Thursday, 30 June 2022

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Second Quarter 2022

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Second Quarter 2022

It has been a very good first half of the year. Many great reads. I have read just over a book and a half a day. I read 110 books this quarter and 258 so far this year. Part of it is due to my youngest two children’s reading skills really growing and they read to/with me for 20 minutes four or five days a week. As well as this Lent I tried to read a different Stations of the Cross booklet each day. And have continued each Friday since Lent. In the spring of 2016, I worked through Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now (now available on ClaitasU). The year before that I removed all games from my phone and tablet and my reading had doubled. 

But back to this quarter. By the numbers:

Books Read: 110
First Time Reads: 86
Fiction: 31
Non-Fiction: 55
5/5 Stars: 74

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the second quarter of 2022.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
3. Books by Benedict XVI
6. Books by Deacon Nick Donnelly

Bonus Books:
Books by J.B. Midgley
Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. Short Stories by Karina Fabian
2. unSPARKed Books by Corinna Turner
3. St. Tommy NYPD Books by Declan Finn
5. Paul McGrath Books by Andrew Grant 
8. Detective Cooper Devereaux Books by Andrew Grant

Bonus Books:

The first half of 2022 has been a great, and this was another excellent quarter for reading. A few new authors, some favorites. Books in old series, and the beginnings of some new series. Again this year, at least so far, I managed to write reviews for all books read for the only the third time.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are sometimes in the bonus section. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list.  

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020
365 - 2021
317 - 2020 
392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Saint Brigid of Ireland - Alice Curtayne - Cluny Media Reprint Edition

Saint Brigid of Ireland:
Cluny Media Reprint Edition
Alice Curtayne

ISBN 9781685950200
eISBN 9781685950507
Previous editions:
Browne and Nolan (1934)
Sheed and Ward (1954 Revised Edition)

A few years ago I fell in love with the works of Alice Curtayne. I first encountered the writings of Alice Curtayne through her book Twenty Tales of Irish Saints, I was captivated by her writing style and her style as a hagiographer. And I started tracking down her other writings. This is not proving an easy task. The first problem is that only 2 of her works were in print at that time. Second many of her books never had North American editions. Her first book was published in 1929. She wrote histories, most focused on saints. She wrote a few novels. And she wrote extensively for newspapers and magazines. I have also found that she wrote pamphlets for the Catholic Truth Society. I believe that Cluny Media has released 5 of her books in reprint editions and one she contributed to, The Irish Way.  This is the first to have an eBook edition, the others are a mic of paperbacks and or hardcovers. Alice Curtayne has two works with the title St. Brigid of Ireland, this one a full-length history originally published in 1934 and revised in 1954, and the Cluny edition released in 2022. And also, one of her Catholic Truth Society pamphlets called 'Saint Brigid, The Mary of Ireland'. I have read both this and the pamphlet is a separate work. But I have now read this one twice. A few years back I found an out of print copy from Sheed and Ward, shipping was prohibitive to Canada, so I shipped it to a friend in the country I found it and he scanned me a copy.  This is the fifth volume I have read from Cluny Media. Before we get to the review of this specific volume I want to restate:

It should be noted that this reprint edition from Cluny is very well done. Unlike many book brought back from the public domain, this volume went through a process of a high quality scan. And a complete re-typesetting. Cluny is dedicated to restoring quality editions of old books, focused on the Catholic Tradition. Their motto is: ‘Promote the tradition. Preserve the Past.’ Which is a very worthy cause. I really appreciate the work of Cluny Media, they are trying to restore Catholic books, bringing them back into print in wonderful physical editions and for a few eBooks. They are excellent editions. I just wish they had eBooks for all volume. The description of the Cluny edition of this book is:

“Saint Brigid of Ireland shares with Saint Patrick and Saint Columcille the honor of being patron of the Emerald Isle. In this brief yet highly illuminating biography, Alice Curtayne details the legacy of Brigid with lively descriptions of her character and family history; her virtues and miracles; her monastic foundations and missionary achievements; and her lasting influence on Irish culture. By all accounts, Brigid of Kildare was unique in her own time and place: as a fifth-century woman, she “stood isolated, without prototype, without peer. When she arose it was as though with a decisive movement she pulled back a heavy curtain shrouding the scene. And at that gesture all the other actors on the stage stand transfigured before a landscape where they see for the first time such freedom as they had never dreamed of, and beyond, Vision, the world opened to them by the Faith.”

