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Monday, May 21, 2007

Book Meme

Paula has tagged me with a Three Book Meme, so here goes ...

Three non-fiction books everyone should read:

I don't know if everyone should read these, but they might be of interest ...

- The Cloister Walk by poet Kathleen Norris. It's pretty interesting and made me wish I could be an oblate. Here's a little of what (Publisher's Weekly) says of it ...

The allure of the monastic life baffles most lay people, but in her second book Norris (Dakota) goes far in explaining it. The author, raised Protestant, has been a Benedictine oblate, or lay associate, for 10 years, and has lived at a Benedictine monastery in Minnesota for two. Here, she compresses these years of experience into the diary of one liturgical year, offering observations on subjects ranging from celibacy to dealing with emotions to Christmas music ...

- Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits with Michael G. Harter SJ as Editor. This little red book is full of the poetry, prayers, and quotations of Jesuits past and present (Daniel Berrigan, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Francis, Xavier, etc) plus some bits of the Spiritual Exercises.

- Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist by Guy Consolmagno SJ. I think I mentioned this book before - it's written by a Jesuit brother who's intrigued with meteors ... he's even been to Antarctica to look for them ... and is in charge of the Vatican's hefty meteorite collection. Check out the Vatican Observatory website.

Three works of fiction that everyone should read:

OK, maybe these aren't profound or literary, but I really liked them, so ...

- The Blood Books (volume 1 - Blood Trial) by Tanya Huff. Yep, we're talking vampires. I picked up these books about 10 years ago because the main character had an eye disease kind of like mine, and she had to quit the Toronto police force and become a PI instead. Her first client is a 500 year old vampire (the illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England) with some werewolf friends. I believe this series has now been made into a tv series too - Blood Ties.

- Relic by Lincoln Child and Douglas J Preston. This is such a fun book - it begins in the Amazon rainforest a number of years ago, then speeds ahead to the American Natural History Museum in New York, where something is eating museum patrons' brains :-). Here's one of the blurbs from the book ... Wildly cool ... Thrill hounds couldn't ask for a creepier environment ... a thriller staged in the world's scariest building, with no room for the squeamish. - Kirkus Reviews

- The Three Musketeers Series, or the "D'Artagnan Romances" as they're sometime called, by Alexandre Dumas. The books contain the story of The Man in the Iron Mask as well. My college boyfriend gave me this set back in the day and I loved them ... the series has it all - adventure, true love, the pathos of untimely death, intrigue, political maneuvering, religious wars - it's a fun way to learn about the time of the Sun King.

The next part I changed (hope that's ok) to mention ...

Three online articles worth a look:

- Unbinding the Gay Conscience by James Alison. This is really good.

- On hope, heaven and hell (about Hans Urs von Balthasar's idea that no one may ever go to hell) by by Nick Jr. Healy

- Where Was God? An Interview with David Bentley Hart ... his theodicy.


Anonymous Paula said...

some very good suggestions here: the non-fiction books...the vampire series looks like good entertainment. The article of James Alison...hmmm: you know that I am stubborn traditionalist when it comes to the teachings of the Church. Still I am curious what he says.
I never heard about the last article so I am again curious.:-)
Thank you my dear Crystal...Do not forget to tell me how is Kermit?

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

P.S: dear Crystal, despite me being a
"stubborn traditionalist", you are and will always be my friend. last night I prayed the Rosary for you (and Kermit) too.:-)

2:00 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Paula,

we went to the vet today - Kermit has a bladder infection and that's why she's been throwing up and so miserable. They did an ultrasound too and the good news is that what the vet had thought was cancer is probably cystic liver disease, which isn't really bad and doesn't need to be treated. What a relief.

I know we feel differently about some of the church stuff, but I don't see why that should make us any the less friends :-) Thanks for the prayers.

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

I saw recently some people who called themselves friends fighting bitterly over issues...some get hurt and I saw blogs deleted...that is why I wrote that post...I just wanted to let you know that does not matter what this will not happen between us.

Glad to hear about Kermit.:-). My cat is in diet and he feels better too...his pancreas problems were caused by his greed and momĀ“s weakness (she was feeding him too much).:-)

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

that article about Tsunami is very good...I will make perhaps make a post later about it.:-)...thanks for sharing.

3:31 AM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

Crystal, That's such great news about Kermit! Not great news that she's got a bladder infection, is throwing up and feels miserable, but that the liver condition isn't serious. I'm sure you're relieved.

Cloister Walk was great. My wife was just telling me I should re-read it, actually.

