Category Archives: Entertainment

When Religion Gets Real (Review: “Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin”)

If I were Jewish, I would still write about my faith. I’m not Jewish, and I don’t plan on becoming a Jew. But I am Catholic, and you can probably tell from my writing at Austin CNM or on my personal blog that I write a lot about my faith. It’s such a huge part of my life that I can’t imagine not writing about it.

Aside from just blogging, though, I have a heart for fiction. I still consider myself a writer, though I might never actually publish a book. I was never much for poetry. Blogging, however, is a form of essay-writing, and I can manage some creative nonfiction now and then. It was my living preference for stories from real life permeated by faith that led me to Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin. In it, Adam Byrn Tritt shares stories of faith, culture, and family, and what happens when they all converge along the Florida coast.

"A shark comes so close as I contemplate a million years and this seems like a message." —Adam Byrn Tritt

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

I Pick My Own Required Reading

Booking Through Thursday seems to be having a bit of a hiccup these past few weeks, but Thursday is always about books here at Lindsay Loves, so a bookish post you shall receive.

This month’s NaBloPoMo is full of prompts about habits. There are some gems there. Coincidentally, last Thursday’s prompt was about books.

If you had to read the same book year after year after year, what would it be?

One of the reasons I struggle with some of the BTT prompts is that they ask for your favorite book about X or your favorite X genre of book. My favorites cluster heavily around YA dystopia and Catholicism/Christianity, so I have to write about the same books all the time. If not for my Goodreads account, I might not even realize how narrow my book choices have become since I started reviewing at Austin CNM (and since I finished school, where a semester’s worth of reading is always on a single theme). This prompt is delightfully open-ended.

I’m going to turn the requirement into an opportunity, though. Going through my “off-site shelf” made me realize how much I’ve missed fantasy. Most of the books I saved from Goodwill were fantasy novels. My mom gave me a Harry Potter calendar for Christmas this year. I hung it above my desk at work, so I get a reminder of my Harry Potter love five days a week. And since I finally finished watching my way through Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu, I switched to Merlin, so I get to see magic and knights and such all the time. I forgot how much I love fantasy.

My erudite side wants to say that I’d read To Kill a Mockingbird every year if I could, because meditating on the human spirit like that is good for everyone. (If you’re only going to write one book, it had better be an incredible one.) My Catholic side clearly wants to say it would be the Bible, but I have yet to make it through after eight solid years now. All the way every year is a ridiculous goal to set for myself.

But my book-loving heart says Harry Potter. It has been far too long since I have made my way through the series. Life as a cord-cutter deprives me even of Harry Potter weekends on ABC Family. I miss Harry Potter, and I want those stories back in my life, so if I had to re-read something every year, it would be all seven books, in order, in a row. It wouldn’t be an obligation, though. It would be a joyous opportunity.

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Why I Love Young Adult Literature

I love to read. Anyone who meets me becomes rapidly aware of this. My mother claims that I taught myself how to read, and although I have not verified the legend, I choose to treat it like St. Christopher and accept it as true even if it is not factual.

I also love words and grammar. I have a master’s degree in English education. I used to use that to teach high school students; now I use it to amuse my coworkers in a construction company office. I enjoy words precisely because we use them to communicate stories. We study literature because it teaches us what it means to be human. That’s my motto. That and…

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Read the rest in my guest post over at Super Swell Times! Many thanks to Elizabeth for inviting me to hang out at her place today.

I Saw “Fading West” for Free, and It Was Awesome: A Review

Sometimes being patient and poor has its perks.

Switchfoot is my favorite band. I fell in love with them in high school, when I saw A Walk to Remember (mostly for Mandy Moore) and discovered the band. They had a prominent role in the soundtrack. I was hooked. It seems fitting to be writing this reflection today, after I’ve now watched a film I was drawn to by my love for the band. It’s a complete circle.

Just a couple of years ago, Switchfoot announced their plan to write a new album and simultaneously film a documentary while on a surfing world tour. It was ambitious, and the results are incredible. I’ve been listening to the album, Fading West, since its release. It has the lighthearted, hopeful surfer vibe that gets to the heart of the band, which is a deep breath in after the intense and piercing scream out of Vice Verses. Don’t get me wrong; I liked Vice Verses a lot. I was just rocking out to it in my car a few weeks ago. It was heavy, though. Fading West may be a reference to the sunset, but it is full of light.

I had the film on my Movies to Watch list since it premiered. I wasn’t able to make it out for the Fading West tour, during which the movie was shown before a live concert. It would be hard to top my previous concert experiences, but I think they could have done it! I don’t have much money these days, though, so I held tight for a nice iTunes giftcard, room in my budget for Netflix, or another lucky break. I got it today!

When I was scrolling away through my Facebook news feed a few days ago, I caught this delightful post:

So I tossed that sucker on my to-do list, and I found myself sitting here this evening, enjoying dinner over 90 minutes of awesomeness.

I had seen the film described as a cross between a tour documentary and Endless Summer, the classic world tour surfing movie. That is exactly what was portrayed. I was pleasantly surprised, though, by how real everything felt. These men are thirty-something surfers from San Diego who are in a rock band. They’re dads and husbands, and they get to share their musical talents and inspiration with us through song. And, as it turns out, they both are and know some great surfers. From the obvious heartbreak as Jon suddenly rushed home to be with his family to the sheer joy of visiting new countries and trying new waves, the events of the film made me feel like I was along for the ride with five guys who know how to have a good time and to never lose hope.

The film itself was beautiful. I like soundtracks in general, but it’s something special to listen to a soundtrack that is not only (a) composed and performed by the film stars and (b) inspired by the events of the film as they happened but also (c) composed specifically for this cinematic experience. “Immersive” barely even begins to cover it.

I could not have picked a better favorite band, they could not have made a better film, and I am so glad to be along for the ride.

You Thought Your Dinner Took Forever? (Review: “Thanksgiving”)

Holidays can be tough. At their core, they’re supposed to be a celebration of great joy. They involved people, though, and often families, and relationships among individuals always have the potential to get very, very messy.

Now take that, multiply it by 350 years, add a turkey dinner, and you’ve got Thanksgiving, by Ellen Cooney. I had never read a book about Thanksgiving that wasn’t for small children. It’s not a gift-giving or candy holiday, so it doesn’t get as much fanfare as Christmas or Easter. Thanksgiving is observed mostly to eat a lot of food, see people you don’t usually see, and try to stay positive about doing the same thing in worse weather about four weeks later.

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Thanksgiving (the holiday) does bring families into the forefront, though, and this novel takes that to the extreme. Thanksgiving (the book) tells the story of the Morley family from the days of the Puritan homestead to the teenager whose iPod has been confiscated. In between, we see characters be born, grow up, start their own families, age, and die, laid to rest in the family graveyard. Stories are revealed bit by bit, names reappear after generations, and a complex tale is woven.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

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