Proof of both its subject’s enduring greatness and to its author’s obvious talent, Saint Brigid of Ireland is a heartily enjoyable and edifying biography of one of Ireland’s—and the Church’s—greatest saints.”

The chapters in this work are:

One: The Women of 450
Two: The Shaking Sod
Three: The Fiery Arrow
Four: Brigid and the Bishops
Five: Kildare
Six: The Brigidine School of Mystics
Seven: The Bounty of Brigid
Eight: “A Spray of Irish Fioretti”
Nine: The Wisdom of Brigid
Ten: The Tree of Love

This volume received both the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur in 1954. My youngest saw this book cover on my kindle and was wowed by the artwork. She is familiar with the saint as Brigid is her older Sisters confirmation Saint. Even though she is only 11 she wants to reread this book with me. To be honest I have loved everything I have read from Curtayne. And I am very thankful that Cluny Media is bringing her works back into print. Having read several books about St Brigid much in this work was familiar. And even more so this second time through. This book also crosses over and touches upon a number of other Irish Catholic saints, of course Patrick, but also others that came after Brigid. I greatly appreciated the comparison between Saint Brigid's spirituality and that of Saint Francis of Assisi. I highlighted over 34 passages on my first reading of the eBook edition some of them are:

"St. Brigid, who ranks with Patrick and Columcille in Ireland's Great Triad of Saints, arose in that period where certainty begins in our record. She stands in that first shaft of light that illuminates our history, literature, topography, art and architecture. The strength of Irish devotion to her is expressed in the very repetition of our Kilbrides, Templebreedys, Tobarbrides, Kilbreedys, Rathbrides, and Drumbridges. No one having the slightest acquaintance with Ireland can miss her name, so hugely is it scrawled across the landscape. The ancients affixed it to enduring things, like running water and glens that should witness to her forever."

“Her cult is distinguished too, by a certain freshness of enthusiasm. There is still preserved in its texture an element of surprise, a delight, such as men might experience on beholding dawn for the first time. Even after fifteen hundred years her name has never sunk into somnolence, but still vibrates in the ear of the Irish people like a trumpet blast. All this is universally known, but not in the least understood. It is not understood because with the passage of time we have lost sight of the strange singularity of Brigid.”

“Daughters had right of inheritance in Ireland centuries before it was conceded in other countries, and the same liberal tendency is everywhere evident in our ancient literature. The women of 450 had special places or sections in the public assemblies. They had organized games of their own at fairs, and even enclosures reserved for them.”

“Christianity was forbidden to slaves because it was an inconvenience to slave-owners when bond-people asserted a right to respect family ties.”

“The stage is roughly set for St. Brigid’s appearance: a dark stage on which benighted figures flit confusedly. What is remarkable about Brigid is that she did not belong to the women of 450. She stood isolated, without prototype, without peer. When she arose it was as though with a decisive movement she pulled back a heavy curtain shrouding the scene. And at that gesture all the other actors on the stage stand transfigured before a landscape where they see for the first time such freedom as they had never dreamed of, and beyond, Vision, the world opened to them by the Faith.”

“In this war-riven land Brigid was born, as has been said, of the kingdom that was the most persistently belligerent, Leinster of the battles. Her birth-place was Faughart, three miles from Dundalk, in the County Louth, and the date was about the year 453. Her father was Dubthach (pronounced Duffack, its modern equivalent being Duffy), a pagan petty king or chieftain, and her mother was a Christian bondwoman named Brocessa, who belonged to his household.”

“If the account of St. Brigid’s parentage be exact, she derived one advantage from it: that complete disregard for the accident of birth nearly always expressed by the children of unequal unions. As we shall see, it was her habit in later life to converse with kings as with equals and to treat slave-girls as sisters, whose freedom she passionately claimed.”

“It was not so. In Celtic Ireland the muse was exalted. The poet was highly, even excessively, remunerated for his services to the community. He was not then down-at-heel. He wore rich apparel; he dined well; he drank deep; he swaggered. He had property and servants. He travelled about with a retinue and his whole life was passed in visits and entertainment. At table he had to have the seat of honour and the choicest cut from the joint.”

