Friday, January 30, 2015

Br. Guy Consolmagno, Vatican Astronomer, comes to A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast

Special Guest Br. Guy Consolmagno, Vatican Astronomer, joins Julie and Scott to discuss a book of his choosing: Among Others by Jo Walton. Join us for Episode 100.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Floridian Adventures in Health - UPDATED

Mom's happy home time lasted three days before the exact chain of events happened that sent her to the hospital last time.

This time I was with her all day and had the dubious pleasure of calling 911 (my poor sis did it the first time). There are few things as surreal as standing in a darkened bedroom, groping for health details of your mother, while six large men are running heart monitors, barking code to each other, and (in turn) all asking very similar questions.

I did ride in the front seat of the ambulance to the hospital with a very calendar-worthy young EMT who was also very polite and conversational.

We've had various other experiences in the hospital, including discovering the world's worst doctor, and delving into the depths of the health care system to find out how to fire one's doctor when the system says you have to keep him until you go home.

God bless patient care advocates is all I can say!

Needless to say I have extended my stay for another week.

UPDATE
Mom's definitely on the upswing. All it took was a doctor who'd actually come by to see her, listen, and then order tests to begin figuring things out. Crazy, right?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gone to Florida - UPDATED


I'm off to visit Mom in the hospital and give some relief to my sister who's been bearing the brunt of keeping an eye on things.

I'll check in when I can ... and I ask for your prayers.

Thank you!

UPDATE
Huzzah! Mom is home! She has health problems that will need vigilance but nothing that can't be managed with a regular lifestyle, so we are very blessed.

Thank you so much for all your prayers!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot and Mike Aquilina

The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life TodayThe Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today by John Michael Talbot and Mike Aquilina

John Michael Talbot tells the story of how the Church Fathers deeply influenced his spiritual, professional and personal life. Coming to the Christian faith as a young man during the turbulent 1960s, he soon grew a fond of the Church Fathers, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great and found guidance, reassurance and wisdom on his path to Jesus.

“The First Epistle of Saint Peter,” writes Talbot, “tells us that we are ‘a spiritual temple built of living stones.’ The early Church Fathers represent the first rows built upon the foundation of the Apostles. And that sacred building project continues throughout history to our time today. But it rests on the Fathers. It depends on them.”
C.S. Lewis famously wrote that “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.” John Michael Talbot could testify to the truth of that statement. He wasn't atheist but reading the Church Fathers pushed him from a Protestant path into one that he never could have predicted. The Ancient Path tells how Talbot's life and work were shaped by his encounters with those ancient writings.

It is a story with an unusual trajectory that you'll either find fascinating or odd. In this it echoes that of the Church Fathers themselves who have often earned those same adjectives because they were following an internal logic, God's logic, that was difficult to see from the outside. You get a good dose of Talbot's life as he founds a monastic community, marries, becomes a musician, etc. You get an even bigger dose of the Church Fathers and their influence on his internal growth. This means it also spills over into topics like prayer, liturgy, community life, environmentalism and more. As we read about Talbot's life we also are led to consider those topics in our own lives.

It's a good mixture and a good way to remind us how applicable the Church Fathers' lessons are to modern life, to our lives, wherever we are and whatever we do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Bust of Louis XIV

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Louis XIV of France, 1665
Bernini was a true genius and this bust seems to encompass so much of what made him great. That marble is fluttering. Isn't it?

The Drop Box - mark your calendars, reserve your tickets now


The Drop Box

South Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak's uses a drop box – built like a depository – to accept unwanted babies who would otherwise be abandoned to die.
I just saw a screening of this documentary last night. It is powerful and moving.

It is also showing only during March 3-5 at selected theaters.

I'm bursting to tell you more but I can't publish a review until the last week of February

I can, however, give you a heads up so you can buy your tickets now. Don't miss this one.

See the trailer and buy tickets here.

Read an interview with the director here, where perhaps the most powerful statement about the film is that it changed his own life.
I actually became a Christian while making the film so my hope and prayer would be that first and foremost, moviegoers would be able to experience God’s adopting love as a Father because that’s what changed my life. Additionally, I think people will be impacted by the film’s emphasis on the value and importance of all human life.