I'm curious why you say you wish you could be an oblate. Why couldn't you be one? My aunt is a third-order Franciscan.

the American Natural History Museum in New York, where something is eating museum patrons' brains :-).

Actually, that's a problem city-wide, not just at the museum. It's particularly bad in the subway system.

Thanks for the book/article recs. One of these days I'm going to get to the Consolmagno book.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Liam said...

I echo the good wishes concerning Kermit and also Willaim's oblate question: Why not?

Also, how would you compare the vampire books to Anne Rice? IPAO is a great fan of her writing, so she may be interested in that.

8:52 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I'm sorry about his pancreas problems - glad he's feeling better :-)

10:09 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


thanks for the good thoughts for Kermit. She still feels crummy and threw up again today, but they're doing a culture on her urine, so soon we'll know for sure if that's the problem. It is really good news about her not having cancer.

There are no monasteries near where I live. The closest one is a few hours away, I think. How is your aunt's health, btw? I hope she's stll doing ok.

The city-wide brain-eating expalins so much :-)

10:14 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Liam,

thanks about Kermit.

I've read the series of books by Rice. They are much more serious and complex than the ones by Huff, I think. Huff's are more like mystery stories with some romance thrown in, which is probably why they translated so well to a tv series on the Lifetime channel. Speaking of Rice, have you read her book on the early years of Jesus? I wonder if it's worth a try.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hey Crystal,

Glad to hear that Kermit is doing a little better, and that her condition isn't too serious.


I'm glad to hear that Tzutzu is doing better too. I just took a crack at that three book meme.


The only one I own and have read is Hearts on Fire. Good Jebbie stuff, I agree.

I hear that someone or something has been destroying brains at the Stony Brook Library too...

4:19 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff,

this sounds like that the job that ate my brain thing .. it's not easy working in library science :-)

6:28 PM  
Anonymous marie said...

Oh 'The Cloister Walk' I LOVED that book, it is so lyrically written.

Another book that I wish I had remebered was Ivanhoe...oh well...I get to mention it here lol.

Great Choices,

Yours in Christ,


12:33 AM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Good list Crystal. I'm both a vapire fan and a Dumas one. COunt of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time favorites!

Glad to hear about Kermit. I'll bet you heaved a huge sigh of relief, I know I would have. Oliver's got 5 days of Kennel rest left to go and then about 2 weeks of re-conditioning. With any luck he'l be back to normal soon.

I really liked the Anne Rice books myself and had suspected for awhile that she was begining to re-explore her faith as the series progressed.

Her take in the early years of Jesus in Christ the Lord; Out of Egypt is quite well done. He theology is sound and she walks the line between the human and divine with good balance. She's always been a good historical writer and captures the period in full, living color. I would highly recommend it.

Have a great've given me an idea for a list of my own...I'll see if I can get it up this morning sometime. :o)

8:07 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi marie,

I really like Ivanhoe too. The book is great and once I saw a made for tv movie of it that was also really good.

10:52 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I'm glad Oliver's prison time is almost all served :-)

I like the Count of Monte Cristo too - I think there's a more recent movie of it but I've only seen an old one with Richard Chamberlain which was pretty good and true to the book.

I think Rice is a good wrter. She wrote a mummy book too which I read once. I'll have to try the one on Jesus.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous solanus said...

Anne Rice is a recent "revert" to Catholicism. She refuse to write or read about vampires anymore. Catholics would be well advised to do the same. Thank you.

9:40 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


thanks for the comment and visiting. I personally don't see the harm in fictional vampires, but I know not everyone agrees.

1:21 AM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...


My aunt is doing much better so far. She's still not out of the woods, so prayers are still appreciated. We'll know more in a few weeks. But, so far, i'm incredibly thankful for what's been happening.


I'm not sure if the brain-eating problem started in Long Island and moved towards the city, probably carried on the Long Island Rail Road, or if it started there and moved out here, but it's definitely a problem. Stony Brook University and Library, in particular, seem terribly affected, especially in administration.

Just be thankful you don't have to worry about this in Boston. You guys must be in great mental health up there, as evidenced from the exciting and innovative engineering projects you have going on in the city, not to mention the well-considered and lightning-fast response to dmoestic terrorism. I feared Randy Moss might be a brain-eater, or at least a carrier, but if Bill wants him, then everything must be okay in Beantown. ;-)

6:50 AM  
Anonymous solanus said...

Vampire novels are usually introductions to satanism, witchcraft, demons, etc...and should be avoided. It is a sin against the First Commandment.

11:45 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this subject :-)

12:21 PM  

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