"Rescuing animals is only the start of it," said Mother Noah. She scooped up a handful of seeds and placed them carefully in her pocket. "If God wants to send a flood, it's very good of him to ask Noah to put the animals in a boat. But then what do you do with them?"
But however hard it [work] was, every day brought something good. On day ten the tigers realized that she was a friend and stopped trying to eat her. On day eleven the parrots learned to say, "Move over!" which saved Mother Noah a lot of shouting. On day fifteen the chimpanzees had a very silly half hour with Ham's hat and Mr. Noah's whistle. ...
I have a real antipathy toward things that are yanked out of perspective and told from some "special" point of view, usually to empower some group. I encounter this a lot in feminist perspectives where predictable and myopic points of view bore me to tears.
So you can imagine the shiver that ran down my spine when I saw the title Women of the Bible. I read the first story, Mother Noah, to see how it fit into that feminist construct. And was pleased to see it did no such thing. Furthermore I was delighted to find it humorous, relatable, true to Genesis, and opened up my mental image of life aboard the ark. I continued, enchanted, through stories of Rachel's worry about Jacob's meeting with Esau, Miriam's following her baby brother Moses floating in the river, Mary's four special things kept in a box to sink in her mind the great turning points in her life, and many more.
Each story is told in a different way and from a different perspective. Each is accompanied by truly enchanting illustrations by Alida Massari which made me go looking for other books she's worked on.
Most importantly, each story would make a wonderful story time with your favorite little ones, whether girls or boys. They encourage questions and wonder and "entering into" familiar Bible stories from an imaginative point of view.
Artists have painted, drawn, and sculpted Angels in a variety of styles. Angels are many times portrayed as children. This is most likely to convey innocence.
Beginning in about the fourth century, Angels were usually illustrated with wings. That's how we usually see them in books, paintings, on the walls of churches, in icons, or in the art of stained-glass windows. The wings might even be the artist's interpretation of their swiftness. An Angel is able to quickly come to our aid. However, this also has roots in Holy Scripture, since some of the people in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible describe the angels who appeared to them as having wings.
For instance, we know that Isaiah saw a winged Angel. Ezekiel, too, saw visions of winged Angels. Most times when Angels appear, they look like normal people, always men. Sometimes Angels appear all aglow in awesome splendor. Warrior Angels—like the Archangels—are tremendously tall and powerful.
As you can see from the excerpt, this is a book for older children and might even be good as a quick primer for adults. Donna-Marie O'Boyle has a true talent for explaining the basics about angels, which are a more complex subject than most people might think.
She includes scriptural references, real life stories such as the children at Fatima, and has ways to relate personally to the fact that angels are all around us. The book cover angels in the Bible, their work, what they look like, archangels, fallen angels, a variety of prayers and much more. I also really liked the book design which was simple but beautiful.
I have a special interest in angels myself and consequently have read a number of books about them. This is a really great book that I'm not sure I'll be able to make myself give to the children I know. I might have to buy them their own copy.(less)
The Sacrament of Penance heals our souls when we hurt it by sinning. When we confess our sins to a priest, it is God who hears us and forgives our sins.18 God always forgives us if we are sorry, no matter how big or how many our sins are.
The Bible tells us the story of how Jesus treated a woman who had committed a big sin.19 She had been arrested, and the people were going to throw rocks at her.
Jesus came and told the people, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." One by one the people put down their rocks and left.
When only Jesus and the woman were left he told her, "Go, and do not sin again."
God always forgives us when we ask, but he also asks us to change our behavior. The Sacrament of Penance helps us with this.20
18. CCC. 1461 19. John 8:3-11 20. CCC 1468
This is a really terrific little book that I think might help parents as much as the children they read it with. For one thing, Kendra Tierney strips matters down to basics, as you can see from the excerpt above, to help everyone see the basis for all the ins and outs of the sacrament.