UPDATED: Prayers Please for My Mother

She had to go to the hospital yesterday and they're waiting for her system to settle down from dehydration, etc. so they can analyze her health and what caused this current crisis.

Any prayers would be much appreciated.

UPDATE
Thank you so much for the prayers. It turns out that Mom had a heart attack.

I'm heading to Florida, hopefully to keep her company during a quick recovery.

Your prayers are very much appreciated!

Side note: I noticed that once I got the news and knew I'd be leaving town I had three priorities: 1) What books to take; 2) What movies to take; 3) What audiobooks to take?

Clothes, luggage, flight reservations ... I eventually get around to them. After the serious packing.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Waxwing

Waxwing
taken by Remo Savisaar
I just love Waxwings. Their clear gray contrasts so perfectly with the bright red accents, and all of it goes well with the bright red berries they love to eat. There is nothing so fascinating as seeing a large flock descend on a bush and denude it of fruit within 10 minutes.

We always called these Cedar Waxwings. I looked them up and saw that they are much more colorful than this bird which was labeled as a Bohemian Waxwing.

Well Said: Satan and Scars

Satan may appear in many disguises, and at the end of the world will appear as a benefactor and philanthropist — but Satan never has and never will appear with scars.
Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ
The Resurrected Christ keeps his scars. He shows his hands and side to Thomas to feel. I've thought about that before but never in relation to what Sheen says above. It resonates in my life because of how often I try to avoid giving of myself that might inconvenience me, or in other words ... leave a scar.

90 fun-filled minutes of inadequate and unworthy discussion about the patron of our podcast ...

... Flannery O'Connor. Julie and Scott discuss Everything That Rises Must Converge. Eventually. It's episode 99!

(While asking ourselves "What on earth would Karl Urban do?" Not out loud, of course. We're not barbarians.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: The Quack

Gerrit Dou, The Quack, 1652
I love these crowd scenes because their reactions usually tell us a lot about both the main subject, in this case The Quack, and about the people themselves. I came across a good commentary on this painting which takes that further.
In this witty visual narrative about deception, the individuals in the crowd provide a visual commentary about the quack’s work. Like the hunter, he preys upon the vulnerable, just as the pickpocket preys upon the gaping woman, and the child baits the small bird. Like the pancake seller, the quack trades in truths that are "half-baked" (in Dutch, " raw or uncooked"); her act of cleaning the child seems a scatological comment on the quality of the quack’s productions. ...
There's a lot more to find out so do check the link.

Well Said: Pretend

I find it works best to suppose just one thing. Pretend you are a ghost, or Pretend your chemistry set works magic, or Pretend this dog is the Dog Star. Then I go on to explore the implications of this supposition. Quite often, I am totally surprised by the result.
Diana Wynne Jones, The Children in the Wood
This is a wonderful bit of advice for any fiction writers out there. It is also something I've begun keeping in mind when I'm reading. Quite often the books I don't like are Pretending about too many things or they have forgotten to explore the implications (and just sit around pretending without doing anything). One is chaotic and the other is dull.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Movie Review: Spare Parts

Spare Parts 2015 ★★★½

Starring George Lopez, Marisa Tomei, Jaime Lee Curtis

How four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship.

That's the tagline from the Wired article, La Vida Robot, that brought these four kids to national attention. Don't go read that article until you've seen the movie though because when this movie says "based on a true story" they aren't kidding. This movie hews surprisingly close to the real story.

Oscar, Luis, Christian, and Lorenzo are brought together for very different reasons to form their high school's robot club. They'd never seen an ocean, had no funds, and would be going up against top schools from all over the country. Teacher and club sponsor Frank Cameron (George Lopez) has his own problems, beginning with the reason he left a lucrative engineering career to teach in an underfunded school. He cares nothing for the club and is not very encouraging about their chances but as they all gradually connect he becomes a true mentor.

