Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Ball and the Cross

by G.K. Chesterton. This was an excellent book that I read last year. I quickly got drawn into the story. I fell in love with one of the characters, hated and later liked another, and could hardly put the book down. I was reading it on my iPad and woke up in the morning a few times to find I had fallen asleep while reading. There is a lot of believable and interesting character development as well as typical Chestertonian humor. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Come Rack! Come Rope!

by Robert Hugh Benson is one of the best books I've ever read. It reminded me a bit of Crossbows and Crucifixes, except this one is for older/mature readers or listeners. The author does a wonderful job keeping the reader's attention throughout the story, making it a great possibility for a read-aloud, in which case some younger children might be able to listen since the story could be "edited" by the reader if necessary.*

Set in Elizabethan England, when Catholics were persecuted, this is a wonderful love story. (If you don't like love stories, please read it anyway, because it's not the usual kind.) I can't say it's the greatest, because, as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said, "The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host."  Additionally, Robert Hugh Benson portrays the beauty of sacrifice and of the priesthood. He shows the meaning of true love, both for God and for your fellow men. 

Now for a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"A broken heart and God's will done would be better than that God's will should be avoided and her own satisfied."
"To love is to wish the other's highest good, as I understand it...That is the love of a Christian, at least."
This last one is (at least close to) what Mary Stuart, also known as Mary Queen of Scots said before she died: "As Thy arms, O Christ, were extended on the Cross, even so receive me into the arms of Thy mercy and blot out all my sins with Thy most precious Blood." Isn't that just beautiful?

*Two characters kiss on the lips, which shouldn't be done before marriage, but there's nothing wrong with the book aside from that. Most of the editing would probably need to be done later on in the book at the parts with the rack, as younger (or more sensitive listeners) might have a hard time with those bits. Although I will say, it's very inspiring to read about things like that happening to people, especially with the way the world is today.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Poetry Friday: "The Gifford Girl"

by Leonard Feeney, S.J.

Two dresses laid she by at night
And loosed her flowing hair,
She rose at dawn and stood in fright
And wondered which to wear.
Should it be white for her delight,
Or black for her despair?

She saw a widow weep—and now
She saw a laughing bride.
A little bit she laughed, but how
More bitterly she cried!
And the wedding-veil upon her brow
She very tightly tied.

She walked triumphantly at dawn
Across the lonesome vale.
Beyond the dim boreen and lawn
She heard a curlew wail.
She stood and tapped her fingers on
The door of Richmond jail.

That Richmond jail might open wide
She smote it with her hand.
“Who knocks?” the sleepy warden cried
And could not understand.
A trembling, girlish voice replied:
“A woman of Ireland!”

A hush that chilled the very stone
Upon the prison fell.
Young Plunkett straightened up alone
Within his narrow cell;
He bade the prison gong intone
And be their wedding bell.

O ye who know a lover’s grief
And feel a lover’s pride:
What gave this breaking heart relief
And cheered this drooping bride?
What said this lover in the brief
Last hour before he died?

Whatever lovers say—he said,
And then he passed along.
They put a hood upon his head
And bound it with a thong.
Then—England lost a ball of lead
And Ireland lost a song.

A hero and a soldier, too,
They buried him in lime.
Upon his wedding-morn they slew
A lover in his prime.
Into a burning ditch they threw
A poet and his rhyme.

O brood of riflemen, who vie
With brute and knave and churl!
On Judgment Day I prophesy
You'll hear his ashes swirl—
And God will make you stare it eye
For eye with the Gifford Girl!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Victory Over Vice

by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. This is an excellent book in which Archbishop Sheen covers the seven deadly sins (pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth). He demonstrates how Christ made atonement for each of these vices during his life and gives advice on how to overcome them. I would highly recommend it for any Catholic young man or woman.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top 10 Books I Read in 2014

These (in order from least to greatest) are the top 10 books that I read in 2014. Individual posts on each of these books will be forthcoming.
  1. Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  3. Manalive, by G. K. Chesterton
  4. Outlaws of Ravenhurst, by Sister Imelda Wallace
  5. The Living Wood, by Louis de Wohl
  6. Lay Siege to Heaven, by Louis de Wohl
  7. The Ball and the Cross, by G. K. Chesterton
  8. Come Rack! Come Rope!, by Robert Hugh Benson
  9. The Catholic Girl's Guide, by Father Lasance
  10. Victory Over Vice, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Catholic Girl's Guide

edited by Father F. X. Lasance. This is an excellent book which every Catholic girl should own. The advice imparted to the reader is so useful and relevant today, even though it was first published in the forties or fifties. It is available here and would make a great birthday, graduation, Christmas, or Confirmation gift for any girl around twelve or so and above.
It is the best gift I have ever received! Thank you so much, Mrs. B!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope everyone will have a blessed 2015.

Has it really been over two years since I last posted?!? I plan to post more, since I've read so many good books and would really like to write about and recommend them. I'll start by posting about the best gift I ever received.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls. This is a good story about a boy and his two coonhounds, and the many adventures that they have together.

I had to read this for school, and I hoped that it wouldn't be like the book The Yearling, which I didn't enjoy at all. It was nothing like The Yearling, and I really liked the book. My sister also read it, and so I was able to discuss it with her. After I had read it and told my brother a little bit about it, he decided to read it too. That was nice, because then I was able to discuss the book with two of my siblings, instead of just one. Anyone who likes dogs will especially enjoy this book.

Faces of Holiness

by Ann Ball. I actually read this book back in February or March, but I forgot to post it. This is another collection of biographies of saints, along with pictures of them. Ann Ball does a wonderful job depicting the lives of all of the saints in this book.

Modern Saints: Their Lives and Faces

by Ann Ball. This collection of short biographies of many different saints is very interesting to read. Even though they are short biographies, they are packed with information about the saints. The book is also illustrated with photos of each of the saints, except in a few cases where no photograph exists.

My family's pastor read some of the stories from it at a Confirmation retreat, and I found the stories he read interesting. Since the library had the book, I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is definitely one which I would recommend.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lay Siege to Heaven

by Louis de Wohl. This is a very good biographical novel about Saint Catherine of Siena. Even though it's a long book, I got through it pretty quickly. It's a book that I would want to read again and one that I would definitely recommend to others. The author is very good at writing dialogue, which makes it even more interesting in my opinion.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jo's Boys

by Louisa May Alcott. The final book in the Little Women series, readers will learn about what happens to each of the "little men" as they grow up. They will also enjoy reading about Jo's last scrape in chapter 3. A good book, which I would recommend but the end is kind of sad because you know that it's really the end.