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Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter Paperback – March 6, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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About the Author

Jennifer Fulwiler is a programmer-turned-writer who chronicles her experiences of faith and family life on her popular blog, ConversionDiary.com. Her articles have also appeared in America, Our Sunday Visitor, Envoy and National Review Online. The author has been a guest on the television shows Fox and Friends, Life on the Rock, and The Choices We Face, and is producing a reality show called Minor Revisions. She and her husband, Joe, live in Austin, Texas, with their six young children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612785727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612785721
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This Lent, I'd been looking for a fresh take on the spiritual life to try to get refocused and re-energized. Thanks to my Kindle, I was able to snag this wonderful little volume on the first day it was out. It has turned out to be just what I was looking for. It's a delightful collection of essays that I'm finding inspiring and humorous, but also challenging to my "status quo". Because each essay stands alone, it works well with the fact that my only reading time is usually a few minutes right before bed. While the essays are readable, they're definitely not vapid, feel-good pablum. I've found each essay thought-provoking in a different way, and I appreciate the questions for reflection at the end of each one.

All in all, a wonderful collection from a group of fine writers.
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I recently read Style, Sex and Substance, a book featuring short essays about...style, sex and substance from ten Catholic women. The contributors will be familiar to anyone familiar with the Catholic blogosphere and include the likes of Hallie Lord, Jennifer Fulwiler, Simcha Fisher, Daniel Bean and Barabara Nicolosi. There essays confront important issues like how to approach sex (yes, with your spouse), what it means to be a Catholic woman in the world today and how to engage the culture we live in. For those who picture Catholics as having a bunker mentality, they will be surprised Without giving anything away, these essays do not encourage the exclusive use of the missionary position, treating the house like a cloistered convent or engaging the culture by throwing rosaries at passers by. No, these women are frank, honest, modern and deeply committed to the teachings of the Church. They are each in their own way models for the Catholic women of today. Not that they set themselves up as perfect. In fact, they are perfectly clear about how hard it is to find a balance in life and that doing so with five kids throwing their shows at each other in the minivan is even harder.
And yeah, I'm a guy and still enjoyed the book. For the most part, all of the advice in it would apply just as for men if you swap out the word "husband" and replace it with "wife."
And that brings me to my last point. The guys who write books for Catholic men could take a hint or two from these ladies. Don't be afraid to be funny for one. Yeah, it's cool to use the imagery of knighthood and battle, call us to imitation of St. Joseph and all that. Heck I'm a particular sucker for the knighthood imagery but it only goes so far. Make a good joke! About family life and the kids.
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Format: Paperback
(This review was written by my wife, Kathleen.)

As a young wife, and stay-at-home mom of three kids, I knew I would relate to Hallie Lord's new book, Style, Sex, and Substance. And that was true--it was packed with relevant content. But I was surprised to relate even to the chapter on singleness by Anna Mitchell, which had plenty of its own nuggets. This one especially hit me:

"I won't sugarcoat the frustration that comes from waiting for a vocation to be realized. I am at least consoled in knowing that my ideas for the ideal life are not as good as God's."

Anna was talking specifically about her discernment process, and choosing between marriage, a convent, or the single life. But her words taught me many lessons even as a married woman. They were a good reminder that ultimately God is a capable conductor, even when we want to steal the baton.

This is just one example of how applicable Style, Sex, and Substance would be for all women, whatever her age or state in life. Through the gifted contributors, an 18-year-old high school graduate would get just as much out of this book as a 40-year-old nun who long ago professed her vows.

The consistent theme of the book is how to discern your true vocation, to find that place where God has uniquely called you to be. And that's not a vocation for the future but for the present. As Rebecca Ryskind Teti points out in her chapter on work, "God gives us the grace to do what we must right now."

At times I found myself in tears at the deep emotional truths I was reading, feeling as though that particular author had written the words on the page just for me. But there was also plenty of laughs (you try reading Simcha Fisher without chuckling.
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I cannot believe how good this book is. The writers are funny, warm, concise, and bring a wealth of wisdom to their topics. The study questions at the end of each essay could be used to take one's "temperature" in life. The writers are NOT fake and unbelievably perfect. They don't point to tiny faults so that we'll think they have no larger ones. The writers come from diverse backgrounds and approach common problems with such compassion for themselves and their readers. You can feel how seriously they take the task of offering advice to other people; there is no arrogance, just a prayerful, peaceful offering of what they have learned.

Something that I love about this book is how realistic the writers' descriptions of themselves and their faults are. Some bloggers give one the sense that their lives are an endless stream of crafts and novenas, or constant chaos that somehow stays funny. These women have been so open about what really goes on in their lives: the good, the bad, the so-so.

This is a book that can help you if you're looking for some encouragement on your path, want to be more comfortable in your own skin, and want to better understand all that God calls women to do. It doesn't hurt that there are plenty of funny, interesting passages too.
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