Along the way we meet the plucky, slightly wacky principal (Jaime Lee Curtis) and the savvy computer teacher (Marisa Tomei) who makes Frank invest his whole self in teaching. These stars are what initially attracted me to the film and Tomei in particular reminded us of what good acting can be done with seemingly little effort. The acting was good all round, in fact, with George Lopez being the only weak link and showing a fairly limited range. Luckily the story really centers on the young men and those actors were engaging and invested us in the story. Until the story is set up the it feels a bit like a TV movie but once the tale is in full swing the movie blossoms into life and loses any stiffness.

Spare Parts also provided insights into Hispanic life. The kids are all undocumented Mexican-Americans. The many ways being "without papers" injects itself into each person's life were eye opening to me. Illegal immigration is a flash point and I almost didn't mention this detail because of that. But it was a fact of life for the real kids in this story and to leave it out of the movie would have been to serve up something bland to the audience. The fact is that the kids aren't debating politics or economics here. They are simply trying to live their lives as best as possible under difficult conditions that occasionally arise. That is how the movie treats it. It is not a soap box by any means.

We know the overall outline of the story as we enter the theater. Determination and ingenuity can surmount incredible odds. The kids become their best selves by rising above what is not provided by an overtaxed school system and what is denied by a system where it is easy to get lost in the cracks. But just because a story is recognizable doesn't mean it is not worth seeing, especially since this one hews so close to the truth. We are given these stories so they remind us that we ourselves can overcome adversity, even when we can't see the path ahead of us.

Spare Parts is a heart-warming family film that not only families will find well worth watching.

Worth a Thousand Words: Boy Ridding His Dog of Fleas

Gerard Terborch, Boy Ridding his Dog of Fleas, c. 1665
I love the look of patient suffering on the dog's face.

Lagniappe: Cooking With Actual Food

It was lovely to be cooking with actual food. There's something so grounding about it. It's not that I was doing any magic, beyond the magic it is to take big flat mushrooms and raw potatoes and turn them into something totally delicious. I was just making dinner. But I wonder how much of cooking for someone else is magic anyway, more than I know about. I think it might all be.
Jo Walton, Among Others
This evokes a sense of place and activity that speaks strongly to me, even if it is "just making dinner." And she's right, cooking for others is magical though it is usually felt most strongly when you all come together for the meal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: A Country Scene

Taken by Scott D. Danielson

Well Said: Death, Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
John Donne (1572–1631)
I'd often heard the line "Death, be not proud" tossed off but I'd never read the poem. In context, it is very powerful. I especially like "From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow". It reminds me of what a natural process death is. That might sound perverse or silly of me to have lost that connection but I had. And it was nice to have it restored, especially with Donne's further reminder that death has no power over us ultimately.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Like Michael Keaton Now More Than Ever

His Golden Globe acceptance speech was humble, touching, and honest. I don't watch a lot of speeches, especially from awards ceremonies but this is worth seeing.



Via Deacon Greg Kandra at The Deacon's Bench.

Worth a Thousand Words: Ice Patterns

Ice Patterns
taken by Remo Savisaar

Friday, January 9, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Basket of Fruit

Basket of Fruit, Caravaggio
I am not usually a fan of still life paintings but this one has something that draws me to it. Must be the Caravaggio factor.

Via Lines & Colors where there are interesting detail close ups and more information.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Northanger Abbey on SFFaudio

I know, a fantasy and science fiction audiobook podcast does seem like a funny place to find Northanger Abbey. But where there's a will (and a funny book about gothic novels), there's a way. Jesse Willis and I discuss this lesser-known classic by Jane Austen at SFFaudio.

Worth a Thousand Words: beauty & grace

beauty & grace
taken by Valerie, ucumari photography
Creative Commons license, some rights reserved
Be sure to click through to the original so you can see it close up. Simply amazing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

These Just In: Interesting Books for the New Year

Two devotionals arrived in a very timely fashion on New Year's Eve. Obviously I haven't had a chance to use either but they are both very appealing to my love of the saints and interest in the desert fathers.

A Daily Catholic Moment: Ten Minutes a Day Alone With GodA Daily Catholic Moment: Ten Minutes a Day Alone With God by Peter Celano
Simple, straightforward, and Catholic are the adjectives that might best describe this book of wisdom and spiritual practice. For each day you will find a verse or two from Holy Scripture, followed by a reflection from one of the great saints or writers of the Church and then a short prayer or intention.

