I have moved some book ideas for Lenten reading to the first four pages of the Books by-the-Sea amazon.com "aStore" in the sidebar.
Lent is a good time, I think, to choose a book that you might not consider for light summer reading, whether it is a book of meditations on the Cross or perhaps a book about the desert fathers of the Early Church who lived in great asceticism, or a book about prayer at a time when you may be spending more time in prayer than usual. I also included a collection of books about the Curé d'Ars, St. John Vianney, who lived in poverty and simplicity as a French country priest and a few other things I thought appropriate for Lenten reading.
The Holy Father's Message for Lent this year encourages a return to a more serious Lenten fast. I was really glad to see that.
I limited my diet for 40 days each year when I was in an Anglican church that encouraged (but did not require) such fasting, and it was always a very helpful practice. It is one that I will return to more carefully this year, and I am thinking about how I will go about it. Fish, frankly, has become expensive enough that it is a luxury and not a fast in many cases. Soups and other low cost meals, I think, might replace some of the meals that would have been fish a few years ago during those 40 days.
One book I just added to my Listmania List called "A Beneficial Lent" is a book called When You Fast: Recipes for Lenten Seasons by Catherine Mandell. It is a collection of 200 recipes for Lent from the Orthodox Church's St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. The Orthodox Lenten fast avoids not only meat, but also dairy products and oils. You might not want to stick to anything that strict for the entirety of Lent, but a lot of families could probably use the help with more Lenten recipes anyway. I also have another cookbook specifically for Lent, and a monastery soups cookbook that has some recipes suitable for Lent (depending on what you are giving up), while some of the others might be too complicated or may have ingredients that you might have given up for Lent.
That list also has DVD's and music as well as a few books. The idea of combining them came from my own experience that choices of music, food, and reading, as well as changing or adding to my usual daily prayer pattern has made Lent something I look forward to each year.
I have heard at least two people, over the years, tell me that they left the Catholic Church because (1) they did not like fish and (2) they did not like tuna casserole. Those are pretty flimsy excuses. Probably, you have to be careful about Lenten practices for kids who are too young to benefit from them. But a better choice of recipes might help. There are so many good vegetarian recipes out there now, and I never heard anybody say that they gave up a vegetarian lifestyle because they didn't like potatoes or whatever.
A Lenten fast ought to be a time of spiritual gifts and conversion, and not a time of boredom. If a time of penitence is productive, it shouldn't be depressing. I expect to change during Lent, and I look forward to unexpected life-changing spiritual gifts of Lent the way I look forward to the gifts of Christmas. I have certain music that I look forward to listening to each year at that time and an expectation that God might guide me toward growth in an unexpected direction.
Different people count the 40 days of fasting differently. I include the 40 days other than Sundays starting from Ash Wednesday and going through Holy Saturday, ending the time of fasting with sunset on Holy Saturday, or right after the Holy Saturday Mass. Sunday is never a day of fasting.
I hope that maybe the bookstore and Listmania suggestions will be of help to others who want to live a more serious Lent this year, perhaps encouraged by the Holy Father's Message for Lent. I think I too will do more this Lent than I have done in recent years.