Thursday, December 31, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 7

On the seventh day of Christmas,
Loome Gifts gave to me
Seven Ukrainian eggs...




Six handmade rosaries
Five Alderman originals
Four Trappist caramels
Three baptismal gowns
Two Marian statues
And an icon in a bare tree.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 6






On the sixth day of Christmas,
Loome Gifts gave to me
Six handmade rosaries...




















Five Alderman originals
Four Trappist caramels
Three baptismal gowns
Two Marian statues
And an icon in a bare tree.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas
Loome Gifts gave to me
Five Alderman originals

(Courtesy of artist Matthew Alderman)




Four Trappist caramels
Three baptismal gowns
Two Marian statues
And an icon in a bare tree


Monday, December 28, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas,
Loome Gifts gave to me
Four Trappist caramels...











Three baptismal gowns
Two Marian statues
And an icon in a bare tree.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 3



On the third day of Christmas,
Loome Gifts gave to me
Three baptismal gowns...





















Two Marian statues
And an icon in a bare tree.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 2





On the second day of Christmas,
Loome Gifts gave to me
Two Marian statues...









And an icon in a bare tree.


Friday, December 25, 2009

12 Days of Christmas from Loome Sacred Gifts: Day 1



On the first day of Christmas,
Loome Gifts gave to me
An icon in a bare tree.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Gifts from North Central Publishing

Loome's latest e-Catalog is taking a festive turn this week. We are offering a selection of beautifully crafted Christmas books from the now defunct North Central Publishing Company.

Prior to its closure in the 1980s, North Central Publishing printed a limited run of Christmas books each year as gifts for its best customers. The books varied on theme from the Gospel of Mark to seasonal short stories set in Minnesota.


We've come across a few curious volumes that have a connection to James P. Shannon, former auxiliary bishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Shannon resigned as auxiliary bishop in 1968, because he objected to the encyclical Humanae Vitae. He left the priesthood and wrote the book Reluctant Dissenter. Before he was bishop, he was president of the University of St. Thomas.



We were surprised to find that one copy of Worship for Christmas contains Shannon's bookplate. The plate bears the image of the UST's Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, designed by French architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray.








Another of the Christmas books, All Men Seek God, contains the text of one of Shannon's Christmas sermons. It bears a note from Shannon in the front:

This little book contains my sermon at the Midnight Mass at St. Helena's on Christmas 1966. I am sending it to a few of my friends in the hope that it might be of some interest to them.

Finally, one of the books published outside the Christmas season presents a collection of Shannon's writings as a college president. The book is titled Shannon: A College President Speaks His Mind.

We feel as though we are being haunted by the ghosts of bishops past.

Friday, December 18, 2009

In the News: Loome Sacred Gifts

From The Catholic Spirit, Official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis:

New gift shop focuses on quality, local and monastery-made goods
by Maria Wiering

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From the Dowry of Mary to the Stripping of the Altars

Five hardy souls met last Wednesday evening (temperature outside was -6 degrees and falling!) to discuss the final chapters of Part I of The Stripping of the Altars. In these chapters, Eamon Duffy portrays in great detail, the pervading faith of the English people. England at that time was referred to as "Mary's Dowry" which reflected the great devotion given to the Virgin throughout England in the middle ages.

Our discussion concentrated on the numerous prayers, rubrics, rituals, and charms used by everyone in their daily lives. Duffy portrays this as an all encompassing practice of a faith that permeated every facet of the everyday life of the people. Then, we asked ourselves with a faith so deeply held, so all pervading, how was it all lost in a matter of two generations? How was England transformed from a vibrant Catholic nation into a Protestant country in such a short period of time? Hopefully, we will find the answers to those questions when next we read Part II of The Stripping of the Altars.

Finishing Eamon Duffy's masterful work will be a wonderful way to end our year of reading and give us a good start for a new year of reading the great literary works of our faith. I look forward to sharing this next year of reading with you. We are truly blessed.

May all of you have a blessed Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year,
Misfit Buzz

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday, Diocese of Phoenix

Lordy, lordy, look who's forty! A timely bibliosite fell out of one of our books recently. This newspaper clipping, circa 1969, announces the creation of the Diocese of Phoenix, which celebrates its 40th birthday today.

(Click on the article to enlarge.)


Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for the Diocese of Phoenix.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All My E-Tailers

Independent booksellers have been watching the ongoing book price war with a mixture of horror, opportunism and amusement. Let us recap.

Last time, on All My E-Tailers...

Walmart is jealous of Amazon's success and beauty. It lowers the price of hot, November book releases to $10.00 hoping to lure customers into it's cheapened embrace. Amazon, no shrinking violet, responds by matching the price. Walmart stoops to $9.00. Amazon straightens its hair, puts on some lipstick and matches the price. Target, feeling the need for a love triangle, jumps into the plot. $8.99... $8.98...

Meanwhile...

The American Booksellers Association smells treachery afoot. It complains to the U.S. Justice Department about predatory pricing. Wily independent booksellers waste no tears crying over the hordes of customers who will flee to the arms of the big E-Tailers. They plot to buy up the massively discounted books and turn a tidy profit. The Big Three fire back by restricting the number of discounted books a customer can buy. All the while, the doting publishers, who raised their books to have dignity and self-esteem, worry the books will be devalued by fickle customers.