Daily inspirations from the saints include Athanasius, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi ... Great writers, poets and theologians past and present include Dr. Benet Tvedten OSB, Enzo Bianchi, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Day ...
It's interesting that compiler Peter Celano used a variety of different translations for scripture. I think that might make me look up different translations to see how they compare. That's a good thing in my book.

Here's a sample:
MAY 1

I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the assembly I will praise you.
— Psalm 22:23 (NAB)

"I have said that St. Francis deliberately did not see the wood for the trees. It is even more true that he deliberately did not see the mob for the men. What distinguishes this very genuine democrat from any mere demagogue is that he never either deceived or was deceived by the illusion of mass-suggestion. Whatever his taste in monsters, he never saw before him a many-headed beast. He only saw the image of God multiplied but never monotonous."—G. K. Chesterton

Help me today to see every person in the image of You.


A Little Daily Wisdom from the Early ChurchA Little Daily Wisdom from the Early Church by Bernard Bangley
Following Christ’s example, many early Christians around the Mediterranean retreated to the desert for contemplation. These were ordinary men and women with a strong spiritual awareness. By the fourth century thousands had endured the rigors of desert survival. While they accepted visitors, they preferred long hours of solitude and quiet. They were not prolific writers. Instead, people jotted down the things they said. These sayings and anecdotes ultimately became parts of written collections. A Little Daily Wisdom from the Early Church gathers the best of this material, expressing it in clear, modern English. Each brief insight becomes a nugget for our own daily meditation throughout a year. With this book we can experience spiritual growth in our own quiet corner of this busy world.
Here's a sample:

6 MAY

The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him!
Habakkuk 2:20

An Egyptian hermit said, "If you desire a spiritual pilgrimage, begin by closing your mouth."

Keep silence before the Lord.


The following two books look very interesting after a quick review of their introductions. Both are somewhat intellectual and I won't be getting through them in a hurry. However, they seem balanced and I wanted to let you know about them. The publisher description accompanies each.

Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular CultureHeaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture by Diana Walsh Pasulka
After purgatory was officially defined by the Catholic Church in the thirteenth century, its location became a topic of heated debate and philosophical speculation: Was purgatory located on the earth, or within it? Were its fires real or figurative?

Diana Walsh Pasulka offers a groundbreaking historical exploration of spatial and material concepts of purgatory, beginning with scholastic theologians William of Auvergne and Thomas Aquinas, who wrote about the location of purgatory and questioned whether its torments were physical or solely spiritual. In the same period, writers of devotional literature located purgatory within the earth, near hell, and even in Ireland. In the early modern era, a counter-movement of theologians downplayed purgatory's spatial dimensions, preferring to depict it in abstract terms--a view strengthened during the French Enlightenment, when references to purgatory as a terrestrial location or a place of real fire were ridiculed by anti-Catholic polemicists and discouraged by the Church.

The debate surrounding purgatory's materiality has never ended: even today members of post-millennial ''purgatory apostolates'' maintain that purgatory is an actual, physical place. Heaven Can Wait provides crucial insight into the theological problem of purgatory's materiality (or lack thereof) over the past seven hundred years.

Mary in Scripture, Liturgy, and the Catholic TraditionMary in Scripture, Liturgy, and the Catholic Tradition by René Laurentin
Examines the invigorating presence of Mary in the mystery of the redemption that is the heart of the life of the church. The author contemplates her presence in the course of Scripture, human and ecclesial history, the church fathers, the mystics, and others.

Worth a Thousand Words: Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria (1843). Franz Xaver Winterhalter (German, 1805-1873).
via Books and Art
I always heard that Queen Victoria was a pretty girl but I'd only seen images of her from her old age. Now in this, ‘the secret picture’, for her husband's 24th birthday, I see it is true.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Sweet Evening Light

Sweet Evening Light
taken by Remo Savisaar

Blogging Around: The Family Edition

Two quick links to stories that are all about the Incarnation (remember we're not done with Christmas yet) because they are about family: the art of marriage and the many loving ways mothers and babies connect.

