Each chapter includes a history of each pitch, along with interviews with the best hurlers who ever threw them. The Miracle Detective is a gripping, frank, and beautiful account of exactly this conflict between our post-Enlightenment, rational Western minds and the undeniable presence of the mystical. About five months into the pandemic I treated myself to an Evelyn Waugh binge. Seventeen-year-old Molly Gibson is shocked when her father remarries and brings a manipulative stepmother and a gorgeous but affection-starved stepsister into their comfortable home. I read Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, Unnatural Death, Strong Poison, Five Red Herrings, Have His Carcase, Nine Tailors, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon. Felice), as Manzoni calls him, was in the forefront of the battleground, elevating the morale of the people in the margins who were fighting pestilence and were abandoned by their family and friends for fear of infection. I spent several days in my 20s and 30s standing outside the Soviet Embassy with banners saying things like: “USSR: Free your Christian prisoners”, and taking part in prayer-vigil and similar activities. (Sort of.) In times of social and political concern, there is always a need for fearless Catholic laymen, not just strong prelates, and no one fits that description better than Dietrich von Hildebrand, the great German Catholic thinker, whom Pope Pius XII called a “twentieth-century Doctor of the Church.” His inspiring life is recounted in The Soul of a Lion, by his widow, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand–a distinguished scholar in her own right. Classic war fiction. COVID be damned, but some good things did come out of 2020. George Weigel is the author of over twenty books. September happily brought a return to in-person school for my two oldest. A number of non-fiction, non-theology books held my interest this year as well. A truly horrifying analysis of this contagious delusion and its enablers. So there are the elements that make an opera—devoted lovers, evil oppressors, saintly friars, separation and jeopardy, miraculous conversions—but also much more: a variety of social types, fascinating psychological and character studies, and striking portrayals of famine, plague, and early modern war. A close contender for my favorite book of the year. The second is Reilly’s much more recent tour de force, defending America’s founders from their relentless critics. The United States Conference of Catholic … For sixteen years, as editor of Ignatius Insight and Catholic World Report, I have invited various authors to contribute to the popular “Best Books I Read…” feature. Along the way, he critiques modernity’s theoretized politics, suggests a way forward (no spoilers! The last book I read was written by my old professor at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. Blott on the Landscape – Tom Sharpe. This is an extraordinary achievement from one of the finest – and bravest – writers of the twentieth century. Peter Milward, who shows the Catholicism buried in each of the Bard’s 39 plays as he analyzes them individually. Daniel J. Mahoney holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Several readers in last year’s “Best Books” list mentioned Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Her latest, Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture, is a brave, powerful endorsement of parenthood – and a rallying cry for fathers. The array of available Catholic books is vast and I wish I could hit pause on my life, curl up on my patio, and read … Besides all this, Maritain’s book is worth it for the invaluable tidbits found in the footnotes alone. Fr. Good, solid study guide linking the core Old  Testament narrative with the Gospel. This story unexpectedly took Sullivan to a village called Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina where six young Croats claimed that the Virgin had been appearing to them since 1981. Filip Mazurczak is a journalist, translator, and historian. Recently, I found myself in desperate need of a Jane Austen novel, but a new Austen novel, not one I had read before–which is, unfortunately, all of them. A detailed account that will suggest ominous contemporary parallels. It seemed the devil did not want it published. Wodehouse, Carry On, Jeeves. On a holiday break this summer I picked up Peter Cornwell’s One Step Enough (London: Collins, 1986) at a used book sale at the back of an Anglican church. Timothy D. Lusch is an attorney and writer. Schmalhofer collects eleven essays on figures such as Henry James and Willa Cather, as well as those less known such as Marion Crawford, Father Cyril Fay and artist John La Farge. Not Lewis’ greatest work but still a good book. The Pilgrim’s Regress, C.S. His suggestions for how to blunt this are interesting and creative. / ’Tis the Bacchanal Triumph which makes truth dumb / Thine Epithalamium…”  Unlike our own utopian atheists, Shelley was not unaware of the reality of evil. Paul Among the People, Sarah Ruden. Mary figures in both, summarized in The Holy Slavery of the Admirable Mother of God. “A culture of repudiation,” as the late great Roger Scruton called it, one marked by unrelenting self-loathing and systematically mendacious accounts of the past, increasingly dominates journalism, the academy, popular culture, and even, or especially, elementary and high school education. Sympathetic portrait of a gracious and intelligent woman. The suppression of practical reason, and with it the perspective of the citizen acting in a human world, which leads to the modern human rights regime, which in turn dissolves into what Ralph Hancock, the book’s translator, calls “sheer human assertion.” The human rights regime “promises to liberate the person from his physical, sexual nature and to justify him on the basis of his natural or irresistible desires or ‘orientation,’” which is a root-and-branch rejection of the natural—and with it, the eternal—law. Similarly, Sue Ellen Browder’s critique of the abortion rights movement from a feminist lens in Sex and the Catholic Feminist will offer some challenging food for thought for pro-choice feminists. See why Cavins’s endeavor is the #1 bestselling Catholic Bible in the United States. You can’t beat the Brits for mysteries, but you can’t beat the Americans for short stories, and I devoured three volumes by the master, O. Henry: I re-read a bit of Chesterton, as one always should: Why Christians believe in resurrection, not reincarnation, Colorado Medical Practice to Offer Specialized Care to Adults with Down Syndrome, Analysis: Vatican Decision on Indianapolis Could Impact Pending Lawsuit, and Catholic Identity in Catholic Schools, Canadian Bishops implore legislators to change course on assisted suicide, Vatican says COVID-19 vaccines ‘morally acceptable’ when no alternatives are available. I didn’t know it was a tragedy at the onset, so if you know the book you could imagine how often my heart dropped to my gut. Barnaby Rudge recently left that group. This year we have over fifty. Hahn presents a compelling thesis that the traditional fourth cup partaken at the Passover cedar was drunk by Our Lord from the Cross at the hour of His death. That makes it harder to pick out my favorites from 2020: I’ll start with my most recent read and perhaps my favorite—which is saying a lot given some of the others I’ll list. Constance Watson, who edits the UK side of Catholic Herald: Chapter House, called 2020 “The Year of the Book” – by which she remarked a significant uptick in book sales reported by publishing houses and booksellers, alike – and noted: “It is a double-edged sword: at once sad that reading – the simplest yet strongest of comforts – requires ‘rediscovering’, and pleasing,” because we’re somehow finding our way “back to the written word.”. Christians need to learn from their forebears – by living the Gospel to its fullest, a culture that is Christian comes to be and flourishes. Other notable books I read this year are John Ruskin’s The Poetry of Architecture, Barbara Pym’s Civil to Strangers, Andrew Ross’ A Vision Betrayed, J. Wells’ Oxford and Its Colleges, Allesandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro’s The Last Mass of Padre Pio, Matteo Nicolini-Zani’s Christian Monks on Chinese Soil, and Stephen Platt’s Autumn in Twilight. Like many, I’d first read it as an assignment in high school English –a time in my life when I knew far more about the carburetor on my ’70 Camaro than I did the Romantics and the intellectual trends of the early 19th century. The Complete Fenelon, edited by Robert Edmonson gives a taste; The Seeking Heart from SeedSowers is an evangelical’s selection of brief portions from letters with a direct and penetrating translation; The Maxims of the Saints will give theologians a workout, as these were opposed by Bossuet and resulted in the Pope’s censure of select maxims. Heal us of such maladies Seminary, Dunwoodie locus of the familiar you. That stand out: Eifelheim by Michael F. Flynn, unkempt, crazed.... Church today s story, per se my way through C.S pagan.... 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