Thursday, June 12, 2008


A certain panic invades my bones as I near the end of a good book. I stretch out the time left together as long as possible and start searching the shelves for a new one to fill in once the inevitable happens.

Recently it seems more and more difficult to find a book that causes me to want to stay up late or carve out a precious few moments during the day to fit in the few extra pages. It is even more difficult to find such a book in the mainstream that is Catholic friendly or at least that which a priest with his collar on would not be embarrassed to read in public.

Well summertime readers, I think that here may be a treat for you. A while back I wrote you a review of a book by Mary Doria Russell called, “The Sparrow.” Now, let me be the first to assure you that I loath science fiction books almost as much as eating fish (and that's saying something), but that book was a winner, one of the few books that this reviewer has read more than once. Part of the fun is that the story begins just down the street from this parish in a town called University Heights. But the true thrust of the book dealt with questions of faith. The author places views not squarely in any camp so characters voice opinions that span the Catholic playing field and then some. It is done so well and even handedly that challenging thoughts are not in any way threatening while still being throught provoking.

Now Mary Doria Russell (a Clevelander by the way) has written a sequel entitled, “Children of God”. There are some adult themes and again perhaps some readers will find some challenging thoughts about the faith, but she has created a more than worthy follow up to her award winning first book. The theme as she puts it, “is about the aftermath of irreversible tragedy, about the many ways we try to make sense of tragedy.” She exposes our human frailty and dependence and the role that faith can play in this exciting story that makes you keep thinking long after you have set the pages down.

Intelligently written, well balanced, and thought provoking, it is on my list for summer reading. It is not strictly necessary to read the first book in order to read this one, but I highly, highly recommend that you do so.


Anonymous said...

What!? You're a priest and you don't like FISH? What in the WORLD do you eat on Fridays?

Well, I WAS going to bring you wild-caught flash-frozen salmon from Alaska this summer...guess not....

LOL. Kidding. Thanks for the books. I am actually working on a couple books and STILL can't seem to find th time to really get engaged in them! Although I'm off today...maybe can get some reading done.

Anonymous said...

For someone so wonderfully consistent and predictable (in a good way)in his theology, your book recommendations are always totally unexpected.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed The Sparrow very much, and had been meaning for the longest time to pick up Children of God. Unfortunately, it got lost among all the other thousand books I've been meaning to pick up! So, I'm very glad you mentioned it, Father!

A blessed weekend to you!

Anonymous said...


These are two of my favorite books. As you described, I was sad to see them end, as I was completely absorbed into them.

As a St Sebastian parishioner, I'd like to extend a welcome to the parish. We look forward to meeting you. Please continue the blog!