Master of the Winking Eyes,
Madonna and Child, ca. 1450

Did the Virgin Mary Tickle the Baby Jesus?

This was sent to me by the Reningers and how well they know me! I mentioned last week our priest's meditation on holding baby Jesus. This Dominicana blog post, prompted by the Picturing Mary exhibit, continues to expand our answers to Jesus' question, "Who do you say I am?" Be sure to read it all.
Happily, Pisano and the Master of the Winking Eyes have discovered and shared with us the divine intoxication of God’s true humanity in Jesus Christ, and how radically complete and all-the-way-down that is. When the Word was made flesh, he really became like us in all things but sin; and even then, he took on our sinful nature without suffering its moral brokenness in order to purify, heal, and elevate it, so that through his life, death, and resurrection, every good thing humans do can be a place where they meet Christ. That means that Jesus is as human as it gets: he got exhausted, took naps (although he had nowhere to lay his head), took baths, trimmed his beard, learned to walk and talk, and, as little babies are wont to do, squealed and squirmed with joy during mother-son playtime.

Complementarity of Men and Women as a Pas de Deux of Marriage

A New York Times piece about ballet prompted The Anchoress's thoughts toward complementarity in marriage. Too often we think about the differences between the sexes as something to overcome or battle, like a mountain to conquer together in marriage.  Reading about it in ballet terms shifts our focus to one of completing each other to create something better and new. Beautiful.
This Marina Harss piece is about partnerships in dance, of course, and yet it makes a point about complementarity that, when used with regards to traditional marriage, often inspires a sneer: men and women are different, and they have very different strengths, which allow them to do very different things; those strengths complement each other, permitting each to reach their greatest potentiality and self-expression. She relies on the gentle strength of his lift to help her achieve moments of transcendent, heart-stopping beauty. He gets to share, with his own subdued steadiness, and together they create something, and its totality is a composition of wonder.

Outside of the ballet, a man and woman, partnered, become a similar unit of awesome creation. Within a personal partnership (let’s call it a marriage) there exists a need for different types, different strengths, skills and instincts, and specific roles — with trained and measured responsibilities necessary in order to create that which transcends. One lifts, the other extends; one is the centering pole about which the other may fly and turn and reach, until both are raised to something new.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Chicago Snow

Chicago Snow
by Karin Jurick
Be sure to look at this close up. It is delightful. Or maybe that's just because I'm in Dallas where snow hasn't happened yet this year.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill

Hiroshige, Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill, 1857
via Arts Everyday Living

2015 Book Challenge (and some movies) - UPDATED

UPDATE - END OF 2015
I wound up getting distracted from a lot of these about halfway through the year. The movies list was especially ignored. Yet, I am glad for this list because it did give me direction and I read books I might have missed otherwise.

==========

I was really delighted to get an email recently from a couple who follow along on my book challenges. They actually have read some of the books that I myself am reading.

This is power indeed! I will try to always use it for good and not evil. Therefore, rest assured that no Dostoevsky will enter these portals again!

You can find my 2014 Book Challenge here, with the results recorded. Overall it was very rewarding with only a few duds in the batch and I actually read most of the books on my list.

As before I'm carrying a few books over. And I may not get through all these. It isn't an assignment but a way to keep from getting distracted from these goals.