It begins with a brief glossary and then moves through a series of simple questions and answers. This is followed up with a brief look at a few saints who have links to confession, a simple examination of conscience, and a quick review of what actually happens during the sacrament. A really nice feature is that the cover has a quick reference on the front and back flaps containing the steps of the sacrament, the Act of Contrition, and an extremely brief examination of conscience. Personally, I found the examination of conscience really nice as a way to get back to basics in my own life. That may say more about me than it does about the book but, again, I think adults will find this touches them when they are reading through it.
I'm not crazy about the illustrations since they all look as if children drew them. Skilled children, to be sure, but children nonetheless. Maybe some children enjoy looking at pictures their peers could have drawn. I never found them appealing no matter what age I was. Of course, this is purely a matter of personal taste so don't let that stop you from picking up this gem of a book.(less)
Mary Wyman has an entry for each day of her solo walk to Santiago. Each includes the daily postcard she sent to 4-year-old granddaughter Elena, a journal entry from that day, and a longer reflection from after the pilgrimage was completed. I really enjoyed the format, especially the ways that Wyman connected with her granddaughter in the cards by asking questions or suggesting little activities like "count to 36 out loud with Mama to see how many days Grandma has left to walk the Camino (paraphrased)."
I found a lot of the book fascinating and almost feel as if I'd been along for the trip. Certainly I was just about as concerned as Mary that she get to lodgings in time for a lower bunk and that her feet would hold out. Mary's vivid descriptions of the people and nature all around her, as well as her inclusion of insights and spiritual experiences all combined to make this a very good book.
It isn't a perfect book though. As a 70-year old woman from San Francisco, Mary has all the stereotypical attitudes of that demographic. Push the right button and the standard liberal attitude comes popping right up. Luckily it was rare enough to avoid ruining the book for those of us who don't share those attitudes. In fact, it often provided humorous moments such as one day's reflections on the huge list of women who have influenced her life, when contrasted with a later day when she struggled to make a list of 15 influential men in her life because it never occurred to her to think of such a thing. She later added to that list but with so many qualifications that she may as well not have bothered. I actually laughed out loud.
More problematic were the two or three times she recorded long conversations about topics dear to her heart and went into so much detail that the book essentially ground to a halt. I realize that this book is to provide a legacy for Wyman's granddaughter, so it made sense from her point of view to write so many pages about such things as Centering Prayer and the Jobs Corps. However, the tone completely changed to a preachy-teachy style that is deadly unless one also is passionate about those topics. I ain't.
I mention the imperfections to explain my 3-star rating. As a whole, they are relatively slight as witnessed by the fact that I read this book in a couple of days, riveted to the pilgrimage.(less)
'Come Lazarus!' I have never heard the Wisest One shout so loudly.
'Come, Lazarus... come out to me!' again he shouted.
The Great Ones [men] all looked at each other uneasily, the smell of fear coming off them as sharp as any skunk. But my ears were pinched back, and I heard what they could not hear: a wondrous thing, a little sigh as gentle as the breeze, and then a scratching, scruffling noise and something being put to one side — the leftover spices, perhaps in a jar being moved? ...
I watched in wonder and could barely keep myself from shouting and dancing and chasing my tail — for in all my days I have never seen anything like this. Suddenly the woman — I realized at once she was the mother of Lazarus — came rushing up and ran straight into the resting-place. There was a shriek of joy and then such weeping it would tear your heart in two if you didn't know it was tears of you that were being wept. ...
Kal is Peter the Fisherman's dog, rescued when he was just a puppy from a group of tormenting boys. That means he tells us the Gospel story from a canine point of view, including all the senses the we don't notice! Did you know that lepers are delicious to lick and even have a convenient bell to let Kal know they are coming? When Jesus (the Wisest One) heals them it is is a great disappointment because they taste just like regular men again.
Any kid from about the age of 8 and up, who has a basic understanding of the gospel story, would enjoy this different view of it. In fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit myself. Kal's different viewpoint will not only open up the gospel but might prompt children to wonder how their pets understand them and the family events unfolding in daily life.
I really loved the way the book graphically conveyed Kal's sense of smell with "Smellavision" dots of different colors strategically scattered on pages to give an extra layer of information. I wasn't crazy about the illustrations which were done in a very child-like style but, again, that is a matter of personal taste and they don't detract from enjoyment of the story itself.
