Posts Tagged ‘books’

These are the only books I have in stock right now, and you might as well buy some of them to save us from moving this, er, one box.

Go here to order. The following are available.

Wish You Were Here

Book of Saints

Book of Heroes

Church’s Most Powerful Novenas  -  1 copy remaining

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist

Catholic Woman’s Book of Days

Plus a couple of Pocket Guides by other authors (Hahn,Kreeft).

Go here to order.  Shipping is included in prices, shipping to US only, please.  

And don’t forget the free!  Free ebook downloads of 

The Power of the Cross 

"amy welborn"Come Meet Jesus 

Mary and the Christian Life

Those links will take to individual pages at my site where you can download pdfs.  You can also read all three via Scribd here. 

Also, I was honored to hear that a local parish woman’s group is using The Words We Pray as a discussion book this fall.

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Mother’s Day?

It’s coming…perhaps you’d like to share one of my books with your mom or grandmother as a gift?

It’s the Catholic Woman’s Book of Days, published by Loyola Press – a 365-day devotional.



Also, with confirmations and graduations coming up, you might take a look at Here. Now. A Catholic Guide to the Good Life and the Prove It series.  Or even The Words We Pray. 

(I am not currently selling any of these myself, but you can get them online or from a local Catholic bookseller.  The few titles I do have on hand for sale are here.)

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I have some books left from a talk I gave today…if you’re interested, you can find and purchase them here, along with some other random stock. 

What I have:

On other book-related matters:

I don’t have any copies of the Pope Benedict XVI children’s books, but you can follow the links on the right sidebar.  They are really nice, and perfect for First Communion…even now.

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"amy welborn"

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"nate in venice" russo

Richard Russo has long been one of my favorite writers.  Nobody’s Fool is one of the great 20th century American novels: truthful, funny and redemptive.  Straight Man leaves me helpless with laughter.  He’s very recently released a digital novella called Nate in Venice  - available for Kindle here and Nook here.  Read it the other night.

It was pleasant to be back in Venice (the setting of his Bridge of Sighs) with Richard Russo for an hour or so, even though the descriptions were less detailed than those you’d find in any travel guide  - narrow streets, campos, bridges, squid-ink pasta, getting lost…disappointing in that respect, then.

Nate is a retired college professor on a Biennale-related tour of the city with a group that includes his estranged brother.  The often mysterious Venice is the setting, then, for some other mysteries:  what was the incident back at the college that resulted in great trouble for Nate?  What’s the problem with his brother?

The mysteries are mostly solved and the novella is, as I said, enjoyable but ultimately unsatisfying – but unsatisfying in a way that would probably please any author – it was unsatisfying because, as a novella, it just wasn’t enough.  Once introduced to Nate and the others in the group and in Nate’s family, I wanted to spend more time with them, watch and listen as they plunged more deeply into Venice and then travel to Rome.  That’s the case with any good book.  But Nate in Venice, gave me just enough time to get to know these characters more than I would in a short story. A short story is also often focused so sharply that the reader is satisfied enough when the specific questions raised by the author are answered = when he shuts the light off and shuts the door, we’re content to leave with him.  But here, there was just enough richness and breadth to plant the desire for more.

Which is, depending on how you look at it, either a good thing, or a bad thing, or both.

Two notes:

There’s a vulgar term used pretty prominently in this novella  - since it’s a term invented by Nate’s brother, it’s intended to show us something about him. certainly, but it did seem forced to me and might offend some readers. So be warned.

Nate in Venice (I keep wanting to type Nate the Great…) is a digital book, which is kind of ironic, considering Russo’s battles against Amazon last year.  

It’s part of a series of shorter fiction and non-fiction available through a site called Byliner. Looks interesting.

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Sharing is Good

Screenshot of the Kindle app on my IPad:

"amy welborn"

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A few updates on news and views related to books:

Wish You Were Here:

Friendship With Jesus

Artist and illustrator Ann Englehart just returned from two weeks in Italy – having a fabulous time and, in the process, doing a bit of visual research for two more children’s book ideas we are kicking around.  While there, she had two media encounters, with Vatican Radio and Rome Reports..

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Who’s left?

What do they inherit?

And what do they make of that inheritance?

When I first heard about the film The Descendants and saw the trailer, I was excited. Who wouldn’t be won over by the sight of George Clooney jogging dorkily?  I liked director Alexander Payne’s  Sideways and Election, the premise of the film seemed interesting, the setting intriguing, and I can deal with George Clooney, jogging dorkily or..whatever.

But then it was released, I read the decidedly mixed reviews, and took a pass until it came to the small screen.  Which it did, for me, a couple of weeks ago.

A lost opportunity, to be sure, especially if you read the book, which I then proceeded to do, last week.

If you saw the movie because you thought it had potential, but ended up all “meh” about it as I was...try the book.  That’s where all the potential got stuck.

(In a good way.)

It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed the book – it’s much better than the film.

Plot: Matthew King is an attorney who lives in Hawaii, as have his ancestors. He is “haole” – a descendant of white settlers, in his case, intermarried with natives.  He and his cousins are owners of a huge swathe of undeveloped land, the fate of which must be decided soon.

Matthew King is also married with two daughters. His wife lies in a coma, the result of a boating accident a couple of weeks before the plot begins.

The story?

How will the descendants of the missionary and the princess deal with they have been left?

