Boost Your Reading Life this Year with these Five Tips

"I haven't read many books," the young literature professor confided to his chatty, title-dropping students at a writer's workshop I once attended. "But the books I have read, I've read well." His gentle admission stayed with me. I'm a booklover, as I suspect you are if you're reading this, and perhaps your anxiety about not … Continue reading Boost Your Reading Life this Year with these Five Tips

Happy New Year! A Planner and a Playlist for the Road Ahead

Rarely do I begin a contemporary book and feel it's paid for itself before the end of the first chapter. But I've begun 2019's reading year wth Karen Swallow Prior's On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books and I'm feeling grateful and inspired. My college major was English and when I finished, I spent ten happy years teaching communication … Continue reading Happy New Year! A Planner and a Playlist for the Road Ahead

Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

It is Advent once again.  And "what we must do in all earnestness," writes Hans urs von Balthasar in his Advent sermon "The Future has Already Come," "is to examine things with regard to their eternal content and eternal promise or, even better, allow ourselves to be addressed by the eternal promise that is embodied in … Continue reading Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

Poetry’s Penetrating Power in Five Minutes with the Daily Poem Podcast

 ...I have had too much Of apple-picking: I am overtired Of the great harvest I myself desired. Poetry wounds and and poetry heals.  It lifts the spirit and breaks our hearts. Profound poets offer the gift of contemplation.  Transcendent truth slips into the soul through the simple, solid things poets hold before our eyes. Take … Continue reading Poetry’s Penetrating Power in Five Minutes with the Daily Poem Podcast

Walker Percy’s Last Letter to the NY Times and the Red/Blue Corruption of the American Moral Compass

Two years before his death in 1990, Walker Percy sent a letter to the New York Times which its editorial board refused to print. I stumbled on an excerpt while finishing Baylor Professor Ralph Woods' Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South. "That our national 'newspaper of record' refused to run a plea voiced by one … Continue reading Walker Percy’s Last Letter to the NY Times and the Red/Blue Corruption of the American Moral Compass

Scandal and Self-Definition: The Choice Between Fight or Flight

The past few weeks have been gut-wrenching for serious Catholics who must face the reality that the gates of hell had forged deeper inroads into the heart of the Church than our worst fears would have imagined. We wonder how much outrage we can take.  How many unsatisfying platitudes and knee-jerk one-liners we must endure in … Continue reading Scandal and Self-Definition: The Choice Between Fight or Flight

Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

On an ordinary day in the Denver photofinishing plant where I worked as a personnel clerk many years ago, one of the department heads came running into the manager's office across the hall from mine. "Somebody just puked in the restroom!" he exclaimed. "The custodian's at lunch and there's nobody to clean it up!" "Who? … Continue reading Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

Becoming Rememberers: How Wendell Berry Helps Us Grieve Our Time’s Tragic Tradeoffs

The only bookstore in the mountain valley where I live closed its doors this spring. We still have some stores that sell books around here, but you know what I mean. As jobs fade, families leave. Businesses fail. And now the bookstore has closed. The Narrow Gauge Newsstand stood on the corner of the main … Continue reading Becoming Rememberers: How Wendell Berry Helps Us Grieve Our Time’s Tragic Tradeoffs

Sigrid Undset’s Real Passion Revealed

Kristin Lavransdatter is enjoying a renewed readership. Last year's Audible release of the epic Scandanavian trilogy as a low cost audio odyssey has certainly helped. It's worth the time to make this magical masterpiece a slow read, letting medieval Norway sink into your bones while you grow your own soul by following Kristin's characters. If you're … Continue reading Sigrid Undset’s Real Passion Revealed

Memoir as Medicine: Recommended Recollections for Summer Reading

I love book lists.  On the other hand, I don't. I love them because I'm always looking for my next read, but lists of "must-reads" can also bring me down. There's never enough time to read everything I want to; I'm still missing out on the "essential reads" of a lifetime and I don't want … Continue reading Memoir as Medicine: Recommended Recollections for Summer Reading