The story has humor, pathos, drama, and many interesting smells! I can definitely recommend this to imaginative readers, whether young or old.(less)
McDermott really does take the pain and fussiness out of producing authentic tasting ethnic foods, in this case Thai cuisine. Leafing through this I d...moreMcDermott really does take the pain and fussiness out of producing authentic tasting ethnic foods, in this case Thai cuisine. Leafing through this I discovered that I had already read it once because her grilled chicken with garlic recipe is a staple of my kitchen. (less)
Naturally I raced online to the library and requested it. Anyone who reads Neil Gaiman, especially his children's books, will instantly see that he and Thurber are kindred souls.
Naturally a prince comes to rescue the princess from the land where time lies frozen so "It's always Then. It's never Now." Replete with the wordplay and humor one would expect from James Thurber, this is a charming and slightly insane book with large dark elements. Like Alice in Wonderland it has a lot of bits that are just wonderful for their own sakes without having any deeper meaning. And yet, everything comes together to move the story along in a most satisfactory way.
Here's a bit that went into my quote journal.
"The task is hard," said Zorn, "and can't be done."
"I can do a score of things that can't be done," the Golux said. "I can find a thing I cannot see and see a thing I cannot find. The first is time, the second is a spot before my eyes. I can feel a thing I cannot touch and touch a thing I cannot feel. The first is sad and sorry, the second is your heart. What would you do without me? Say 'nothing.'"
We listened to this on a two-day car trip and found it thought provoking and enlightening. I'll go a bit further and add that I found it inspirational...moreWe listened to this on a two-day car trip and found it thought provoking and enlightening. I'll go a bit further and add that I found it inspirational.
More to come because I made a few notes on the way, but highly recommended.
It was my first Gladwell book though I've seen him on TED Talks. I will be interested to try others to see if they are as rich as this one.(less)
Picked this up in St. Augustine while on vacation as a souvenir and read it in a couple of days. Really a classic look at Southern cooking in 1942 as...morePicked this up in St. Augustine while on vacation as a souvenir and read it in a couple of days. Really a classic look at Southern cooking in 1942 as well as a great sample of this lyrical, humorous author's style.
I gulped it down and instantly started on my other souvenir, Cross Creek.(less)
Hey, it was free to borrow on my Kindle. AND I was really intrigued in the idea that Lewis was using medieval cosmology as themes for each of the Narn...moreHey, it was free to borrow on my Kindle. AND I was really intrigued in the idea that Lewis was using medieval cosmology as themes for each of the Narnia books.
Not that I've read them all. I haven't.
But after reading That Hideous Strength in which eldils from different planets are significant, Ward's idea made sense.
I am 50% done and am really enthralled by this idea. I actually will pick up the Narnia series with book 4 and finish it after I'm done.
The whole explanation of medieval cosmology as seen in the Narnia books is riveting and, if for no other reason, I am very glad to be introduced to the subject.
I've requested Ward's earlier, more scholarly, book on this subject and also C.S. Lewis's "The Discarded Image" for his explanation of medieval mindsets (it's supposed to be pretty amazing).
FINAL I liked this so much that I got Planet Narnia by the same author, which is his first book on the subject (and less succinct and possibly less dumbed down - not that this feels dumbed down, actually).(less)
Beginning this book is the reason I felt the push to finally push myself to read That Hideous Strength (the final one of C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy)....moreBeginning this book is the reason I felt the push to finally push myself to read That Hideous Strength (the final one of C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy). Purtill has an in-depth essay at the back of the book discussing that book and mentions it frequently in the beginning of the main text. I had been looking for something which discussed Lewis's work as well as Tolkien's and this is one that has been praised highly.