We choose to view all this with amusement. Most independent booksellers are unhappy with the price war, but some are not concerned. In a recent article by the Pittsburg Post Gazette, one independent bookseller explained.
The way Richard Goldman sees it, his independent Mystery Lovers Bookstore and the big retailers that happen to sell books aren't close to being on the same page.

"Our customers are not their customers," he said... "For some people, price is important, and I respect that, totally. For some, ambiance is an important thing, supporting your local businesses," said Mr. Goldman, who runs the cozy Oakmont shop with his wife, Mary Alice Gorman.
Independent booksellers can also offer a level of customer service the retail giants can't. The 1998 romantic comedy, You've Got Mail, pits an independent bookseller, Kathleen, against the big box retailer, Fox Books. (And yes, she falls in love with the dashing CEO of Fox Books.) An excerpt from the movie script:
A woman browsing, stops a sales person.
WOMAN SHOPPER: Do you have the "Shoe" books?
SALESPERSON: The "Shoe" books?  Who's the author?
WOMAN SHOPPER:I don't know.  My friend told me my daughter has to read
the "Shoe" books,so here I am.
KATHLEEN: Noel Streatfeild.  Noel Streatfeild wrote Ballet Shoes
and Skating Shoes and Theater Shoes and Movie Shoes...
(she starts crying as she tells her)
I'd start with Skating Shoes, it's my favorite, although
Ballet Shoes is completely wonderful.
SALESPERSON: Streatfeild.  How do you spell that?
KATHLEEN: S-T-R-E-A-T-F-E-I-L-D.
WOMAN SHOPPER: Thank you.
As she walks away.
KATHLEEN: (to herself) They know nothing, they know absolutely nothing.
We field similar requests at our store.
"I'm looking for a book on St. Damien of Molokai. I read in in the 1960s, and it had a green cover."

"Certainly, might it be Damien the Leper by John Farrow?"
This is why we choose to view the price war with amusement.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grand Opening of Loome Sacred Gifts

Grand Opening THIS Sunday
November 15th
2 - 4 PM

Loome Sacred Gifts


Featuring an Art Show of original works by Catholic Artists and a concert by the St. Agnes Chamber Choir



Renaissance polyphony sung from the highest balcony. Massive original oil paintings on display. Vibrant original icons tucked among shelves of theological books. Caramels made by Trappestine nuns. This Sunday will be a Catholic cultural event for families, priests, and friends alike. You're going to love it. Please join us this Sunday for our grand opening event.

- Christopher and Andrew and our fine colleagues.



Loome Sacred Gifts Grand Opening
November 15th
2 -4 P
M
2 PM
- Concert
2:30-4 PM
- Art Show

Loome Theological Booksellers
320 4th Street N

Stillwater
, MN 55082

651-430-1092
LoomeBooks.com


Saint Agnes Chamber Choir

The Saint Agnes Chamber Choir, a group dedicated to singing the masterpieces of the High Renaissance, performed for the first time in 1986. In 1991 Donna May became the director of the Choir, and in 1993 the Chamber Choir began to sing the anticipatory Mass of the 1st Sunday of each month during the regular Twin Cities Catholic Chorale season (Oct. - June). The Choir's repertoire includes more than a dozen Renaissance Masses and scores of polyphonic motets, both of Renaissance and contemporary composers.


Catholic Artist Mark Sanislo

Nationally known artist, Mark Sanislo, began his distinguished art career as an accomplished commercial artist and photographer. A work history that would later enhance his portrait career. After several years, Mr. Sanislo decided to go into business for himself, building a business that included two art galleries with several artists working in the busy Mackinac Island resort in northern Michigan. For ten years Mark's talents received wide acclaim for his quick renderings of vacationing families.

Mark Sanislo is also recognized nationally for employing his portraiture to religious art. Leaders in the church whom Mark has painted include Mother Angelica, Founder of The Eternal Word Television Network, Archbishop Harry Flynn and former Archbishop John Roach of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Diocese.

Come see Mark Sanislo's original paintings at the Grand Opening of Loome Sacred Gifts.


Iconographer Carmelite Br. Christopher

Under a special arrangement with Fr. John Mary of the Carmelite Hermitage of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lake Elmo, we will be allowed to display a selection of Br. Christopher's icons for one afternoon only, Sunday November 15th.

More than an art form, icons beckon us to a spiritual encounter as their characteristic two-dimensional aspect draws us into a unique and immediate intimacy with the sacred subjects portrayed. It is our hope that by contemplating these holy images you will grow ever closer to the beauty that can be found only in God and His heavenly Kingdom.

Come see Br. Christopher's original icons at the Grand Opening of Loome Sacred Gifts.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

La Bella Biblioteca

We, here at Loome Theological Booksellers, are fans of real books. We've proselytized on the virtues of real, physical books and the vices of generic e-books. (Curse you, Kindle!)

Let's chalk one up for real books:

A hitherto unknown painting by Leonardo da Vinci has emerged from obscurity. La Bella Principessa was a portrait originally thought to be of 19th Century, German origin. Through digital imaging and fingerprint analysis, experts have attributed it to Leonardo da Vinci.

The portrait was Leonardo's only work painted on vellum, which was commonly used to bind books. The painting was commissioned as the cover for a book of poetry dedicated to the young woman in the painting, Bianca Sforza.

That's a book I'd like to have on my shelf.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One good blog leads to another . . .


We like the good writers of the New Liturgical Movement blog and we think they like us too.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perhaps the Largest Selection of Liturgical Texts in the World



Loome Theological Booksellers presents our largest selection of liturgical texts for sale . . . ever.