“It was Brigid who changed the face of things and saved the early Irish feminine ascetic movement. She saved it by the innovation of community life. From the moment her mother’s liberty was ensured and her father’s objections silenced, she began the organization of women. She had seven companions with her when she went to be received into the religious life. Those eight seem never again to have separated.”

“Brigid did not live an enclosed life. In her case going into a convent meant becoming one of the most indefatigable travellers in the land. She is one of the most interesting products of Irish monasticism.”

““Founding” in the early Christian sense meant something far more strenuous than blessing the first stone. The convents then were, as a rule, clusters of wattle and clay huts, enclosed by great stone or earthen walls. When Brigid founded such a settlement, she had first to supervise the building. Then she had to provide the furnishings and staff the place with a few competent sisters whom she had trained. When she had the machinery in motion, she left them in charge and hastened on with a companion or two to a fresh field.”

“Once seven bishops went to visit her, and they have become famous as the Seven Bishops of Cabinteely. Do you suppose Brigid was disturbed by that invasion? No. She sent one sister to the cows that had already been milked twice that day, and another sister to a larder that was as empty as Mother Hubbard’s; yet another sister to an ale-vat that was drained dry. But the bishops feasted adequately, for food was a commodity Brigid never failed to find her guests.”

“Very surprising is the discovery that the feminine inspiration which delighted Europe in later centuries down to modern times was already an accepted feature of the early Irish Church. But what particularly distinguished the Brigidine School of Mystics from all faint or imaginable counterparts was its charming pastoral character.”

“But, not to digress too widely, did Brigid herself as a fact push charity beyond its bounds to the point where begins the first faint injustice to others? From the purely human standpoint, it would look almost like that, but since she is a saint of the Church, one is not permitted to suppose that her charity was indiscriminate, or that she was likely to confuse any moral values. We must rather believe, however unpalatable the idea, it is our own religious perceptions that are blunted and confused, and hers that were acute and clear.”

“Our modern tea is probably a more stimulating and a far less wholesome beverage than the fifth-century ale.”

“The affinity between Celtic Christianity and the Franciscan movement is striking. True, a return to the simple life in religion is a stock principle of most reforming movements, but merely a common principle does not explain this special kinship.”

“One would imagine that the Celtic saints knew by divine prescience of the future testing, so cunningly did they build the spiritual fabric, so ruthless was their concentration on essentials, so stark the spirit of abnegation they bred in their disciples. One would imagine that they had devised a special spiritual structure that should weather those four hundred nightmare years of religious persecution, and that long cycle, even eight hundred years, of political oppression. They even taught—those all-wise—an independence of relics and of shrines, which is a principle hardly encountered elsewhere. But it would have gone hard with the Gael had his trust been in shrines.”

This is one of those books that I could easily read again right away, but it took me over 4 years, and yet I will be rereading it again soon with my daughter. Like the works of some of my favourite authors I see myself returning to this book and other writings of Alice Curtayne often. There is something in the writing that speaks to my spirit. Her way with words, her devotion. The way she balances legends, against known facts, and with faith and trust. Saint Brigid is an example to us all, even more so at this time, 80 years after the writing of this book, and almost 1500 years after her death.

In the Catholic Truth Society booklet on Brigid by Curtayne there are two prayers. One I have been praying for myself and over my daughters daily. There are no prayers to Brigid in this book but this book still is a gem. It made me want to read more about Saint Brigid of Ireland, and more by Curtayne, and thankfully it is now available in a new edition both as a paperback and eBook from Cluny Media. This book is a little treasure of faith and it will inspire you, and likely challenge you. It is well worth giving a read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

For All reviews of Books from Cluny Media click here.
For All reviews and articles about Saint Brigid click here.
For All reviews and articles about Alice Curtayne click here.

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

Booklets by Alice Curtayne:

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

The servant of God, Mother Mary Aikenhead
The Holy Man of Dublin; or, the Silence of Matt Talbot
Croagh Patrick. An account of the great national pilgrimage to Ireland's holy mount. 
The New Woman Transcript of a Talk

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

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

Books Contributed to by Alice Curtayne:

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

The World of Marian Apparitions - Wincenty Laszewski - Mary's Appearances and Messages from Fatima to Today

The World of Marian Apparitions: 
Mary's Appearances and Messages from Fatima to Today
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781644132029
ASIN 9781644132036

First this was an amazing read. A stunning book, full of photo’s, information boxes and well researched text. Wincenty Łaszewski, has written an incredible volume. And for the most part I thought it was excellent. I have a few concerns but will share them later. 

