I have never had my heart broken by a book so quickly. I cried when I first read A Walk to Remember (hey, it’s romantic and sad!), and I was upset when Mockingjay was such a lame conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy (I got sick of Katniss’s PTSD), but I don’t think any book has ever left me so sad and so worried about the future as Brave New World. As with The Screwtape Letters, Brave New World was on my list of books I ought to have read sooner. I’m glad I finally read it, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to read it again. My heart can only break so far.
Aug 21 2012
If The Giver blew your mind, it may further blow your mind to know that The Giver has sequels. As if the journey of twelve-year-old Jonas through the frightening truth about his seemingly perfect world weren’t enough, Lois Lowry has spun another tale. The Giver presented a futuristic world with no choices and an oligarchy enforcing “Sameness” to create a better world, but one with sinister secrets. There are indications, though, that Jonas’s community is not the only one. What about everyone else?
In Gathering Blue, we find out what is going on in the world beyond.
Aug 09 2012
I have finally found some paranormal romance that I like! Well, that’s not entirely true. This week’s book is about the paranormal and does contain romance, though. I will concede only one thing to Twilight and its successors in the paranormal romance genre, and I will admit to two: they’re getting girls to read, and they can lead to them reading actual classics like Pride and Prejudice because apparently Bella likes them. Ultimately, I hope that books like Twilight will lead to more substantial reading. Indeed, as Goodreads reviews suggest, at least one reader was duped into reading The Screwtape Letters by its premise (she thought it would be “sexy in a dark fun kind of way”), but found herself edified by the experience. Great literature always has the power to transform.
Aug 09 2012
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing media lately. Aside from my recent post on media discernment, I had a lively discussion with some friends about the same subject, and there’s always another trashy TV show or a movie like Magic Mike to start a firestorm. It’s enough to make you want to give up all movies, TV, and books and go live in a cave.
Well, maybe it’s not that bad. But I do start longing for something uplifting. Real life is tough, but there is hope, and sometimes I need stories that remind me of that. This seemed like the perfect summer to continue my quest to learn the rest of the story. Previously in this column, I discovered that the family behind Cheaper by the Dozen had some madcap moments, and that Yours, Mine, and Ours was much more about faithfulness than either movie version made it seem. Since the hills of Zilker Park are alive this summer (see the bonus at the end), I turned my attention to The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
Aug 09 2012
Sometimes, I fail at being Catholic. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to live my faith and usually succeed, but I am far from perfect; if anything, I am acutely aware of how imperfect I am. The one constant is that I always come back. God is loving and merciful, so he always takes me back. Remembering that God is eternally waiting for my return keeps me going. When I look back on times I wandered away or felt great despair, as if God had forgotten me, I can see little hints of how those moments led me toward today. In the much-recommended classic novel Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh presents a family saga of spiritual journeys.
Jun 26 2012
We are all called to be saints. I’ll say that again, with help from St. Bernadette and a friend’s email signature, “I must become a saint. My Jesus demands it.” Most of us aren’t actively working on that, but some must be. In my never-ending quest for good Catholic YA, I picked up The Possibilities of Sainthood, by Donna Freitas. I was delighted. There may be hope for books about Catholic teenagers with problems yet.
May 29 2012
At Austin Catholic New Media, we strive to harness the most popular social technologies of the day to aid in the New Evangelization. In other words, since everyone and his grandma is on Facebook, can we share our Catholic lives in photos and status updates? Can we use YouTube to teach people about Catholicism? And what is all that stuff, if you don’t already know? Brandon Vogt, blogger at The Thin Veil, brings together various authors writing on this very topic in his book The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishop who Tweet.
This review was written as part of the Tiber River Reviewer Program. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review of it. For more reviews of Catholic books, visit Tiber River. To purchase Catholic products of all kinds (not just books), visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.