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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Real Start - Team Body Project - Alex and Daniel Bartlett

Real Start
Team Body Project
Alex and Daniel Bartlett



I recently wrote a piece called Starting Over in Southwestern Ontario! A Fitness Update! What I started with was the workout videos from team Body Project, and specifically Real Start Just Move. You can watch that video on YouTube, or even workout with it. I have been a member of Team Body Project for three years now, but only just started the videos. I am in my 50th year, and I really needed to get back at it. 

Team Body Project is a website, an app and a community. The private community on Facebook and the forums on the website are very supportive and encouraging. But what really helped me is that the workouts in the Real Start program are geared for anyone. Each video has three participants. Daniel and Alex lead the videos and Natasha and Lisa. Natasha usually works out at a harder pace, and Lisa at a modified level. 

The program includes:
Meal Plans
Shopping Lists
And other resources to support your success.

The program is only 2 weeks, and with the free membership you can do the first week. The first workout is Real Start Just Move, and I did just that one workout for nearly three weeks, every day, to work my way back up to this program.

The program can be completed once and done, or redo it again and again. When you do the final workout of week 1, Alex tells us that if it was too hard, repeat the week before moving on.

The gear you will need:
Mat
Light Dumbbells (Optional)
Water 
Towel

No matter where you are starting from, I believe almost anyone would benefit from this two-week program. It is great to get you started, or to reset between another workout you are doing. And with even the free membership you can do the first week and be sure it is something you want to invest in. And if you give the free membership a test run, you can do the first week of any of the Plans, and lots of other videos. And if you finish this there are two other Real Start Programs:

Real Start
Real Start Plus
Real Start Evolve

And 20 other programs that are included in the paid memberships. On the day this review posts I will have worked out 39 days straight with TBP. And I encourage you to give it a try. Especially if you have tried other things and failed, or never really tried anything. This is a great place to start. 

And do not just take my work for it check out Kylie Young’s story or the other testimonials on the site. I can say that TBP is one of the best resources for health and fitness that I have ever come across. And with the option to try and buy with no cost up front you have nothing to lose, but maybe some weight. So why not give TBP a try.




Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The Maze Runner - James Dashner - The Maze Runner Book 1

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner  Book 1
James Dashner
Delacorte Press an imprint of
Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 9780385737951
eISBN 9780375893773
ASIN B002QE3CTY



Goodreads has over 53,442 reviews at the time I sit down and write this review. Amazon has 11,448 and Amazon Canada has 91 so you might ask, why write a review. I read this book with my son. It was a gift from one of his teachers. He really wanted to watch the movie, but because of the content, we thought it would be better if he read the book first. And he knows I review most of what I read so he wanted us to post a review.

My Sons review, an 11 years old perspective:
“This book is great. It is my favorite book. And when you finish it there are others to read. I loved the story from Thomas waking up in the glade to the surprise ending.”

I was less enthusiastic. Yes, it was a good read. But it was not great. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars and finally gave it the benefit of the doubt. Because of the intended audience. In many ways it was standard Sci-Fi and Young adult tropes. There was not much in the story that took me by surprise, and I guessed or foretold many things before they happened. The action is intense. And the story races from beginning to end. The maze, the amnesia, the start of all male youths. And interesting concept but for me just did not quite pull it all together. I know the book is loved by many but for me it was just ‘meh’.

My son loved the slang used in the story especially shank and greenie. He really appreciated the plot. And it was a book that he often wanted to read longer than his daily goal. But the book was also a challenge for him. When we read it we alternated pages. My son wanted to start the next book as soon as we finished but we settled on a more grade appropriate book before circling back to The Scorch Trials.