Benziger Brothers Game of Catholic Authors


Lovers of liturgical texts should be familiar with the Benziger Brothers publishing house. An independent publishing house from 1792 to 1968, Benziger Brothers specialized in publishing Roman Catholic liturgical texts. The Holy See even conferred the title "Printers to the Apostolic Holy See" in 1867.








Loome carries a plethora of Benziger Brothers texts, but this is the first time we've carried a Benziger Brothers game. We've never heard of the Benziger Brothers Game of Catholic Authors, nor can we find any information on it, but we're intrigued. Perhaps we have an entire set of the playing cards hidden among the books in our stacks. Hope springs eternal.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Real Books Necissitate Real Bookstores



Once upon a time a library was where one could expect to find real books. By real books I mean those objects that contain printed pages bound between covers. However, while libraries rush to embrace the electronic screened word, WIRED published an article about how the king of the screened word, Google, is making way for more real books. That's good news for real bookstores.

The video about Northshire Bookstore's use of the Espresso Book Machine demonstrates how real books will always require real bookstores (or at least real bookish places), of which we have two: Loome Theological Booksellers and Chestnut Street Books wherein one will find thousands of real books, whether from the private libraries of scholars, pastors, and priests or from an Espresso Book Machine (maybe in a couple years . . . maybe), for many years to come.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Avast, thar be pirates among the tomes!

Ahoy, me hearties! In celebration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Loome Theological Booksellers be keepin' an eye out for pirates.

Ye might think there be no such piratical tomes at Ye Olde Theological Bookseller, but pirates be masters of sneaking and skullduggery.

We found Whisperings of the Caribbean lurking in the Missionary Studies. It be the account of the bonny missionary Joseph J. Williams. He devotes the very first chapter to the Caribbean buccaneers.

An excerpt:
Captain Hickeringill, writing in 1661, speaks of the Bucaneers, "who live by killing the wild beeves for their hides; and might grow rich by the trade, did not their lavish rioting in the experience, at the neighbouring Tortudoes (Tortugas) exceed the hardship of their incomes. Their comfort is, they can never be broke whilst they have a dog and a gun; both which, are more industriously tended than themselves.

Scurvy pirates be lurking elsewhere at Loome. We found them skulking in the following tomes:

The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson (Including South Sea Tales and In the South Seas)
The Waverly Novels by Sir Walter Scott (Including The Pirate)
History of the Catholic Church in Jamaica by Francis J. Osborne, S.J.
Apostle of Brazil: The Biography of Padre José de Anchieta, S.J. (1534-1597) by Helen Dominian

Avast! Let the reader beware.

-Wild Cat Bonney

Friday, September 18, 2009

Symposium on the Isle of Kalymnos

Just in case you missed it . . . This Bibliosite below fell out of a book I cataloged this week.

Bibliosite - Definition

Bibliosite [bib-lee-oh-sahyt] - noun: Seemingly lifeless ephemera that falls out of its host (the book) when leafed through or dangled upside down, often pointless, sometimes very interesting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Misfits Read Read's Death of a Pope


From Buzz and the Misfits:

"Piers Paul Read's recent novel, The Death of a Pope, received mixed reviews from our Misfits. Although Joseph Pearce called it "a faith-driven theological thriller", we decided it wasn't much of a "thriller" and that it had few believable moments that placed you anywhere near the edge of your seat. Many non-Catholics who read the novel will assume that it is anti-Catholic as the author identifies every modern challenge facing the Church(condoms for HIV victims in Africa, female priests, abortion, birth control, etc., etc.) to build his story. Regrettably, the anti-Catholic issues raised in the novel are not directly confronted or refuted. The only character in the story who might have applied some "apologetics" to the issues is Father Luke Scott. However, his tepid defense of Church doctrine did little to confront or give balance to the secular, modernist views of his niece, Kate Ramsey. As one of our Misfits remarked, Read's Father Scott was certainly not a priest that invited comparison to G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown. In fact, we wished there had been a bit more of Father Brown's character in Father Scott.

We also found Read's laicized anti-hero, Juan Uriarte, to be a very thin character. Uriarte's early experience in El Salvador is briefly described in the novel and used to set up the violence he is planning against the Church. The character, Uriarte, actually expresses Read's disillusionment with liberation theology and what he terms "social" Catholicism. In a recent interview with Ignatius Press, Read explained:

"When I was young I was a zealous exponent of liberation theology. As I grew older I like to think I grew wiser and came to see how 'social' Catholicism, however superficially appealing in the face of the suffering caused by poverty and injustice, in fact falsifies the teaching of the Gospels. This is particularly true when it condones or even advocates the use of violence. Yet this was precisely the message preached from the pulpits in Catholic parishes and taught in Catholic schools in the last decades of the 20th century. The two visions of what charity demands of a Christian confront one another on the issue of the Aids epidemic in Africa. It is this confrontation that gave me the idea for my novel."

That said, we do not believe the idea for the novel was fulfilled in The Death of a Pope.

And now to the future--our October book is Manalive by G. K. Chesterton. This is another of Chesterton's classic novels. "In this long-hidden yet highly entertaining classic, author G.K. Chesterton shows readers, through the delightful story of a windy evening with the mysterious Mr. Innocent Smith, the soul-refreshing secret of the love of life itself." Most avid readers remember the opening sentence of many of the novels they have read. Chesterton's opening sentence in Manalive is wonderfully poetic and memorable. The story begins with, "A wind sprang high in the west, like a wave of unreasonable happiness, and tore eastward across England, trailing with it the frosty scent of forests and the cold intoxication of the sea."

