Friday, 31 August 2012

(you) set me on fire - Mariko Tamaki

(you) set me on fire
Mariko Tamaki
razorbill an imprint of
Penguin
ISBN 9780143180937


I read a lot of books, averaging over a hundred a year this past ten years. There are a very few books I cannot put down. This was one of them. From the beginning you could see Allison Lee's life heading towards a train wreck and yet could not stop watching as events unfolded. Mariko Tamaki has written an amazing novel and though being published towards the Young Adult audience will likely garner a much wider following.

This story follows Allison Lee through her first year in a women's residence at university. No, Allison is not your typical frosh (if there is such a thing). Twice in the summer before she started university, she was set on fire, once by someone else and once by herself. In fact, combined they almost prevented her parents from letting her go away to school. Allison wants to start fresh, start new, but she has the glaring burn scar on the side of her neck. So she decides she can be whoever she wants at her new school. Unfortunately she makes some bad decisions and the school year heads downhill fast.

Tamaki does an amazing job of capturing university life; the freedom of being away from home, the transition from regimented high school to come-and-go university classes, to visits to the dean's office. And all this wrapped around the story of Allison finding herself in love again and about to be burned again. It was an amazing read. I highly recommend it.

Books by Mariko Tamaki:
Cover Me
True Lies
Fake ID
Emiko Superstar ( with Steve Rolston)
Skim (with Jillian Tamaki)
(You) Set Me on Fire

Author profile and interview with Mariko Tamaki.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Catholic Prayer Book Volume 1 - Wyatt North

Catholic Prayer Book Volume 1
Wyatt North
ASIN B005MJGWGU


Wyatt North is a publisher who partners to bring other books to the electronic market and is branching out to produce their own books. These enhanced electronic book have many great benefits. What I love most is having a whole library of great books at my fingertips in my phone or on my iPad. Being able to open the books on almost any device that has a supported app and syncing to where you were. Also being able to search and jump around through the text. This volume is full of full color illustrations and photos to accompany the prayers. It is a great little treasury.

Traditional Prayers
The Lord's Prayer
Hail Mary
Sign of the Cross
Glory Be
Apostles Creed
Act of Faith
Act of Contrition
Grace Before Meals
Grace After Meals

Prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Hail Holy Queen
Memorare
The Angelus
Prayer to Our Lady of The Miraculous Medal

Prayers Written by Catholic Saints
You are Christ
Praise to Mary the Mother of Jesus
Short Act of Perfect Love
Sunday Prayer Before Mass
O Lord My God
Marian Prayer
For Seekers of Faith
A Student's Prayer

Morning Prayers
Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity
To the Blessed Virgin Mary
To the Angel Guardian

Evening Prayers

An Act of Contrition
Petition
To the Sacred Heart of Jesus
To the Blessed Virgin Mary
To St. Joseph
Before Retiring
Invocation

Prayers at Holy Mass
Preparatory Prayer
At the Beginning of Mass
At the Gospel
At the Credo
At the Offering
At the Preface
At the Sanctus
At the Canon
At the Elevation
After the Elevation
At the Pater Noster
At the Agnus Dei
At Communion
Spiritual Communion
At the Blessing
At the Last Gospel

Prayers after Mass
Salve Regina

Prayers for Confession
Before Confession
Before entering the confessional
After Confession

Prayers for Holy Communion
BEFORE COMMUNION
An Act of Faith
An Act of Hope
An Act of Love
An Act of Desire
An Act of Fear
An Act of Humility

IMMEDIATELY BEFORE COMMUNION
AFTER COMMUNION
An Act of Thanksgiving
An Act of Adoration
An Act of Oblation
Offering and Petition

Invocations
Prayer to Jesus Crucified
Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
An Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart
DAILY OFFERING

The Stations of the Cross
PREPARATORY PRAYER
First Station
Second Station
Third Station
Fourth Station
Fifth Station
Sixth Station
Seventh Station
Eighth Station
Ninth Station
Tenth Station
Eleventh Station
Twelfth Station
Thirteenth Station
Fourteenth Station
Prayer to Our Suffering Redeemer
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Prayer for All Things Necessary for Salvation
The Four Approved Litanies
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Litany of Loreto
Litany of the Saints

This was an amazing little eBook. I love the interactive nature of an electronic prayer book. Being able to jump from section to section in the text. Search the book and pull up specific prayers immediately. The only drawback is it will not become old and worn by use. It is an incredible prayer book and the price cannot be beat! Check it out and other titles from Wyatt North.

Other Books by Wyatt North:

The Catholic Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes From Our Family to Yours
Catholic Prayer Book - Volume 1
Catholic Saints Prayer Book
Prayers by Catholic Saints - Volume II
Prayers by Catholic Saints (A Collection of Prayers Written by Saints!)
Praying to Catholic Saints
The Life and Prayers of Saint Augustine of Hippo
The Life and Prayers of The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Life and Prayers of Saint Francis of Assisi
The Life and Writings of Saint John of the Cross
The Life and Writings of Saint Augustine

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Sleepy Time Blessings - Sally Anne Conan and Nicole Rutten

Sleepy Time Blessings
Sally Anne Conan (Author)
Nicole Rutten (Illustrator)
Eerdmans books for Young Readers
ISBN 9780802853509

This story follows a little rabbit as he is getting ready for bed. The prayer is spoken over him. The illustrations are done in a mix of watercolor and pencil and they are absolutely wonderful. The little angel rabbits floating around the rabbit are cute. This book is intended for children and I am sure they will enjoy it, but parents might find it a little too much. Excellent illustrations but the story is a little weak.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

T.M. Gaouette - Author Profile

T.M. Gaouette is a writer, a mother and a wife. Born in Africa educated in London and now she resides with her family in New England. Her first novel is out and she is new on the Christian fiction market. Her first book The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch was an amazing read. So I wanted to find out more about this author and her writing. She agreed to be interviewed for Book Reviews and More and for CatholicDadsOnline.org so here is Tm in her own words.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?