Books by James Dashner:
Maze Runner Series:

0.5 The Kill Order
0.6 The Fever Code
1.0 The Maze Runner
2.0 The Scorch Trial
2.5 Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare
3.0 The Death Cure
The Maze Runner Files
Inside the Maze Runner: The Guide to the Glade


The Mortality Doctrine Series:
0.5 Gunner Skale
1.0 The Eye of Minds
2.0 The Rule of Thoughts
3.0 The Game of Lives


The 13th Reality Series:
1.0 The Journal of Curious Letters
2.0 The Hunt for Dark Infinity
3.0 The Blade of Shattered Hope
4.0 The Void of Mist and Thunder


The Jimmy Fincher Saga:
1.0 A Door in the Woods
2.0 A Gift of Ice
3.0 The Tower of Air
4.0 War of the Black Curtain


Infinity Ring Series:
A Mutiny in Time - Infinity Ring Book 1
The Iron Empire - Infinity Ring Book 7













Monday, 29 July 2019

John Henry Newman Apostle to the Doubtful - Meriol Trevor and Léonie Caldecott - CTS Biographies

John Henry Newman: Apostle to the Doubtful
CTS Biographies
Meriol Trevor
Léonie Caldecott (Expanded and updated)
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860821219
eISBN 9781784693596
ASIN B073FN73BZ
CTS Booklet 


With the canonization of John Henry Newman taking place in 2019 there is a renewed interest in the man, his life, his works, and the canonization itself. Newman will be the first British person to be made a saint who has lived since the 17th Century. I already had picked up this book and a different CTS Biography, John Henry Newman His Life and Legacy by Fr. Ian Ker, to read even before news of the canonization was announced. They are both from series I am greatly enjoying and benefiting from reading published by the Catholic Truth Society. I have now read and reviewed nearly 100 books from the Catholic Truth Society, and this one in the Biographies Series is an excellent read. This was the first I have read. I had read a couple of works by Newman about 12 years ago but had not got around to reviewing them. 

This book was originally published in 2001, and originally written by Meriol Trevor. Then it was revised and expanded in 2017 by Léonie Caldecott. And the eBook edition made available at that time. Doing a quick search of CTS books by and about Newman I have found five titles that are current, and either available now as physical or eBooks or about to come out later this year. And there are many others that are currently out of print. 

The sections in this volume are:

The Early Years
 A Man of the Nineteenth Century
 Search for the Truth
 Italy and the Oxford Movement
 The Development of Christian Doctrine
The Later Years
 Ordination and the Oratory
 The Achilli Affair
 Dublin and the Idea of a University
 London and the Idea of an Oratory
 Blessings in Rome, Chills in England
 The Rambler and the Role of the Laity
 The Dark Night
 Kingsley and the Apologia
 The Glorious Last Years
The Legacy of Cardinal Newman
 Exorcising some Phantoms
 Newman the Pastor
 The Romantic Realist and the Christian Revelation
 Newman’s Mission
Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Some Prayers and Meditations

The original paperback of this book came in at 80 pages, and the revised eBook edition comes in at 88. It is by no means an exhaustive look, at the man, his work, and his life. But it does serve as an excellent brief biography, and as an introduction. It is easily read in a few short sitting or even over a long afternoon and big mug of tea. I read it in such a single sitting, and have debated going on and reading other CTS books by and about Newman or going back and rereading this one first. It is interesting that this booklet or track about Newman’s life should be so similar to the tracks he wrote as part of the Catholic Revival, or Tractarian Movement, or as it was later know the Oxford revival. 

This brief volume will give the broad strokes of Newman’s life, his smaller conversions which lead to his reunification with Rome. It also highlights his pastoral side. It is a powerful story. Of seeking truth. Of humility. Of obedience. This is a book that will inspire and likely challenge the reader. It is a great beginning, and there are several other books by and about Newman from CTS that I plan on pursuing in the weeks and months to come.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

CTS books about Newman:
John Henry Newman: Lead Kindly Light -Dr. Raymond Edwards
Newman His Life and Legacy – Fr. Ian Ker
John Henry Newman Apostle to the Doubtful - Meriol Trevor and Leonie Caldecott
Newman Prayer Book - The Birmingham Oratory (ed)
Mind of Cardinal Newman: From His Own Writings - Charles Stephen Dessain Daily Christian Living with John Henry Newman 