There is another reason why we are reading Manalive at this time. It will help prepare us for viewing the movie Misfit Ahlquist and crew have been busy filming! A trailer for the movie is now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZbJeHAFOSk . I will let you know as soon as there is information on a release date.

Manalive is available [in the Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton edition from Loome Theological Booksellers].

Finally, our book for November and December is The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 by Eamon Duffy. This monumental book by Duffy, is "a work of daring revision and a masterpiece of historical imagination...(that) utterly transforms the misinformation and propaganda that still surrounds the late-medieval English Church". In the process, it patiently and systematically destroys the untruths created by reformation and enlightenment scholars and authors.

. . .

And in conclusion, I do welcome any comments on our reviews, books, or selections for the future.

Warmest regards,

Misfit Buzz"

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Sucks to your ass-mar," Cultural Literacy!

The New York Times recently ran an article titled "A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like." It examined an educational approach known as the reading workshop:

For years Lorrie McNeill loved teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, the Harper Lee classic that many Americans regard as a literary rite of passage.

But last fall, for the first time in 15 years, Ms. McNeill, 42, did not assign Mockingbird — or any novel. Instead she turned over all the decisions about which books to read to the students in her seventh- and eighth-grade English classes at Jonesboro Middle School in this south Atlanta suburb.
The results were predictable. Some students wallowed in young adult chick lit. A few challenged themselves with authors like Ernest J. Gaines and Toni Morrison.

This debate has been around for some time. Do you force students to read the classics in the hope that they'll develop critical faculties and a refined literary taste? Or do you allow them to read whatever they want, be it Twilight or Finnegans Wake, in the hope that they'll develop a ravenous love of reading?

Minnesota Public Radio waded into the fray this week on the show Midmorning. One of their guests was Nancie Atwell, a junior high English teacher and the author of The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers.

Atwell is a proponent of fostering a love of reading by allowing students to choose their own books. She argued children need to practice reading voraciously before they can enjoy the classics. They need to build up fluency, stamina, confidence and taste before they can tackle Jane Eyre.

Atwell gave the example of one of her female students. Initially, the girl chose to read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Throughout the year, Atwell nudged the student toward increasingly difficult books. By the end of the academic year, she had read 40 books. When the student looked back on the Twilight series, she commented to Atwell that those books paled stylistically in comparison to her two favorites: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Poisonwood Bible.

Yet questions about the reading workshop remain. Are you sacrificing cultural literacy? Are you sacrificing the shared experience of a class studying a common text? Who will be left to shout "Sucks to your ass-mar!" on the playground if no teacher has assigned Lord of the Flies?

After indulging in a little navel-gazing, I can see a similar situation played out in my own reading history. As a teenager, I devoured young adult fiction such as The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and Harry Potter. It wasn't until high school and then college that I started reading literary classics for pleasure. I may have developed my love reading by consuming lighter fare, but I needed something to nudge me toward more substantive reading. In fact, the first literary classic I loved was Fahrenheit 451--assigned to me in sophomore English class.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Requiescat in Pace, Reading Rainbow



Reading Rainbow
, a 26-year stalwart on PBS, came to an end last week. NPR ran a fitting obituary citing the cause of Reading Rainbow's demise:

"The series resonates with so many people," says John Grant, who is in charge of content at WNED Buffalo, Reading Rainbow's home station...

Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.
The Department of Education wants children's television to focus on a noble and worthy purpose--how to read. Yet there are numerous children's shows on television that already do this--Sesame Street, Blues Clues, Wordworld, etc.

Reading Rainbow focused on fostering a love of reading--why kids should read. It had found its niche purpose. This was evident from the show's fanciful title sequence and imaginative opening song. (See video above.)
Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high,
Take a look, it's in a book — Reading Rainbow ...

Try getting that song out of your head. Three of Loome's staff members were born the same year Reading Rainbow debuted on the air. We grew up with the adventures of host LeVar Burton and book reviews given by bibliophilic children.

We must trust the love of reading will come just as naturally without LeVar Burton to guide the way, but it's a shame to say farewell to a show that fostered that nascent love in children. As Scout Finch, the heroine of To Kill a Mockingbird said, "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dante's Friend Fr. Z


We never know who will show up at Loome Theological Booksellers. Last week we were pleased to welcome Dante (the short one standing on the bookcase) and Fr. Zuhlsdorf (http://wdtprs.com/blog/). When will you visit?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Catholic Men and a Long Bow


From the Misfits:

"We met last Wednesday to discuss our latest novel, The Adventures of Robin Hood. Our discussion was enhanced by the return of Misfit Mark Druffner from Africa. Mark was the one who originally recommended the novel as a good read for our group. Mark arrived at our meeting with a genuine long bow (65 # pull) and proceeded to give us a demonstration of the strength it took to just draw a bow of the type used by Robin and his Merrie Men. (Mark also regretted that we were not dressed in Sherwood green and cooking venison to eat after our meeting. We agreed to do that at a future meeting!)

