I heard about this on the Why I Really Like This Book podcast. You've got to watch out because it took the podcaster a while to get the hang of discusI heard about this on the Why I Really Like This Book podcast. You've got to watch out because it took the podcaster a while to get the hang of discussing a book without spoiling it. And this is an older episode.
I liked Buchan's The 39 Steps and am intrigued by the concept of six people who each get a brief glimpse of a newspaper in the future with info about them in it. How then do they change their lives based on that info? Or do they?
I'm expecting various twists as no one would know the context for the brief glimpse they get....more
This is a fun, old mystery read by one of my favorite LibriVox readers.
Frances Baird is a detective with the Watkins Agency of New York City. She and
This is a fun, old mystery read by one of my favorite LibriVox readers.
Frances Baird is a detective with the Watkins Agency of New York City. She and a colleague are sent undercover to "The Maples" to guard a valuable set of diamonds during the festivities leading up to the marriage of Mr. Deneen's eldest son, James Jr. Within a few hours of their arrival, however, this seemingly simple task turns into something much more sinister, and it is ultimately left to Frances to unravel the truth of the matter.
I guessed practically every person except the one who was the actual murderer. Figures. I'm terrible at solving mysteries. All in all this was enjoyable because of the "girl detective" angle and the fact that she occasionally would mention "that was before I became good at lying so I blushed." It doesn't look as if Kauffman wrote any more about Miss Frances Baird but I wish he had....more
I picked this up super-cheap for my Kindle after reading a really delightful story from the Book of Wonder in Tales Before Tolkien. The stories rangedI picked this up super-cheap for my Kindle after reading a really delightful story from the Book of Wonder in Tales Before Tolkien. The stories ranged from weird and creepy to humorous. I really loved the exotic story telling style although not all of the stories impressed me equally. I'm definitely going to be reading a few on Forgotten Classics sometime....more
I really like this book. It is the sort where I don't feel I have to painstakingly read every story if one isn't the sort I like. A quick skimming isI really like this book. It is the sort where I don't feel I have to painstakingly read every story if one isn't the sort I like. A quick skimming is perfectly adequate to give me the gist.
I've been surprised at how many of the stories I have enjoyed and how many have a fresh, modern feel considering how old they are (most from 1919 and earlier).
I also enjoy the author's story introductions and the fact that he doesn't try to force the idea that Tolkien read each of these or that each influenced him. It is enough that this is the fantasy atmosphere which was floating around during his formative and reading years before he began writing....more
Fr. Glynn tells the story of a Japanese convert to Catholicism who lived her faith so completely that she remains a well known heroine for Japanese ofFr. Glynn tells the story of a Japanese convert to Catholicism who lived her faith so completely that she remains a well known heroine for Japanese of all religious persuasions. One might call Satoko Kitahara the "Mother Teresa" of Tokyo to get an idea of her Christian example.
I am only about 80 pages into this but Father Glynn is doing an excellent job of bringing the reader into Japanese sensibilities and mind set so that we understand Satoko's life. In a broad sense, it is like a sequel to his more famous novel A Song for Nagasaki about Takashi Nagai. In that book we got a history of Catholicism in Japan along with Nagai's life. In this one, we get a broader view of Japanese spirituality and the spirit of the country after losing World War II. Some of it we think we know already but Glynn's lyrical descriptions have done a lot to pull me deeper into understanding.
So far, it is a wonderful book. More as I progress....more
There is an “art of prayer,” when faith and prayer become creative responses by which creatures made in the image and likeness of the Creator relate t
There is an “art of prayer,” when faith and prayer become creative responses by which creatures made in the image and likeness of the Creator relate to him with help of the imagination. ... Richly illustrated, Monsignor Verdon explains that images work in believers as tools that teach them how to turn to God.
They had me at "richly illustrated." Over the years I have become more and more attracted to paintings as keys to helping me connect more honestly and deeply with God.
The book does indeed have many gorgeous pieces of art which are wonderfully explained and made personal by the text of the book. For example, looking at both the inset and whole painting of Piero della Francesca's Baptism of Christ, the author takes us through what the painter hopes to show us, the importance of the original setting for the piece and it's possible impact on the monks who would have seen it daily, and the importance of interior transformation for every one of us. He then uses the painting's landscape to segue into nature, Scripture, and imagination before moving on to the next piece for inspiration. All this is by page 6, by the way.
