Book Reviews

We all know the parable of the prodigal son.

The prodigal goes to his father, demands his inheritance early, and wisps away to waste his fortune in lasciviousness and profligacy. The son’s life degenerates to the lowest possible point: he finds himself longing for the pods upon which the swine eat. As the son realizes the depths to which he has descended, he experiences an epiphany in his reasoning process: his erstwhile life presents itself to his consciousness, and his conversion...

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December 09, 2011
Christmas with the Holy Fathers
By Katherine Haas

Compiled by Peter Celano

It is challenging to focus on preparing for the true meaning of Christmas when every commercial environment is promoting the secular meaning of the holiday. That is when Peter Celano’s book “Christmas with the Holy Fathers” (Paraclete Press, $17.95) becomes a gem.

This little book is a compilation of passages taken from various addresses given by the Holy Fathers, from Pope St. Leo the Great to the two most recent pontiffs. The variety of speakers and topics...

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December 02, 2011
Italian Christmas Eve: The Feast of Seven Fishes
By Katherine Haas

Book written by: Linda and Rocco Maniscalco

Family traditions are often at the heart of childhood memories, and this is even more the case if the tradition is part of a family’s ethnic identity. Though my family’s Lithuanian heritage only played a big part of our lives at Christmas, I still remember the white straw Christmas tree ornaments and the seven meatless dishes fondly from childhood.

Giving tribute to their own family and cultural traditions, Linda and Rocco Maniscalco have...

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November 09, 2011
Catholic health and wellness
By Cheryl Dickow

The path to Hell is paved with good intentions.

I don’t get that.

It seems to me that good intentions ought to be worth more than a ticket to Hell.

Having said that, I definitely get that the good intentions I have for any number of things can always be a hellish path.

Exercise comes immediately to mind. As does dieting and just keeping fit and well at 53 years old. I am filled with good intentions, but turning those passive good intentions into successful achievements is another...

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October 21, 2011
A review of Stephen Greenblatt’s 'The Swerve'
By Father Robert Barron

In 2005, Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt published a wonderful book on Shakespeare called “Will in the World.”  Witty, insightful and surprising, it caused thousands of people, including your humble scribe, to look at the Bard with new eyes.  Thus it was with great anticipation that I opened my copy of Greenblatt’s latest “The Swerve:  How the World Became Modern.”  Like its forebear, this new book is indeed lively, intelligent and fun to read, but as I moved through it I grew...

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August 26, 2011
Caravans
By Katherine Haas

Few authors truly succeed in transporting their reader to another environment while portraying the positive and the negative in equal lights. James Michener, however, rises to this challenge and excels in his portrayal of post-WWII Afghanistan in this an unassuming novel most likely to be found in a used book shop. I picked the book up from a box of abandoned books in desperation for something to read and I have been forever changed by the experience.

“Caravans” features a young...

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December 10, 2010
Travelers along the way: The men and women who shaped my life
By Br. Benet S. Exton

Book written by: Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel

C.F.R.  Cincinnati, Ohio : Servant Books, 2010.  159 pages.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0-86716-984-3.  $13.99

In his entertaining and inspiring book, Fr. Benedict Groeschel presents 30 people who have impacted his life.  While readers will recognize several influential people  – such as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Angelica, and cardinal archbishops of New York City – others are not as well-known to the public.

For each person, Fr. Groeschel...

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Book written by: Mike Aquilina
Charlotte, NC: Saint Benedict Press, 2010, 388 pages, Imitation Leather, $44.95, ISBN: 1935302353.

Mike Aquilina has staked a pretty good claim to being the unofficial family historian of the Catholic Church.

His 20 or so books — from the essential trilogy, “The Fathers of the Church,” (1999), “The Way of the Fathers” (2000) and “The Mass of the Early Christians” (2001), to “Signs and Mysteries” (2008), “Angels of God” (2009) and “Roots...

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November 19, 2010
Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life
By Fr. Alfred McBride

Book written by: Archbishop Jose H. Gomez
Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Press, 2009), 233 pages, Hardback, $12.95 ISBN: 1592766803

Archbishop Jose Gomez, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles, has written a brilliant and inspiring book, “Men of Brave Heart,” about the role of the virtue of courage in the life of priests.

He places his discussion within the context how the virtue of courage was understood in Greek and Roman culture and how that understanding was transformed by...


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October 29, 2010
Through the Year with Mary: 365 Reflections
By Br. Benet S. Exton

Edmisten, Karen. Cincinnati, Ohio : Servant Books, 2010.  133 pages.  Paperback.  ISBN 978-0-86716-937-9. $12.99.

There have been several books offering one minute meditations published over the years, but this one is one of  the best.

In her introduction she writes why she wrote this book: to help Catholics and non-Catholics to get to know Mary better.  Mary will lead a person to her Son, Jesus.

"Through the Year with Mary: 365 Reflections" is devoted to Mary, the Mother of God, and Edmisten...

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