Heloise and Abelard by Etienne Gilson

One of the most famous romantic tragedies of the Middle Ages was also a historical event--the relationship of Heloise and Abelard. Abelard was a philosopher and theologian teaching in Paris during the early 1100s. He had a towering intellect with an ego to match. His career was highly successful and occasionally controversial. He was hired by Fulbert to teach his niece Heloise. She had private lessons in Fulbert's house and the thirty-something Abelard fell in love and had an affair with the … [Read More...]

Review – The Lost Mandate of Heaven

Usually reading history I feel rather detached from it. The skill of the writer can bring it more to life to me or at least make me interested in the people and events. The usual detachment is not what I felt at all reading The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam by Geoffrey Shaw. While the events detailed in this book happened when I was a young kid, the after effects of the Vietnam war were front and center as I was growing up.One of the … [Read More...]

The Woodcutter by Kate Danley

The Wood is a magical place full of Fae creatures, some of whom wish to harm and others who wish to help visitors. The Wood is taken care of (he doesn't really rule) by the Woodcutter, who whispers to the plants and has never felled an unwilling tree. His other duty is to maintain the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Men and the Realm of the Faerie. Things are amiss when he discovers a maiden murdered in the woods. Her glass slippers are chipped but she has no other injuries. Was she … [Read More...]

Review – Mark: A Commentary

Jimmy Akin has written a commentary on the Gospel of Mark that is available through Logos. Logos is software used primarily for scripture study with a linked library of references and tools. Verbum is the Logos Bible Software with a library specifically for Catholics.The Gospel of Mark usually doesn’t top of list as anybody’s favorite Gospel. The fact that it is the shortest and little apparently unique within it compared to the other Gospels. Not that any of the Gospels will ever be ign … [Read More...]

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson  This final volume of the Mistborn Trilogy (see reviews of book one and book two) brings its world to the brink of Ruin. Ruin being the god-like conscious elemental force that Vin released from the Well of Ascension at the conclusion of the second book. Ruin, as its name implies, seeks the destruction of the world. In ancient times, Ruin and its opposite, the god-like conscious elemental force called Preservation, made a deal where they worked … [Read More...]

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum with illustrations by Michael Hague  Providing Santa Claus with a back story seems a bit unnecessary. His breadth of cultural presence is so far reaching that people don't think about where he came from. He's been around since time immemorial. He has little differences here and there but his basic characteristics are universal--big, generous, bearded old guy with a red suit. But from whence did he come?L. Frank Baum (the … [Read More...]

Church of Spies

I was somewhat aware of the various controversies surrounding Pope Pius XII who was the Pope during WWII up to 1958. I remember the book “Hitler’s Pope” which I once saw for sale at a retreat center. Since that book came out their have been various books defending the Pope and setting the record straight in regards to helping the Jewish people. I also knew how the Rolf Hochhuth’s 1968 anti-Pius play “The Deputy” did much to change what was previously a favorable view of the Pope during WWII. That … [Read More...]

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The Well of Ascension: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson Picking up a year after the events of the first volume, this book shows what has become of the Final Empire. In the wake of the Lord Ruler's death in book one, political scholar and aristocratic fop Elend Venture has become the king of Luthadel, the central city of the Final Empire. Being well-read on political philosophy, he establishes an Assembly made up of equal parts from the nobility, the merchant class, and the worker class … [Read More...]

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson Mistborn is an original fantasy epic where certain people (called Allomancers) have the ability to ingest and then burn certain metals to give them superhuman abilities. Most people who have the power can only burn one sort of metal and gain one sort of power. Tin enhances the senses, brass soothes emotions, for example. But the rare few can burn all the metals and use all the powers. These people are known as Mistborn. They have so much power that they are not … [Read More...]

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Benedict XVI

Before his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI finished a third volume of theological reflections on the life of Jesus. He describes this book as an "antechamber" (p. xi) to the other volumes. Here he looks chiefly at the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke, the birth and early childhood of Jesus. He considers the intent of the authors in what they wrote, various historical interpretations and understandings of what they wrote (including present-day exegesis of the texts), and the practical impact … [Read More...]