Tag Archives: books

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Recently, I had the privilege of reading a book of “narrative nonfiction” that reads like a novel. It was an incredible book that captures fully the world of the subtitle “Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.” It tells that story of the people who live in the slum called Annawadi, located in Mumbai, across from an international airport and luxury hotels. The words of the title “Beautiful Forevers” were inscribed on the walls separating the slum and the luxurious world next store as part of an advertizing campaign aimed at those in the …

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Benjamin’s Sorrow

You will, without doubt, succeed, if you never lose sight of the great consoling truth that nothing happens in this world but by the command of God, or at least, with His divine permission; and that whatever He wills, or permits turns infallibly to the advantages of those who are submissive and resigned [to God]. – Jean-Pierre de Caussade.   I have recently been working my way through a spiritually intense book called Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade. Caussade makes a reference to Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob and half-brother to …

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The Storytelling Animal

I just finished a book whose title gives a reasonably accurate definition of what it means to be a human being: The Storytelling Animal. Its subtitle also captures an important truth about stories: How Stories Make Us Human. This book explores the many different kinds of stories in our lives: dreams, daydreams, novels, films, games, and the sacred stories we tell to understand our faith. The really important stories are those we tell about our lives. These stories guide how we live and affect the way we see ourselves. A recent novel entitled Faithful Place …

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The Good Pope

The phrase “the good pope” is one that most likely means different things to different generations. To Gen X and millenials, it calls to mind Pope John Paul II; to those of us of an earlier generation Pope John XXIII is the one described by the phrase. Recently, I received the book to review entitled The Good Pope: The Making of a Saint & the Remaking of the Church—The Story of John XXIII & Vatican II by Greg Tobin. It was a reminder to me of the excitement many of us felt about this son …

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Summer Reading List

Little League is over for the season.  Vacations are in full swing.  The heat is rising and the cool of the pool and the indoors are beckoning. Time to figure out what to read. I decided to go to the best source in Cincinnati for the latest and the greatest in Catholic books.  I called Dan Giroux at The Catholic Shop in Madiera and asked him to put together 5 or so books that would be great reads. He came through with the following recommendations.  The descriptions are a paraphrasing of the publisher descriptions for …

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A Public Faith

Recently, I came across a book entitled A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good” by Miroslav Volf of the Yale Divinity School. There was much I liked about the book, but there were two ideas I found especially attractive. The first was how important it is for Christians who speak publicly about issues relevant to our faith to speak in a Christian way. We are called as Christians to love all, even those whom we perceive to be our enemies. Thus it seems important not to attribute to them evil …

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Books As Prayer

One of the pleasures in life I most enjoy is reading a good book or essay. When I began my work as a Director of Religious Education (DRE) at Immaculate Conception Parish in Dayton, my office was in the school between the two second-grade classrooms. After nearly a year there the two teachers and I were talking and one said to me, “You know, Dan, that for you the initials D R E means ‘Dan Reads Everything.’” I realized that they were speaking a truth that described me well: I love to read, to talk …

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