I began writing as a child. I always had a diary so I'd write my personal joys and sorrows in that. I also loved to write poetry, songs, short stories, and scripts, and I read constantly. In college, I majored in English Literature and that's where I really found a passion for writing and marveled at the power of words. I'm constantly learning from other authors, and striving to perfect my own style.

2. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

I don't think I could have been anything else. I've kept on writing throughout my life, and I've had various jobs, from waitressing to sales to marketing. But at home, on my own time, I wrote. I can't imagine not writing, even with its ups and downs. I've taken breaks from it, even considered quitting, but I've found that I need to write. I'm confident now too that writing is God's gift to me. And I have so many stories to tell.

3. With one novel published and a collection of short stories in the works, what do you do outside of your writing?

Well, besides fiction writing, I work from home as a contributing blogger for Project Inspired, a Christian website for teen girls. I also homeschool, and work every day to be a better follower of Christ, wife, mother, friend, housekeeper, and couponer. I also grow a pretty serious vegetable garden in the summer, love Kung Fu, family trips, and so many other things that I just don't have time to do regularly.

4. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?

I wish someone had told me to get serious about writing as a career path as soon as possible and to keep at it, even if it meant beginning at a low level position in a publishing company. I always kept my writing in the background and I sometimes wonder if I wasted too much time in jobs that could never lead me to my dream.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

I purchase a separate notebook for each novel I write, and jot down my ideas into that. It's rare that I'll know the specifics of the whole story, so I write what I do know, such as a basic layout, thoughts about the story, scenes, characters, and dialogue. I organize this information and add to it whenever it comes to mind. Then I write a chapter breakdown, type it up, and turn it into a synopsis -and always with the knowledge that much of it will likely change as the story progresses. I go from one chapter to the next, writing the story as it comes to me, and if I have to skip a chapter or leave sections out, I will. I'm not concerned if the writing itself is imperfect. My goal is to get the story onto paper. I allow the story to guide me. Then it's back to the beginning for a revision. I put everything I have into that draft, fill in the gaps, enhance scenes, characters, settings, and words, and I go from loving it to being sick of it. And so I leave it, sometimes for months, until it's matured in my mind and I'm curious to see if I can love it again. When I'm ready to read it with a fresh, excited, and creative attitude, I go through the chapters again, adding to it, editing, rewriting, and if it's still not ready, I'll leave it again. This will go on until I'm satisfied. Then I'll edit, have various people read it, and edit again until it's ready to publish. During the maturation process of one manuscript, I'm working on another. There's no timeframe for my novels, or specific rules, and some stories come easier than others. But when I sit down to write, I do pray that God blesses my words so that I glorify Him in everything that I write.

6. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

No. I love music but I can't listen to it and write. I can watch the news and write casually, but when I'm writing a crucial scene or editing, I need silence. With three young children in my house, that means writing late at night. So I usually don't get to bed until after midnight on a regular basis.

7. What current projects are you working on or are in the back burner in some stage of development?

I always have a number of books going at the same time. I'm currently finishing the first of a Kung Fu Faith series titled Freeing Tanner Rose. I hope to have it published before the end of this year. I'm really excited about it and am anxious to get it done, but I can't rush it. I want it to be perfect and there's no going back once it's published. I have the other three books in the series in various stages of production. And I've got two other stories underway, one as a synopsis and the other in a notebook.

8. The novel The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is an amazing read. How did you come up with the story line and dray these diverse people into a family?

Thank you. I really appreciate those kind words. I'm a strong believer of overcoming adversity and using it and God's strength to become a stronger, healthier person. In fact, Philippians 4:12-13 is the heart of this story. My desire was to write a thought provoking novel that inspires tweens, teens, and young adults. The idea itself began with Benedict. I wondered what it would be like to take a young boy, who'd been abused, neglected, and shuffled around, who was now scared and highly cynical, and place him into a loving Christian home. The Sunshine Ranch is an instant family environment. It's a dream for him, but one he's reluctant to accept for fear of having to leave. I wanted diverse characters, each with their own anxieties, but after creating names and basic character descriptions, I allowed them to introduce themselves to me. Each and every one of them made their introductions naturally and their personalities revealed themselves and became more real to me as the story progressed. I didn't really know them until I wrote and rewrote and edited and revised and the story was complete.

9. One of the greatest strengths of The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is the characters. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations?

They're all my creations, but I do instill some behaviors in each character that were mine as a child, or from childhood friends, and even from my own children. I'm also an avid people watcher and love bringing characters to life with physical mannerisms that I've witnessed when people watching.

10. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

I see them within the scope of the story, or in a time in their life that I had to imagine in order to write the story. In The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, I know the characters from children to adults, but I don't know what happens to them after the last scene. Each character is important to me. They're mine. But I leave them in the novel. They're not a part of my everyday life.

11. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well-rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

I would offer up a variety of genres. Narrowing it down to 10, I'm pretty sure I'm going to forget some great books, but here goes- To begin with, and I hate to be cliché, but I have to suggest the Bible, beginning with the Gospels, C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity, Milton's Paradise Lost, J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Sr. Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking, Henry James' The Beast in the Jungle, and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.

12. One of your books is available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I'm still undecided about my thoughts on eBooks. Part of me believes that in this era an author has to have their books in eBook format because so many readers use electronic devices. But the idea that it leaves the door open for people to steal an authors' livelihood, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I think it's very unfortunate that people will willingly steal books this way, just as they steal songs. If I find that it becomes a problem, I may reconsider the eBook route.

13. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so or have someone do so for you?

I don't make a habit of monitoring sites, but if I find that it's a problem, I may have to.

