December 3, 2015

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... Read more

October 31, 2015

Batman: The Long Halloween written by Jeph Loeb and art by Tim Sale Gotham City is plagued by organized crime, The biggest crime family is the Falcones, led by Carmine “The Roman” Falcone. His father had some relationship with Bruce Wayne’s father, so naturally Bruce is invited to the wedding of Carmine’s nephew Johnny Viti. Carmine tries to recruit Bruce to get the Gotham City Bank to do business with Falcone Imports. Bruce refuses. He runs into Selina Kyle and doesn’t... Read more

October 26, 2015

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale In this volume, the British officer supervising Nathan Hale’s execution demands a story where America doesn’t look so good. Hale tells a tale from the days of slavery, specifically about Harriet Tubman. She was one of the most successful abductors on the Underground Railroad, a system that smuggled slaves out of southern states before the American Civil War (and a bit during the war). The slaves went as far as... Read more

October 22, 2015

We’ll Never Tell Them by Fiorella de Maria This novel tells the stories of two women, Kristjana and Liljana. Liljana is the illegitimate daughter of a mostly crazy woman living on Malta at the end of 1800s. Liljana’s childhood is hard because of her unstable home life which makes complications in her school life. Her mother is finally taken away and Liljana begins the life of a Dickensian orphan, becoming an unwanted servant in an upper-middle class household. That situation goes... Read more

October 6, 2015

There are some things when I run across them in a novel, movie, or even religious discussion immediately set off alarm bells for me. One of them is anything involving the Nephalem. It just never turns out well and most often very silly. Another is Constantine. Constantine gets blamed for a lot by a lot of different groups. At least with the Nephalem, it is something rather mysterious with little scriptural reference. When it comes to Constantine we actually have... Read more

September 22, 2015

Adler’s Philosophical Dictionary: 125 Key Terms for the Philosopher’s Lexicon by Mortimer J. Adler Late in his career, Mortimer Adler produced this slim volume as a companion piece and summary of his previous works in philosophy. He defines 125 key philosophical terms, explaining how they are used correctly and the common errors people make about the terms. He also explains how those terms as ideas fit into his larger body of work, and indeed into the larger understanding of reality and... Read more

September 21, 2015

Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale American patriot and colonial spy Nathan Hale continues regaling his executioners with tales from future history (because he got sucked into a book or something in the first volume–just go with it). Here he gives the story of the first armored naval vessels in the 1860s. The two most famous ones (because they were the first ones) are the Monitor and the Merrimack (renamed the Virginia), built by the United States and the Confederacy respectively.... Read more

September 9, 2015

Charles Nancy had a tough childhood. His dad was quite the joker and always pulling tricks on him. Like the time he told his son that children dress up for Presidents’ Day at school and get big bags of candy. Of course Charles was mercilessly mocked at school and got no sympathy from dad that night. Worse yet, his dad nicknamed him “Fat Charlie.” Any name Mr. Nancy gave somebody stuck to them like glue, so Fat Charlie was always... Read more

September 8, 2015

When it comes to books on the Early Church Fathers there seems to be an increasing wealth of good books on the subject. One of my favorite books in this area is Rod Bennett’s “Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words”. The reason I so loved this book is that Rod Bennett is a natural storyteller along with being a good historical researcher. His writing not only brought these men alive, but the historical era as well. So... Read more

September 7, 2015

This collection of stories are the very first published works by Gene Luen Yang, who I first discovered when reading his great work on the Avatar graphic novels (and he’s currently writing Superman for DC Comics). These stories are written and drawn by Yang in a clean, simple style. The first story is about Gordon Yamamoto, a not very smart high school bully who probably wouldn’t be a bully if he wasn’t hanging out with the wrong friend. Things change when Gordon discovers a... Read more

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