I was surprised to see that quite a bit of this winds up addressing Tolkien's critics. I had no idea how many people, both positively and negatively inclined, have tried to shove The Lord of the Rings into their own narrow worldview. It is really interesting to see how much broader Tolkien, with his devout Catholic worldview, has managed to be simply because he himself wanted to write a story that was pre-Christian. I was also quite surprised to see some of the criticisms of Lewis's writing and also of Lewis's own commitment to Christianity. For example, I had no idea that people took a string of seemingly attached events and spun them to conclude that Lewis lost his faith after his wife died. I never would have drawn that same conclusion and it was interesting to see Purtill look at that issue, eventually showing that it was not logical when considering all the facts in context.
I also really like the way that Purtill takes his comments about others' critiques of both authors and then turns to make his own remarks which extend beyond any criticism into appreciation and elucidation. It is this which is really valuable to me.(less)
As with the other two books in C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy" I found this one difficult to get into and, yet, once I got past the indefinable point whe...moreAs with the other two books in C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy" I found this one difficult to get into and, yet, once I got past the indefinable point where it was no longer a struggle, I couldn't read it fast enough. Consequently this was a 24-hour book for me. It is a testament to Lewis's imagination and writing skill as to how different all three of the books are in this trilogy, while simultaneously all carrying out the same basic theme. No wonder J.R.R. Tolkien loved them.
Speaking of Tolkien, I was stunned to see Numinor mentioned twice and Middle Earth once in this book. I never dreamed there was such a deliberate, direct connection between this book and the Lord of the Rings, which was not yet published in its entirety when this book came out as Lewis says in the introduction. One can see the way these books and LOTR go hand in hand with similar themes, although expressed differently through the authors' different styles.
This book itself was really terrific and left me striving to be a better person, to be truer to myself, as did the other two. Not many other books really leave one feeling that way.(less)
I've never been that interested in visiting Japan and it says a lot for Matthew Amster-Burton's engaging food/travel memoir that by the end I was wond...moreI've never been that interested in visiting Japan and it says a lot for Matthew Amster-Burton's engaging food/travel memoir that by the end I was wondering if I could have a successful week-long visit without learning to read kanji. I'm already a fan of Amster-Burton's light-hearted style because I listen to Spilled Milk, the podcast that he co-hosts. It transfers fairly successfully to a book style, though I did find myself wishing that he'd have cut out a few extraneous jokes here and there.
Pretty Good Number One is fairly food-centric but without pretension and in a way that makes you understand how plain rice balls can be delicious. The food talk is woven in with plenty of interesting cultural observations that make you feel as if you understand Tokyo just a bit better. Plus it is just a fun read.(less)
We need the truth, but we also need to know how to live in and through and by that truth.
What we need, in short, are stories.
Louis Markos begins with the idea that in the past stories weren't only told for children's entertainment and instruction, but for that of adults as well. We've lost not only that idea but a lot of the time-honored values that we used to teach and cherish in such stories. The author "mines" two of the most honored stories in modern times, the Lord of the Rings and, to a lesser extent, The Chronicles of Narnia, to show how they can help us return to classic virtues these days.
Ancient literature, modern culture, and scripture are all woven into Markos' book. The main emphasis is on Tolkien and Lewis, but the depth of material means that it hits you where you live. Before delving into the virtues, Markos begins with the idea of the hero's journey and the road. These are the heart of good story telling, after all, and so are themes that are returned to repeatedly throughout the book.
In the greater tales, the ones that matter—the ones that change both us and our world—the heroes do not so much choose the Road, as the Road chooses them. For our part, we must be ready, prepared in season and out, to answer the call, whenever and however it comes. And we must be prepared to press on, trusting to an end that we often do not, perhaps cannot, see. It is easy to claim that we would have done what Abraham did, but that is only because we stand outside the story. We see the good end, the fulfillment that Abraham could not see from within the story.
Markos is not detached with his subject at arm's length. He loves these stories and the themes they embrace and his enthusiasm comes through to make a warm, lively reading experience.
I've read several other books looking deeper into The Lord of the Rings, in particular, and this book still managed to provide new ideas for reflection. Markos really does a fantastic job of revealing the characteristics of various characters in Middle-Earth and Narnia and the virtues we can see in them. This is a thoughtful and thought provoking book which I can't recommend highly enough.