This is an English edition of, Świat Maryjnych Objawień, originally published in Polish and a fourth edition is releasing in 2022. This edition is based on the third edition published in 2020. Lately I have found several wonderful authors who publish in their native Polish, for example Father Jan Twardowski and Father Andrzej Muszala, and find that too few of their works are available in English.

The chapters are:


ROME 1884 - A Vision of the Church’s Future
SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO 1911 - Padre Pio’s Laughing Madonna
ALJUSTREL 1913 - Little Lúcia’s Madonna
FATIMA 1917 - The Message of Fatima
BASEL 1917 - A Mystical Wound
RADZYMIN 1920 - The Anti-Bolshevik Mother of God
FATIMA 1921 - Mother of Obedience
FATIMA 1921 - The Seventh Fatima Apparition
PONTEVEDRA 1925 - The Contemplative Mother of God
TUI, SPAIN 1929 - Patroness of Russia’s Conversion
ŁAGIEWNIKI, VILNIUS, AND PŁOCK 1930s - Intercessor for Mercy
BEAURAING 1932 - Madonna with the Golden Heart
BANNEUX 1933 - Our Lady of the Poor
HEEDE 1937 - Queen of the Poor Souls in Purgatory
SIEKIERKI 1943 - Holy Mother, Teacher of Youth
BALAZAR 1944–1955 - Mother of Light
GHIAIE DI BONATE 1944 - Queen of Families
TURZA ŚLĄSKA 1945 - Sorrowful Mother of the Battlefield
L’ÎLE-BOUCHARD 1947 - The Mother at the Annunciation
TRE FONTANE 1947 - Virgin of Revelation
MONTICHIARI 1947 - Mystical Rose
LIPA 1948 - Mediatrix of All Graces
WARSAW 1948 - Dispenser of Divine Omnipotence
NGOME 1955 - Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High
ROME CITY 1956–1959 - Our Lady of America
ERD 1961–1981 - Flame of the Immaculate Heart
ZEITOUN 1968 - Silent Lady
FATIMA 1972 - The Apocalyptic Heart of Mary
AKITA 1973 - Apocalyptic Madonna
BETANIA 1976 - Mother of Peace and Unity
DEIR EL-AHMAR 1976 - Our Lady of Lebanon
CUAPA 1980 - Mother of Sinners
MEDJUGORJE 1981 - Queen of Peace
KIBEHO 1981 - Mother of the Word
SAN NICOLÁS 1983–1990 - Our Lady of the Rosary
ASDEE, IRELAND 1985 - Madonnas in Motion
MANILA 1986 - The Lady Who Commands Soldiers
BELPASSO 1986 - The Immaculate Heart of the Queen of Peace
YAGMA AND LOUDA 1986 - Lady of Assumption, Mother of Peace
HRUSHIV 1987 - Madonna of Kiev
UNITED STATES 1987 - Harbinger of Change
KUREŠČEK 1989–1999 - Queen of Peace
LITMANOVA 1990–1995 - The Immaculate Purity
AOKPE 1992 - Mediatrix of All Graces
IRELAND 2003 - A Beacon for Our Times
MEXICO CITY 2007 - A Strange Light
WARRAQ 2009 - Royal Virgin of Giza
TREVIGNANO ROMANO 2014 - Apocalyptic Protector

The book is stunning, each of the apparitions cover span from 2 pages to 14 pages, and a number of them are either 10 or 12. They begin with a spanned two page image of the location and contain Name, Dates, and symbols as code for status of the apparition. Those symbols are one of 9 they are:

An apparition recognized by the Vatican
A visionary recognized as a saint, blessed, venerable, or servant of God
The pope visited the apparition site and/or gave it special privileges
An apparition recognized by the local bishop
An imprimatur or nihil obstat granted to the texts of the revelation
Devotion recognized at the apparition site
Unusual miracles at the apparition site
An apparition recognized by the Coptic Church
An apparition accepted by belief of pilgrims