14. What are your favorite books to read with your children?

Their favorites include bible stories, The Berenstain Bears series, and Dr. Seus. They're still young.

15. Who were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

I loved reading as a child and read a variety of genres, but the ones that had the most effect on me, as a person and a writer, were C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Kenneth Grahame, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Brontë sisters.

16. What are some of your favorite books and authors now?

I don't read as much now as I used to. I'm trying to be better about reading the Gospels at night. And when I get a chance, I confess, I resort back to fictional classics, mainly because they inspire me as a writer. Tolkien, Chesterton, Lewis, and James are among my favorites. I should really branch out, shouldn't I?

17. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

Yes, I agree with that. The objective of higher education is to provide facts, offer opposing views, and teach students how to take that information and come up with their own observations. Too many professors are intent on imposing their own ideas on students.

18. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

I don't watch shows. I usually have the news on in the evenings. I enjoy watching movies, but we wait until movies are on DVD before seeing them. Comedies and dramas are my favorites. To give you an idea of my range, I'm really looking forward to watching, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, October Baby, and For Greater Glory.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

I would need a mix of genres to satisfy my many moods, and they would likely include many of the books I've already mentioned. The Bible, Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, James' The Beast in the Jungle, Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, Adams' Watership Down, Gaouette's The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch (really!), and of course SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Lofty Wiseman!

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists particularly those looking to have their art reflect their faith?

I would urge them to work on both every day. Remember that it won't be easy, but if you have faith, passion, and persistence, then you'll make it. Always turn to Him when you feel discouraged, find strength in Him and praise Him constantly, in good times and in bad. Remember too that success won't happen on your time. God has His plan, so focus on Him and your writing, glorify Him in your work, and He will lead you to success.

T.M. Gaouette is a contributing blogger for ProjectInspired.com and is also working on publishing her next novel for young adults, "Freeing Tanner Rose." So check it out.

Books by T.M. Gaouette

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
Freeing Tanner Rose (Forthcoming)

Author Profile and interview with T.M. Gaouette

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Dead I Know - Scot Gardner

The Dead I Know
Scot Gardner
razorbill an imprint of
Penguin
ISBN 9780143182122


Five years ago when I read a book I always had a pencil in my hand and made notes and grabbed quotes as I read. As I have been reading more and more electronically, now when I do read a physical book I find I just have lost that habit. But this book was so compelling that I stopped on a number of occasions to write down quotes to share with others. This is the first of Scot Gardner's books to be released in Canada. It was an amazing read. I literally read it in less than 24 hours and could not stop talking about it and think about it for days afterwards. It is an incredible read.

Aaron Rowe is a young man who has had trouble fitting in at school. He is now beginning an apprenticeship to work as a funeral director. On one of his first days there is a motorcycle accident and he finds the head some distance from the body and he reflects to himself: "I became aware, as John closed the door, that although we'd been conducting the same search, the policemen and I had been looking for different things and for different reasons. They were hunting for mortal remains to finish a job. I was hunting the still countenance of someone's son, perhaps their brother, maybe even their father, to bring him a final grace. By giving him grace, I found some of my own. The police protected the living, ambulance officers protected the injured and we protected the dead. All as it should be." He likes his new work and seems to have a natural knack for it. But Aaron is suffering from nightmares and sleep walking and both are getting progressively worse. As they are getting worse, so is his mother; she is slipping into dementia and Aaron does not want to lose her and her presence in his life. He thinks to himself: "With that fragment of conversation, I knew the scales had tipped. Mam had gone and probably wouldn't find her way back Perhaps she'd gone home? She'd done her work. She'd schooled me in life the way an institution never could. She'd made me think long and hard about everything and anything, answered every question I'd ever asked and many that I hadn't. She'd fed me, washed me and clothed me until I could do it for myself. Until I could do it for her. She'd grown old and now she was growing young again, all innocence and hugs. It seemed to have happened so fast, but if I stopped to think about it there had been years of incremental decline, faithfully denied by us both until- paf, like a blown globe - she'd finally let go. Until that moment, when I'd let go too." Again, later in the book, he reflects on the turmoil in his life and nightmares and the peace of his new work. "The smell of air-freshener flowers had become linked in my mind to the cool stillness of death, and death was my new best friend - someone I'd only just met but felt I'd known forever." And so begins the tale of Aaron.
The characters in this story are amazing - Aaron, his new boss John, and John's very precocious daughter Skye. Between their interactions with the living and the dead it makes for a wonderful tale.

In the last 5 years I have read 800 books and this is the number 2 fiction book in that time. (The first being I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.) It was so good that I bought and read the only ebook available in North America by Scot Gardner the day after I finished this book. On a side note, I lent this book to my mother- in-law after reading it. She works in the funeral industry and she could not put it down and also read it in one day. I cannot think of higher recommendations than the two of us, so different but both unable to stop reading. So pick it up and give it a try. The Dead I Know just might surprise you in more ways than one.

Books by Scot Gardner:
The Dead I Know
The Detachable Boy
Bookmark Days
Happy as Larry
One Dead Seagull
White Ute Dreaming
Burning Eddy
The Other Madonna
The Legend of Kevin the Plumber
Gravity
One Wheel Drive
Kite Dude
The Lost King

Author Profile and Interview with Scot Gardner

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mariko Tamaki - Author Profile


(you) set me on fire - Mariko Tamaki Blog Tour 2012

Mariko Tamaki is a Canadian artist who wears many different creative hats. From performer, to writer to speaker and teacher she does it all. I first encountered her works a few years back while working through the MINX line of graphic novels. Her book Emiko Superstar was one of the best in the series. When I had the opportunity to read an ARC of her latest book, (you) set me on fire and interview her, I could not pass it up. Her works are powerful, raw and incredibly creative. They are also inspiring. So let's hear from Mariko as she answers 20 questions for the readers at Book reviews and More.

1. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Possibly teaching. I did have aspirations of being a Marine Biologist in Grade 8 but I've since realized I'm afraid of the ocean. So probably teaching, which I really enjoy doing, and do as often as I can (I'm currently teaching for the University of Toronto's Continuing Studies program).

2. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

My English teachers in high school (Havergal College) were a huge source of support and inspiration. I loved my Writer's Craft OAC class, and to this day I think of it as the start of what I do today. Also I have amazing parents who encouraged me to do things like study English, Literature in University, even it if meant I wouldn't be an engineer (my first choice) and thereby employable.

3. What authors influenced your writing style and format?

Early on, Douglas Coupland. Before that Margaret Lawrence and Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley and Alice Munro. Basically from grade 10 on I read all the Can Lit I could get my hands on. And to this day I think the aspirations I have for character and story are based on this bedrock. I see Canadian writers as having an uncanny ability to construct a complex symphony of simple moments that are as accessible as the subway. There's something about Canadian writing and the things you know, the little things you can see and smell and feel, about Canadian protagonists, I've always been drawn to.

I'd add that I'm currently reading Stephen King's On Writing, which is an incredible book as far as instruction and writing goes. I highly recommend it.


4. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?

I don't recall getting a lot of advice when I was starting out. I started writing with a bunch of other writers my age (Zoe Whittall and Elizabeth Ruth were in my early St. George College writing class), and we all just sort of fumbled through together. One thing I've gained a bigger appreciation for, as I've gone along, is the importance of connecting to and understanding the mechanics of the literary industry. I did a lot of readings when I was a young writer, but I didn't take much time to learn about publishers and lit magazines. I think knowing about what's out there, about who's publishing what and the diversity of spaces and magazines that are out there can't help but benefit you starting out as a new writer.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

Oh. Gosh. It's kind of a long and twisty process. Usually I start with something pretty small. A memory or an idea of a character. Sometimes it's a scene I'll just randomly see, a moment in a character's life. With the book I'm writing now, I've had a series of flashes of one of the main characters. I keep seeing him standing at a bus stop, looking annoyed.

After that I start building up a story. I write and keep notes as to who is doing what and where I think they'll be going. I keep a notebook and I'll jot down whatever comes to mind, and edit it through as I start writing out chapters.

I do a lot of literary readings so I'll try out bits on audiences as I go along. See if anything's hitting or missing.

For this last book, it was my first novel in a long time so the process was quite different than with the comics I'd done in the past. With comics I hand in an outline/proposal, and that's what gets sold to a publisher, along with sketches from the illustrator/artist I'm working with. With this novel I handed in and sold the completed novel, following a series of edits from my agent.

The selling process all goes through my agent.

Then after that it's lots of edits.

You edit and edit and edit for as long as things look better after you've edited. I keep track of "versions" of a script as it goes through edits. It's different, again, comics and novels. (you) set me on fire went through about 30 drafts all told.


6. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

I always use a playlist. Especially in the first drafts, when things are a little looser in terms of my writing process. For (you) set me on fire it was a lot of Metric, Dance Yourself to Death (which I ended up using a lyric from at the beginning of the book), Tegan and Sara, and Robyn. I wanted girl voices. Some drama.

7. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

Ah. Well they feel real in that I'm invested in my characters. I felt bad for the main character in this book. There were several moments where I felt sympathy pains writing about her battered states. I hear my characters when they're talking, and when I'm working on a book I hear them a lot, mostly when I'm still working out the kinks of what they sound like. I don't know if any of my characters will end up with a PhD. I left my PhD (in anthrology) shortly after finishing Skim, and never looked back.

8. One of the greatest strengths in your books are the characters, they are so solid and believable. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations?

It's hard to imagine creating someone completely from scratch. There are definitely pieces of people I knew in University in these characters. To be clear, none of these characters is any ONE person I went to school with. That said, the characters often evolve as I write them, and become wholly unlike the people they were originally inspired by. Allison, the protagonist in (you) set me on fire definitely evolved as I wrote this book. Now, reading it over, I'm kind of surprised by the person she became in the finished product.

9. You thank you parents for paying for you to go to McGill University, were many of the characters in (you) set me on fire drawn from your years there?

Yeah, little bits. I also did quite a bit of casual interviewing while I was writing this book, asking people about their craziest freshman experiences. The Tower of Power was based on a story a friend told me about her college years in Nova Scotia. I won't name the school. I will say the actual story, I think, is even more disgusting than what ended up in the book.

10. For the book (you) set me on fire how did you come up with the plot device of a girl who had been set on fire in high school twice, once by herself even if accidentally?

Ah. Well. I didn't have to look too far. I set myself on fire, once, when I was dancing in my living room around a bunch of candles I had set up for dramatic effect. I believe it was Enya. Also I had someone else almost set me on fire once while we were drunk and smoking in a park. So. Yes. There it is. Both, I will add, were very small fires. No hospitalization was ever required.

11. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

At its best I think University is a place where you can gain an appreciation for study for study's sake. For the art of expanding your horizons by learning new things and new perspectives. I don't think people need to be taught how to think. I think University gives you the chance to focus on analysis and criticism. Which, you know, isn't for everyone.

I did not gain this appreciation my first or second year of university, overall, but I did take quite a few classes that I remember to this day. Social Problems, which is in the book, is an actual class I took my first year. I LOVED it.

I went back to University eight years ago to take my Master's in Women's Studies. It wasn't until then that I really took in what an amazing space a University could be.

12. Your new book (you) set me on fire is going to be available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I'm a big fan of eBooks. I'm currently working on a comic app for the iPhone. I read almost everything I read these days on my phone.

