Hello, old friends

Life is starting to settle down a bit finally and I’m slowly getting myself unpacked and organized in my new home. This means access to and rediscovery of many things that have been in storage for the last year and a half; most importantly, my books. I still don’t have nearly enough bookcases, but when will I ever? One of my greatest delights these days is sorting and categorizing my books. Some books live in defined enough categories that they…

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Flannery O’Connor

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. Only recently have I become a devotee of the Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor, although her collection of short stories sat on my bookshelf for many years. I was aware that she was an important figure, both as a writer and as a Catholic. Her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is studied at various levels in academia, and she was certainly a master at…

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Kat Reads: “The Napoleon of Notting Hill”

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton was published in 1904. Chesterton was about 30 years old at the time and it was his first novel, though he had been working as a professional journalist in London for a few years at that point. The first time I read this book, which was just in the last year or two, I was instantly in love. I grew up on British humor and British authors, and I quickly recognized Chesterton’s…

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A Love Story: C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman

For years I have been fascinated and enthralled by the love story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. It is not a typical one, not one that would set most young hearts a flutter, but I’ve always found it beautiful. When they met for the first time in person in 1952, Lewis was already in his mid-fifties, a confirmed bachelor with no intention to marry, an established professor at Oxford, and a world-famous Christian author. Joy Davidman Gresham was a…

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Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God”

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. One of my favorite books for meditating on Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary is Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God.” I was introduced to this book just a few years ago and it has since become one that I return to quite often for contemplation. Houselander’s prose writing is as lyrical as her poetry, which is also sprinkled throughout the book, and makes for a beautifully…

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C.S. Lewis and the Value of Revisiting Stories

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. I have always been an avid re-reader of books, just as I also delight in re-watching favorite movies and television series. In some ways, this is due to finding comfort in the familiar and predictable, knowing that my imagination is not going to be assailed by inappropriate or untimely thoughts and images. But I have also learned that the pieces I enjoy returning to can be treasure…

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Chesterton’s Fence

It seems to me that we are living in incredibly reactive times. Information comes at us increasingly fast, events happen quickly and are almost instantly communicated around the world, and we rarely have time to slow down and reflect on any new developments and their impacts. Emotions run high, fear is everywhere around us, and we are seeking a sense of stability and order. We are willing to jump on board with anything that seems like it might bring some…

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Isolation Update: Art During Crisis

The last few weeks I have been making some serious headway on my novel-in-progress, and it’s felt pretty good. But in those last few weeks I have also had a few emotional mini-crises while reading the news and thinking about the state of the world and what the future might look like, and I have had to stop and ask myself, “What’s the point? Should I really be spending my time working on a silly novel right now? Should I…

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Middle Earth and St. John Henry Newman

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. “In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.” These opening words to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” have been inscribed in my mind from my earliest memories. My father used to read the book aloud, long before I could read it myself, and the ideas of hobbits and elves, dragons and dwarves, adventures and heroism, were embedded in my imagination as firmly as my…

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What I Read: November 2019

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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