The world map has the following Symbols:

Recognized by the Vatican after bishop approval
Approved by local bishop
Unconfirmed as supernatural
Marian apparitions to future saints

It is almost information overload. I read the volume over a couple of weeks. Sometimes stopping after one apparition and sometimes reading a few. I cannot help but wonder what some of the updates in the new 2022, 4th Polish Edition will include, and if anything is being dropped. My first concern is related to two sites, one omitted in this volume, Knock Ireland, and Medjugorje. When it comes to Marian apparitions most of us have a few favourites. Knock is one of mine, and the first thing I did was check the table of contents, and honestly was a little disappointed when it was omitted. Second the author hints at controversy around  Medjugorje, which started when I was still in high school and hit a peak of popularity when I was in University. I have read much about this site, and my personal feelings have changed a lot over the years, I am currently working Medjugorje Complete: The Definitive Account of the Visions and Visionaries by Donal Anthony Foley. The author of this work does not go into some of the controversies around this site and the visionaries and seems to gloss over it. It seems very unbiased, especially considering I understand that both Saint John Paul II and Emiratis Pope Benedict XVI have had serious concerns about the site and messages. 

My second concern is the eBook edition. I have a dual form of dyslexia and usually prefer eBooks. I did purchase the eBook for this direct from the publisher, as there is no Kindle edition, the formatting was horrendous. The file is almost 90 MB in size, I tried reading it through a few eBook readers on my PC (FB Reader, Calibre, Kobo for PC), and even Google Play on the Web and it was terribly painful. And it was even worse on a tablet. I gave up on the digital edition and purchased a physical copy. In this case the eBook was more of a hindrance than a help. 

That being said this is a wonderful volume. I believe it is the only one by Wincenty Laszewski available in English currently. We are informed on the Sophia Institute site that:

“Polish theologian, doctor of dogmatic theology, writer and translator. Author of many books devoted to Our Lady , especially Marian apparitions. Member of the World Apostolate of Fatima. In his publications, he deals mainly with the history of Marian devotion in Europe and with apparitions taking place in various places around the world. He looks for connections between revelations and contemporary history.”
Part of the description of this volume is:

“The world-changing appearance of Our Lady at Fatima ushered in a continuing series of remarkable apparitions worldwide that the Church has either officially approved or marked as likely-authentic. Author and Mariologist Wincenty Laszewski summarizes the powerful and urgent messages of these apparitions in this unparalleled, encyclopedic work-instantly the new standard on the subject. Most of these riveting chapters include portentous warnings - some are ominous, others more hopeful. This stunning book serves as a wake-up call to the faithful and is a worldwide clarion call to deeper prayer and conversion. It includes:

     • Over 400 pages describing the fully documented miracles and visions
     • Fascinating accounts by eyewitnesses, including non-believers
     • 50+ maps of locations and pilgrimage sites
     • Photos and illustrations: documents, events, and faces of the visionaries
     • The finest works of art and reproductions of Our Lady

Each message and appearance is analyzed and quoted precisely. Their sheer abundance is enough to absorb believing Catholics-and many a skeptic-from all walks of life and reading habits.”

And I agree. This is a magnificent volume, great for any home, school or church library. With how many books I read a year I tend not to keep many physical books, this is one that will stay on my shelf, at least until the next edition comes out in English. A great read for all Catholics!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan!

Read as part of  Father Mark Gorings School or Reading click here.

Books by Wincenty Laszewski:
In English:

In Polish:
Apokalipsa wedlug Fatimy
Boży szaleńcy
Cuda Maryi w życiu Jana Pawła II
Cudowny medalik. Klucz do skarbnicy Ĺ ask
Czwarty wizjoner z Fatimy
Duchowa misja Polski
Ewangelia Zwycięstwa wedĹ‚ug Jana PawĹ‚a II
Fatima Stuletnia tajemnica
Ilustrowany przewodnik po Fatimie
Miłosierdzie Boże Droga krzyżowa
Modlitwy zatroskanych o Polskę
NaboĹźeĹ„stwo Pięciu Pierwszych SobĂłt Miesiąca
Nadchodzi kres: Mistyczne wizje końca świata
Największa tajemnica Guadalupe
Niewidzialna wojna
Nowy lepszy świat
Opowiem Ci o Guadalupe
Rewolucja Maryi: Opowieść o Niepokalanym Sercu
Stefan Błogosławiony Wyszyński
Swiat Maryjnych Objawien
Totus Tuus - Tota Tua
Wszystko o różańcu który może wszystko
Zwycięstwa z pomocą nieba

