Tagged: reviews

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Classics Book Club #4: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

“Why did this happen to those five?” If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were any pattern in a human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. I’ve had The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder on my to-read list for probably twenty years. I had vaguely heard of it growing up, but it really...

Lord of the World

Classics Club Book #3: Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson

The two Cities of Augustine lay for him to choose. The one was that of a world self-originated, self-organised, and self-sufficient, interpreted by such men as Marx and Hervé, socialists, materialists, and, in the end, hedonists, summed up at last in Felsenburgh. The other lay displayed in the sight he saw before him, telling of a Creator and of a creation, of a Divine purpose, a redemption, and a world transcendent and eternal from which all sprang and to which all moved. Before Fahrenheit 451, before Nineteen Eighty-four,...

Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson

Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson

‘In olden time,’ said Hugi, ‘richt after the Fall, nigh everything were Chaos, see ye. But step by step ’tis been driven back. The longest step was when the Saviour lived on earth, for then naught o’ darkness could stand…’ Three Hearts and Three Lions is one of those classic heroic fantasy novels that satisfies on almost every level. Published originally in 1953 and expanded in 1961, it tells the story of Holger Carlsen, an engineer from Denmark who is suddenly transported from a World War II battlefield...

The House on the Borderland

Classics Club Book #2: The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

The House on the Borderland is an eerie novel that ultimately leaves many questions unanswered. Written in 1908, it is often cited as an influence on writers like H.P. Lovecraft and Terry Pratchett, and it is listed in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books, edited by James Cawthorn and Michael Moorcock. It also becomes my second finished book in the Classics Club Challenge. I really wanted this book to be good. The beginning starts off promising: two men on a fishing holiday in a remote part of Ireland discover...

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Classics Club Book #1: The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Strange to say, although in times of immediate danger, in face of an enemy, the image of death always breathed new spirit into him and filled him with angry courage, the same image appearing to him in the silence of the night, in the safety of his own castle, afflicted him with sudden dismay. For this time it was not death at the hands of a mortal like himself that threatened him; not a death that could be driven off by better weapons or a quicker hand. It...

Tommy Emmanuel T-Shirt

“Is this heaven?” “No, it’s a Tommy Emmanuel concert.”

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of seeing Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel in concert at the Bing Crosby Theater here in Spokane, and it was a true “Life-Is-Beautiful” moment. Not only was I jaw-dropped by his finger-contorting playing, but I was happy to see a similar reaction on the face of my teenage son. Though Joseph and I don’t share the exact same tastes in music, we both admire talented guitar work, and it doesn’t get much better than Tommy Emmanuel. According to his web site, Emmanuel has been...

To the Field of Stars

Review: To the Field of Stars: A Pilgrim’s Journey to Santiago De Compostela

To the Field of Stars: A Pilgrim’s Journey to Santiago De Compostela by Kevin A. Codd My rating: 5 of 5 stars I enjoyed every word of this gorgeous, honest, life-giving journey with Fr. Kevin Codd as he made his pilgrimage across Spain to Santiago De Compostela. Fr. Codd not only recounts the physical aspects of his journey, but–more signifcantly–he lets us in on the psychological and spiritual journey he went through as he trekked over 500 miles on foot. To the Field of Stars is a concrete...

With Fire and Sword

Review: With Fire and Sword An Historical Novel of Poland and Russia.

With Fire and Sword An Historical Novel of Poland and Russia. by Henryk Sienkiewicz My rating: 4 of 5 stars With Fire and Sword must be one of the greatest historical epics you’ve never heard of. Set in the 17th century, and told from the Polish point of view, it recounts a Cossack uprising against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The historical backdrop serves as a grand canvas for the portraits of courage, love, and spiritual devotion that form the heart of the story. In print, With Fire and Sword...

Weird Al in Concert

Video and Set List from the Weird Al Concert in Spokane, WA

We had a great time seeing Weird Al at the Spokane County Fair last night. Best seats I’ve ever had at a concert–four seats from the front. The video shows some of the great costumes Al wears and features clips from “Party in the CIA,” “Wanna Be Ur Lovr,” “Eat It,” and “The Saga Begins.” Here’s the complete set list: Polka Face TMZ Smells Like Nirvana Skipper Dan Party in the CIA CNR Canadian Idiot Wanna B Ur Lovr Medley: Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies Whatever You Like Another...

Paradise on the Steppe

Digging Up the Past

A phone call from out of the blue last week was the latest of several events that have sent me on a genealogical journey to once again dig into family history. It’s almost like God has been dropping little hints lately that it’s time to get back to researching my ancestors’ roots. First, a few weeks ago, my uncle discovered that my grandfather wrote a song in the 1930s, so Mom’s been sending me updates on his progress in finding the lyrics and sheet music. That got me...

Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2010

These are the best ten books I read this year in rough order of how enriching and enjoyable they were: The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by Fr. James Martin, SJ The Road by Cormac McCarthy The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing by Peter Kreeft Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird The Children of Hurín by J.R.R. Tolkien Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer by Fr. Thomas Dubay A Travel Guide to...

The Knight

My Reaction to The Knight by Gene Wolfe

I finished Gene Wolfe’s The Knight today. My Wolfe gene must be missing, because I don’t get it. I understand that his books are often obscure on a first reading, and that this is just the first of a two-book series, but nothing in the book really moved me. Some of the scenes were beautifully written, and I liked the main character, Able of the High Heart, but the story left me flat. It just didn’t seem worth the effort. I thought I’d search the web for other...

Declare

Disappointed by Tim Powers’ Novel Declare

I finally had to abandon Tim Powers’ supernatural spy novel, Declare. I read over 200 pages into it and just couldn’t go any further. I really enjoyed Powers’ earlier novel, The Anubis Gates, and I had high hopes for Declare after reading reviews. But the book didn’t evoke any emotional reaction from me at all. I never really connected with Hale, the main character, and I didn’t care for the way Powers’ narrator alternated back and forth between the 1940s and the 1960s. I think part of the...

Master and Commander read by Simon Vance

Master and Commander Audio Book Review

Simon Vance does a superb job reading every character in Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander except one: the central character Jack Aubrey. I just finished listening to Blackstone Audio’s unabridged version of Master and Commander, and the book keeps getting better each time I experience it. I first read it about ten years ago, then a few years after that I listened to Patrick Tull’s unabridged audio recording from RecordedBooks.com. This time around I didn’t get so bogged down trying to understand the naval jargon, so I was...

Babette's Feast

45 Important Movies as Chosen by the Vatican

In 1995, to commemorate 100 years of film-making, the Vatican made a list of what it called “Some Important Films.” The list was divided into three areas–Religion, Values and Art. I’ve been gradually acquiring them and watching them. What I particularly like about the list are the international titles. Here’s the list with a few comments of my own thrown in: Religion: Andrei Rublev Babette’s Feast – I really enjoyed this slow-moving but tender film. Ben-Hur – The four-disc edition also includes the original silent film–an excellent dvd...