Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pocket Guide to Sainthood: A Field Manual for the Super-Virtuous Life by Jason Boyett

I told you there would be more of Boyett and here it is, the last book I read in March. Naturally, its format and tone is similar to Pocket Guide to the Bible. It includes a glossary (titled "There Should Have Been a St. Webster"), a descriptive listing of popular saints, a selection of patron saints and their causes, the details of the canonization process, and a chapter of random lists.

The stories of the saints, particularly from The Golden Legend, are unbelievably gruesome. The quickest path to sainthood is to be martyred, and many saints didn't have quick or mundane deaths. Boyett has a lot of fun with these horrific but improbable tales. He also notes several saints who most likely never existed.

Like the other pocket guide, I read this aloud to my wife. We both enjoyed Boyett's sarcasm, though my wife was disgusted by some of the martyr stories (odd considering her encyclopedic knowledge of serial killers). I also have Boyett's Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse, but the month ran out before we could start it.


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