CTS Books by John Henry Newman:
Meditations on Stations of the Cross
Christ upon the Waters - CTS Onefifties Book 3


Reviews of other books about Newman:
Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman-  Mike Aquilina and Juan Velez








Friday, 26 July 2019

Running Blind - Lee Child - Jack Reacher Book 4 - AKA The Visitor

Running Blind
Jack Reacher Book 4
Lee Child
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9780425264409
eISBN 9781440634789
ASIN B000UZPHC6

In the UK published as:
The Visitor
Bantam Books
ISBN 9780857500076
eISBN 9781407070421
ASIN B0031RS4SO


About four months ago I read my first Reacher novel. Since then I have read 21works by Lee Child, This is the 14th novel, Jack Reacher's Rules, the No Middle Name, short stories collection and all of the other crossover and standalone short stories I could find. There are two things unique about this book. First, it is the only time that I wish I had read the books in order. This story continues some time after Tripwire, but follows it very closely. I have been jumping all over in publication order and chronological order. But I would have loved to have read this right after Tripwire. And second for some reason this book has a different title in the European market The Visitor and the rest of the world it seems to be published as Running Blind. After reading 21 works in the Reacher universe I was surprised by how much surprised me in this volume. 

I loved the beginning of this book. Reacher sitting in a restaurant he has been in a few times. It is a new spot, and the food is good, even if the portions are a little small for Reacher’s liking. The Quality makes up for the quantity. While there he see’s the squeeze put on the owner. Reacher knows he cannot right all the wrongs in the world, but this is something small he can do, and so he decides to prevent a wrong. That decision is the beginning of a long journey, back and forth across the continent, and up and down the north east corridor. For after this event, as Reacher arrives home, yes, he has a home in this story, he is arrested and taken to the New York FBI office. He is left in a room and after numerous people check in on him, he is called to a meeting. The head of the New York office of the FBI is at the center of the table. The racketeering crime team on one, and the behavioral team from Quantico on the other. And Everyone wants Reacher for something. And they are not above blackmail and threats to get what they want. 

Reacher ends up working with the egg heads to solve the prefect crime. Actually, a series of crimes. Women being murdered across the country. No evidence. No injuries. Not a single piece of evidence except the dead women and the same situation.  

But something feels off. Reacher knows something is wrong with the case, and how they are pursuing it. But he is having a hard time figuring out the missing pieces. There is an odd feel where he is under lock and key or accompanied wherever he goes. Or whatever he does. And at first all his suggestions and ideas are balked at. But as in any crime, you must figure out the primary motives. And Reacher is very very good at figuring that out.

There are several names on a list. Some are already dead; some Reacher believes are in imminent danger. Can he solve the case? Or will the impediments they have put in his way prevent him? To find out you will need to read this great story in the Reacher series.

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
Tripwire
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
Persuader
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
The Affair
A Wanted Man
Never Go Back
Personal
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

...
Jack Reacher's Rules
...

Reacher Short Stories and Novella’s:
No Middle Name – Complete Collected Short Stories
Stories in No Middle Name Collection:
Too Much Time
Second Son
Deep Down
Guy Walks into A Bar
James Penney’s New Identity
High Heat
Everyone Talks
Not A Drill
Small Wars
Maybe They Have A Tradition

No Room At The Motel
The Picture of the Lonely Diner

Other Short Stories:
The Fourth Man
The Christmas Scorpion
...
Faking a Murderer with Kathy Reichs
Cleaning the Gold with Karin Slaughter
Good and Valuable Consideration with Joseph Finder
...





Thursday, 25 July 2019

The K Handshape - Maureen Jennings - Christine Morris Book 2

The K Handshape
Christine Morris Book 2
Maureen Jennings
A Castle Street Mystery
Dundurn
ISBN 9781550027631
eISBN 9781554886494
ASIN B004322H02


I have been averaging a Maureen Jennings book each week over the last 10 weeks. This was the most recent one I had finished. I have been bouncing around between here 4 series. Loved this story and the other in the Christine Morris mystery that I read. And I sincerely hope we will get more Christine Morrie mysteries to read at some point in the future. This novel was shortlisted for the Author Ellis Award for best novel in 2009. And as of the writing of this review it has been 11 years since a book has been published in this series. But considering how many years passed between the Detective Murdoch books 7 and 8 we can hope! 