We all endorsed Mark's recommendation that we read The Adventures of Robin Hood. Though perhaps aimed at a younger audience, the author, Roger Lancelyn Green, managed to create a story that is enjoyable even for adult readers. The characters are often one dimensional and the portrayal of good and evil is drawn rather too sharply. There is little subtly in the story. That said, you always know exactly who the good and the bad guys are...and why they are good or bad! Unfortunately, Green portrayed the Church as particularly bad!

We commented at length on the negative portrayal of the Catholic Church in the story. Green was Protestant so the Church is viewed through that prism. That said, Green did portray the practice of the Faith by Robin and his men as very strong and always quite positive. They had great reverence for Mary, insisted on the Mass, and were men of strong belief. However, Green then portrays the institutional Church in a very negative way. This was particularly true in his descriptions of its officials (Bishops, Mother Superior, etc.) who bear the brunt of Green's negative portrayal.

Misfit Loome challenged Green's portrayal of widespread corruption within the Church and attributed Green's bias to the anti-Catholicism that came about in the aftermath of the confiscation of the Monasteries and the lands held by the English Catholic Church. Much of the anti-Catholicism in England derives from the myth and propaganda that was designed to justify the "stripping of the Altars" and the destruction of the Faith in England.

Misfit Loome recommended that we read Eamon Duffy's brilliant book, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 as an antidote to the misinformation that now surrounds the pre-Reformation Church in England. And so we shall. It will be our book for November (see comments below.)

Now on to our September read. We are excited about reading Piers Paul Read's new novel The Death of a Pope. I have read three of his novels and enjoyed them very much. He is an excellent author and he is professedly Catholic. Misfit Brad Lindberg has also read the novel and recommends it highly. Here is what Ron Hansen, author of Exiles, says about the book: "Piers Paul Read has managed to combine sheer storytelling power with great learning and insight about the inner workings of the Church to fashion an entertainment of the highest order. If John LeCarre took on Vatican politics, his book of suspense might aspire to be much like this one." Loome Theological Booksellers in Stillwater has it on back order from Ignatius. It should be in soon--call or stop by Loomes to check on availability (651-430-1092). It is also available from Amazon for $14.93 in hardcover.

In October, we will return to one of our favorite authors, G. K. Chesterton, when we will read Manalive. As one reviewer observes, "In this long-hidden yet highly entertaining classic, author G.K. Chesterton shows readers, through the delightful story of a windy evening with the mysterious Mr. Innocent Smith, the soul-refreshing secret of the love of life itself. While readers are unlikely to emulate all the adventures of Mr. Smith, each of us can recover the innocent joys we knew or hoped for when we were younger by learning from Smith's 'radically sane' philosophy."

As I mentioned last month, there is another reason why we are reading Manalive at this time. It will help prepare us for viewing the movie Misfit Ahlquist and crew have been busy filming! Misfit Ahlquist's movie, Manalive, is projected to be released in the fall...go to http://manalivethemovie.com/ for details of the movie, "trailers", news, etc. I will forward more information on this as it becomes available.

Finally, our book for November: we will read The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 by Eamon Duffy. This is a monumental work that would take months to properly read and discuss. It is a "vigorous and eloquent book, a work of daring revision and a masterpiece of historical imagination...(that) utterly transforms the misinformation and propaganda that still surrounds the late-medieval English Church". It patiently and systematically destroys the untruths created by the reformation. As one reviewer writes: "After you finish it, Shakespeare's haunting line form Sonnet 73, about the destruction the monasteries--'Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang' will resonate as never before." The Stripping of the Altars is available from Amazon for $15.64.

We have several alternatives available for reading and digesting Dr. Duffy's work (it runs to over 650 pages):

Warmest regards,

Misfit Buzz"

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Poetic and Creative Powers of Real Books

Dr. Thursday is one of our most beloved patrons of Loome Theological Booksellers. In response to my last blog he sent a link to a poem about real books. What's more, voluminously more, however is the saga that Dr. Thursday is writing about Loome Theological Booksellers (actually Dr. Thursday has set his tale in an alternate reality - the town is "Quayment" and the bookstore is named "Weaver's"). We received the latest installment in the mail today.


Curiously the latest installment came with a sealed envelope with the following message:


Andrew tells me the message above is typical of Dr. Thursday - mischievous.

Since his stories are one of a kind we don't have them available (yet?) for general readership. The few copies we have are circulating among the staff at Loome Theological Booksellers and Chestnut Street Books. However, we have been able to prepare one copy for sale. It's price is VERY high. The curious can search for "The Black Hole in Basement" at LoomeBooks.com.

Our affection for Dr. Thursday and his for us is centered around our shared love of real books. Real books awaken poetic and creative powers.

Read well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Real Books and Myopic Kindle


Real books are better than Kindle, by far, really far. By real books I mean the physical (2 covers and paper pages in between them with printed words) book. The real book is found on shelves in the living room, the reading room, the study, the hearth room, the classroom, the pastor’s office, and the library. The contents of many real book are now available on Kindle. However, we handle books daily that will realistically never ever be scanned for Kindle and these are important books. They are important for at least two reasons. First off they are important for their content. We handle wildly obscure books with scholarly substance (like this one: The Union of Uzhorod). Secondly, they are important for their provenance. Eight years ago we handled 50 or so books from Tolkien’s personal library. Most of them contained his signature. Several of them contained his extensive notes. Kindle could never reproduce the individualized copies of books like these. It mass produces generic copies of books. Kindle is for readers what Wal-Mart is for shoppers – generic and of low quality.

