Planet Narnia

Feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Cyprian and the Virgin Martyr Justina
Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis by Michael Ward

Planet_Narnia_Square.jpgTHOUGH CRITICS have tried to link the Chronicles to the seven virtues, the seven sacraments, the seven deadly sins, and even the seven books of Spencer’s Faerie Queene, none have publicly considered that Lewis might have built the Narniad upon what John Donne... Continue Reading

Christ in His Saints

Feast of St Eustathius the Great Martyr, His Wife and Two Children
Christ in His Saints by Patrick Henry Reardon

Christ_in_His_Saints_Square.jpegCHRIST IN His Saints is the beautiful exposition of nearly 150 saints from both the Old and New Testaments. As a speaker, pastor, and author, Fr. Reardon’s reflections are timely and insightful; there is more here than mere accounts of the lives of our holy ancestors in Christ. His narrative... Continue Reading

Anglican Difficulties

Feast of Hieromartyr Cornatus, Bishop of Iconium
Anglican Difficulties by John Henry Newman; introduction by Stanley L. Jaki

Newman__Anglican_Difficulties_Square.jpegIN 1850, John Henry Newman delivered a series of “Twelve Lectures on Difficulties Felt by Anglicans in Submitting to the Catholic Church,” which address his concern that Anglicanism, self-satisfied, was abandoning its “image as a via media between Protestantism and Romanism.” Newman said of these lectures in his characteristically sardonic tone,... Continue Reading

The Idea of a University

Feast of the Holy Martyr Calodote
The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman; edited by Frank M. Turner; contributors: Martha McMackin Garland, Sara Castro-Klarén, George P. Landow, George M. Marsden, Frank M. Turner

Idea_of_University_Square.jpegAS PART of a series from Yale University Press called “Rethinking the Western Tradition,” this is an excellent edition of Newman’s most influential work, first published in 1852. Helpful aids, such as an analytical... Continue Reading

The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints

Feast of the Ecclesiastical New Year and St Symeon the Stylite
The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints by Jacobus de Voragine; translated by William Granger Ryan; introduction by Eamon Duffy

Golden_Legend_Square.jpgTHE FIRST complete English rendering of the most widely read medieval collection of saints’ lives, originally compiled in about 1260, and without peer until replaced by Butler’s Lives of the Saints four hundred years later. The 182 readings... Continue Reading

St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology

Feast of St Irenaeus of Lyons
St. John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology by Andrew Louth

Damascene_by_Louth_square.jpgWHEN A theologian sings, a special order of attention is due: his teaching has been transmuted into praise. St. John of Damascus (+ ca. 750), whose writings are often (if erroneously) marked as the close of the Patristic Age, gave us not only some of the greatest dogmatic treatises of all... Continue Reading

On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies

Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos
On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies, Introduction and translation by Brian E. Daley, S.J.

Daley__Dormition_Homilies_Square.jpgTHIS COLLECTION of patristic homilies on Mary’s dormition, or “falling asleep” in the Lord, offer a rich look at Mary’s central importance in Christian faith and spirituality. Through the words of Bishop John of Thessalonica, St. John of Damascus, St. Andrew of Crete, and St.... Continue Reading

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future

Feast of the Holy Apostle Matthias
The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) by Mark Bauerlein

Bauerlein_Dumbest_Generation_Square.jpegTHE AUTHOR, Emory University English professor and former director of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts, is not saying that “the Millennials”—those youth who’ve grown up in the Digital Age—are less intelligent than their predecessors. He... Continue Reading

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Feast of St Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

Carr__The_Shallows_Square.jpgTAKE SERIOUSLY the subtitle of this book: Carr’s fascination with recent brain research threads continuously through all the excursions and speculations he offers. The key to many of Carr’s convictions is the increasingly important role of neuroplasticity in scientific descriptions of brain structure (go ahead and toss off the... Continue Reading

The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future

Feast of St Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea
The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future by Robert Darnton

Darnton__Case_for_Books_Square.jpgNEITHER A Luddite lamenting the digital age, nor an unabashed futurist trumpeting paper and ink’s demise, Robert Darnton (former journalist, eighteenth-century historian, and director of Harvard University Library) offers a perspective as modern as his electronic publishing project, Gutenberg-e, and as timeless as that of Italian classicist Niccolo Perotti, who... Continue Reading