Something Beautiful: A Short Guide to Praying as a Family

In my mailbox this month: A Short Guide to Praying as a Family, recently released by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.  I haven't had a chance to read the entire thing yet, but what I've seen thus far is spectacular.  Beautiful and useful both.You can read a review here.You can preview the book here.You can order it directly from the sisters here, or from the Catholic Company here.Excellent potential as a discussion-starter for a parents' discipleship group this fall.  Cat … [Read more...]

What Not to Read When You’ve Got a Rash

I don't have a rash, so I can read this book:Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Guwande.What it is: Published in 2003, so technically it's sort of old, in medical-technology years, but no, not really I don't think so, the book is a discussion of the imprecisions and hazards of practicing medicine, told from the point of view of a freshly-minted surgeon.You get a combination of riveting stories (including a time Dr. Guwande really screwed up), statistics, … [Read more...]

What Not to Read When You’ve Got a Cough


Tip for you: Don't read a book about the history of tuberculosis while you're laying around listlessly with a persistent cough.On the other hand, it's a great book.  When you want to learn a little bit about a new topic, children's non-fiction is a good place to start.  I actually picked this one out for my daughter, who's interested in gory topics, but then it was sitting around, so I read it. Now I'm double glad I didn't drag myself to that packed church for a funeral Mass … [Read more...]

New from Margaret Rose Realy: A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac

 I just received Margaret Rose Realy's latest book, A Catholic Gardener's Spiritual Almanac. I've had a chance to thumb through it, and want to go ahead and mention it now, since it has excellent Easter-basket potential.What it is:  A month-by-month tour of the Catholic garden.  For each month there are notes on the seasons, the feasts, a selection of saints, spiritual reflections, and practical gardening notes.  If you took the pure practicality of A Garden of Visible Prayer, the li … [Read more...]

May You Skip Your Penance on St. Patrick’s Day?

I have an irrational aversion to dressing matchy-matchy with the liturgical calendar, which backfired Sunday.   I started to grab the pink sweater -- nope, that won't do on Laetare Sunday.  Blue sweater.  What scarf? Purple scarves rejected, grabbed the green-print one, thought myself perfectly safe.  Not so. Apparently the Sunday before St. Patrick's day is when the die hard enthusiasts sport their green suits.  But I was okay with that, because: St. Patrick.There's just nothing wrong with a … [Read more...]

A Patron Saint for Rabble Rousers and their Bishops

When I answered Tom McDonald's How I Pray series, one of the pile of question marks in the black hole that is my prayer life concerned spiritual reading.  Two answers of late:1. The book I'm carrying around town and reading in snatches is Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, by Brant Pitre.  So far, it's excellent. Recommended if you have a general understanding of the significance of the Mass and the Last Supper, and are looking for so … [Read more...]

Something Beautiful for Lent: Cultivating God’s Garden by Margaret Rose Realy

The book I've just finished reading is Margaret Rose Realy's Cultivating God's Garden Through Lent.  I'm going to concede it took me a long time to open this one, because I had several stupid book-fears:That the book would be tied to the upper Midwest's seasons, and would be all out of sync for a southern gardener. That the book would be too nice for me.  Margaret is a really nice person. That I wouldn't like it, and that would be awkward, since Margaret and I are writing fr … [Read more...]