FICTION

  1. Don Quixote
    I thought I'd read this last year but did what I have done twice before: read the first adventure, put it down "for a little while" and never picked it up again. I have the audiobook narrated by Simon Vance, thanks to the library, and will give this a try that way since audio has opened up so many good books to me which I couldn't get through otherwise.
    REACTION: even with an audiobook I only got through 20 chapters before feeling as if every adventure was a repeat of the one before. More or less. On the other hand, I did get through 20 chapters. I'm willing to admit this is a classic for good reason. Those reasons will just have to remain hidden from me as I'm giving up and moving on.
  2. The House of Seven Gables
    I love his short stories and enjoyed The Scarlet Letter. Let's see what this lesser known novel is like.
    READ IT: loved this book which is so different from The Scarlet Letter. It almost is like a shorter Dickens novel with the oddball characters and descriptive passages.
  3. North and South
    I was intrigued because Rose enjoyed this book and Heather Ordover did it last year at CraftLit. However, I wasn't crazy about the narrator and having seen that Juliet Stevenson has a reading at Audible (voice of Jane Austen, audiobook narrator extraordinaire) I thought I'd mosey along at my own pace.
  4. Philip K. Dick
    I'm not sure which book I'll choose but I enjoyed The Galactic Pot-Healer so much when I read it a few years ago that I thought I'd try another.
  5. Poetry
    I'm not sure why I've suddenly gotten interested in poetry but I am going to find a basic classic poetry anthology and read a poem aloud every day. We'll see how that works out.

    (Just to clarify I have never cared about poetry and so have ignored it most of my life. I know about the fog on little cat feet and the road less taken, as well as the man who wasn't there ... but that's about the extent of it. Any recommendations to read T.S. Eliot are going to have to wait until I can tell Tennyson from Wordsworth.)

    READ IT: 101 Classic Poems edited by Roy Cook - love this book and my poem a day. In fact, I love it so much I'm rereading it, a poem per day.

NONFICTION

  1. Art - A New History by Paul Johnson
    I've been taking my time and enjoying this greatly but really would like to finish this book. 2015 is the year! It will happen!
    REACTION: It took me three years but I finished it! What a wonderful book! It is one I could easily see myself leisurely rereading. The intertwining of history outside of the art world made it really come alive and it has come to mind in a variety of contexts since I began reading it. It really enriched my worldview.
  2. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
    It is interesting just how often I am helped in everyday life by The Hobbit, believe it or not. I want to know Tolkien's thoughts in his own words now instead of just reading his fiction.
    REACTION: I really enjoyed the personal letters. Unfortunately there weren't nearly as many of those as I'd have liked. Most of the letters had to do with answering questions about The Lord of the Rings. At the time this book came out that was probably a good choice. People hadn't minded Tolkien's letters for information and no books were available which summed up a lot of that info for us. However, now there is a lot of that information out there and so I eventually wound up skipping over those letters. I'll probably never reread this (as opposed to my feelings about The Habit of Being) but I'm glad to have read them once.
  3. Churchill: The Power of Words
    Tom read this and really liked it, except for a few speeches here and there. I'd like to read it but if I don't put it on this list it will never happen.
    ABANDONED: NOT because of the book but because I picked up the audio version of Boris Johnson's The Churchill Factor. That covered Churchill's life and used enough of his speeches that I have had enough Churchill for now. It was a really entertaining way to learn more about that great man. Perhaps some other time for this one.
  4. Through a Night of Horrors: Voices from the 1900 Galveston Storm
    Another one that Tom read which I'd like to read. Tom's grandmother survived the great storm when she was 6 and so he's got a natural interest in the event. Flipping through it I was caught up in the immediacy of the voices as the story unfolded via letters, diary entries, and interviews.
  5. The King's Good Servant But God's First: The Life and Writings of St. Thomas More by James Monti
    I've been wanting to read about St. Thomas More's life and his writings. This looks tailor-made!

REREAD

For no other reason than I enjoyed them the first time round but want to see if they stand up to rereading.

  1. The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman
    REACTION: I loved this book just as much as the first time I read it. I couldn't put it down and read it obsessively until I finished it in a few days. Highly recommended.
  2. The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlmandecided I didn't want to reread this after all. One Ruhlman this year was enough.
  3. Cruel Beauty

MOVIES

I see that I didn't challenge myself last year. The results - without a list I didn't challenge myself much. So let's queue that baby up again.
  1. Sophie Scholl - The Final Days
  2. Laura
    REACTION We loved this classic noir film, especially the hard boiled detective investigating the murder.
    Mark McPherson: When a dame gets killed, she doesn't worry about how she looks.
    Waldo Lydecker: Will you stop calling her a dame?
  3. Deliver Us From Evil
  4. Tsotsi
  5. City of God
  6. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
  7. Rashomon
  8. Cloud Atlas