Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Bing Crosby bio paints picture of crooner and his priest alter-ego

(Observer photo/Little, Brown)
Affable fictional clergyman Father Charles "Chuck" O'Malley was the principal figure in two well-received World War II-era movies, 1944's "Going My Way" and its 1945 sequel, "The Bells of St. Mary's."
These gentle portrayals of faith in action not only resonated with Catholic viewers across generations but also changed the life of the famous actor who portrayed O’Malley.
So concludes Gary Giddins in "Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star" (Little, Brown), the second volume of his biography of the versatile entertainer, which was to be published Oct. 30. The first volume, subtitled "A Pocketful of Dreams," appeared in 2001.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Pope calls for alliance between young, old to change the world

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
(CNS photo/Loyola Press)
With the launch of a new book, Pope Francis is calling for a new alliance -- between young and old -- to change the world.
In an effort to counteract today's "culture of waste" that too easily marginalizes or ignores the young and the elderly, the book by Loyola Press creates a model of storytelling, dialogue, connection and reflection to help inspire these two groups to come together and rediscover older people's lost "treasure of their wisdom."
Packed with large full-color photographs of the elder contributors, the coffee-table-style book, titled, "Sharing the Wisdom of Time," was released Oct. 23 at a book launch in Rome, with the pope scheduled to attend.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Travel from your chair

Book on Ignatian pilgrimage offers much for travelers, stay-at-homes

(CNS photo)
If you've ever made a pilgrimage, or you wish to, then this book will interest you. It answers the question: What can a pilgrimage do for me?
"On the Ignatian Way" is a hybrid of prayers for pilgrims, testimonies and word pictures that put you on the road itself. As you progress through the chapters, you, too, will feel a sense of movement. Beautiful photographs underscore a sense of being a traveler as you read.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sultans, commanders come to life in battles important to Catholics

(CNS photo)
Michael Greaney ties political, social and psychological factors into his riveting history of Turkish military incursions into Europe. After opening with the 11th-century's Battle of Manzikert in Anatolia, the author spends the rest of the book examining military clashes in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean during the Ottoman's zenith from 1462 to 1621.
The author's focus on the individuals who played pivotal roles in these confrontations -- emperors, sultans, popes, commanders and knights -- makes this history vivid and memorable. Military commanders could often make or break a battle or siege.

Friday, August 31, 2018

ABC’s from Monks Can Help Anyone’s Spiritual Journey

(CNS photo)
If you've ever wanted to sit down and pick the mind of a monk -- a man or woman steeped in the church's monastic tradition stretching back to the desert fathers and mothers -- then this is the book for you.
Perhaps a better subtitle for it would be "A Sampling of Monastic Wisdom" by by Benoit Standaert, OSB, because there is plenty of wisdom to be had in this sizable hardback, complete with a ribbon marker.
From Abba to Zero, the 99 entries here explore many topics that are spiritual, philosophical, poetic and also inclusive. While most entries are from the Christian tradition, there also are topics from Judaism (Tsimtsum), Islam (Dhikr) and Taoism (WuWei.)

Friday, July 13, 2018

For your summer reading: Inspire yourself and others

In summer, we sometimes find ourselves with time to spare for serious reading.
At The Observer, we receive books to review from time to time. We also bring books back from conferences we attend.
Recently, we’ve collected several non-fiction books we found interesting enough to share with our readers. (And we're giving them away, too. Enter at
These five books are both inspirational and instructive.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Baseball comic book a well-pitched delight

 (CNS photo/Ten Speed Press)
Baseball and comic books, two colorful American originals, come together in "The Comic Book Story of Baseball: The Heroes, Hustlers, and History-Making Swings (and Misses) of America's National Pastime" (Ten Speed Press) by author Alex Irvine and illustrators Tomm Coker and C.P. Smith.
This factually jam-packed and beautifully designed book is suitable for most older teens and adults. Still, parents should be cautioned: Baseball is a sport that has always included rough and crude language, a couple of instances of which are reproduced here (censored with asterisks).