Needless to say, I am finding this thought provoking, eye opening, and inspirational. This is a gem.
I haven't finished it yet and will give a fuller review when I do, but you don't have to do more than sample it to know it's a keeper....more
I'm finally getting around to listening to this book, as read by Uvula Audio. It's somewhat dated I suppose, but I'm finding it an exciting adventureI'm finally getting around to listening to this book, as read by Uvula Audio. It's somewhat dated I suppose, but I'm finding it an exciting adventure thus far and am looking forward to hearing how the outlaw scientists do at trying to avoid the blasters of the anti-science authorities.
FINAL I enjoyed the adventure and the exploration of the alien planet. Just about the time when I was getting bored with the exploration, Norton amped up the action with ... well, I won't say with what so anyone else coming to this story will enjoy it also ... but it was exciting....more
One of my favorite Dick Francis novels. Between the gemstones, the gadgets, the mystery, and the brotherly relationship this always engages both my atOne of my favorite Dick Francis novels. Between the gemstones, the gadgets, the mystery, and the brotherly relationship this always engages both my attention and my heart....more
This is a book my mother has long tried to get me to read since it was a childhood favorite of hers. Over the years I have heard it was also a favoritThis is a book my mother has long tried to get me to read since it was a childhood favorite of hers. Over the years I have heard it was also a favorite of C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, G.K. Chesterton and (possibly) J.R.R. Tolkien. With all that going for it, you'd think I'd have jumped on the bandwagon long ago.
It took me finding this LibriVox recording from one of my favorite narrators who has lamentably few books recorded, Andy Minter. He is simply superb. I get that delicious feeling of being a child snuggled down for a story being read by a favorite uncle as I am listening.
FINAL This was funny, sweet, exciting, and was very enjoyable indeed....more
I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed thinking that I was hearing these speeches as the first recipients did. Of course, C.S. Lewis wasn't spI listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed thinking that I was hearing these speeches as the first recipients did. Of course, C.S. Lewis wasn't speaking the words but an intermediary is necessary since I wasn't there to hear him.
Some of these talks have names that sound as if they will be antiquated or not particularly relevant to one's own life. I am thinking in particular of Is Theology Poetry and Why I am Not a Pacifist. However, what one soon discovers is that Lewis quickly winds up covering many other topics under these umbrellas, so to speak, and there are always thought provoking ideas and logic put forth for any interested thinker.
Once again I am in awe of Lewis's logic and his understanding of the human (my) condition. We really are all more alike than we are different and I appreciate having his insights to inspire me to a more fully lived Christian life....more
This was a gift from a podcast listener who wanted my take on it. I've managed to avoid reading this for many years until caught by such a generous acThis was a gift from a podcast listener who wanted my take on it. I've managed to avoid reading this for many years until caught by such a generous act. I waited for a while to begin it so that I was in a receptive mood for this story, about which I know the bare bones basics.
It is early days but I am interested in the present day tale of helping Father Emilio recover from trauma enough to be able to tell his story to the Jesuit brothers caring for him.
Surprisingly I am not enjoying the flashback sequences which at this point are intended, I think, to make us fond of the people who go on an interstellar journey to meet an alien race. And who we know from the beginning are doomed. Just when I get interested the author tosses in a lot of fond and teasing dialogue which rings so insipidly false and idiotic that it jolts me right out of the story. It makes me wonder if someone went through and told the author to plug in "friendly exchanges" so we could relate to them. It's as if someone took several stereotypes of "types" and plugged them in. It feels like a fake set up to tug at my heartstrings. Ugh. Perhaps I'll change my mind later though. We shall see. ...more
This was one of those books which Louis de Wohl devoted more to the history of the times than to the saint who was the subject of the book. I normallyThis was one of those books which Louis de Wohl devoted more to the history of the times than to the saint who was the subject of the book. I normally don't mind that because I understand that those quieter saints (Thomas Aquinas for example) don't have a lot that one can weave into a storyline a lot of the time. However I was a bit miffed because we don't see much of Benedict until the second half of the book and I wanted to see more about his establishment of his first monasteries.