In terms of bootlegs, I get it. You want to read for free. You don't want to go to the library. You're missing out, of course, because the library is awesome.

I want to be able to make some sort of living as a writer. I want people to be able to access my books. I'd like to think we're moving towards a system where all those things can be possible.

If you love books, you love authors. Authors need to make a living. They need you to invest. That investment is time and money. Whatever system we dream up, is going to involve some element of those things.


13. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

Ah, no. No I haven't done that.

14. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?

I'm currently working on a book that's my take on William Golding's Lord of the Flies. It's a work in progress. It's my Lord of the Flies meets Carrie.

15. What were some of your favorite books and authors when you were younger?

See above.

16. What are some of your favorite books and authors now?

I'm a huge fan of non-fiction. I read an article from Longreads.com about every day. I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Egan, David Sedaris and David Rakoff, and I've recently re-fallen for their work. I read a lot of comics, a huge fan of Chris Ware and Alison Bechdel, Kate Beaton and Nate Powell, as well, although lately I'm on the move a lot and a lot of comics are big heavy books. Most recently YA wise I read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. It's lovely. Great voice.

17. In many ways you are a modern renaissance woman, philosopher, educator, researcher, student, performer, author and more. Very few people today are as well rounded as you are to what do you attribute this?

An artist is an observer. Your goal, I think, is to take in as much of the world as possible, and share it. I think having this goal for myself has lead me to a lot of amazing experiences.

18. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

Lots. I'm a big fan of long series: The Wire, The West Wing, Downton Abbey. I watch a ton of documentaries. Lately I've been watching lots of docs about artists. I watched "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" and "The Artist is Present" recently. Both highly recommended.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Geez.

Hmm.

The New Kings of Non-Fiction - edited by Ira Glass
Me Talk Pretty One Day - by David Sedaris
Webster's Dictionary
Aesop's Fairytales
Headhunter - by Timothy Findley
Cat's Eye - by Margaret Atwood
Generation X - by Douglas Coupland
The Diviners - by Margaret Lawrence
Chuck Klosterman IV - A Decade of Curious People

And a book about how to survive on an island.


20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

Don't stop.

Mariko thank you again for taking the time to answer some questions. It was informative and has given me and I am sure the readers a number of jumping off points for further exploration. And thanks Penguin Canada for the opportunity to interact with Mariko.

Books by Mariko Tamaki:
Cover Me
True Lies
Fake ID
Emiko Superstar ( with Steve Rolston)
Skim (with Jillian Tamaki)
(You) Set Me on Fire

Author profile and interview with Mariko Tamaki.



















































Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Catholic Cookbook - From Our Family to Yours - Wyatt North Publishing

The Catholic Cookbook
From Our Family to Yours
Wyatt North Publishing
ISBN 9781622781171


I was recently introduced to Wyatt North eBooks. They have an amazing collection of books at very reasonable prices with books of Prayers, to life's of the saints and now a family cookbook. There were a number of recipes we wanted to try right away. And many more we will try out as time goes on. The book has a prayer at the beginning of each section with grace, prayers after meals and a few more.

The recipes included are:

BREAKFAST
Cinnamon Buns
Homemade Pop-Tarts
Cranberry Orange Scones
Crispy Waffles with Sautéed Apples
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

APPETIZERS
Rosemary and Thyme Glazed Pecans
Herbed Cheese Straws
Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Baked Pita Chips
Bite-Sized Everything Potatoes
Mac and Cheese Cups

SALADS & SIDES
Dijon Brussels Sprouts
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Smoked Vegetable and Potato Gratin
Sweet and Southern Cornbread Salad

ENTREES
Linguini with Pea Pesto
Chicken Cacciatore Over Creamy Polenta
The Best Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Simple Pot Roast

DESSERTS
Strawberry Cake with Butter Cream Icing
Grandma's Apple Pie
Lemon Bars

For the variety, and quality of the meals you will not beat the price of this eBook. So give it a try and feed both the body and soul with this book.

Other Books by Wyatt North:

The Catholic Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes From Our Family to Yours
Catholic Prayer Book - Volume 1
Catholic Saints Prayer Book
Prayers by Catholic Saints - Volume II
Prayers by Catholic Saints (A Collection of Prayers Written by Saints!)
Praying to Catholic Saints
The Life and Prayers of Saint Augustine of Hippo
The Life and Prayers of The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Life and Prayers of Saint Francis of Assisi
The Life and Writings of Saint John of the Cross
The Life and Writings of Saint Augustine

Friday, 24 August 2012

Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood - Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Steve Rolston

Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood
Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Author)
Steve Rolston (Illustrator)
Annick Press
ISBN 9781554513857

This book was a wonderful surprise. The cover and title grabbed my attention right from the start and it just got better with every page I read. The chapters are:

Introduction. The Bloody Facts
1. Blood and Ritual
2. Rites of Passage
3. Sips and Suppers
4. Ties That Bind
5. Reading The Blood
6. A Taste For Blood
Further Reading
Selected Sources
Index

The format of this book was wonderful, fully illustrated and even the text is part of the design and layout to make the book visually and viscerally appealing. The book looks at historical facts, trends, and mythology, and moves on down to current science, both medical and forensic. It will have an appeal to a wide range of readers. With break-out sections expanding on the main points, quick facts and quirky illustrations, it will keep the reader turning the pages and when they hit the end wanting more. The story is told in part as a young man researches the history of blood and his girlfriend the vampire shares her insight. This was an amazing story to read; I literally could not put it down and read it in a single sitting. And I know lots of children and even parents who will enjoy all the knowledge shared in such a playful way. The story was so great I have already tracked others down by both the author and illustrator to read and that says a lot about how good it is.