Monday, 27 June 2022

Run - Andrew Grant

Paul McGrath Book 1
aka Andrew Child
ISBN 9780345540737
eISBN 9780345540744

This is the sixth volume from Andrew Grant that I have read. I believe it is his only stand along work. I have read two he co-wrote with his brother, Lee Child, under the name Andrew Child, and also the first in each of his three series. When I started reading his works I was not sure if I would read each series sequentially or in parallel. It has worked out that I am reading them in parallel, and tucked this one in as the sole stand alone work. He has not published any book under this name in the last 2 years since he started co-authoring the Jack Reacher books. Grant has contributions to two anthologies. He has also contributed to one anthology as Andrew Child. I picked a few of his books after reading Even. This one is fairly different than most of his other works.

The description of this book is:

“Marc Bowman, a highly successful computer consultant and software designer, walks into his job at a major tech company one morning only to find himself fired on the spot, stonewalled by his boss, and ushered out of the building. Then things get worse: An explosive argument drives his wife away and a robbery threatens to yank a million-dollar idea—and his whole future—out from under him. In a matter of hours, Marc has gone from having it all to being sucker-punched by fate. But it’s only Monday, and before the week is over, he’ll be stalked, ambushed, wiretapped, arrested, duped, double- and triple-crossed—until he can’t tell enemies from allies.

Suddenly, the only thing standing between him and the wrath of everyone from the FBI to Homeland Security to his desperate ex-bosses is a flash drive full of data that might just be the holy grail of high-tech secrets—and a holy terror in the wrong hands. Now, as the gloves come off and the guns come out, turning back is hopeless and giving up is madness. The only person left for Marc to trust is himself. And the only thing left to do is keep running—or end up a dead man walking.”

I had not read the description before starting the book. An author friend calls me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find authors I like I tend to read everything they have publish. For example I read the first 23 Reacher novels in under a year, after reading the first. Grant’s writing is excellent and this one has quite a few surprises and twists. The story is really fun. As someone who works in IT I greatly enjoyed the Cyber elements in the story. I have had several co-workers that or reflected in Marc Bowman. In personality, heads down focus, and trying to solve the problem no matter the cost. And also Marc’s fascination with an lesser known artist. Marc is stuck between a rock and a hard place, several hard places to be exact, Homeland Security, Local Law Enforcement, Fake Homeland, Thugs. And to make matters worse his wife seems to be choosing her boss and company over him. But maybe he is looking through everything with the wrong lenses. And his assumptions about who is who and the reason for their actions might all be wrong. 

This story was a race from start to finish. And it hammers home the message of never push a man who has nothing to lose. Some of the twists were magnificently written. The action was high octane. The story was a very fun read. In some ways there are echoes of the movie Hackers. But with much higher risk and maybe rewards. And the ending it was hilarious, pure gold! 

I read this book over a few sittings over two days it was very hard to put down. It is another excellent read from the masterful pen of Andrew Grant. If you love a good crime, suspense, thriller with great action this is a book for you. I am certain fans of Reacher, Bourne, Jack Ryan could all appreciate Bowman and how he gets the job done. It is a great read from Grant’s pen! 

Books by Andrew Grant:

David Trevellyan Series:

Detective Cooper Devereaux Series:

Paul McGrath Series:

As Andrew Child with Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Series:
The Secret

Books Andrew Grant Contributed To:
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Father Damien And The Bells - Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan and Leonard Everett Fisher

Father Damien And The Bells
Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan
Leonard Everett Fisher (Illustrator)
Vision Books
ISBN  9781586170332

This book is part of the Vision Books Biographies now published by Ignatius Press. It is the fourth in the series that I have read, the first was Saint Jose, Boy Cristero Martyr. I had pickup a couple of others, this one Father Damien and the Bells and St. Katharine Drexel few years back but have not get around to reading them because I really prefer eBooks to physical because of my dyslexia. The Ignatius site lists 33 books in the series currently, but I have found at least 3 missing from that list. Which was listed in the back of the very old edition of Fighting Father Duffy book that I read. The description of this volume is:

“This 25th volume in the acclaimed Vision Books series of saints' lives for youth 9-15 years old is the story of the saintly Fr. Damien, who in 1872 went to the island of Molokai, where lepers had been exiled to live in miserable surroundings. Damien earned the trust of the lepers, and his appeals for help resonated throughout the world. He spent his life caring for all the needs of the outcast lepers, and even after Damien himself contracted leprosy he carried on working for his "fellow lepers" to the end.”