All of this demonstrates that Kindle tends to Reading Myopia. Kindle circumscribes the reader’s world to what can be mass produced. Real books tend to Reading Sophia. Real books put you in touch with real people and real history and if read well, lead to wisdom.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Devil in our hearts or our pockets


The latest from the Misfits below:

"We met last week to discuss C.S. Lewis' intriguing book, The Great Divorce. The novel is subtitled, A Dream. The action in the novel takes place as a fable wherein the writer finds himself in Hell boarding a bus bound for Heaven. Or is the bus leaving Purgatory? We weren't certain about that. You will have to decide for yourself when you read Lewis's wonderful allegory.

Lewis says that he wrote The Great Divorce to confront the author, William Blake, who he considered to be greatly wrong in his denial of an atonement for sin and a final judgment. Lewis in fact, derived the title of his novel by changing the title of Blake's 1790 book, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell to what Lewis believes is The Great Divorce between heaven and hell. Lewis believed that Blake was terribly wrong in asserting "mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil into good without our being called on for a final and total rejection of anything we should like to retain." Furthermore, Lewis considered Blake's "theology" in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell a "disastrous error". He thought Blake to be grievously wrong in asserting that, given enough time, all roads will eventually lead to a right path e.g., heaven. This fact, Lewis amply demonstrated through the characters one encounters on the imaginary bus that travels between Hell and Heaven.

In the novel, Lewis used the writing of George MacDonald (1824-1905) to help refute Blake's assertion that all will get to heaven given enough time. MacDonald asserted that "There is no heaven with a little of hell in it--no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather." Lewis agrees with MacDonald and asserts "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven; if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest most intimate souvenirs of Hell."

In the end, the Misfits at our meeting declared that The Great Divorce is a wonderful allegory with sound Catholic theology (even though Lewis was Anglican). We highly recommend the book if you haven't read it.

Our August book is Roger Lancelyn Green's classic retelling of The Adventures of Robin Hood. It is a story of social justice and outrageous cunning but also of thievery...we will have to talk about that! It is set in twelfth-century Catholic England and pits Robin and his men against the cruel power of Prince John and the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin takes refuge with his Merrie Men in the vast Sherwood Forest, emerging time and again to outwit his enemies with daring and panache.

For September, we are going to read The Death of a Pope by Piers Paul Read. I have read three previous books by Read...he is an excellent author and he is professedly Catholic. Misfit Brad Lindberg has read the novel and recommends it highly. Here is what Ron Hansen, author of Exiles, says about the book: "Piers Paul Read has managed to combine sheer storytelling power with great learning and insight about the inner workings of the Church to fashion an entertainment of the highest order. If John LeCarre took on Vatican politics, his book of suspense might aspire to be much like this one." It is available from Amazon for $14.93 in hardcover [and will be available from Loome Theological Booksellers by the middle of August].

In October, we will return to one of our favorite authors, G. K. Chesterton, when we will read Manalive. As one reviewer observes, "In this long-hidden yet highly entertaining classic, author G.K. Chesterton shows readers, through the delightful story of a windy evening with the mysterious Mr. Innocent Smith, the soul-refreshing secret of the love of life itself. While readers are unlikely to emulate all the adventures of Mr. Smith, each of us can recover the innocent joys we knew or hoped for when we were younger by learning from Smith's 'radically sane' philosophy."

But there is another reason we are reading Manalive. It will help prepare us for viewing the movie Misfit Ahlquist and crew have been busy filming! Misfit Ahlquist's movie, Manalive, is projected to be released in the fall...go to http://manalivethemovie.com/ for details of the movie, "trailers", news, etc. Wow! One of our own Misfits is a real movie producer! Who knew? Now we all do!

Yours in Christ,

Misfit Buzz"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Furtive Seminarians Emerge


Last week's blog post generated quite a discussion over at Fr. Z's blog. A few of the furtive seminarians even commented on the story and added their own anecdotes. The legend of Loome Theological Booksellers grows!

Also, as Fr. Z points out, read Fr. Baer's comments about the present formation of seminarians at St. John Vianney seminary in St. Paul.

Read well!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Carlson Saves Loome Theological Booksellers (long ago)


St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson once saved Loome Theological Booksellers from the "out with the old, in with the new" spirit of Vatican II hardliners in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.

Before he was Archbishop of St. Louis, before he was Bishop of Saginaw, before he was Bishop of Sioux Falls, and before he was the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul/Minneapolis, he was the Chancellor for the Archdiocese. Before Loome Theological Booksellers was the largest theological bookstore in the world, it was not. The following story was recounted to me by Dr. Loome just last week (some embellishments of suspense and style were added by me – but most of the story is true).

In those dark days Dr. Loome received a tip from a certain Dr. Briel at the University of St. Thomas that an edict had gone out from the chancery that seminarians were not to patronize Loome Theological Booksellers. St. John Vianney seminary was told that Loome Theological Booksellers was "out of bounds" because it sold "retrograde, conservative" books. It was then that they started coming at night, the seminarians that is. After hours the Loome family (who lived in the bookstore at the time or rather the bookstore was part of their house) would hear furtive knocks on their door and open the door a crack to let in the disobedient seminarians. The seminarians seemed to know that the books in Loome Theological Booksellers were necessary for their education.

