Friday 30 March 2007

The Skull Measurer's Mistake by: Sven Lindqvist

The Skull Measurer’s Mistake
Sven Lindqvist
Translated by Joan Tate
The New Press
182 pages

The Skull Measurer's Mistake is a book of portraits of men and women who spoke out against racism. This book is a history of those who stood against the flow and spoke out, wrote and published against racism and racist ideologies. It is a history of heroes and heroines who took a stand. They were not perfect people and some were against some forms of racism and seem to support others, yet each took a stand for what they believed was right.

This book is a history, or a series of mini-histories, of twenty-two people and the ideas or ideologies that they stood against. It chronicles people from Benjamin Franklin in 1764 talking down a mob en route to massacre a native American community, to Theophilus Scholes in 1899 who wrote against the then-held belief that Europeans, especially Britons, were of Greek descent and heritage.

This book shows the clear progression in racism and racist thought, not through the negative but through the positive, and the strength of those who had the courage and fortitude to stand against these hideous ideas and beliefs.

Lindqvist will open our eyes to a heritage we should not be proud of, but that we should all be aware of, lest we repeat the mistakes of the past.

(First Published in Imprint 2007-03-30 as 'Summer Essentials' Summer reading list.)

Wednesday 28 March 2007

Quotes of the Week - 2007-03-28

Two weekends ago I was away on retreat, during the four days I managed to read almost 20 books. It was an amazing time it also made it really hard to pick some quotes for this week's installment of Quotes of the Week so here goes:

"More than a great lesson is impressed upon us, that our duty as Christians lies in this, in making ventures for eternal life without the absolute certainty of success."
-Cardinal John Henry Newman
-The Ventures of Faith

"That one word gives the key to the whole method of spiritual reading. For spiritual reading is food, and we must digest what we read."
-Eugene Boylan
-Seeking Christ in Reading

"We consider that a firm resolution to read in this fashion is of capital importance for everyone who wishes to live in Christ. In fact, unless some sufficient substitute for it be provided, we would say that there is as little chance of living spiritually without reading, as there is of living corporeally without eating."
-Eugene Boylan
-Seeking Christ in Reading

"An ideal is something great. It is essentially felt to be something greater than one's self. It is something which, by the sheer force of it's beauty and nobility, makes a person want to get away from himself, to forget himself, so as to defend, to admire, to love and serve that ideal, and strives upwards towards it. A person with an ideal is ready to live for it, and if necessary, even die for it. There are not that many true ideals: love, family, country, God …"
-Cormac Burke
-Ideals in Youth

"A resolution is simply the desire and readiness of the will to do what God wants of us."
-Rev. Francis Luna
-How to Pray

"For a son of God each day should be an opportunity for renewal, knowing for sure that with the help of grace he will reach the end of the road, which is Love.
That is why if you begin and begin again, you are doing well. If you have a will to win, if you struggle, then with God's help you will conquer. There will be no difficulty you cannot overcome."
-St. Josemaria Escriva
-The Forge #344

"Days on retreat. Recollection in order to know God, to know yourself and thus to make progress. A necessary time for discovering where and how you should change your life. What should I do? What should I avoid?"
-St. Josemaria Escriva
-Furrow #177

"Renewal is not relaxation."
-St. Josemaria Escriva
-Furrow #176

"I have always seen rest as time set aside from daily tasks, never as days of idleness.
Rest means recuperation: to gain strength, form ideals and make plans. In other words it means a change of occupation, so that you can come back later with a new impetus to your daily job."
-St. Josemaria Escriva
-Furrow #514

"Lord, take away my pride; crush my self-love, my desire to affirm myself and impose myself on others. Make the foundation of my personality my identification with you."
-St. Josemaria Escriva
-Christ is Passing By #31