This volume continues sometime after the first book in the series. And it is a story filled with tension and stress right from the first pages. The story begins with Christie Morris and a colleague Dr. Leo Forgach fishing his own dead daughter from the water near the peer in small town Orillia, Ontario. And the tension and conflict that begins there ratchets up and through out the whole story. Christine and Leo both work for the behavioral science unit. They become part of the investigation. And Christine must walk a fine line between her team, the police investigating, and finding a way to both handle and support Leo through this ordeal.

In this story we have a murdered young woman. An elderly lady assaulted. We have the son of s shrink who has major mother issues. Christine is dealing with a boyfriend across the ocean, and a best friend in hospital with both heart and cancer concerns. And we have a young deaf girl who just wants to know where her mother is. The story has a strong element of deaf culture, and interactions between, deaf, partially deaf and the hearing abled. The story races from start to finish. And is a very hard book to put down. Unlike other books by Jennings that I have raced through in a day or two, reading this one was spread out over several days, and I found myself continuously thinking about the story and wondering where it would go next.

If I am honest, I can state I figured it out fairly early. But at first it was just a guess, and then the clues slowly started piling up. But it was still an excellent read. Especially returning to Christine’s relationship with her mother, and the years of issues there that still need to be worked through. 

I rated this book 5/5 stars and sis the same for the other book in this series. Of the 10 books I have read by Jennings, it is my favorite that is not a Murdoch story. It is very well written, and ties together many story lines and elements into a fascinating mystery, with some excellent side twists and plot lines to keep it intensely interesting. An excellent mystery novel, if you have not read the Christine Morris series or any of Jennings works, this is an excellent read that I highly recommend! 

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape
...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...



Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Prayer in the Family - John Viatori and Beth Viatori - CTS Family Matters Series

Prayer in the Family
CTS Family Matters Series
John Viatori and Beth Viatori
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823909
eISBN 9781784694449
ASIN B073GZ5QBL
CTS Booklet PA5


In the last years and a half I have read nearly 100 books and booklets from the catholic Truth Society. And I have that many on my wish list currently. I have yet to encounter a bad book in the lot. And there are some incredible books and series. This is the second volume I have read in the Family matters series, and both have been excellent reads. And as far as I can tell it is the only book written by John and Beth Viatori. The description of this volume is:

“For many children, the experience of prayer in the family shapes their attitude to prayer and their faith for the rest of their lives. For parents, insecurity with their own prayer life and the practical problems posed by small children or teenagers can make the practice of prayer at home seem impossible. This eBook gives practical advice on how the home can become an authentic school of prayer.”

The sections in this booklet are:
The Necessity of Prayer
     Why should we pray in the family?
     The Domestic Church
Personal Prayer is the Foundation for Family Prayer
     Unity in family prayer
The Liturgy of the Domestic Church
     Sanctifying the day
     Grace at Mealtimes
     The Angelus
     Bedtime and morning prayers
     The Rosary
     The Liturgy of the Hours
     Sanctifying the Year
Praying with our Whole Life
     The sacraments
     Grounding the spiritual in the natural
     Using the five senses
     Reconciliation and the Eucharist
     The Eucharist and the Mass
A Final Word
Useful Prayers for the Family

The booklet is listed as coming in at under 50 pages, and the last few of those are a short collection of prayers. Nd yet while I read this book through twice now, I have highlighted over 21 passages. The first passage I highlighted is from the section on the Necessity of Prayer:

“One’s relationship with God is as delicate and unique as any relationship in one’s life, while being more important because, unlike other relationships, it touches every aspect of our lives and encompasses the goal and end of our lives.”

And the second highlights the need to be intentional, especially as our children are in their formative years. 

