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Monday, 28 May 2018

Irish Saints for Boys and Girls - Alice Curtayne

Irish Saints for Boys and Girls
Alice Curtayne

Eileen Coghlan (Illustrator)
Helicon Limited Edition (1978)
Sheed and Ward (1938)


This book appears to be a precursor to her book Twenty Tales of Irish Saints. The 19 stories contained within this book all appear in the Twenty tales book, which contains 1 more story and a section at the end of the book with brief paragraph length biographical summary of the saints in alphabetical order at the end of the book. When I tracked down this book I was surprised how similar it was to Twenty Tales. The wording is slightly different but the texts for these 19 saints are Essentially the same. The big difference is that this volume has illustrations. 15 illustrations to be exact. The illustrations seem to be either pen and ink or block cut prints. Most are plain black and white and could be either format, but a few have such shading that they could not be block prints. But either way the illustrations are wonderful and add to the tales of the saints, and my son loved them. The 19 saints of whom there are stories in this book are:

Patrick
Brigid
Finnian
Columcille
Colman of Kilmacduagh
Adamnan
Benignus 
Ciaran
Cormac
Modomnoc
Flannan
Finbarr
Colman-Elo
Canice
Columbanus
Laurence O'Toole
Thaddeus MacCarthy
Gall
The Young Monk

In the story on Colmcille, Curtayne states:

"Ireland has many saints - almost a countless number - and three great ones. The great ones are Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille. These three are like sparkling jewels in a crown, and it would be hard to say which sparkled the most; perhaps it would depend on the light in which you looked at the jewels. In one light, at any rate, Colmcille sparkles the brightest; Irishness. He loved Ireland with all his might and hated to having to leave it for Scotland, and with - another thing - he was very Irish in himself."

This book is a wonderful read and even though it overlapped almost completed with Twenty Tales of Irish Saints I am very thankful to have tracked down a copy and been able to read it. I discovered the writings of Curtayne through the aforementioned Twenty Tales, and in the last few months have tracked down 11 of her works, read 7 and now reviewed 7. Every time I finish one of her works I begin the quest anew to find and read all her books. I give this book and all her books I have read to date my highest recommendation. If you can lay your hands on them give them a read, you will be in for a treat.




Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Alice Curtayne:
St. Catherine of Siena
A Recall to Dante
Saint Brigid of Ireland
Saint Bernard Abbot Of Clairvaux And Doctor Of The Church
Saint Anthony of Padua
Saint Columcille: the Dove of the Church
St Francis of Assisi: Founder of the Franciscan Order
St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland
House of Cards
Borne of the Wind
Lough Derg: St. Patrick's Purgatory
Twenty Tales of Irish Saints
More Tales of Irish Saints
Irish Saints for Boys and Girls
Jean-Baptiste Debrabant
Patrick Sarsfield
Saint Bernard and His Friend Saint Malachy
The Trial of Oliver Plunkett
The Irish Story
Francis Ledwidge: A Life of the Poet

Booklets by Alice Curtayne:
(Catholic Truth Society)
Saint Philomena
Saint Brigid, The Mary of Ireland
St. Bernard Doctor of The Church 1933
Saint Catherine Of Siena A Woman Who Changed The World
The Story of Knock

Books Edited by Alice Curtayne:
The Complete works of Francis Ledwidge

Books Translated by Alice Curtayne:
Labours in the Vineyard by Giovanni Papin


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity
Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Deuteronomy 4:23-34, 29-40 
Responsorial Psalm 33: 4-6, 9, 18-22 Response 12
Second Reading Romans 8:14-17
Gospel Matthew 28:16-20

This week we had our confirmation mass. We had 96 confirmati but because our diocese does not have an auxiliary bishop currently the celebration was done by a visiting priest. 

I would ask your prayers for the 96 and their families. They come from the three primary schools associated with our parish. I also ask for prayers for those beginning the journey for their confirmation next year. My oldest is preparing a speech for the class on who she has chosen for her confirmation saint. The process begins now for the students. 

My prayers for you, and I covet your prayers for a special intention.


Saturday, 26 May 2018

Good Guys - Steven Brust

Good Guys
Steven Brust
TOR
ISBN 9780765396372

eISBN 9780765396389
ASIN B071DZKPHC


I have been a fan of Brust's writing since High School. He is one of the few contemporary fiction authors that I read 30-35 years ago that I still read today. I have read nearly all his novels, and many of them more than once. But this one has a very different feel. This book is classified as Urban Fantasy. And in some ways, it feels like a Vlad novel set in a different world and environment. It is an intriguing read and adds nicely into the canon of Brust's works. This book is dedicated to his coauthor of the Incrementalists series, Skyler White. And Brust shares with us where the idea came from for this work he states:
"I never know where an idea is going to come from-what combination of reading, life, research, and random events is going to make me go, "Oh, hey, I know what'd be fun." But sometimes I can identify the final piece of it. The idea for this book came from a conversation with my friend and poker teacher Chris "Pokerfox" Wallace. We were discussing a writing project of his, and he mentioned some things that he was doing that made me go, "Oh, wow, I gotta try that." So I stole it. 
How much of what I grabbed and ran through my own process would be recognizable from the idea he gave me? I don't know. But if his work makes its way into the world, and you read it, and something strikes you as familiar, I want you to know that he didn't get it from me, I got it from him. Thanks, Fox."
It would be interesting to read Chris Wallac's book if it is every published and compare it to this volume. It would an academic undertaking much like comparing C.S. Lewis's Science fiction trilogy with the works of Olaf Stapledon's. But back to the Good Guys. 

