The New Jerusalam Bible (NJB) is the first catholic Bible that has made me generally happy since converting. The footnotes at the bottom of each page and cross-references in the margin are worthwhile. The translation and notes also seem better than the RSV (Revised Standard Version) and the New American Bible (NAB). The NAB is my least favorite edition. The Douay-Rheims Bible is good for translation, but sharing it with others without a taste for archaic forms of English is a bit of a problem.
The Navarre Bible series is great and preferred as a starting point for commentary, but I don't own the whole set...and the New Jerusalem Bible is more portable and attainable at 2000 pages. For the curious, the Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary (1859 edition) is available online.
The versions of the Bible that I used while young were: (in order of preference, but I used them all simultaneously nearly verse by verse)
- The King James Version (helped by a Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 8th edition (1970-1980))
- The Picture Bible by Iva Hoth (can help for clarifying people/events in your head)
- A Children's Literature Bible (It was a complete Bible and somehow seemed more comprehensive/explicit than the "Good News Bible".)
- The Good News Bible (with those odd stick-like figure drawings)