It’s (Mostly) All Good

So, you may ask: this blog is a Catholic blog, on the Catholic Channel at Patheos. There's some Catholic content, but there's also a bunch about fiction, writing, popular music, and general foolishness. What's up with that? How come this blog isn't all Catholic all of the time?And I answer that, on the contrary, it is.Thomas Aquinas teaches us that love is naturally expressive of itself, and so with God: the universe around us, and everything in it, is an expression of God's love. … [Read more...]

Trollope’s Theory of Fiction

Your average genre novel is like a high speed car chase ending in a massive crash, with death, destruction, and balls of flame, from which the main characters (usually) emerge mostly unscathed. Everything builds up to the crash, and it's the anticipation that keeps us turning pages. Anthony Trollope, by contrast, is like a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive through the countryside in an open carriage behind a pair of matched horses. There's conflict, sure; a herd of sheep blocks the road, two … [Read more...]

Christianity in Three Books

Rod Dreher has asked his readers to pick three books about Christianity to recommend to those who know little about it. In response to his fairly specific ground rules, Leah Libresco picked Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton, and The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoevsky. My favorite passage from her post:Ok, and my second choice is, also predictably, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. If Mere Christianity helps make Christianity comprehensible, Orthodoxy makes it … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Time and Conscience

The whole of Lucy’s behaviour in the affair, and the prosperity which crowned it, therefore, may be held forth as a most encouraging instance of what an earnest, an unceasing attention to self-interest, however its progress may be apparently obstructed, will do in securing every advantage of fortune, with no other sacrifice than that of time and conscience.— Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility … [Read more...]

Marie: The Youth of Allan Quatermain

I've been aware of story-teller H. Rider Haggard since I was a kid, when my mom bought me a copy of King Solomon's Mines to take with me on a trip. Alas, the back-cover blurb put me off, and it was several years before I actually read it; but when I did I was enchanted. He's also the author of She, and is thus the source of the title "She Who Must Be Obeyed," applied by John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey to his beloved (?) wife.During a recent Amazon binge that was wholly the fault of … [Read more...]

You Got Erotica in my Peanut Butter

Author Sarah Hoyt has observed a disturbing trend: erotica is invading every other genre, for no obviously useful reason. (Note: Hoyt's post is somewhat ribald.) At first she put it down to a last-ditch attempt by the traditional publishing establishment to retain readers...and then she discovered that the same thing is hitting independently published e-books as well...and that the books are selling. Her take-away:What you can take from this is that NO, that story you have in the drawer is … [Read more...]


I see that John Myers Myers' novel Silverlock is on sale at Amazon's Kindle Store for $0.99 today. If you enjoy fantasy fiction and have a taste for classic literature, and you haven't read Silverlock, by all means snag it. … [Read more...]

The Warden

The Warden is the first of Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire novels, which I started reading many years ago during one of my Great Literature kicks. Every so often I figure that there's more to life than genre fiction, and go looking for something more classic. At that time I was a participant in the rec.arts.books newsgroup on Usenet (remember that?) and lots of people were talking about Trollope, so I gave it a go. I got through the first two books in the series, had trouble locating the third … [Read more...]

Wisdom and Knowledge

Mr. Magundi says,“The difference is simple,” Mr. Magundi replied. “Knowledge is progressive, and wisdom is static. We improve in knowledge with every passing generation, and indeed with every passing day; but we have not improved in wisdom since the first man thought it might be a fine idea to eat that fruit after all. We pass our knowledge on to the next generation, by oral tradition or in writing. On the other hand, an individual can grow in wisdom, but for some paradoxical reason, no matte … [Read more...]