(Note: I received an electronic galley of this book through NetGalley, courtesy of Annick Press. The book was read on my iPad. As per my general disclaimer, free books have no impact on my review.)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch - T.M. Gaouette

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
T.M. Gaouette
ISBN 9781470011024
eISBN 9781621101482


This book took me completely by surprise. From the amazing dialogue to the raw emotions it portrays and captures it is a wonderful read from the first to last word. I know a number of foster children. I have seen them come and seen them go. This book captures their lives, their experiences and their hopes. The book was incredibly moving. Having known so many kids who have gone through the foster system knowing some of their stories and some not so much this book captures children when they are vulnerable, when they are reactionary and when they fear hope. But hope and love is what many foster children need most.

The story follows Benedict as he is pulled from one foster home and moved in the middle of the night. This has happened before. He has had ok experience in the foster system and some horrendous experiences. Then he arrives at Sunshine Ranch, and it is different, the foster parents Martha and David seem genuine, devoted Catholics but genuine and yet he does not want to let down his walls. The other children there seem to really like being there. But still Benedict holds back. The ranch is more like a family than many of these children have ever known. Then it looks like it might all fall apart, not enough money for repairs and to make it through another season. The children decide to put on a show to raise money to save the ranch.

The story is told from Benedict's perspective remembering back. Recalling what he had lost, what he had and maybe what he could have again. The story was amazing. I love it and highly recommend it. The story is a mix of faith, the spirit's movement and learning to trust and hope. And for some that is the hardest thing in the world to do. I highly recommend this book. And hope it is the first of many from this author.

Books by T.M. Gaouette

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
Freeing Tanner Rose (Forthcoming)

Author Profile and interview with T.M. Gaouette

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Detachable Boy: With One Loose Foot - Scot Gardner

The Detachable Boy:
With One Loose Foot
Scot Gardner
Allen & Unwin
9781741753455


This was a very peculiar story. The premise was different and the story a romp around the world. It was a great fun read. It was the second book by Scot Gardner that I read in under a week and left me wanting to sample more. This is a story about friendship, about caring and about adventure.
John Johnson is different; he is detachable. His body can come apart in pieces and go back together. He has a bad habit, when he sneezes, of his head blasting off. And that is just the beginning. His problems begin when he is hit by a car and falls to pieces literally. Men in black suits grab him up and put him in a bag but he escapes. But the kidnappers grab his friend Crystal and he believes he is the reason and he goes on a quest to rescue her. With his mate Ravi, they raise the funds to ship him to America where Chrystal is being held. But a young boy travelling around the world to save his best friend can run into more than a few obstacles.

The troubles he encounters and how he gets out of them are both great fun. It was a light read and a great summer break read. Give the book a try and you will find yourself craving more of Gardner's writings. This unique story will grab your attention and keep it.

Books by Scot Gardner:
The Dead I Know
The Detachable Boy
Bookmark Days
Happy as Larry
One Dead Seagull
White Ute Dreaming
Burning Eddy
The Other Madonna
The Legend of Kevin the Plumber
Gravity
One Wheel Drive
Kite Dude
The Lost King
Dark Stone Eye
Mainsails 4 The Tunnel (With Dean Proudfoot)

Author Profile and Interview with Scot Gardner































































































Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Kevin McGill - Author Profile

Kevin McGill is an educator, in ministry and now a writer, or a published writer. He has also seen his book launched into space. I read an arc of his first series and loved the story and though the writing was excellent. So I asked him to do an interview for the readers at Book Reviews and More.

1. You started writing stories in grade 3 when did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?

It's come and gone, but I think my writerly tug has always been there. I really didn't nurture it until about seven years ago. But when I did, it was like waking up a sleeping giant. Afterward, I committed to writing at least four hours a day. I also recommitted to reading a good deal.

2. You co-host a blog called Guys Can Read what prompted than endeavor?

Guys Can Read came out of my focus on writing and reading. When I committed to reading, I found that several books missed the boat as story went. After talking with Luke about it, we both recognized a frustration to find a good read.

3. How did you make the decision to transition from pastor to writer?

While I haven't really left the pastorate, I had begun to recognize my writing and storytelling tendencies. Having taken 8 years in ministry education and a couple of years in ministry, I really believed that my storytelling abilities were underdeveloped. So I struck out to refine that. Nikolas and Co was a product of all that.

4. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

My wife, definitely. She supported me from day one. My good buddy, Patrick. And my parents. They've spurred me on.

5. Which books or authors had the greatest impact on your work?

True Grit by Charles Portis. J. K. Rowling. Terry Pratchet. Roald Dahl.

6. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

While this is just my first book, it usually starts with a flash, usually a scene or an idea. Then I begin developing the hero, asking what's his or her story. I also like to put my hero up against the world he is in - let the hero and world influence each other. For example, the refugee camp was introduced because I needed a contrast between Nick's posh life and his friend's miserable situation.

7. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

Uhh…yeah. Not quite that real for me :. But it is important that my characters all have a story, whether it's told or not. Magic and world building and fire breathing lions are all cool, but true "magic" is in believable characters. When I care about the characters, I care about their world.

8. What authors influenced your writing style and format?

Bit of a repeat here, but I'd say Rowling, Dahl, Pratchett, Maggie Stiefvater, and Diablo Cody.

Who is Maggie Stiefvater and Diablo Cody? Glad you asked.

Maggie Stiefvater writes YA speculative fiction. Diablo Cody writes screenplays. Both have a knack for writing believable dialogue for young adults. As writing goes for me, strong dialogue is one of my most valued tools.

9. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?

I am working on the next four episodes in the Nikolas and Co series. While I can't say much, I'm excited about the next four episodes (vol 2). I really think it'll be a blast.

10. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

For episode 1 I listened to a lot of Daft Punk and Explosions in the Sky to get that techno future vibe. For episodes 2 - 4 I listened to Yann Tiersen, Benoit Charest, Sherlock Holmes soundtrack and The Dubliners.

