Friday, March 17, 2006

Books, books, books

I picked up the following books today, in keeping with my Lenten theme of reading about the early Church and especially of the saints. But I also picked up another of the recently reissued books within the Loyola Classics series, Catholics by Brian Moore, as well as Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett and Forgotten Catholic Heroes by Michael Genin. I'll read it after finishing up Viper's Tangle later next week. If you haven't already, I would highly recommend you look into the Loyola Classics series of books, whether it be for yourself and wanting to read good fiction, or as a gift for your teenage son or daughter. They are quite good and tackle subjects that never really go out of style for any of us. They are very affordable at anywhere from $10.95 to $14.95.

Other books in the Loyola Classics Series

Catholics by Brian Moore
On a harsh, barren island off the coast of Ireland stands Muck Abbey, the last spot on earth where the traditional Latin Mass is still celebrated after the reforms of the Fourth Vatican Council. A television special has brought new attention and large crowds to the activities on the island, to the displeasure of church officials. Father James Kinsella is sent to put a stop to things, but his confrontation with the monks, especially the blunt Abbot O’Malley, will reveal unexpected, challenging truths about all of them in this spare, evocative novel of faith—and doubt.

The Devil's Advocate
by Morris L. West
In a desolated village in southern Italy, the life and death of Giacamo Nerone has inspired talk of saint­hood. Father Blaise Meredith, a dying English priest, is sent from the Vatican to investigate. Morris West deftly explores the meaning of faith in this intriguing tale of secrets, lies, and sanctity.

Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? By John R. Powers
John Powers' classic comic novel of the 1960s Catholic subculture stars Eddie Ryan, a Chicago boy who learns about the important questions in life in his years at an all-boys Catholic school on Chicago’s South Side. He views it all through the prism of his Catholic mentality, which often deepens the mystery but sometimes clarifies it.

The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1962, this haunting novel shattered reigning cultural stereotypes of priests and parish life when it was first published. Father Hugh Kennedy is a recovering alcoholic, com­mitted to his vocation yet struggling with the demands of it. The Edge of Sadness is a sensitive portrait of both one man’s inner life and the mid-20th century trans-for­mation of ethnic Catholicism.

Helena by Evelyn Waugh
Helena is the intelligent, horse-mad daughter of a British chieftan who is suddenly betrothed to the warrior who becomes the Roman emperor Constantius. She spends her life seeking truth in the religions, mythologies, and philosophies of the declining ancient world. This she eventually finds in Christianity and literally in the Cross of Christ.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
This extraordinarily sensitive and insightful portrait of religious life centers on Philippa Talbot, a highly successful professional woman who leaves her life among the London elite to join a cloistered Benedictine community. In This House of Brede was the basis of a 1975 made-for-television film starring Diana Rigg.

The Last Catholic in America by John R. Powers
This is Eddie Ryan's world—the intensely Catholic world of Chicago’s Seven Holy Tombs neighborhood and St. Bastion’s parish in the 1950s. In this classic coming-of-age novel, John Powers draws readers into Eddie Ryan’s world with bittersweet humor and deep affection.

Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly
The mysterious and magnetic J. Blue spends his inherited wealth as soon as he gets it and lives in a packing box on a New York City rooftop. This beloved novel about a contemporary St. Francis figure, first published in 1928, has intrigued countless readers for decades.

North of Hope by Jon Hassler
Father Frank Healy unexpectedly encounters his former high school girlfriend, Libby, at a time of crisis in his vocation. He is drawn into the lives of Libby, her criminal husband, her troubled daughter, and other characters living in and around an Ojibway reservation in northern Minnesota where Frank pastors a mission. This absorbing, realistic and faith-filled novel explores the territory all of us find ourselves in when we believe ourselves to be “north of hope.”

Saint Francis by Nikos Kazantzakis
Kazantzakis infuses this tale with a fervent vision that is uniquely his own, highlighting the saint's heroic single-mindedness in the face of extreme physical and spiritual suffering. He portrays the saint as a great lover and inspiring leader, who embraced radical poverty in the face of many obstacles and temptations.

The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain
The Silver Chalice recounts the story of Basil, a young silversmith, who is commissioned by the apostle Luke to fashion a holder for the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. The Silver Chalice was the best-selling fiction title of 1953 in the United States and was made into a film starring Paul Newman.

Things as They Are by Paul Horgan
The acclaimed American writer Paul Horgan tells a classic coming-of-age-tale in this poignant story of a young Catholic boy growing up in early twentieth century New York. Young Richard lives in a comforting world of dreams and illusions. He travels the painful journey all of us have traveled—from the unavoidable, innocent illusions of childhood to the harsh beauty of loss, forgiveness, and hope. It’s a journey to understanding things as they are.

Vipers' Tangle by Francois Mauriac
One of the greatest Catholic novels of the twentieth century, Vipers’ Tangle is the story of Louis, an elderly man filled with bitterness who keeps a journal in which he records the vipers’ tangle of his own heart. With subtlety and wisdom, Mauriac traces the transfor­ma­tion of this tortured soul by the light of God’s grace


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