Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ Category

If you like the idea of The Dangerous Book for Boys, I assure that boys don’t come more dangerous than Stalky & Co.  Little Lord Fauntleroy is not as bad as the pictures; after all, it’s by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s not one of the really old ones, but that may be an advantage for Tom Swift and the Visitor from Planet X. Finally, the ultimate boy-makes-good book, Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger.
If you’ve always meant to read War and Peace, let someone else read you the first book of it! (And honestly, it’s not as scary as folks say. It’s hardly a dustmote next to the meganovels and gigantically long series novels which are popular today.)

Gulliver’s Travels is one of the great works of satirical science fiction/fantasy. Ayn Rand’s Anthem isn’t all that great, but it does make some good points. I’ve always heard that Arthur Machen was a super-creepy fantasy/horror writer. You can find out with his tale of ancient magic, “The White People”.

Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini is a wonderful swashbuckling historical novel. Also, the hero is a lawyer on the run, “…born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” If you’ve seen the movie or listened to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, it’s time to hear the book!

The Rosary by Florence Louisa Barclay is a romance novel about a blinded man and a plain girl acting as his nurse. Also, presumably, a rosary, which should be interesting for readers here.

Alexander’s Bridge is a very short novel by Willa Cather that isn’t set out West.  Engineers having mid-life crises are not normally subjects for fiction by anyone, though!

Current Superstitions by Fanny Dickerson Bergen. A cute folklore collection with an offputting title.  West African Folk Tales features that tricky ol’ spider, Anansi.

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The Fallen Ones (2005) is a fun B-movie that apparently runs periodically on the Sci-Fi Channel, and is also out on DVD. I was amazed to learn that it manages to fuse mummies, American monster flicks, Japanese monster battle flicks, Nephilim, fallen angels with snakes coming out their fingers, the Great Flood, and the Book of Jubilees. Also Caspar Van Dien as an archeologist, Robert Wagner as a CEO, and Tom Bosley as a linguist rabbi.

Written, produced, edited, and directed by Kevin Van Hook — who sounds like a fun guy to chat with in a coffeeshop at two in the morning, especially if somebody brings action figures along!

Also amusingly, it turns out that the Watchers and Sentinels of comicbook fame apparently are based on Jewish angel and fallen angel folklore. Man, I always knew there was something wrong with that non-interference attitude of Uatu‘s. What If, indeed….

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Stuff is happening, and I apologize that I haven’t been posting. I will soon. Until then, some books to tide you over:

“Concerning Virgins” by St. Ambrose of Milan. Letters to his sister Manellia containing advice on life as a vowed virgin. 2 hrs., 29 min.

The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius. Written in prison by a philosophical Christian Roman, this poetic work was highly influential on medieval thought. 5 hrs., 13 min.

Caedmon’s Hymn, by Caedmon. Less than 2 minutes long, so no excuses!

The Innocence of Father Brown, by G.K. Chesterton. 10 hrs., 23 min. The Wisdom of Father Brown, by G.K. Chesterton. About 7 hrs. Classic mystery stories.

The Man Who Knew Too Much, by G.K. Chesterton. Cynical mystery stories. 5 hrs., 49 min.

Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences, by Rene Descartes. About 2.5 hrs.

The Jesuit Missions: A Chronicle of the Cross in the Wilderness by Thomas Guthrie Marquis. Canadian history. 3 hrs., 9 min.

God’s Troubadour: The Story of St. Francis of Assisi by Sophie Jewett. 2 hrs. 30 min.

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis. Yes, apparently there’s a rule that everyone must record audiobooks of him and Austen. 8 hrs., 42 min.

The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence. 1 hr., 13 min.

The Mariner of St. Malo: A Chronicle of the Voyages of Jacques Cartier, by Stephen Leacock. Popular history. 2 hrs., 27 min.

“A Discourse on the Passion of Love” by Blaise Pascal. 24 min.

Collected Works by St. Patrick. 1 hr.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers. Classic mystery. 6 hrs., 30 min.

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The GOOPFIC Project is a handy index of known fiction works that are full view books on books.google.com. Banshee says, “Check it out!”

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Via Joy, I found out that Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are serializing a new novel online. They also have a friend simul-podcasting it. Fledgling tells the story of a university and school system of the future where a professorial mother and father and a student daughter are getting caught in the gears. But I have a hunch they’ll find a way to work the system instead of letting it work them….

Obviously, I haven’t read the end yet. But based on past experience? Recommended for fans of science fiction, romance, and/or cats.

(Miller and Lee are not only fun but reasonably reliable on common sense and values, although their novels do sometimes privilege situations which are not all that one might wish. This is about as wholesome as one can expect these days.)

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The man who keeps telling us to read the Fathers out loud has finally put out a podcast of his own. Just this week, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has read us bits of Pope St. Leo the Great, St. Augustine, and now, St. Cyprian of Carthage. (The latter is from the same treatise on the “Our Father” which I recorded in English translation.) You can follow along at his blog posts, where he provides the Latin text and an English translation.

I recommend you give him a listen. Father Z’s Latin readings are beautiful (totally unlike mine!!), and he’s also podcast some very interesting stuff in English.

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Check it out! She reveals that the Vatican uses Linux, thus fulfilling Jesus’ promise about the Gates not prevailing against it. :)

Also, be sure to stop by vatican.va’s Lenten music pages, to download seasonal mp3s of the Sistine Choir and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. The latter includes chant you can use, and some polyphonic stuff, too.