This book was a really fun read. It has a fast pace, and once you are hooked you will not want to put it down. The main premise is that there is magic in the world, but most people are not aware of it. It follows a small crew who work for the Foundation, who try and cover up or prevent public notice of the use of magic. And track down those who are using it outside the approved guidelines. Each member of the crew has special abilities and are certified for this type of field work. The Foundation has a mixed history and is the off shoot of an organization called the Roma Vindices Mystici. Apparently the split took place during the reign of Franco in Spain. 

In this adventure the bodies start piling up and as each is killed in a more gruesome way than the previous. But as the team investigates they are noticing a pattern and a trend. To some extent the victims seem to warrant it in some ways. Our lead is Donovan, sort of a magic detective cross between Mike hammer and Spencer for Hire. He is backed up by Marci who has some very serious magic skills, both for protecting the team, and tracing magic that has been used, and how it was used, even days after the events. And then there is Hippy Chick aka Susan. In a world with magic that most are unaware of it. But something about this investigation is off, and the team find themselves targets. Can they solve the mystery, end the killings and protect themselves? You will need to read to find out. 

The characters in this book are wonderful. And I hope we get to encounter them again. The pace is excellent and the story at times whimsical and extremely entertaining. Another great read by a master with the pen!   

Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:

Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)
...

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)
...

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
The Sun, the Moon & the Stars (1987)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)
My Own Kind of Freedom (2008)
Good Guys (2018)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):
The Incrementalists
The Skill of our Hands

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust
Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on tor.com (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on tor.com (2013)

Friday, 25 May 2018

Saint Brigid The Mary of Ireland - Alice Curtayne

Saint Brigid The Mary of Ireland
Alice Curtayne

Catholic Truth Society 
Booklet No. 696 
Published 1936, reissued 1960


Alice Curtayne has written about Saint Brigid of Ireland many times. There is a chapter in her book Twenty Tales of Irish Saints, a nearly identical chapter in Irish Saints for Boys and Girls, and yet another in More Tales of Irish Saints. She also published the full-length biography Saint Brigid of Ireland in 1934. And then a few years later this booklet for the Catholic Truth Society. At first, I wondered if this booklet was just an excerpt from some of her other writings about Saint Brigid, but that is not the case, at least from the four books mentioned above. With every book or booklet, I read by Curtayne I want to read more. I am thankful this one is available online currently and was much easier to access than many of her works.

This booklet is primarily about Saint Brigid, but it begins with setting the historical stage. Curtayne states:
"CERTAINTY attaches to Irish records only from the coming of Saint Patrick. Before that, all is cloudy surmise; after it, the nation begins to emerge in a clear light. In that early clarity of record three names linked together will stand out for all time. No one can write our Irish history without reference to them. No account of our native literature can be presented if they be ignored, for the three have been our abiding inspiration through the ages. No account, even of native art, can be written without explaining them. Archaeologists work backwards and arrive at them. Geographers have to consider them, for these three names are everywhere woven into the topography of the country. If, therefore, through some mystery of iniquity the Church were silenced in Ireland and there were an end to native literature and art, still the very stones would cry out those names; wells, ruins, raths, and town-lands would tell their story. Mountains would have to be levelled to blot out their memory. These three upon whom abut all our history, literature, art, building and topography are: Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille (or Columba). Their memory is our spiritual banner. When that flag is surrendered, the Gael is no more."
And that centrality of these three saints if prevalent in this booklet and other writings on the saints by Curtayne. But first she addresses the overlap of Saint Patrick with Saint Brigid saying:
"Every one of her nine or ten first biographers assigns a different date to her birth, but no date is very far distant from the year 450. One must, therefore, be content with saying that she was born about the middle of the fifth century. The new chronology of Patrick's life, outcome of extensive research, places his death in the year 461. This makes it impossible for Saint Patrick to have known Brigid in her maturity. As a fact, in the oldest "Lives" of the Apostle, she is mentioned only once. She can have been little more than a child when he died."
Curtain then states:
"If I begin by saying, Brigid was a flame, I risk the charge of taking a caption from the cinema, yet that is the term used by her first biographers in describing her. Her singularity must be emphasized. The idea of perpetuating her memory by keeping a fire constantly burning as a symbol of her was strictly appropriate. All who approached her in life testified that she communicated a sort of illumination and warmth. She stood out luminously against a background of gloom. Some authorities affirm that her name means "fiery arrow". She certainly shot up like a dart of fire out of utter darkness."
This booklet is a clear concise look at Brigid's life and lasting impact. It concludes with a synopsis of the history of the Brigidine Nun's. And two prayers for devotion to Saint Brigid. I have read this booklet through a couple of times now. And am currently reading it with my oldest daughter, she has chosen Saint Brigid as her confirmation saint and we are working through Curtayne's works on Saint Brigid as our start point. And it is a wonderful place to begin.

