Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Catholic Fiction

Only a few days left to enter The Dog Days of Summer Catholic Fiction Giveaway at The deadline is 12:00 midnight Pacific Time. To enter just click on their link above and leave a comment. They have 28 books to give away and will be selecting the winners randomly.

I was surprised to see so many titles, only two of which I had previously read. (They were Bleeder and Awakening, in case you were wondering. And I can recommend both.) So I'm kind of wondering if all of them are Catholic fiction as such or just fiction which Catholic readers like and recommend. Either way I'm looking forward to searching for these titles.

I have a special collection of Catholic fiction housed in a separate bookcase in my bedroom. Since my definition of Catholic fiction is "a work which takes place in a universe in which Catholicism is true," it's a motley collection ranging from Declare by Tim Powers to Catholic Tales for Boys & Girls by Caryll Houselander. And I'm always looking for new books to add. So if you have any titles to recommend (or can tell me anything about the books in the give-away), please speak up in the comments box.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Introducing Youngsters to the Bronte Sisters

No matter what's going on in my life, I never stop reading. In fact, I may find myself reading more than usual because my need for escape is greater. Unfortunately, writing is not as easy as reading, so blogging becomes sparser as real life becomes more . . . um . . . real. However, I am hoping that everything will soon be under control. (Now, if I can just find the off switch for the trash compactor!)

In the meantime, here's a biblio-themed video featuring the Bronte sisters as action figures:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Catholic Book Sales

Aquinas & More is having an Inventory Reduction Sale right now -- 40% off lots of good stuff! Mostly books, of course, but also some gift items.

Father Dwight Longenecker is having a Summer Book Sale until August 15th -- $5.00 off all of his books (except More Christianity which is being reprinted by Ignatius Press this fall.) I particularly recommend The Gargoyle Code, his take-off on C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. It's much better than anyone else's attempts at this genre. Fr. Longenecker extends Lewis's sketchy world building and gives a good sense of the deception and betrayal that is inevitable among Satan's troops.

Sophia Institute Press could use some business right now. (They recently sent out an email to their mailing list pleading for donations or orders.) Although I'm not usually sympathetic to that sort of appeal, I always like to promote Sophia Institute Press because they are one of the few Catholic publishers that print fiction. And so far, every novel I've ordered from them has been pretty good -- which, sad to say, is not often the case with religious fiction.

A few of the titles I've bought and enjoyed:

Bleeder by John J. Desjarlais. Classics professor Reed Stubblefield retreated to rural Illinois to write a book on Aristole while recovering from a disabling injury. Though religiously skeptical, he makes friends with the local Catholic priest, an Aquinas expert with an excellent library who is reputed to be a stigmatic and a healer. When the priest bleeds to death during the Good Friday liturgy, Stubblefield finds that he's the chief suspect. Can he find the real killer before he himself is arrested or killed?

The Tripods Attack! by John McNichol. A young G.K. Chesterton and H.G. Wells join forces with Father Brown and a mysterious man known only as "The Doctor" (but not the one you're thinking of) when the Martians invade England in this steam-punk novel for kids.

The Blood-Red Crescent by Henry Garnett. This novel about the Battle of Lepanto, originally published in 1960, is just the sort of thing I loved reading when I was a kid. The protagonist is a sixteen year-old boy from Venice who takes part in the historic naval battle and learns important lessons about manhood from Miguel de Cervantes. Homeschooling parents of boys might use this book as an intro to Chesterton's poem, "Lepanto."

Ignatius Press is having a Summer Super Sale which ends on August 31st with some books marked down as low as $3.00.

I recommend Dayspring by Harry Sylvester, a novel originally published in the 1945 which has been marked down to $5.00 ( a real bargain -- especially since Ignatius paperbacks are signature sewn and printed on very good paper). The book is about Spencer Bain, an anthropologist who is studying the Penitentes, a brotherhood of men in New Mexico who practice severe religious penances. Spencer feigns a conversion to Catholicism in hopes of obtaining first hand observations of them. But he gets much more than he bargained for. This book is a little modern for my taste, but the writing is very good.

I'd also recommend Lord of the Elves and Eldils: Fantasy and Philosophy in the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien by Richard Purtill. Originally published in 1974, this revised edition contains two additional essays on Lewis and some new notes on the Silmarillion in Chapter Six. And it's only $3.00!