“To leave the spiritual life of our children undeveloped until they are old enough to seek it for themselves would be to do them a great disservice. It would mean depriving them of the love that every human needs most because they are too small to know where to find it. This is why we want to cultivate prayer in our families.”

The book draws from their own experience, but also from friends and family. Some examples are of young children, and even up to late teens. There are examples of things that have worked, and things that have not. And even one where teen children asked to take part in a family ritual. A great example in the book is to use prayer for others:

“Prayers of intercession for others are often a very good entry into the life of prayer, for those of us who are shy about praying in front of others. Often even when we can’t bring ourselves to go to God in prayer on our own behalf, the needs of our loved ones or acquaintances compel us to pray.”

One of the passages that was so striking to me was:

“A family’s prayer life stands or falls with the personal spiritual lives of the individual family members. As parents, we cannot establish a relationship with God in our children or train them to turn to him. However, we can adopt practices that will provide the conditions for our children to “meditate on the Word of God.” We can provide them with an example of praying with faith, humility, and perseverence, and we can teach them prayers that will unfold in their understanding as they grow.”

We cannot force a prayer life upon our children, but we can live an example of a life of prayer. And this book provides a lot of great examples and ways to pray as a family and for our families. This is something I strive to live:

“A father who leads the family in prayer is a tacit but convincing sign to children that prayer is not something wishy-washy or soft, but important and powerful.”

And it is not always easy. But part of our role, maybe the most important part of our role as parents if to raise our children in the faith, and raise them by our own example. But we are reminded we are not in this alone:

“Despite the many obvious obstacles and challenges that face us as we try to ensure that our family’s prayer is personal, we have a powerful ally in this struggle. God himself is our greatest advocate in our efforts to pray better.”

In the conclusion the authors state:

“What these diverse families hold in common is that they are ambitious to find ways to raise their children in a life of prayer. Speaking to them and observing the practices that they cultivate in their own homes has merely shown us how much more we might do to place Christ at the centre of our family.”

And the book does a wonderful job of that. It is an excellent little volume I am sure I will return to often as a refresher. As my children become teenagers, and beyond. I will end my review with a final quote:

“At the heart of prayer, whether it takes place in words or through actions, is the recognition of the presence of God with us and the enjoyment of his company.”

This is an excellent little book and would be of value to any family that picks it up! Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Family Matters Series:
Facing Difficulties in the Christian Family Life - Peter Kahn
Passing on Faith to Your Children - Peter Kahn
Prayer in the Family – John Viatori & Beth Viatori
Sex Education A Parent’s Guide – John Timpson
The Family’s Mission to Love – Rod Isaacs & Peter Kahn
The Role of a Christian Father - Keith Chappell
The Role of Christian Grandparents – Keith Chappell
The Role of a Christian Mother – Anna Melchior
Work and the Christian Family – Peter Kahn


Other Books by Keith Chappell:
The Role of a Christian Father
Role of Christian Grandparents
Catholic Social Conscience: Reflection and Action on Catholic Social Teaching
A Teacher's Guide to Science and Religion in the Classroom (Editor)








Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Product Review ONETWOFIT 48" Silent Mini Trampoline

ONETWOFIT 48" Silent Mini Trampoline with Adjustable Handle Bar
Fitness Trampoline Bungee Rebounder Jumping Cardio Trainer Workout for Adults or Kids
OneTwoFit
ASIN B07DK9RJT9



A few years back I read a couple of books about Rebound Fitness, or using a mini trampoline for fitness. The science in the books is very convincing. But the books also specifically talked about what type of trampolines to use and not use. You can pick up mini trampolines for a cheap as $50 and as expensive as $1000. If you are using one with springs the springs needs to be tapered or shaped, so that the resistance changes as they expand and contract. For  Elastic rebounders it is important that it is not one continuous elastic and that they are doubled up for the same impact reasons. After I read the books on rebounding especially those by Albert E. Carter, I shared with a lot of people about the benefits of rebounding.