Also, in this particular time period the historical bit was fairly Byzantine (ha! joke intended!) and at some point I simply didn't care any more, especially since the main characters we followed (Peter and Rusticiana) were about as unlikable as one can get.
I still got something out of it to ponder, notably Benedict's complete trust in God and that all things work to good for those who do his will. Even when they are seemingly bad. However, that isn't enough to make me love this book....more
I'm rereading this, which was a souvenir purchased when we took the girls to London way back in the carefree summer of 2001 when air travel was relatiI'm rereading this, which was a souvenir purchased when we took the girls to London way back in the carefree summer of 2001 when air travel was relatively simple. This is the book that introduced me to Nigel Slater who quickly became one of my favorites both for his writing style and lovely simple recipes....more
One of my favorite Georgette Heyer books, this is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery filled with touches of humor and romance ... just as we would expectOne of my favorite Georgette Heyer books, this is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery filled with touches of humor and romance ... just as we would expect from the great Heyer. I've read it so many times that I have great swathes of it memorized. Having discovered the audiobooks of her works I'm enjoying experiencing them this way. All the more so since we are still in the midst of a power outage and a good audiobook is the best entertainment after dark when my husband is reading his Kindle Fire....more
I'm listening to Scott Danielson's narration which will be featured during October on my podcast, Forgotten Classics. Really a super job of reading. HI'm listening to Scott Danielson's narration which will be featured during October on my podcast, Forgotten Classics. Really a super job of reading. He's got to do more of these for us!
Oh, yes, and the story is terrifying in the way that Bram Stoker excelled at.
With many touches which makes one feel H.P. Lovecraft took this story for a basic model. So many gamboling rats. So much strong tea! And fainting. Plenty of fainting....more
What is it with Louis de Wohl's books? They're like peanuts or popcorn. You just keep tossing back handfuls because they're so good and go down so tasWhat is it with Louis de Wohl's books? They're like peanuts or popcorn. You just keep tossing back handfuls because they're so good and go down so tastily.
I received The Joyful Beggar on a Saturday at noon in the mail. Sunday at noon I was 75% done. It really grabbed me, obviously. I should've expected that since I've had that reaction to de Wohl's books before. They are consistently entertaining, fact-based stories of saints and the times in which they lived.
I'm aware of the details of St. Francis's life but have never felt much connection with this saint. I wondered if sinking deeper into his life could help my life as a Christian. That's another of Louis de Wohl's talents, by the way. Whether or not you feel a personal affinity for someone, he brings to light aspects of their lives that illuminate your own.
Sharp as a blade, the Pope's mind put it all together. This beggar was a troubadour, a Minnesanger, as they called them in Germany, a "singer of love," but for once here was one who was singing in praise of the Love of God.
"I am the poor woman in the desert," Francis explained merrily. "And I trust my Lord, the King. he will look after my sons."
A jester and a dancer; a beggar and a troubadour; a preacher, a monk, a teller of parables, and perhaps a saint: there was no end to the man. If Satan could distort the minds of many to preach against the Church in the name of purity, here was one who could preach for the Church in the same name; here was, perhaps, the antidote against the poison in the veins of Europe, the man to give fresh life to a world grown cold. And therefore this man could be, nay, was the one who held up the falling walls of the Church. And that was all Innocent wanted to know.
What I felt after reading this book was Francis's joy in serving, his release from fear, his complete trust in God. I especially appreciated the way Francis connected Brother Sun and Sister Moon and all the other elements of his famous Canticle of the Sun with Jesus. It was that connection which made nature holy, the connection with our Lord in his Incarnation. Beautiful.
As always, de Wohl shows us the saint's story through other imagined characters who have their own journeys to God. This is very useful for explaining the history and customs of the times. Quite often there is a contrast which layers meaning and context for the overall power of that particular saint. In this book there were both Clare of Assisi on her own journey to holiness and Roger of Vandria, continually striving to simply regain his ancestral lands. As they grow so do we.
"In that case, why not make a test?" Francis suggested. "Let a great fire be lighted before your tent, and these learned priests of yours and I will enter it. Then God may show which is the true faith."
