Hollywood Book Festival

I am happy to announce that Neb the Great made Honorable Mention in the 2014 Hollywood Book Festival in genre based fiction.  This means that every book of The Neb_Cover front cover onlyDeliverance Trilogy has won something.  ARAM won runner up for an Indie Publishing Contest.  Ishtar’s Redemption made finalist in the Tuscany Press Writing Contest and now Neb the Great has won this Honorable Mention in the Hollywood Book Festival. Also ARAM and Ishtar’s Redemption has won the Catholic Writers Seal of Approval while Neb the Great is under review for that.  What a great way to start a Monday!

Here are some great books for great minds.

There are very few books I would strongly recommend to Christians across the board but The Scholar’s Challenge qualifies. I found this book to be interesting as well as
Scholar's Challengevastly informative. It is really two books in one. Both are told from a servant’s point of view but the first is focused on Origen, the great third century Christian thinker and philosopher who did wonders to organize early church documents into a coherent whole. He did some serious speculating which put him into serious trouble but he was obedient to the Apostolic Tradition and bowed to church authority. The second book focused on Jerome, another early Christian thinker, who did a great deal to carry the message of Christ and the teaching of the church to the next generations, albeit, not always without controversy. I am not nearly as good a scholar as Julian Bauer so I can’t pretend to outline all his points but I found his book to be very insightful, well balanced, and engaging. I learned a lot from this book, though I’d need to read it over a few more times to pass any serious quiz. I have already put this on next year’s reading list for all my high school students. I can’t imagine a teacher who wouldn’t want to buy and share this book with inquisitive young minds. Wonderful job!


Generally I do not read romances as I tend to find them rather shallow and predictable but A Subtle Grace has more substance than fluff. There were some very interesting a Subtle Grace frontquestions raised and some serious issues addressed even as the reader is led through the events centering on a young woman (Kathleen’s) transition from childhood to womanhood. I found myself reading later than I intended, turning the pages over and over, wanting to know how the author, Ellen Gable, (also president of The Catholic Writers Guild and author of three other Catholic NFP romance books) would finally address some of the touchier points including: What qualifies real fatherhood/motherhood? How do the sins of the parents effect the next generation? and What defines true love? Excellent issues with honest characters.

Women’s Voices

flower end of seasonDorthy Day’s cause for canonization is being put forward by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the city where she lived and worked the later part of her life.  Dorthy Day always left me a bit flummoxed.  Her life was such a mix of great good, confused allegiance, and horrifying evil.  She grew up in a world renowned for its confusion and she was herself a reflection of someone moving from chaos into a more ordered world with more ordered thinking.  Early in life she had a series of relationships, attempted suicide, and aborted her first child; not the marks of a a future saint.  But then – few saints knew what was coming. Dorothy later embraced Catholicism and offered her life serving the poor and the disenfranchised.  She did a great many heroic things, things most of us would not choose to do; stand against war, identify with the poor, begin a newspaper called The Catholic Worker.  But as popular, and unpopular, as some of her actions were she did live her vocation, attempting to do God’s will in her life – to the fullest.  One thing that can be said for Dorothy, she was no coward.

When I think of Dorothy Day, I also think of other women’s voices.  I think of Flannery O’Conner (author of several short stories who also spoke and wrote about being a Catholic writer) and Sigrid Undset (author of Kristin Lavransdatter-Nobel prize winner and a Catholic convert.) both Catholic women authors who had a lot to say about the world and humanity in general.  They too offer different paths in their approach to God but they did approach and that is the amazing thing.

There are other examples of famous Catholic women who were brave and saintly but these three stand out in my mind not because they were the best – but perhaps – because they were not the best.  They stand out because they overcame so much and tried to see through such incredibly murky depths.  I guess, for me, the fact that Dorothy Day is being considered for the cause of sainthood – coming as she did from so troubled a past into so heroic a future – says a great deal about the power of God.  After all…people have been committing sin for an awfully long time.  It seems in our day and age that it is somehow politically incorrect to admit that, but it is true.  Abortion – slaughter of the innocent – is crime.  Yet from such terrible reality as killing one’s own unborn baby, a woman can be reborn.  Eve came to be redeemed not only by Christ but by another woman – Mary – the one who said yes to her unborn baby and lived that yes in every heartbeat of every day.  What God can do with a willing heart!

I do not know the state of Dorothy Day’s soul.  I hope she is in the arms of Christ.  I hope a lot of people are in the arms of Christ.  I don’t get to make those decisions. Rather,  I get to look at their lives through the lens of time, be amazed that they ever approached God…and try to do so as well.