Although the furtive visits were exciting for Dr. Loome and his wife Karen they decided that the damage to the store's reputation by this edict needed to be addressed. Dr. Loome soon made the call to the chancery and who happened to answer the phone, but our hero, Chancellor Carlson himself! Dr. Loome asked him why the edict had been issued against his bookstore. Chancellor Carlson paused . . . and said as delicately as he could, "no such edict has been issued". As Dr. Loome struggled to understand his meaning, Carlson further explained that no such edict had been issued by him and therefore no such edict had effect. Later, Dr. Loome learned that the Assistant Chancellor had been the one to issue the edict.

Chancellor Carlson, recognizing the great good of Loome Theological Booksellers, came up with a plan to save the bookstore's reputation. He asked Dr. Loome, "Has your business been blessed yet?" Dr. Loome began to smile and said, "No it has not". Chancellor Carlson then made plans to bless Loome Theological Booksellers and invited the local diocesan newspaper to the event. In no time at all the reputation of Loome Theological Booksellers was rightly corrected and seminarians soon could come in plain clothes during the day. That's how Carlson saved Loome Theological Booksellers and thwarted the schemes of the "out with the old, in with the new" spirit of Vatican II hardliners.

After listening to Dr. Loome recount his story I began to wonder just what "retrograde" and "conservative" books raised the ire of the Assistant Chancellor to such a degree as to issue the edict. Perhaps it was some of these*:

Publications of the Catholic Truth Society [78 volume set]. London: Catholic Truth Society,
78 blue hardcover volumes in good to very good condition (except for less than 10 volumes that are worn or ex-library). Clean interiors. Set includes volumes 1-45 (including 9a), 47-50, 53-54, 57, 59-60, 62-65, 67-70, 72-74, 78, 80-81, 83-84, 87-90, 92-93, and 102. Includes such authors as Cardinal Newman, Aidan Gasquet, O.S.B., Dom Bede Camm, O.S.B., S.F. Smith, S.J., Herbert Thurston, S.J., C.C. Martindale, S.J., A. Fortescue, Hilaire Belloc, Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P., et al.


DANIEL-ROPS, HENRI. Histoire de l'Église du Christ [Complete in 14 volumes]. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, Éditions Bernard Grasset, 1962-1965.
8vo. Excellent imitation leather with gilt decoration and marker ribbons, wrapped in clear plastic d/j. Top edge is gilt. With decorative endpapers and illustrations, some in color. Slight odor of smoke to all volumes. A beautiful set.

SCHULTE, A. J. & O'CONNELL, J. B. Consecranda. The Rite Observed in Some of the Principal Functions of the Roman Pontifical and the Roman Ritual. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1956.
8vo, x + 246pp. Text in English and Latin. Beautiful gilt leather with d/j. One marker ribbon. Interior text clean. Minor browning to endpapers. All edges orange. Binding tight.

Thank you Chancellor Carlson for saving Loome Theological Booksellers. May God bless your ministry to the good people of St. Louis.

* Later, when asked by me, Dr. Loome provided a list of authors that fell under the edict: Marmion, Sheen, Guardini, Houselander, Scheeben, Daniel-Rops, Francis de Sales, etc.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Evil Pinkie

The latest from Buzz and the Misfits:

"Last Wednesday evening, we met to discuss Graham Greene's novel, Brighton Rock. The novel marked Greene as a "Catholic author" and was the first novel in what came to be known as Greene's "Catholic Trilogy" (the other two novels being The Power and the Glory and The Heart of the Matter).

In Brighton Rock, we meet one of literatures most troubling, truly evil characters, Pinkie Brown. Pinkie is a seemingly impossible guy to love. Sadly, his girlfriend Rose, accepts Pinkie as he is and loves him in spite of his cruel treatment of her and others.

In the novel, Pinkies nemesis, Ida Arnold, suspects Pinkie of murder and tries to convince Rose to leave him. A great insight into the nature of Good and Evil occurs in this exchange between Ida and Rose:

Ida tells Rose, "I know one thing you don't. I know the difference between Right and Wrong. They didn't teach you that at school."

"Rose didn't answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods--Good and Evil, The woman could tell her nothing she didn't know about these--she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil--what did it matter whether he was right or wrong?"

Misfit Don Wessel made a telling observation about the manner in which Greene depicts the evil that fills the pages of the novel and surrounds Pinkie. Don noted that Greene, unlike many present day authors, did not assign responsibility for Pinkie's destructive behavior to some collective activity or negative aspect of society. In other words, Greene was not a "social critic" who tried to blame society for making Pinkie a pathologically evil person. As Don observed, in Brighton Rock the final responsibility for Pinkie's self-destruction is charged, not to the slums in which he was raised, but to Pinkie's own free choice. Don echoes Cardinal Newman who said that the basic cause of evil is not to be looked for in society. Evil is to be found in the human race which is implicated in a "terrible aboriginal calamity." It is also found in the blasphemy that comes out of Pinkie's mocking mouth: "Credo in unum Satanum."

This is a tough book to read. It is definitely not a book with a happy ending. In fact, it has one of the most chilling endings in literature. Would I recommend the book to others? Definitely, especially if you are a Catholic. If you are a Catholic, you will understand Greene's perspective on Good and Evil.

Our book for July is C. S. Lewis's wonderful allegory of heaven, The Great Divorce. This is a fantasy novel which begins when the characters in the novel are shown boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood. The narrator soon realizes that he is being taken to Heaven where the passengers on the bus are given a terrible choice, heaven or hell. The book's primary message is presented obliquely by declaring, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" The narrator's descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for the Misfits. Again, Lewis displays his great genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception in everyday life. This novel will show each of us the consequences of everyday pettiness.