Friday 16 March 2007

Seven Last Words by: Timothy Radcliffe OP

Seven Last Words 
Timothy Radcliffe OP 
ISBN: 2895075743 

  This book is a mix of meditation’s, personal reflections and a view of hope both personal hope and hope for the human race. Written in a post 9/11 world this book looks at the cross as a historical reality and a message to each and every generation. Radcliffe as Prior of the Dominican’s has spent most of the last 10 years traveling the world interacting with members of his community around the world and other Christians during his travels brings a unique perspective to these meditations. Each meditation is accompanied by an image of a cross from Radcliffe’s collection. Each has a story about where he received it and how it ties into the meditation. This book begins with a section titled ‘In the Beginning was the Word’ on the word in creation, and the word in the life of the church. How words can hurt or heal. How words or lack there of our silences can bring both life and death. Next he focuses on the 7 last phrases from Jesus on the cross. ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Luke 23:34. Then his words spoken to the good thief ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’ Luke 23:43. Then the words spoken giving Mary as mother, ‘Women, Behold your son … Behold your mother.’ John 19:26-27. Next is his cry of abandonment ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Mark15:34. Then ‘I thirst.’ John 19:28 and then ‘It is finished’ John 19:30. Finally he cries to God again, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Luke 23:46. Radcliffe focuses on the order of the cried from the cross, the first, fourth, and seventh are to God, and in between he speaks to us. The afterword focuses on the silence, the silence of the grave, the silence of the disciples lost before the resurrection. Then a section on our words. He speaks about violence, and the Christian response to violence, specifically in regards to three different situations: 1. The conquest of the Americas; 2. The Holocaust and 3. 11 September 2001 and how as Christians meditating on the cross we should change our views. If you search the ‘seven last words’ is a search on produces 59 books with the title or key words ‘Seven Last Words’ and has 629 books. So why would a reader want to pick up this one. But why with all of that would you buy this book. Because it touches deep in the history of our generation, and our response to the evil in the world. 

(First Published in Imprint 2007-03-16 as 'Last Word for Lent'.)

Books by Timothy Radcliffe:
Alive in God: A Christian Imagination
Christians and Sexuality in the Time of AIDS
I Call You Friends
Just One Year: A Global Treasury of Prayer and Worship
Sing a New Song: The Christian Vocation
Take the Plunge: Living Baptism and Confirmation
That Your Joy May Be Full
The Catholic Prayerbook from Downside Abbey
What is the Point of Being a Christian?
Why Go to Church?

Monday 12 March 2007

The blogs I Read

Why do I read the blogs I read? That is a question I have been pondering lately. For the longest time I only read a few blogs and them seldom, The first two I read with any consistency were Esgaroth's Journal - Alan and Kathy Shaidle - Relapsed Catholic but I read them seldom and spent a long time catching up when I did get around to checking them. But then I switched to using Thunderbird as my mail program and started subscribing to blog feeds. And my list had been growing since.

Esgaroth is great in that Alan is blogging a book and now posts expand the story from time to time. Kathy's is always great.

I tend to add blogs quickly and to remove them slowly. I usually only remove a blog if it's content becomes objectionable. The last blg I removed was because the author called themself a 'Traditional Catholic' and he constandtly started dising both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. I find blogs through from a variety of sources:
and from the blog rolls from the blogs I already read. Every now and again I go through the blog roll of the blogs I read and check out what they read.