The problem is we were given a cheaper one. And it ended up causing some issues because of how rigid the surface was. And eventually I stopped using it and gave it back. This year when I started having some serious problems with my knee again. I started to save up for a better model. Now to be honest the one I first had my eyes set on cost more than triple, but I also wanted to get something and get started.

I did a lot of research and checked a lot of product reviews. And this one has an average 4-star rating on multiple sites and has hundreds of reviews on various sites. I picked this up with the goal of using it as an interim item, use it for a few years and plan ahead for a high-end model. But after using this one for a week now I do not think that will be needed. For now, my plan is simple use this three times a day for 5-10 minutes, just a gentle bounce for the exercise benefits and the benefits to the lymphatic system. And if all goes well keep using it daily to help improve my overall health and fitness.

I ordered this on a Friday, and it arrived on Monday. Unpackaging and assembly took about an hour. Replacement bands can be orders and the trampoline could be restrung in a few years if needed. The construction is solid, and I am very impressed. The construction and feel is comparable to much more expensive units. I am very satisfied with this piece of gear and am glad to have it in the house. So, pick it up and bounce on to greater health and wellbeing.

Reviews of Books about Rebounding:
The Miracles of Rebound Exercise - Albert E. Carter
The Ultimate Guide To Rebounding Exercise: How To Use A Mini Trampoline Rebounder To Transform Your Health And Fitness - Richard Bell



Monday, 22 July 2019

Jean Vanier Logician of the Heart - Michael W. Higgins

Jean Vanier: Logician of the Heart
People of God Series
Michael W. Higgins
Liturgical Press
ISBN 9780814637104
eISBN 9780814637357
ASIN B01KHNQVI4

 


Checking my reading list, I have previously read 8 books by Michael W. Higgins.  But that was all between 1998 and 2006. But after reading this volume I have already picked up three others of his recent offerings to add to my summer reading list. I had the privilege of taking a course with Higgins when I returned to university as a mature student. And many year later attended a retreat at a convent where he gave a series of talks about the process of making saints, based on his book, Stalking the Holy. It does not seem to matter if you encounter him in person or through his writings there is a passion, energy, and a presence. And in this volume, he focuses that on a man, of whom, many would say the same, Jean Vanier.

I never had the benefit of meeting Jean Vanier in person. But know many people who have. In fact, most of my knowledge if Vanier is third hand from those who knew and interacted with Henri J.M. Nouwen (another whom Higgins has written about). This book was a fascinating read. I was familiar with Vanier the Catholic Humanist, the founder of L’Arche. But I was completely unaware of his military career. His decision to enter the navel academy at a young age. There is much about this man’s life that can serve as both inspiration and a challenge to us. No matter where we fall on the religious spectrum. When I read this book, I highlighted several passages. I want to share a few of them in this review. The first quote that really impacted me was:

“Vanier is not an economist, any more than Pope Francis. He does not issue periodic jeremiads, pronounce with oracular majesty from a distance, nor proffer solutions to complex politico-economic issues. What he does, like Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is offer a palpable alternative to being human whereby the homeless garner as much attention and sympathy as a dysfunctional celebrity or financial climber.”

Vanier it appears often did things in a new way. Often an untested, untried way. He followed his gut. And from reading this book, his trust in his instinct was strengthened by his father’s trust in him at a crucial point. Another is:

“Vanier responds unequivocally that it is praying because praying is not doing, it’s clicking, it’s compassion, thankfulness and peacefulness, gratitude and communion. “Prayer, then,” Brown surmises, “is a way of reminding ourselves . . . ,” and Vanier completes his thought with “to be who we are.””

Vanier had a keen insight into people, and strove to understand others, and through that work to better understand himself. We are told about Vanier that:

“People with disabilities, in particular, often lack a community that can bring them life. Human beings are not made to be alone. It is not what the Creator intended. Loneliness often begets hyperactivity because we need to compensate, and so we develop dependencies that are unhealthy, we become addicted, and we become frightfully competitive. And all this works against what we are meant to be: rooted in a place, bonded with others, supporting the weak, and comforting the strong. In a competitive culture, individual success is privileged; those who are weak or disabled are seen at best as losers or a nuisance, and are quickly put aside, and in some cases eliminated.”