How will the widow and the motherless children deal with what they have been left, which includes the knowledge that their mother was, at the time of her death, having an affair?

"Amy Welborn"In the film, the various threads never really come together. In the book they almost do, partly because in the novel, the process of Elizabeth’s dying is far more extended than it is in the film, and the other characters’ stances towards her have more of a chance to develop.

It’s astonishing to me (although it probably shouldn’t be) that The Descendants got a Best Picture nomination.  The first third of the film was well done (if not Oscar-worthy, whatever that means), but the rest was, if not a disaster, a definite …nothing. 

Neither the novel nor the film dig as deeply as they needed to in order to really get a hook on what grief and regret – not to speak of grief in the shadow of regret and regret in the shadow of grief – are really all about.

Here’s the thing. Grief, even in the best of circumstances, seems to inevitably lead to questions of …did I really know that person as well as I thought I did? How much more deeply could we have known each other if he/she had lived? And how much better would have done that thing we were doing?

  The Descendants had an opportunity to explore that question in a particularly heightened way.  But, as per usual, the ball was dropped, perhaps because the creators –  the novelist, originally, and later, the filmmaker, didn’t know that much about the ball they were playing with.  They had an intuition, but not the experience to give the work authenticity.

Plus, I figured out the Problem With George Clooney.  His acting stops short of his eyes.  A pretty man, but his eyes remain a cool, unmoved center, no matter what the situation.  Someone – it might even have been my mother – once said that you can tell a real actor because he acts with his whole being, most importantly – his eyes.

Oh, but it all  made me determined to go to Hawaii.  So..there’s that.

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I’m going to go on a limb here and say that when this book is published (April 30), anyone and everyone who has the least bit of interest in the following topics should read it:

  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • Spirituality
  • Religious Life
  • Catholic history
  • Discipleship
  • Saints

"Amy Welborn"…so that includes almost everyone here, right?

This is an important book, and I’m so grateful to have a review copy.  Long - long - time readers might recall what a revelation Fr. Thompson’s previous work, Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes 1125-1325 was to me back in 2006.   It was a fascinating example of  innovative, close and open-minded scholarship.

St. Francis of Assisi: A New Biography has been researched and written in the same spirit, and does not disappoint. It, too, is a revelation.

As you might guess, producing a biography of St. Francis has distinct challenges.  Three stand out:

  • The scarcity of sources from the subject’s own hand and perspective.
  • The amount of legendary material
  • The ways in which post-Francis  intra-Franciscan disputes (which were deep and virulent)  impacted the sources we do have.
Not to speak of the challenges on the reader’s end: we think we know St. Francis, and we certainly know who we want St. Francis to be.

Fr. Thompson (a Dominican, by the way!)  is forthright in his purpose.  He knows the limitations of historical scholarship, comparing the search for the “real St. Francis” to the search for the “historical Jesus” over the last two centuries.  He grapples directly with the research challenges.  And what he emerges with is a work that is illuminating, not only about the life and person of the saint, but also about the project of history – historiography.

The book, one of the few – if not only – truly scholarly biographies of Francis in English – is smartly arranged.  For ease of reading, the biography is presented in the first 141 pages of the book without any discursive sidenotes on alternate views of the incidents described.  Those discussions are all grouped together in what amounts to a second half of the book – end notes that are far more than a simple listing of sources, but fascinating discussions of those sources, their limitations and perspectives, and alternate views.  It’s a very helpful arrangement.

And who emerges from this work?

It is the St. Francis we know – a penitent committed to living the Gospel and conforming himself to the Crucified – but also one we may not be as familiar with.

This book gave me much to think about  - and when we get closer to its publication date, I will post on it again, but for now, I’ll share these three points:

  • What Fr. Thompson has done, I think, is to work hard to clear away the narrative of inevitability that so often (and understandably) affects biographies of Francis – or any figure. Since we know how the story ends, it is a real challenge not to tell  - or read – the story with that end in mind.  In this book, we walk with Francis and see things as he saw them at the moment – as much as possible.  As I read this book, I felt a bit as I did when I read the diaries of Dorothy Day – with the person, in the moment, responding to God’s grace in all of their limitations and hope.
  • He presents a clarifying and rather different definition of poverty in Francis’ spirituality – again, working to separate what Francis really said and did from later controversies.
  • This is very important, and perhaps will be the most revealing and one of the more controversial aspects of the book: He places the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the proper and reverential celebration of both squarely at the center of Francis’ concern.

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…and I mean…briefly. 

I have a few books hanging around here, and only one speaking engagement scheduled this spring, and so I want to get them off my shelves.  What I do not have for sale is Wish You Were Here. I have copies of that, of course, but I am giving/sending them out to various folks around here at a regular pace.

What I do have:

  • All the Prove It books.
  • Listening to God with Blessed John Paul II  3/10 – two (2) copies remaining
  • Be Saints!  3/10 – only three (3) copies of this left as of Saturday.
  • The How to Book of the Mass
  • How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist
  • The Pocket Guide to Confession
  • The Pocket Guide to the Mass
  • Pocket Guides by a bunch of other people: Hahn, Kreeft, Madrid.  They were sent and charged to me by mistake, so I figured that selling is less hassle than returning. Well, probably not, but here we are anyway.


(Let me know if you have any trouble.  I’m sort of rusty. It’s been a while, and I had to make all new Paypal buttons.)

"Amy Welborn"

Um..thanks, bunches, but...

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