The chapters in the book are:

A Fireside in Flanders
Decision of a Champion
The Old Tower Falls
Call to the South Seas
Voyage round the Horn
Land of Volcanoes
Petero’s Problem
Shadow of the Gray Island
Night under the Pandanus Tree
The Rosary and the Hammer
The Enemy Strikes Back
Aloha Kamiano
Author’s Note

The first 6 chapters explore Damien’s youth, as Joseph (Jef) de Veuster, the next 4 explore his missionary work. And the final two and Epilogue explore his decline and the lasting impact of his life and witness. A quite that particularly stuck me was:

“Flanders is a land of bells, and Joseph de Veuster was to know and love their pealing all his life. Many bells would ring for him: monastery bells, paced into prayerful silence; ship’s bells, marking time across two oceans; tinny chapel bells, clanging madly in a tropical earthquake; the almost soundless tinkle of a tiny Communion bell in a darkened room; and, finally, Saint Rombaut’s again, flinging a mighty peal of triumph across the world, even to the bitter gray cliffs of an island once known as Godforsaken.”

I have read many books about and by Saint Damien. My first encounter with Father Damien was back on retreat in 2006, Professor Michael W. Higgins was talking about his book, Stalking the Holy and speaking about Saints whose causes were in process, and some he expected would never have a cause. He spoke about Blessed Damien (at the time) and we watched the film Molokai: The Story of Father Damien. From that weekend on I have had a fascination with this saint. And I have read the collected letters a few times now, Father Damien's Letters. In all that I have read I was unaware of Damien’s association with Bells. Both his love of the bells at home growing up, and his requests for bells for all the churches and chapels he built in Hawaii prior to his time on Molokai. Based on my readings there are a few factual errors in this volume. For example Damien was one of four priests that volunteered to go to Molokai, in rotation. Damien went first and was never replaced at his request, and because of some conflict with the Health Board and Diocese.

But even with the few errors this is an excellent read. I was reading it at a waterpark and a family was across from me with 4 son’s and a daughter. The boys kept trying to read the back of the book. When I told them wat it was about even though they were evangelical and not Catholic they were excited when I gave them my copy after finishing. This book was originally published in 1957, it was reprinted in 1985 by Ignatius Press. 

I plan on reading all the books in this series that are in print and as many of the out of print that I can track down. I returned to this series because I had finished the 38 books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. Those books are geared for a younger audience, and these are written for older readers and go deeper into the subject matters of each volume. This is a great book in an excellent series. My only complaint is that only about a third of the books are available in digital formats, with my dual form of dyslexia and my son’s eye tracking issues eBooks are our preferred format. These books are written for a Middle Grade or Teens in mind, but this one and the others I have read are excellent volumes for readers of all ages. A great biography of an amazing Saint, I can easily recommend this book. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Louis and Zelie 
Maria von Trapp and Her Musical Family 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Our Lady Came to Fatima 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 

Out of Print books in the Series:
Brother Andre of Montreal 
Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges 
Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Charles de Foucauld, Adventurer of the Desert 
Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls 
Christmas and the Saints 
Columbus and the New World 
Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne 
Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross 
Father Kino, Priest to the Pimas 
Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy 
Good Pope John b
Governor Al Smith 
In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States 
Irish Saints 
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot
John Neumann, The Children's Bishop 
Kit Carson of the Old West 
Lydia Longley, the First American Nun 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher 
Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World 
Modern Crusaders 
More Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Mother Barat's Vineyard 
My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic 
Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword 
Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves
Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd 
Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter 
Saints of the Byzantine World 
Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest 
St. Augustine and His Search for Faith 
St. Francis de Sales 
St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God 
St. Jerome and the Bible 
St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart 
The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming 
The Cross in the West 
The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure 
When Saints Were Young