Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Te Deum laudamus!: Outrage Addiction: Its harm on the spiritual life ...

I borrowed this from the Te Deum Blog.  There seems to be so much outrage these days...

Te Deum laudamus!: Outrage Addiction: Its harm on the spiritual life ...: Our main goal in this life should be to get to Heaven and take as many souls with us as possible.  We not only have to learn our faith a...

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Book Review: Island of the World by Michael O'Brien

Island of the World is set initially in the Balkans in the period during the second World War, just before the rise of Tito.  It tells the story of a man growing up in the turbulance of this time and his triumph over horror and loss that would have broken many.

The books starts out with the story of the main character, Josip Lasta's, idyllic childhood and its abrupt end.  It is a story of love, loyalty and endurance.  It is also a story of faith and miracles. God's hand protects and guides the Josip into a manhood that would stress the psychological and physical fortitude of any.

This might not be a book for very sensitive readers.  There are portrayals of extreme violence and degradation; at the same time, this is not gratuitous.  It sets the scenes for the book.

The portrayal of Catholicism in this book is very gentle.  It is like a beacon for the main character which is at times more visible and less visible.  Ultimately, Josip finds his way home.

The history of the beautiful Balkans is complicated and in many cases excruciating.  Mr. O'Brien seems to have done his research and portrays history with less bias that is often the case.  This writer has the strong sense that there were personal stories involved in the writing of this novel.

Given the size of this book and the period of time it covers, I found the compendium of characters at the back of the book very helpful.

As with so many of Mr. O'Brien's works, this is a meaty book.  The vocabulary is well chosen to craft a story that is captivating and sustained.  Mr. O'Brien's ability with the paintbrush (he also designs the cover art of his own books and is a painter of some note) carries through into his writing.  He illustrates his books with words.


I wrote this review of The Island of the World for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Book Review: Tobit's Dog

Tobit’s Dog, written by Michael Nicholas Richard, and published by Ignatius Press is a fascinating book.  It is a re-telling of the Book of Tobit from the Old Testament.  This time, the story of Tobit is set in the southern United States between the two World Wars.

The book deals deftly with difficult issues such as racism.  At the same time, its well-developed characters illustrate human nature: good, bad and sometimes in-between.  Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, humor pops up from time-to-time and always seems natural to the characters involved.

The Book of Tobit is absent from many bibles.  Its use as the basis of this novel identifies it as a “Catholic” novel.  One of the story’s very compelling qualities is that when a Catholic teaching appears, it has no feeling of being superimposed; the Catholicism is integral to the story.

That said, I do feel that this book could have been edited a bit more carefully.  There was more than one instance of a quotation mark left open.  Chapter Eight had what appeared to me to be a word placement (“Almost he…”) error.

This book deals with some dark subject matter: racism, murder and rape, which might make it unsuitable reading for young teenagers.  These topics are discussed in a manner that is unlikely to upset sensitive adult readers. 

This is a book which might well raise awareness of the Book of Tobit in scripture.  Even if it does not do that, it serves as an enjoyable piece of summer reading. 

Disclaimer:  This book was supplied to me for review by Ignatius Press