I break the blogs I read into a few categories they are:
Catholic Blogs
A Catholic Journey
Amateur Catholic - The B-Team
Approved Apparatins
Blazing Cat Fur
Cafateria Catholic
Canadian Opus Dei
Cardinal Sean's Blog
Caritas Christi Urget Nos
Catholic and Enjoying It!
Catholic Board
Catholic Catechism Dialog
Catholic Ragemonkey
Catholicism Holiness and Spirituality
Crux of the Matter
Curt Jester
Daily Mass Readings Podcast
Dappled Things
Fr. Richard Rego
Fr. William P. Hahn
Godzdogz - The English Dominican Studentate
God's Body - Matthew Lickona
God's Wonderful Love
Heirs in Hope
Hermeneutic of Continuity
Imago Dei
Irish Catholic and Dangerous
Kissing The Face Of God
la nouvelle theologie
Living Christ's Eucharist in Your Daily Life
Marian Devotion
Michael Dubruiel
Once upon a time in opus dei
One Monk of the Order of St. Benedict
Open Book - Amy Welborn
Opus Dei Blogs
Opus Dei Facts
Profound Gratitude
Real Life Rosary
Relapsed Catholic
Saint of the Day Quote
Sister Allie's Schtick!
So Many Devotions...So Little Time
Some Have Hats
Spiritual Warfare
St. Blogs Parish
St. Peter's Helper
Standing on My Head
Swept Over
The Adventures of a Techie Nun
The Anchoress
The Cafeteria is Closed
The Catholic Witness
The Good News
The Ironic Catholic
The Shrine of the Holy Whapping
The Southern Catholic
The Truth Will Make You Free
Understanding The Scriptures - The Catholic Board
Universalis - Daily Liturgy
Upper Canada Catholic
Vert - Catholic Converts and Reverts
Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor
Whispers in the Loggia
Young Fogeys

Friends Blogs
Batmoo's Photo's - Mo Jandga
Bics, Blahniks, and Bras - Ashley
Book Reviews and More
Brendan Pinto's Space
Brendan Pinto's Xanga
Casing The Joint - Em
Christine O.
Church History - D. Gray
Crazed Ninjas Anonymous - Brahm
Divine Serendipity - Ellen
Esgaroth's Journal - Alan
Everyone's a friggin' critic - Jacqueline McKoy
Grace 2 You - Jen
I am an Ephesian's Dream - Tara
Java & Jesus - Denis Gray
Kat de jour
Kat for Christ
Liberdei - Justan Chan
Life to the Full - Jim Best
Mathematical Playground - Rob
McEvoy's Musings
Mitch McEvoy
Mr. Shabby's Pantry - Darren Hutz
Myriad Shades of Gray - Dennis Gray
New Hope Community Church
Still Waking Up - Craig Martin
Sustainability is step one- Darcy Higgins
That Typing - Shivaun
The Carioni's Adopt
The Corch - Keith Little
The Green Window - Margaret Mansell
Tim B's Blog
Timmyson of the Physics Brigade
Valacosa's Thoughts - Michael L. Davenport

Book & Author Blogs
Coffee Em - Emma Bull
Daily Eudemon
Kathy Shaidle - Relapsed Catholic
Neil Gaiman
Noah benShea
Podworld Exploring Self Publishing
Robery J. Sawyer - Scifi Writer
Robin Sharma
Sci Fi Catholic
Shelly's Book Shelf
Steven K.Z. Brust
Ted Dekker
Thursday Night Gumbo
Warrior of Light - Paulo Coelho
Warrior of Light Blog - Paulo Coelho

Misc Blogs
Davinci Code - Opus Dei
In Tech We Trust
Pernell Goodyear
Rocky Balboa Production Blog
S. William Shaw
The Scotch Blog

(At least as of this date, check the sidebar for changes. I updated this post to use the actual links and not the Java-script from Blogrolling so that it will be hard links.)

Sunday 11 March 2007

Quotes of the Week - 2007-03-11

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left over I buy food and clothes!"
- Erasmus

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do."
- Pope John XXIII

"Religion is not as arbitrary and impersonal as some people believe."
- Peter Frick

"Life is short. Do not forget about the most important things in our life, living for other people and doing good for them."
- Marcus Aurelius

"I always wonder what's going on behind people's masks. I sometimes wonder what's going on behind my mask."
- Vlad Taltos - Steven Brust

"It is when things go wrong, when the good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly."
- Madeleine L'Engle