Vanier’s beliefs and life work is a string contrast to some of what we see happening in the world today. I believe he would have been sickened by a recent case in France where a man starved to death once denied medical intervention, against his and his parents’ objections. And the final quote I will share is:

“In Eau Vive, Père Thomas’s “school of wisdom,” Vanier recognized the Dominican’s postwar vision: doing the “international work of the heart.” His commitment to doing theology and philosophy in a community of prayer and love attracted Vanier, who would join the community in the fall of 1950. The catalyst for that decision was his meeting with Père Thomas. Vanier would recall years later that it was clear he needed “a master, a teacher, a spiritual father.” He likened his response to Père Thomas to Jesus’ summons to two disciples to leave John the Baptist and follow him, to come and see where he dwelled. The meeting with the mystical French friar was that transformative and foundational; Vanier followed and he dwelled.”

Vanier spent his life living that proves of being discipled and building communities. And his example is one we desperately need today. This book is an easy read. It has challenged my thinking. And It has inspired me to pray in new ways. And I trust it will do the same for you.

A great read that I highly recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Michael W. Higgins:
Genius Born of Anguish: The Life & Legacy of Henri Nouwen
The Unquiet Monk: Thomas Merton's Questing Faith
Heretic Blood: The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton: Faithful Visionary
Jean Vanier: Logician of the Heart
Faith and Literature Matters
Power And Peril: The Catholic Church At The Crossroads
Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint Making
My Father's Business: A Biography Of His Eminence G. Emmett Cardinal Carter


Books with Douglas R. Letson:
Soundings: Conversations about Catholicism
The Jesuit Mystique


Contributed to:
Commonweal on Contemporary Theologians
Introducing John Moriarty In His Own Words
Vatican II: A Universal Call to Holiness
Impressively Free: Henri Nouwen as Model for a Reformed Priesthood (with Kevin Burns)
Suffer the Children Unto Me: An Open Inquiry into the Clerical Abuse Scandal (with Peter Kavanagh)

...

Related Posts:
Waterloo Loses A Good Man
Michael W. Higgins
Faith in the Media Conference 2006


People of God Series:
John XXIII - Massimo Faggioli
Oscar Romero - Kevin Clarke
Thomas Merton - Michael W. Higgins
Megan Rice - Dennis Coday
Francis - Michael Collins
Flannery O’Connor - Angela O’Donnell
Martin Sheen - Rose Pacatte
Jean Vanier - Michael W. Higgins
Dorothy Day - Patrick Jordan
Luis Antonio Tagle - Cindy Wooden
Georges and Pauline Vanier - Mary Francis Coadyn
Joseph Bernardin - Steven P. Millies
Corita Kent - Rose Pacatte
Daniel Rudd - Gary B. Agee
Helen Prejean - Joyce Duriga
Paul VI - Michael Collins
Thea Bowman - J. Nutt

...





Friday, 19 July 2019

A Wanted Man - Lee Child - Jack Reacher Book 17

A Wanted Man
Jack Reacher Book 17
Lee Child
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9780307990853
eISBN 9780440339366
ASIN B007GCY8FS


This is Jack Reacher book 17 in publishing order, and it is the 20th story I have read by Lee Child featuring Jack Reacher. I have been on a streak, in that the last four Reacher novels I have read have garnered 5/5 stars. Of the twenty I have read most are 4 stars and 1 was even 3. But this is a great story. And unlike many Reacher does not bed anyone. Sort of Like Kirk in season 3 of the original Trek. This is the 13th of 23 currently available Novels in the Reacher series I have read. And it is a great story. With each of the last few Reacher novels I have stated it is one of the best, and I say it again this time. 

