With this weekend's announcement of the new Kindle Owners' Lending Library for Amazon Prime Members, I dragged my original Kindle Keyboard Reader out of mothballs (she's been neglected since her friend iPad moved into my life) and charged her up.

Within minutes, I located and downloaded my first Kindle library selection, Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, the second installment in the Hunger Games series. I've had my eye on the book for months, but have had a hard time justifying the expense when my office is packed with books waiting to be read. Spending some time each day with the Kindle has reminded me how much I enjoy using an e-Reader.

The good news for Catholics who enjoy reading electronic versions of classics is that there are many places where one can go to enjoy great books without an Amazon Prime membership, since at the moment there are only three titles in the "Catholicism" subcategory of the Kindle library. Here are a few options for great free Catholic ebooks:

I'm sure our readers have discovered additional resources for finding terrific Catholic ebooks. Please share your favorites in the comments below. While we're on the topic of ebooks, I'd love to also discuss a question that has arisen frequently since Kindles, iPads, smartphones and Nooks became so commonplace.

Is it appropriate for Catholics to use these devices the way that we would use print versions of Catholic classics and prayerbooks in our Adoration chapels, at Mass or during prayer? Here are a few of my personal rules for use of ereaders in sacred spaces:

  • Ensure that the device is silenced.
  • Sit near the rear of the worship area so that my use of the device will not cause a distraction to others.
  • When using a device with access to the Internet, use it in "airplane mode" which temporarily disables the Internet and keeps me from becoming distracted from my spiritual reading.
  • Bring along hard copy alternatives in the event that it's apparent that my device may distract or interrupt the prayer of others.
  • Spend extra time unplugged, in silence -- even if I am reading spiritual materials, time simply praying quietly in the presence of God nourishes my soul and replenishes my spirit.

I'd love to hear from readers who use ereaders and other devices as part of your prayer time -- do you have rules like mine or do you avoid using your tech toys in spiritual situations?