Saturday 10 March 2007

Booked by 3 March Meme Weeding

Booked by 3: March Weeding From Shelly's Book Shelf It's a painful practice most of the time, but with a finite amount of space, sometimes, books must be weeded from the collection. 1. Do you weed regularly? If so, how often? If not, why not? Yes I weed, but not on a set schedule, I weed for a few reasons, when my bookcases are filled and I have stacks on the front of each shelf, then I weed. Sometimes I weed because we are in need of money. My first major weed in years was when I got engaged and we were combining households. 2. Do you have guidelines you stick with? Sort of. If I have bought a book more than once, I usually do not see it again. If I have acquired the e-book of the same title it is fair game. If it is a core schoolbook or great resource I usually wont sell it (but have made exceptions for financial reasons.) If it is on my all-time favorite list and I own a reading copy and a lending copy. I usually wont sell it. If I started it, got part way in and have not gone back to it in 2 years and know I will never get around to finishing it then I sell it. (Once upon a time If I bought a book I felt I had to read it no matter how bad it was. I now am far more choosy in what I spend my time reading. 3. Are there books you would never weed? Jacob the Baker - Noah ben Shea (the Trilogy) My last Bible The Way, The Furrow, The Forge - Josemaria Escriva Any Sven Lindqvist (Hard to find in English) R.S. Thomas Collected Poems Rainer Maria Rilke I infact did a major weed yesterday, in part to free up space in my dend for my wife to have a desk and crafting station. The top picture is my den today and the bottom one is back in 2005 weeks ago. The Middle picture is back iis a few weeks ago. As usual, you may answer in the comments or on your own blog and leave a comment with a link here.

Monday 5 March 2007

Quotes of the Week - 2007-03-05

"Anyone who listens to Christ's words may adopt either of two possible attitudes towards them. First, he may be consistent with what he hears and put them into practice. That is to say, he may orient his entire life according to the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ, allowing it to penetrate his very being to the point that it becomes the main criterion by which all his actions are guided. Or, second, he may prefer to be inconsistent, and be reluctant and unwilling to put them into practice. He will believe in Christ's words but only with the intellect, as if they were merely the object of a purely intellectual knowledge that will not in any way be allowed to influence his life In fact, he may actually be guided in his behaviour by criteria that are independent of Christ's words. or that are sometimes even directly contrary to his teachings."
- Federico Suarez
-The Afterlife - Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell p.6

"The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it."
- Leo Rosten

"My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you."
-Catechism #226

"Help me to cry: Jesus, souls! Apostolic souls! They are for you, for your glory.
You'll see how in the end he will hear us."
-St. Josemaria Escriva
-The Way #804

To see my big list of quotes gleaned over the year's.

Sunday 4 March 2007

Some Of This Weeks Readings

I am currently working on 4 different books that I am really enjoying. Each has much to offer.

swimming with scapulars
Matthew Lickona
Loyola Press
ISBN 9780829424713

his is a very interesting book. In part Matthew is only a few years younger than me, and it is interesting to see the difference between our Catholic Upbringing in different countries and homes that took the faith very differently. Part biography, part spiritual journey, I am really looking forward to where this book is going. Matthew also has a website and blog worth checking out:

Rosary Meditations For Real Life

James M. Hahn
Real Life Rosary

I have been reading James' blog for while and recently received his books and am pursuing them with great interest. Both his blog and his books are worth the visit. I have been corresponding with him a bit and can state that he is a devote man of faith who shares what he gleams from life in his writings.

Young and Catholic:
The Face of Tomorrow's Church
Tim Drake
Sophia Institute Press

Tim Drake is an author, writer and speaker knowing across the continent as a specialist in things catholic. Tim has some great Listmania list on on different area's of Catholicism. His blog and website has not been updated in a while but we can always hope they becomes active again. If you contact him he will respond. Mr. Drake's book is written in an easily accessible prose and raised some very interesting point's.