Like all Curtayne's works I recommend you give this a read. It is easily read over of coffee or tea break. It can be read again and again for inspiration and motivation. Another wonderful booklet from a master wordsmith and gifted hagiographer. 

It should be noted this booklet is available online on several sites. You can find it here, here, and here in various formats as just a sampling.




Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!


Books by Alice Curtayne:
St. Catherine of Siena
A Recall to Dante
Saint Brigid of Ireland
Saint Bernard Abbot Of Clairvaux And Doctor Of The Church
Saint Anthony of Padua
Saint Columcille: the Dove of the Church
St Francis of Assisi: Founder of the Franciscan Order
St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland
House of Cards
Borne of the Wind
Lough Derg: St. Patrick's Purgatory
Twenty Tales of Irish Saints
More Tales of Irish Saints
Irish Saints for Boys and Girls
Jean-Baptiste Debrabant
Patrick Sarsfield
Saint Bernard and His Friend Saint Malachy
The Trial of Oliver Plunkett
The Irish Story
Francis Ledwidge: A Life of the Poet

Booklets by Alice Curtayne:
(Catholic Truth Society)
Saint Philomena
Saint Brigid, The Mary of Ireland
St. Bernard Doctor of The Church 1933
Saint Catherine Of Siena A Woman Who Changed The World
The Story of Knock

Books Edited by Alice Curtayne:
The Complete works of Francis Ledwidge

Books Translated by Alice Curtayne:
Labours in the Vineyard by Giovanni Papin



Thursday, 24 May 2018

A Battle for the Faith Two Short Stories - Theresa Linden and John Paul Wohlscheid

A Battle for the Faith:
Two Short Stories
Theresa Linden
John Paul Wohlscheid
ISBN 9781311212504
ASIN B019QTQIH4


I make no bones about being a huge fan of Theresa Linden's writings. I have read these two short stories a few times now. I read them first right after reading her novel Roland West, Loner. And this volume served as my introduction to the writings of John Paul Wohlscheid, and I do plan on reading more of his works soon. You cannot beat the price on the eBook edition of this set of two short stories. The stories are:

A Matter of Silence By Theresa Linden 
A Matter of Action by John Paul Wohlscheid

In the introduction Andrew L. Smith states: 
"While I readily admit that many things in life bring me great pleasure and delight - God and family being at the top of that list - I find extreme pleasure in fantasy literature, such as Lord of the Rings and The Narnia Chronicles, as well as in seeing my former students do well in life and in academic pursuits. These latter two elements are combined in the work of my former student John Paul Wohlscheid, along with his friend Theresa Linden, in their stories "A Matter of Silence" and "A Matter of Action", which combine to form their exciting tale A Battle for the Faith. 
One of the things that makes a story outstanding is that it depicts longstanding and eternal struggles in new and exciting ways. This is what Linden and Wohlscheid have done."
And I completely agree. The first story is about the sin of omission. The leaders of the people were not strong in standing against an approaching evil, and by the time they would stand it led to war. Lodir the leader of one of the tribes states: 
"May you be blessed with leaders who refuse to remain silent in the face of evil. Fight well, my friend. The Fathers gaze down upon you with joy."
And so the torch is passed. But only after the silence of good men had caused much harm. The second story continues shortly after the first. There is a slight difference in feel as the authorship changes. In the second story Bortamen implores:
""I am asking for this holy war because we are not just fighting a battle against a mortal enemy of this world. It is far more than that. We are fighting a spiritual battle against unseen forces that are just as important and just as deadly as any mortal enemy. Unless we rise to this challenge now, we will have no hope of defeating defeating the evil that faces us at a later date. Our Fathers, who passed the Faith on to us, died and suffered great torment to protect and spread that Faith. How can we, who have the fullness of that Faith, fail to do the same? My people and the Dawn People have already shed our blood to protect that Faith. All I ask is for your help, your aid and your prayers. Together, united in Faith, there is no one who can defeat us, but separated into many different factions, we will be slaughtered like sheep."
He is trying to rouse the council from the city of virtue to action. The two stories are really one. And to be honest I would love to see more set in this place and time. They fit very well together; and are a very enjoyable read. In some ways it read like a cross between a tale of William Wallace and some of the battles in C.S. Lewis's Narnia. A couple of great short stories available for an excellent price so why not check them out.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Theresa Linden:

Anyone But Him

Chasing Liberty Series:
01 Chasing Liberty
02 Testing Liberty
03 Fight For Liberty
Bound to find Freedom - Short Story

West brothers Series:
Roland West Loner
Life-Changing Love
Battle for His Soul

Standing Strong

Other Books:
A Symbol of Hope - Short Story
A Battle for the Faith (with John Paul Wohlscheid)


Books contributed to:
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books

Author Profile and Interview with Theresa A. Linden

Books by John Paul Wohlscheid:
Letters Home
Fire in the Night
A Battle for the Faith
Church Triumphant

Benny Cahill Series:
Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Trouble is My Client