Closing the book: Encyclopedia Britannica goes out of print

Wow.  It really is an end of an era: After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print. Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered sets of reference books that were once sold door to door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, the company is [Read More...]

Nevermore: did you know you can actually see the raven that inspired Poe?

I sure didn’t. Details: When it comes to literary greats, inspiration can come from anywhere. For famed gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe, one idea came from a raven, which inspired his famous poem of the same name about the foreboding bird. Now that little black muse is enshrined in a history exhibit for all to [Read More...]

The “affirmative orthodoxy” of Archbishop Dolan

Now that he’s about to get the red hat, Archbishop Timothy Dolan is getting a closer look — and it sounds like a new book about him may be a good introduction: Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York is becoming the most visible Catholic churchman in the Western Hemisphere. He is also a down-to-earth [Read More...]

“We may be seeing the future of Christianity’s encounter with the book”

There’s a long but intriguing essay here by Professor Alan Jacobs that explores how the rapidly changing technology — from cell phones to iPads and Kindles — may have a profound impact on Christianity in the developing world.  He draws some interesting parallels between the small screen (cell phones) and the big screen you find [Read More...]

Did you get a Kindle for Christmas? Try this cover for it

How cool is this? For information on how you can get your own, check out this website. They can accommodate iPads and various types of Kindle tablets, too. [Read more...]

Here’s a first: a New Testament annotated from a Jewish point of view

It’s a view we don’t consider very often, but a new, ground-breaking book offers some intriguing food for thought: The New Testament is constantly being re-interpreted from a variety of perspectives. From feminists, to socialists, to traditionalists; there’s even a version as seen through the prism of Star Wars. Well now, you can add to [Read More...]

Any suggestions for a teenager thinking of the priesthood?

A woman in my parish dropped me a line today: I’d like your advice. The other day a young man, still a boy, told me he was thinking about becoming a priest.  I was very touched by the fact that he shared this with me. I’ll pray that God guides him until he reaches a [Read More...]

December 10, 1941: “I was enclosed in the four walls of my new freedom…”

It was 70 years ago today — December 10, 1941 — that Thomas Merton arrived at the gatehouse of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky (pictured above much the way it looked then).  He wrote about that moment in “The Seven Storey Mountain”: “The Bardstown bus was half full, and I found [Read More...]

Did you burn your old books?

What can you do with an old sacramentary? Here’s one suggestion: Details: After the switch to a new Mass translation, old liturgical books should be respectfully buried, either intact or after being burned, according to the U.S. bishops. “Whether or not the Sacramentary has been blessed by an official rite, it is appropriate to treat [Read More...]

Great Scott: a visit to Fitzgerald’s grave

With some time to kill this weekend, my wife and I decided to pay a nostalgic visit to St. Mary’s in Rockville, Maryland, the chapel where we were married 25 years ago. Afterward, we dropped by the graveyard next door to pay our respects to its most famous residents, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. This is [Read More...]


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