Reacher begins this story a little beat up. He has a recently badly broken nose. He is cold, and one the side of the road trying to hitch a ride. His destination is Virginia, he wants to make his way there to meet a woman he has only dealt with on the phone. After a long time on the on ramp he removed the duct tape holding his broken nose. And a later description of him in the book is like a gorilla with a broken face. Reacher accepts the first drive that he s offered. But he knows that he is not operating at 100%. He has lost his sense of smell, and he relies on his senses extensively. Shortly after he is in the car things start to not make sense. The stories he is told, and the facts he observes do not line up and that gap keeps getting wider and wider. 

This is a story that start slowly, and the pressure builds and builds and builds. Reacher slowly starts putting the different stories and pieces together. But this is a story that involves the CIA, FBI, a local sheriff, a murder, a kidnapping, a terrorist threat, and more. And Reacher just stumbles into the middle of it but once there cannot just walk away. He needs to do what is right by his code. 

The plot in this story starts much slower and moves at a meandering pace for most of the story. Reacher is trying to overcome his injury and seems to be playing catch up most of the time. But with the intricacies of the plot, and the overlapping story lines it makes for an exceptional mystery. I usually rip through a Reacher novel in a day or two, but because of family commitments and changes in work schedule this one took me four days. But it fit the story and the ending was worth the wait.

Another great Reacher story!

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
Tripwire
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
Persuader
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
The Affair
A Wanted Man
Never Go Back
Personal
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

...
Jack Reacher's Rules
...

Reacher Short Stories and Novella’s:
No Middle Name – Complete Collected Short Stories
Stories in No Middle Name Collection:
Too Much Time
Second Son
Deep Down
Guy Walks into A Bar
James Penney’s New Identity
High Heat
Everyone Talks
Not A Drill
Small Wars
Maybe They Have A Tradition

No Room At The Motel
The Picture of the Lonely Diner

Other Short Stories:
The Fourth Man
The Christmas Scorpion
...
Faking a Murderer with Kathy Reichs
Cleaning the Gold with Karin Slaughter
Good and Valuable Consideration with Joseph Finder
...






Thursday, 18 July 2019

Poor Tom Is Cold - Maureen Jennings - Detective Murdoch Book 3

Poor Tom Is Cold
Detective Murdoch Book 3
Maureen Jennings
McClelland & Stewart
An imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

ISBN 9780771095955
eISBN 9780771043222
ASIN B003GY0KDE


Over the last nine weeks I have read as many books by Maureen Jennings. I have read books from all four of her series, and this is the fifth Murdoch story I have read. I really love Jennings historical pieces and consider her a master of the craft of writing. But after having watched all the current season of the Murdoch Mysteries on television, Murdoch even in this different form holds a special place for me. There is something about the way Jennings wraps these mysteries in and around Toronto at the beginning of the twentieth century. This was the third Detective Murdoch novel, and it is great to settle in with Murdoch and the other characters of Station Number 4 for another intense tale. 

There are many great elements in this story. It begins with Murdoch at the station early, because of a raging toothache. He offers to go looking for Constable Oliver Wicken is off his beat. The initial inquest suspects and confirms suicide. But that does not sit well with Murdoch, and soon there is new evidence. Brackenreid give’s Will permission to keep investigating. And the more he investigates the more circumspect of the original verdict he becomes.

In this story we have a house of ill repute, and specifically the matron and one of the girls. We have a dead officer. We have a woman in an asylum. And men dressing up nags to sell as prize horses. And we have a stepson, who is twisted to his core. There was a lot going on in this story, and those multiple threads do not seem to come together, but when Murdoch realizes what is happening and flips the quilt over, the image is as clear as day. But only after dealing with his aching tooth that clearly played a part in him taking so long to gather the pieces together. 

This book deals with the ideas around suicide, women’s rights, The father control over families, and even dental care. Looking back at some of these in historical perspective is very useful for us today. It was a book that was hard to put down.

I love the historical mysteries Jennings has written, and of the three series set in the past I love Murdoch, and this is one of the best of the Murdoch books I have read. A great story, wonderfully written. And it leaves me desperate for the next Detective Murdoch story! 

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape

...

Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...