Roger gasped. If that was supposed to be a bluff, it was a very dangerous one. There were fanatics enough among Moslem priests, and at least some of them might accept the challenge.
The sultan glanced at his imams and mullahs. they looked a little vague, as if they had not understood the little dervish's words, and one of them, standing at the back, began to move with great dignity toward the exit of the tent.
"I don't think my priests are very likely to consent to this test of yours, little dervish," Al Kamil said, smiling.
He's got out of it, Roger thought, half relieved, half angry.
"Then I will enter the fire alone," Francis said quietly, "If you promise for yourself and for your people that you will worship Christ if I come out of the fire unhurt." After a little pause he added, "If I should be burned to death, it will be due only to my sins. But if God protects me, it is a clear sign of his holy will, and you must all accept Christ.
Now he has killed himself, Roger thought. This is too good a spectacle for the sultan to miss. The man is mad. He is a fanatic. He is magnificent. By all the angels and devils, he is the only crusader in the army. What a pity he is done for. Those priests will take him at his word, even if the sultan doesn't.
Did I wind up best friends with Francis of Assisi? No. But we can't be best friends with everyone. I did, however, wind up as more than a casual acquaintance with my own life enriched thanks to the story of the joyful beggar.
NOTE: This is a review book from Ignatius Press. This opinion is my own, uninfluenced by anything as paltry as a free book. As anyone is well aware who reads this blog regularly....more
On my light listening kick, I'm running through the Randall Garrett stories read by Mark Nelson for LibriVox. This one has a promising beginning sinceOn my light listening kick, I'm running through the Randall Garrett stories read by Mark Nelson for LibriVox. This one has a promising beginning since it is telling us the story from the point of view of both humans and the alien stranded on Earth. He's not a sweet, fuzzy wuzzy sort of alien but yet has a relatively sophisticated way of viewing Earth natives. That makes it interesting from the get-go....more
I've been reading Dickens again and looking around for brief, basic commentaries on his books. Then I remembered I had the Delphi Classics Kindle of CI've been reading Dickens again and looking around for brief, basic commentaries on his books. Then I remembered I had the Delphi Classics Kindle of Chesterton's out of copyright works. Sure enough this book was in it.
On one hand it is critical of Dickens both as a person and author. On the other hand it is a joyful, enthusiastic celebration of Dickens on both those fronts. As such it is an interesting introduction.
As I have learned to expect from Chesterton it is best if you already have a simple overview of Dickens' life and works in mind before launching into G.K.'s work. He does, however, give much more of a basic biography than he did in St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox....more
This is just for fun because I'm listening to the LibriVox version read by Mark Nelson. Nelson tends to choose books I enjoy for their old sf/adventurThis is just for fun because I'm listening to the LibriVox version read by Mark Nelson. Nelson tends to choose books I enjoy for their old sf/adventure flavor and this one is beginning in prime style. Don't expect anything deep but do expect to enjoy listening.
FINAL Again I wish I could give a half star because this would rate 3-1/2 stars, so I'm rounding up. Randall Garrett's books in the public domain are enjoyable and of their time. They are the perfect light entertainment as he uses the science fiction standards of the time to tell his stories.
This one surprised me because Catholic theology was key to the story. That alone makes it stand out. Add a murder mystery, someone who is being stalked by unknown assailants, and a robot with the curiosity of a child but the power of a god and you have a fun listen. As always Mark Nelson does a great job narrating....more
Entertaining and I liked the world Briggs builds here as well as Mercy's personality. I am pretty tired of urban fantasy and it was only my daughter REntertaining and I liked the world Briggs builds here as well as Mercy's personality. I am pretty tired of urban fantasy and it was only my daughter Rose's recommendation that made me try it. The middle sags as it gets too deep into werewolf dominance issues (over and over and over). However the rest moves along at a spritely pace that, although fairly predictable, was nonetheless fun.
I'll try the second book as I am told the werewolf aspect to the stories grows less as one gets further into the series. I don't mind an occasional werewolf, but they are fairly tedious in general, at least as Briggs writes them. I mean to say, I deal with enough doggie dominance at home, keeping our dogs in line. A little goes a long way in a book....more