The Best American Catholic Short Stories

Ed. Daniel McVeigh & Patricia Schnapp
Sheed & Ward
ISBN 9781580512107

Here is a great collection, some authors I was familiar with and some not. It spans almost 70 years of Catholic short stories and for the most part is in chronological order. This is a great book to get some idea's for further readings in Catholic fiction. Like Andrew M. Greeley's Sacred Visions, did for Catholic Science Fiction of Fantasy this book will introduce you to a whole generation of Catholic authors and give you a good sampling of their works. I am already planning on tracking down more from the authors I had not encountered and broadening my spectrum of reading.

Saturday 3 March 2007

New Features

I have noticed many changes in my life since I became a father last fall. First I pray far more than I ever used to, I find myself praying again and again through out the day. Praying for my daughter, for health, safety, faith. Praying for me to be a better father and husband, and for friends and family.

I have also found that my reading has gone down. Last year I averaged about 4 books
a week, and now I am only finishing about a book a week, maybe a book and a half. I always have 20 to 50 books on the go, all in different stages of being read and reviewed. Some books I pick up and devour in a day or two. Others take months, and some I eventually decided are not worth finishing. With hat in mind I am going to start some new features on the blog:

1. Quotes of the Week
2. Some of this Weeks Readings.
3. The Blogs I Read

I will try and post a list of quotes each week based upon some of that week's readings, and I will try and post some comments on what I am currently reading and what I think of it at hat stage of the game. The final feature will profile the blogs I read in no specific order and why I read that blog.

The 3 pictures are in order: My Desk and the books on the Go, next my coffee table and more books on the go, and finally my current bookshelves. Books on the top of the coffee table are currently being read. Books on the desk are books I want to get to. And books in the side of the coffee table are books that I have started and put aside for now, or books I want to start but are not a top priority.

I used to joke with my wife that there are two types of books. 1 Those I have read, and 2 those I have not. Or books I own and those I don't. (I now no longer want to own all the books I read or have read. I have sold over 1600 books since I got engaged, some to make room, some at times out of need. But it is always hard to part with books for some books are great friends.

So that is my long rambling introduction to the new features I hope to create for this blog.

If you have any feedback or comments let me know what you think.

Friday 2 March 2007

You Suck: A Love Story By Christopher Moore

You Suck: A Love Story
Christopher Moore

WM Morrow

ISBN 9780060590291

Have you ever been reading a book and completely loved it, only to have the author make a boneheaded twist in the plot and you went from loving the book to hating it? Unfortunately, that is what happened with this book. This book started off so well - the first words in the book are: "You bitch, you killed me! You Suck!" This book is a sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends. Our hero is Tommy Flood, known by his pen name C. Thomas Flood.

In the previous book, he was in love with a vampire, a tall sultry red- head who woke up one day a vampire, and Tommy was in love with her and her protector. This book begins with Tommy waking up and he is now a vampire also. At first he thinks it is cool. But his conscience gets the best of him. He likes the power, and the greater abilities, but he does not like the taking of life, or even just taking blood.

This book also overlaps with Moore's A Dirty Job. The focus of this story is the changing life of Thomas Flood and his girlfriend Jody, and there is a second parallel story of Abby Normal, vampire wannabe, who is a servant of the vampire flood. She fetches coffee, finds new lairs and such.

It's hard to write a hate-it review, when what you hate is the ending of the book, without spoiling it for those who are reading it or will read it. But I can state with all sincerity, that of all of Moore's books, this is not more fun, it is not more entertaining and it is not more Moore. It was in fact far, far less.

Like most of Moore's books, this one is at times incredibly witty and always funny. But without spoiling the ending, the last chapter makes me hate this book. There are so many other ways he could have ended the book, yet he chose a cheap and easy way out. The end of this book is so poor that you regret having spent the time and effort reading it. What should have been a light fun romp through the nightlife of San Francisco, becomes a flop because of the ending.

On a more positive note here are links to two other reviews of Moore's books I have writen and published, both of these were great fun.

Bloodsucking Fiends
A Dirty Job

(First Published in Imprint 2007-03-02 as 'Hate It' from the 'Love it/Hate it' book review column.)