I'll be looking for more of Markos' books in the future.
NOTE I received this review copy from Aquinas and More Catholic online store. They've got a lot more than books. Check them out for all your Catholic needs ... rosaries, communion gifts, and so forth.(less)
I can hardly credit it, but I don't believe I've ever read this book. The fact that it leads off with one of Professor Moriarty's henchmen leaking enc...moreI can hardly credit it, but I don't believe I've ever read this book. The fact that it leads off with one of Professor Moriarty's henchmen leaking encrypted messages to Sherlock Holmes was one of the most surprising things I've encountered in a book in a while. Yes, I was that sure I'd read every Holmes book several times.
I really enjoyed this book, both the first part where Holmes is solving the mystery and the second part which gave the exciting back story set in America. I listened to the incomparable Derek Jacobi read the audiobook, which simply enhanced my enjoyment. I did figure out the mystery and I did know the twist in the American story. However, as many have pointed out, these would have been original and surprising in Arthur Conan Doyle's day and I have been exposed to so many people using the same devices that I am primed to recognize the clues. It's no Hound of the Baskervilles, but it is definitely recommended.(less)
The phrases "social justice" and "solidarity" could hardly have been more unwisely coined or adapted by the Catholic Church in my opinion. From the mo...moreThe phrases "social justice" and "solidarity" could hardly have been more unwisely coined or adapted by the Catholic Church in my opinion. From the moment I heard them, they turned me off. I always thought they sounded like some lame department name you'd read about in a spy novel set in communist Russia. I mean really - solidarity? What does that even mean to the average person? Nothing.
However, if one digs deeper beneath the stiff, offputting phrases, one finds the heart of Christianity. They mean treating each person as if they belong, going out of one's way to find Christ in each individual, and following God's will (with Christ's help) to help each person one encounters. In other words, fully living your Christian life, whether as an individual or as part of the larger community.
“It’s good that you exist” — carries great power. To someone struggling with alcohol, who drinks away his loneliness, we say, “It’s good that you exist.” To someone who loathes her body and thinks she’s too fat, too skinny, too short, or not good enough, we say, “It’s good that you exist.” To the addict, the slave, the homeless man, even the murderer, we say, “It’s good that you exist.”
This phrase reminds people that they have intrinsic value, regardless of what they produce, or how they look, or if they have it all together. It echoes what God said immediately after creating the first man: “[He] looked at everything he had made, and found it very good” (Gn 1:31).
Next time you want to uplift someone’s dignity, remind them of that wonderful truth: “It’s good that you exist.”
This is ably illustrated by Brandon Vogt's book, which highlights 14 different saints whose lives were spent giving dignity and aid to the less fortunate. Ranging from housewives to priests, in all sorts of different life situations, these people were open enough to God's wishes to do extraordinary things. Vogt also does a great job of helping us relate by contrasting each saint with another one or two who lived out similar "missions" in different ways. He ends each section by relating these saints' larger missions to our own lives, so we can see where we might do more or act in ways that hadn't occurred to us previously.
He ends each section by relating these saints' larger missions to our own lives, so we can see where we might do more or act in ways that hadn't occurred to us previously. This is important because these saints achieved so much that we might feel any small drops of help we can achieve are not going to make a difference. Vogt's gentle questions and examples helps us see that our drops matter because all of them together add up to a large ocean.
And this, no matter what stupid phrase is used to describe it, is something dear to my heart, a lesson I've been learning a little better every day in my 14 years as a Catholic. Each time I've followed that internal prompting, despite my fears of not knowing enough or being rejected or looking stupid, I have been rewarded. My efforts have had effects, in their own small way, which I never could have imagined. And I have grown and changed for the better myself along the way.
I found this book really inspiring. I especially enjoyed the amount of detail Vogt gave for each saint. Even the ones I knew about, like Peter Claver, Frances of Rome, or Dorothy Day, took on unexpected meaning for me because I hadn't realized there was so much I didn't know about them. Of course, there were some who were brand new to me and I really enjoyed learning about their lives.