11. With eBooks come the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means, is this a concern for you as an author?

Not really. Every industry has its black market. Neil Gaiman talked about this. If someone loves your work so much, they tend to buy your book out right just to show support.

12. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

No. I have found some sites with my book on them, but it really is just a waste of my time chasing after all these sites. For every minute I spend contacting some bit torrent site, I lose another written page in my upcoming book.

13. Who were some of your favorite authors or books in your youth?

Roald Dahl. C. S. Lewis. J. R. R. Tolkein.

14. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well-rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

Les Miserable by Victor Hugo
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
John Adams by David McCullough
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Illiad and The Oddysey by Homer
War of Art by Steven Pressfield

15. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career that you have only learned through experience?

Ignore those urges to worry about the market and advertising before you finish the book. Get the book as polished as possible, then move to marketing. I didn't understand that you need a finished book to even know what you're going to market. Without the book, all your marketing plans are up in the air anyway.

16. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

Right now? Downton Abbey. In the past my favorites have been Firefly. Battlestar Galactica. Suits. The Office. (I seem to like shows with ensemble casts…)

17. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

All I can say is what I got out of my bachelors and masters. Both of my schools taught me how to hold an idea up objectively and explore it. In that, they also taught me how to deal with intellectual tensions. Good critical thinking doesn't help us relieve the tensions, but understand and accept them.

Kevin thank you for taking some time to answer the questions for the readers of Book Reviews and More. I look forward to the next installments and possibly a second series.

Books by Kevin McGill:
Nikolas and Company:
A Creature Most Foul
The Merman and the Moon Forgotten #1
When Boats Breathe and Cities Speak #2



























Monday, 20 August 2012

Someday - Alison McGhee and Peter H Reynolds

Someday
Alison McGhee
Peter H. Reynolds
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
An imprint of Simon and Schuster
ISBN 9781416928119

This story was a wonderful read and I am sure it will become a family favorite. It follows a mother as she expresses her hopes and dreams for what her daughter's life will entail. It is interesting - over the last year I have been working through reviewing all books illustrated by Peter H Reynolds, and this was an amazing read. The illustrations were wonderful; the lettering is part of the artwork with mixed pages of photos and text flowing across to the facing pages. The pallet was soft and full. The illustrations are incredible. The story is wonderful, and together McGhee and Reynolds have created a treasure that will be enjoyed by your family many times over.

Books by Peter H Reynolds:
The North Star
ish
The Dot
Rose's Garden
I'm Here

Books by Megan McDonald and Peter H Reynolds:
Judy Moody books:
1. Judy Moody
2. Judy Moody Gets Famous!
3. Judy Moody Saves the World!
4. Judy Moody Predicts the Future
5. Judy Moody, M.D. The Doctor Is In
6. Judy Moody Declares Independence
7. Judy Moody Around the World in 8½ Days
8. Judy Moody Goes to College
9. Judy Moody: Girl Detective
10. Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer
10a. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (Movie Tie-In Edition)
11. Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm

Judy Moody Activity Books:
Judy Moody's Double Rare Way Not Boring Book of Fun Stuff to Do
Judy Moody's Way Wacky Uber Awesome Book of MORE Fun Stuff to Do
Judy Moody's Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths

Stink Moody Books:
1. Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
2. Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker
3. Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers
4. Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express
5. Stink: Solar System Superhero'
6. Stink and The Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown
7. Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk

Stink-O-Pedia Volume 1:
Super Stink-y Stuff from A to Z
Stink-O-Pedia Volume 2: More Stink-y Stuff from A to Z

Judy and Stink Books:
Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday
Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt

Stink and Judy Moody a Visual Bibliography

Friday, 17 August 2012

Big Bear, Little Bear - Brave - Susan Amerikaner

Big Bear, Little Bear
Brave
Susan Amerikaner
Random House
ISBN 9780736429153

Brave was the first movie we took both our older children to go see. It was a big hit and they cannot wait for it to come out to watch at home. We picked up a few of the Brave books to read. Right now they are incredibly popular in our house. What is great about this one is that being a 1st Step reader, my daughter, who is between Kindergarten and grade 1, can read most of the book herself. And being able to read a book for the film she just saw, she thinks is the best thing. This book works on word recognition and comparison.
Slow - Fast
Quiet - Loud
Strong - Weak
-and many more. Some of the illustrations look like they are right from the movie, others are different events with the same characters. This book is well loved and much appreciated in the house and will be read many times over.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Kevin Lowry - Author Profile

I was introduced to Kevin Lowry by another Catholic author I know and respect Dr. Kevin Vost. Dr, Vost contacted me and said I would love Kevin Lowry's book and he was correct. After reading the book twice I still find myself thinking about it and plan on going back and reading it again. I knew I had to ask Mr. Lowry to take part in my author interview series or 20 questions with an author. Kevin is a Catholic Author and business man; he is a convert to the faith. He is a husband, a father, and now a published author. So now Kevin and his 20 questions.

1. You have published your first book Faith At Work and have been on the board of directors for a Catholic publishing company. When did you know you wanted to write a book and how did you pursue that goal?

I credit the existence of this book to my good buddy Mike Aquilina. He not only published a few of my articles in New Covenant magazine many years ago, but was a constant source of encouragement for over ten years before the book was actually written. He's awesome. I was incredibly grateful that he wrote the foreword to the book. Upon reading it, my dad declared that it's worth the price of the book, and I agree!

2. Your book Faith At Work was so well written and with such a broad appeal, have you been contacted by many protestants who have read it? If so what is their take?

Yes, I have heard from a surprising number of protestant friends who have read the book and loved it. I had hoped this would be the case, despite writing the book from an unabashedly Catholic perspective. It's meant to encourage people of faith to truly live it in their work, although not in an obnoxious manner. The book could be useful to anyone of faith. In fact, I recently heard from a Jewish friend who raved about it.