If you have the time, please read C.S. Lewis's book, Mere Christianity as an adjunct to The Great Divorce. This is a recommendation and not a requirement. It will, however, give us additional material to discuss and frame the portrayal of heaven Lewis depicts in The Great Divorce.

Loome Theological books has a few copies available; otherwise, you can easily find both books on line at Amazon or B & N.

Finally, we will have a change of pace for our August reading. We have decided to read The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green. Misfit Druffner, now in Africa, recommended this as a perfect summer read. It is a classic story of social justice and outrageous cunning. As we know, Robin Hood is champion of the poor and oppressed. it is set in twelfth-century England and pits Robin and him men against the cruel power of Prince John and the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin takes refuge with his Merrie Men in the vast Sherwood Forest, emerging time and again to outwit his enemies with daring and panache.


Roger Lancelyn Green was born in 1918 and lived in Oxford, England at his family home in Cheshire, which the Greens had owned for more than 900 years. He loved storytelling and was fascinated by traditional fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world. He was a professional actor, a librarian and a teacher. His retellings include Egyptian, Greek and Norse legends, plus a retelling of Robin Hood. He also wrote many books for adults, including a biography of his friend C. S. Lewis, creator of The Chronicles of Narnia. Roger Lancelyn Green died in 1987.

Warmest regards,

Misfit Buzz"

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Devil’s Advocate

In between the St. Athanasius Day Sale, the International Conference on Medieval Studies, the North American Patristics Society Conference, visits to the store from the University of St. Thomas Catholic Studies Alumni Association, the local Missionaries of Charity sisters, Society of Pius X priests from New York, an exorcist from the Diocese of Marquette, MI, I haven't been able to put together a new posting. However, the blog has been saved by another report from Buzz of the Misfits reading group:

You can chalk up Morris West's novel, The Devil's Advocate, as one of the best story's we've read over the past 6 years.  Like a good friendship, the novel takes a bit of time to develop.  It soon becomes one of those books you don't want to put down.  It also becomes a story that you don't want to see end.  There are many unforgettable characters in this novel not the least of whom is Msgr Blaise Meredith, the priest who was designated the Devil's Advocate for the beatification of the conflicted, mysterious Giacomo Nerone.  You must decide for yourself if Nerone is a Saint.   You also have to ask yourself if Msgr. Meredith's investigation reveals him as something other than just a good man?  I won't answer that question as it would spoil the novel if you haven't read it yet. 

West was obviously a man of strong faith.  He also had a complete understanding of the Catholic Church.  I found this description of the Church in Chapter 4 of the novel, compelling and somewhat perplexing:

"For a man born into the church there is a singular comfort in the close-knot logic of the faith.  Its axioms are easy of acceptance.  Its syllogisms are piled one on top of the other, firm as the bricks in a well-built house.  Its disciplines are rigid, but one moves freely inside them, as one does in the confines of a well-bred family.  Its promises are reassuring; that if one submits to the logic and the discipline, one walks naturally in the way of salvation.  The complex, terrifying relationship of Creator and creature is reduced to a formula of faith and a code of manners.

For priests and monks and nuns, the logic is more meticulous, the disciplines more rigid, but the security of body and spirit is commensurately greater.  So that if a man can surrender himself completely to the will of the Creator, as expressed by the will of the church, he can live and die in peace--either a cabbage or a saint!"  (pp 145-46)

Good luck with the struggle!

Now, on to the Future:

June:   We will read Brighton Rock for our next book.  It is generally regarded as the third book of Greene's "Catholic trilogy". The novel is a "blend of horror, adventure, mystery and morbid realism for this weird, sometimes original story of murders at Brighton Rock, the London Coney Island. An unprepossessing Londoner on a Bank Holiday is the first victim and his friend of the day investigates the murder, which was done by Pinkie, a boy of 17, heading a gang of racing racketeers, whose rule is threatened by another more powerful gang." Pinkie is bad; the girl he romances named Rose is good.  Both are Catholics and the Catholic belief system looms large in this story, adding depth to Greene's excellent characterizations.  Misfit Chris Hagen has just ordered 15 copies of Brighton Rock for the Misfits. It's the paperback version and it should arrive at Loome Theological Booksellers (North 4th Street, Stillwater) next week.  The list price is $16 but Loome's will be selling it to the Misfits for $11.00!  (There you have another good reason to be a Misfit!) 

July:  Our read for July is C. S. Lewis's wonderful allegory of heaven, The Great Divorce.  This is regarded as C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy: "the narrator bears strong resemblance to Lewis (by way of Dante); his Virgil is the fantasy writer George MacDonald".  The story begins when the characters in the novel are shown boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood.  The narrator soon realizes that he is being taken to Heaven where the passengers on the bus are given a terrible choice, heaven or hell.  The book's primary message is presented obliquely by declaring, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'"  The narrator's descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for the Misfits.  Again, Lewis displays his great genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception in everyday life.  This novel will show each of us the consequences of everyday pettiness.  It will also be available from Loome Theological Booksellers.

I end with the news that our feminine counterparts (and better halves!) now have their own web site.  The Catholic Women's Reading Group site run by Cheryl Kane is at http://home.comcast.net/~catholicreader/site/?/home/  This month the ladies are reading The Living Wood by Louis de Wohl.

Tolle lege,

 Misfit Buzz