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Barring people who didn’t renew their copyrights back when they still needed to do that, the US keeps stuff in copyright for 70 years past the writer’s death. So… take a look at the “Life + 70″ list from this year’s Copyright Day (ie, Jan. 1) and see if there’s anybody you’d like to read. Via Siris.

You’ll notice that everything by G.K. Chesterton is now out of copyright in the US, so callooh callay! *rubs hands together* Also all of Arthur B. Reeve’s books and stories. (Apparently including the ghost writers’ stuff. Heh.) M.R. James and A.E. Housman are now totally P.D. Rudyard Kipling, too, is FREE AT LAST!

Finally, all unpublished works by those who died in 1936 are now in the public domain in the US.

Btw, also via Siris, be sure to read this Westminster Wisdom post on the Blind Beak of Bow Street and the implications of his work.

* All stuff not otherwise copyrighted and renewed. Alas.

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If you want to hear some real folk religious hymns, Sonific has samples of a couple as performed by Aine Minogue.

“Caoineadh na dTri Muire” (The Keen of the Three Marys) is an old Irish song from the POV of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, as she stood at the foot of the Cross with Mary Salome and Mary Magdalene. Very few keens survive, as they were usually improvised and thought to be extremely unlucky to imitate or repeat in non-funeral situations; but this unusual hymn is an exception.

“A Iosa, B’im Chroise” is the harp tune of an old Irish hymn.  This sort of “slow air” is unjustly neglected by most non-Celtic musicians striving to “sound Celtic”.

“Deus Meus” is some kind of setting of the 7th century Latin/Irish hymn “Deus Meus, Adiuva Me”.

The album is full of unusual stuff like that. A few have New Age-y or Enya-style arrangements of Celtic music, which I usually don’t like, but they don’t seem lame (for once), so this album seems worth making an exception. The problem is that the liner notes, although interesting and useful, also contain large helpings of Deep Thoughts. But the selections are so good, and so unusual! Sigh. This is how I ended up with quite a few other albums with annoying liner notes…..

Btw, it seems that Minogue’s holiday albums also have some nice rare material on them. Argh! My poor screaming wallet!

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I swear I’m sickening for something. I’m kinda hoarse and kinda tired, and I’ve got sinus and allergies on top of everything else. And tomorrow I have to go to work. So I will rest today and build up some strength. Podcasting will resume when I feel like I actually have energy again.

Besides, it’s way too nice to stay inside, you healthy people! Go out and play!

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*smacking my head*

Why didn’t I think of this? Of course we need a site with all the public domain Celtic texts possible! And links! Lots of links!

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I’m running a little behind, and tonight I have to go to Mass. (Holy Day of Obligation, remember?) So I’m afraid that my Feast of the Assumption posting is going to have to go up tomorrow as a Fathers posting. (Which it is anyway.) Book 6, Part 2 of the Pharsalia is just going to have to wait till next week. Sorry about that.

Meanwhile, you can fill your Assumption holiday listening needs over at Catholic Under the Hood, Catholic Rockers, and other folks participating in the Assumption Podcast Carnival. (If they’d told me about it before, I would’ve. Snif.)

You can also read some early Assumption/Dormition narratives over here at the site of a guy who’s written a big thick tome gathering together early traditions, archeological evidence, and the relationship they bear to stuff in Jewish tradition. Yay for big thick tomes! (And libraries that buy them!) (Via Paleojudaica and Way of the Fathers.)

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Today we celebrate the feast day of the saint with guts enough to evangelize pagan Germany. If you've never read or listened to "The First Christmas Tree" by Henry Van Dyke, I think you'll find it a good way to celebrate the saint.

"The First Christmas Tree" on archive.org.

"The First Christmas Tree" here on Maria Lectrix. 

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I am currently experiencing technical difficulties with my voice. As I need this for singing Holy Week with my parish's choir, blogging will be very light today and orange juice, medicine, etc. in use instead.

Sorry for the inconvenience. Blogging will resume as soon as I feel stronger.

("Dawn of Flame" will probably be finished on Easter Friday instead of Easter Monday, btw.)

Meanwhile, I recommend to you the services of Librivox, which has a greatly enlarged catalog of public domain audiobooks these days. Also, I'm sure you know all about Father Roderick's brainchild, the SQPN podcast network, but that should cover your Holy Week needs nicely.

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We're almost done now with The Imitation of Christ. So what would you like me to read on the weekend now?

A work of Catholic fiction, like something by Chesterton or Belloc?

Church history?

A life of one of the saints?

Essays by somebody like Newman?

More spiritual/devotional classics?

Please let me know what you would like to hear or would find helpful. Specific book (or short story, or essay, or poem) suggestions would be particularly helpful. I'm leaning toward church history, since that silly anti-Christian/anti-Catholic DaVinci Code movie is coming soon.

('Cause an attack on the divinity of Christ is what I want to watch at Eastertime. Yeah, buddy, that's sure to make bucks.)

But let me know soon, because I think we'll finish up Imitation next Saturday.

UPDATE: I'm going to keep moving this post up until y'all make some comments, so spare yourselves and comment now! :)

I'm once again going to be blogging lightly this week. Sorry about that, but I'm still dealing with the medical stuff. I only got poked and prodded last week, so this week I get the needles. (Bleh!)

Also, as you've probably noticed, I changed the blog to a Lenten purple. The red crayon of the Carpaccio mother and child kinda clashed with purple, so I pulled out another picture of the Madonna reading. I'd really like to find a more Lenten one, but at least the branches are bare. (I thought it was a late autumn/winter picture, but all things considered, if a young Madonna is reading Bible prophecies, it's probably early early spring.)

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