3. As a convert to Catholicism have you often encountered opposition to your Catholic faith in the work place, especially from protestant Christians?

Oh, sure. However, I don't take offense when this happens - I'm honored, since I recognize it as an effort to give me a precious gift. It's really a huge compliment.

4. If so how did you respond to it?

Any opposition generally arises from misperceptions I struggled with myself, so this can lead to fruitful discussions. There are many distinctive issues (such as authority, doctrinal consistency, artificial contraception, etc.) that provide opportunities to plant seeds. But above all, when we live sacramental lives, take a sincere interest in others, act in a spirit of humility, accept hardship, honor our spouses, practice openness to life… all these things are the most convincing response possible. I have not done this perfectly by any stretch, but thankfully God blesses even our poorest efforts.

5. In many ways you are a modern renaissance man, philosopher, accountant, researcher, executive, author and more. Very few people today are as well rounded as you are to what do you attribute this?

My rounding is due to a somewhat slower metabolism and a penchant for pizza subs (I really miss Mr. Sub in Canada).

6. The greatest strength of Faith At Work is its accessibility, anyone from high school student to retiree could pick it up, read it and grow from the advice given within. As a first book and especially a fist book in the motivational / self-help / life change genre the writing is amazing. To what do you attribute this? What was the writing process for this book like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

I did a fabulous job picking my parents. My dad was a Presbyterian minister (and Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada) for many years, but also has a Ph.D. in business from M.I.T. He and my mom inspired me with their truly extraordinary ability to live their faith in daily life. Many of the seeds for the book were planted while I was growing up, with dinner table conversations about faith and later, the board room when my dad and uncle (who had a very interesting story himself) owned an entrepreneurial company.

The process itself consisted of praying, thinking, and writing. It's almost embarrassing how much was written spontaneously in a comfortable chair in the middle of our family room, with kid chaos ensuing all around me. At times, my wife found it most disconcerting. But I would like to think the book was guided. Jesus was the model, I figured you can't get any better than his approach of sharing parables. That's why there are so many stories illustrating the points of each chapter.


7. What current projects are you working on or are in the back burner in some stage of development?

I'm doing a bit of blogging on my website, gratefulconvert.com, and looking at some ideas for a second book. I have a few speaking engagements coming up too, I really enjoy that sort of thing.

8. Have you ever considered writing fiction? If so is it a project we might see in the near future?

That's a great question - the thought never even occurred to me. You might be surprised that my favorite fiction writer is actually my boss, Marcus Grodi. I love his How Firm a Foundation and Pillar and Bulwark novels. Even better are the audio versions, recorded professionally by Kevin O'Brien, a faithful Catholic and friend. He did a fabulous job, I'm a fan.

9. One of my goals in life is to find balance between body, mind and spirit. You seem to have achieved that balance in both your work and your life. What do you do to maintain your balance?

In my experience, balance is a constant struggle. Even if we achieve balance, it's momentary at best, and we might not even recognize it. What's been important to me over the years is to listen to God's promptings, prioritize faithfulness in all things, and persevere.

10. Are there some specific tools you use to help keep yourself so centered?

The basics are most helpful to me - the Eucharist, prayer, the rosary, confession, scripture, and the underrated sacrament of matrimony. It took me ten years of marriage to figure out that my wife and I needed a weekly date night. I look forward to spending time with her. She is also incredibly effective at keeping me humble.

11. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well-rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

Scripture and the catechism, of course, along with anything written by C.S. Lewis, Mike Aquilina, George Weigel, G.K. Chesterton, and St. Josemaria Escriva. There are just so many, it's hard to narrow it down to ten.

12. Your books is available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

Pirating ebooks is stealing, plain and simple. I would hope Catholic readers wouldn't obtain books that way.

13. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so or have someone do so for you?

I leave that to Our Sunday Visitor. They're a terrific publisher (and yes, I'm privileged to be on their board of directors).

14. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

During high school, I read Brideshead Revisited, and liked that a lot, along with just about anything by C.S. Lewis. I had a terrific English teacher in high school, he really helped us by emphasizing classic English and Canadian literature.

15. What are your favorite books to read with your children?

We don't do it nearly enough, but we read bible stories and books about the saints.

16. What are some of your favorite contemporary religious authors to read?

I love a wide range of authors - from bloggers such as Jen Fulwiler, Mark Shea, and Brandon Vogt to authors including Greg Erlandson, Eric Sammons, Kevin Vost, Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, and Donna Marie Cooper-O'Boyle.

17. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

That's not a bad way of looking at it. I had a boss once who told me that his education engendered a useful "way of thinking" and I've found this to be true. Particularly at Franciscan University, the result of the education process was to build a solid foundation.

18. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

I seldom watch TV but my family is going through a phase of watching DVDs of The Waltons. Perhaps it sounds silly, and I remember detesting the series back when it originally aired during my childhood. Yet we enjoy that quite a bit now.

As for movies, I like a wide variety - comedy, suspense, drama, and various classics. I still watch A Man for All Seasons (about St. Thomas More) every now and again, it's so inspiring.


19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

The bible, the catechism, the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, Love in the Little Things by Mike Aquilina, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Witness to Hope by George Weigel, The Catholic Church and Conversion by G.K. Chesterton, God's on the Phone by Regis Flaherty, The Pope and the CEO by Andreas Widmer, and and iPod with Marcus Grodi's novels (and extra batteries).

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists particularly those looking to have their art reflect their faith?

Look to the Lord for inspiration. Without it, nothing we do is worthwhile.

Kevin thank you for taking the time to answer some questions I hope we see many more books from you over the years. If they are as good as the first we are in for some great life changing reads.

Books by Kevin Lowry:
Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck

Author Profile and Interview with Kevin Lowry.