourishing morsels (or quickly read another section if one doesn’t connect).
This was a fun and sincere idea for a book that came from a running joke on Twitter, but overall nothing stuck out enough for me to recommend it to anyone.