This is a well written and inspiring book and one that should help us understand that "social justice" and "solidarity" mean "living as a Christian" no matter what your condition in life.
Please Mr. Vogt, may I have another? Perhaps one about the martyrs? You pick the subject. I'll read it.(less)
I was looking around for a basic overview of Dickens' novels and came upon this little Kindle book. Adam Selzer does just what the title promises, giv...moreI was looking around for a basic overview of Dickens' novels and came upon this little Kindle book. Adam Selzer does just what the title promises, giving recipes and reviewing whether or not he'd recommend a beverage based on his own sampling experience. What is more, Selzer does so while giving a quick overview of the novel featuring the recipe and what he finds in each to recommend it. He also included excerpts to illustrate his points, whether about characters or beverages, which greatly added to the book as far as I was concerned. Overall this is a nice little book which I would probably rate at 3-1/2 stars if GoodReads allowed it, but decided to round it up to 4 because I might actually read it. It was that enjoyable.(less)
Read this for my Catholic women's book club. I have to say it is charming in much the same way as The Phantom Tollbooth, albeit without the wordplay.
I...moreRead this for my Catholic women's book club. I have to say it is charming in much the same way as The Phantom Tollbooth, albeit without the wordplay.
I did enjoy it a lot but will be interested to see what my friends say that pushes it deeper than the obvious things I take away at the moment. Is it that I am too much of a "grownup" to encounter this for the first time (as with the Narnia books)? Or is it that I just don't have my head tilted the right way to see the things that others do?(less)
This was a birthday gift and I'm so glad I had it on my wish list. I'm continually trying to find books that use art for Christian reflection and medi...moreThis was a birthday gift and I'm so glad I had it on my wish list. I'm continually trying to find books that use art for Christian reflection and meditation. They open up faith in a way that plain words alone don't. Thus far, Sister Wendy Beckett's books have been the only ones I've found, so Jane Williams comes as a welcome addition.
Williams chooses diverse artists that reveal strikingly different ways to think about different aspects of Christ's life and our own. Her text is spare but illuminating. I'm about a third of the way into the book (it is small) and have already had three "aha" moments. This book will become part of my regular rotation of meditation books and I can foresee that it will shed light in different areas when I need it most.(less)
Before The Martian by Andy Weir, there was A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke.
I hadn't come across this until Scott mentioned it a while back on...moreBefore The Martian by Andy Weir, there was A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke.
I hadn't come across this until Scott mentioned it a while back on A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. It seemed serendipitous when I received it as a birthday gift from my mother who recently has been rereading her way through the Clarke canon. And I see that Kindle lets Prime subscribers borrow his books free ... it looks like everything he wrote.
The Sea of Thirst is filled with moondust that is so fine it flows like water in the low gravity of the moon. A specially outfitted spacecraft scoots tourists around the sea for sightseeing. Until there is an unexpected moonquake and the ship disappears, inexplicably as it seems to Lunar Control. What follows is a two-pronged story which jumps from those inside the vessel marooned under the dust and those outside trying to find and rescue any survivors.
I enjoyed the location/rescue efforts as well as "crowd control" underway to try to avoid stress from prolonged isolation from the outside world. It is interesting because it is such a work of its time, especially in the way that characters are written. I don't recall Clarke being particularly strong in character development, but that could just be a faulty memory. It's been a while since I read anything except Tales From the White Hart which is a horse of a completely different color.
Ultimately it is dated but still worth reading.(less)
I am really enjoying this book A Year With C. S. Lewis. I got it on a whim in January and am really glad I have it on my Kindle for daily reading. It...moreI am really enjoying this book A Year With C. S. Lewis. I got it on a whim in January and am really glad I have it on my Kindle for daily reading. It uses excerpts from well known books such as Mere Christianity combined with snippets of letters and lesser known writing, and flows through different themes such as knowing God, prayer, and so forth.
The only reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is because occasionally it is difficult to pick up the thread of the excerpt for the day. This has become apparent when reading a daily entry aloud with my husband over our weekday lunches in the office. It doesn't happen often though.(less)