Verse and Censure for the Feast Day + Chris Tollefsen at Public Discourse

Since we’ve been speaking of wealth ’round here lately . . . a limerick for today’s feast:

When faced with a room full of clutter,

I’ve been known to piously utter,

“Help me to know,

what should stay, what should go?

Oh blessed Teresa of Calcutta!”

 

In other news: Chris Tollefsen writes brilliantly at Public Discourse today.  I’m a shameless Chris T. fan, so no surprise that I like the message.  But I don’t get to say it as often as I’d like: This is far and away his best piece ever.  That I’ve seen, anyhow.  Go take a look.

In places NOT to look: Front Porch Republic, which I subscribe to but very rarely read, because publishing just a snippet for the feed reader is a very effective way to discourage me from reading your work, recently ran a piece about liturgy and limericks.  The idea was spot on, unfortunately the chosen limericks were dreadfully lewd.  Really? Was that necessary?  No it was not.

To which end, perhaps not the most incisive wit, but making the same point as the FPR piece:

The rabbit who traveled by plane

said, “Security can be such a pain.

They opened my baggage,

and out fell my cabbage,

and I had to re-pack it again.”

The point FPR was making?  A good genre, delightful in its context, is not necessarily the right genre for the holy liturgy.   And another example, same rabbit theme, we have quite the collection growing*:

To my door came a poor little bunny,

who needed to earn some money,

“I’ll cut your grass for a dime,

one bite at a time–“

But in the end, the lawn looked quite funny.

See?  Perfectly moral, g-rated limericks.  It can be done. And the argument FPR wants to make is stronger when you acknowledge the genre isn’t used soley for smut. Show tunes are wrong at Mass not because Hollywood’s a den of sin, or because the cabaret / jazz / pop sound is always and everywhere associated with immorality.  It’s because these types of music are about something else — something that can be beautiful and true and good and inspiring — but it’s something other than the worship of God.

And thus a final contribution for today:

On the feast of Teresa of Calcutta,

this pundit is likely to mutter,

“You’re housed and you’re fed,

but your brain is half dead,

’till you rescue your wit from the gutter.”

Happy Feast Day.  Straighten up and fly right, FPR.

*The limerick fest began because, to my genuine shock and surprise, no irony there, my teenage boy does not love his poetry course for literature.  I was stunned.  A teenager? Not like poetry?  Really?  It’s all about love, death and self-centered dramatizing . . . that should be just the thing!  Certainly was for me at that age.  SuperHusband wisely suggested we begin with something a little lighter.  And thus I succeeded, not in converting my skeptical teen, but in launching a festival of animal-themed verse among the the two youngest.

I’ll take my victories where I can.

Meanwhile, any poetry recommendations for less-romantic, very modern boys, who mostly read Dr. Boli?

Rabbit Photo: Larry D. Moore [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Bleg – Starting High School Homeschooling Mid-Year

From a reader in the comboxes:

Hi Jennifer,
We have decided to start homeschooling mid year for our son who is in 10th grade. He previously attended a private high school.
I am a newby and i am looking for structure without stress.
Any ideas?
peace~anne

Any suggestions?  Post in the combox or at your place and leave Anne a link so she can find you, please! 

Rebecca Frech I am talking to you.  Bearing, you’ve got a mind from these things, speak up. 

Everyone, Who else should we tag? Darwins?  Brandon? Anna? Christian? Anyone?  Bueller?

***

My thought would be to take his course load from school, and do a subject-by-subject picking of a decent text book?  Something like this:

Math:  Pick an appealing program, ideally something that uses DVD or computer instruction so you aren’t doing it yourself.  Figure out where to start mid-year by doing sampling of the end-of-chapter questions until it gets to new stuff.  (You may need to back-up and review select topics from early chapters that the school was going to introduce later in the year.)  If money is tight, math books is where I’d risk the biggest investment, if you come across something that is good but expensive.

Science:  Do part 2 of his current-year subject (biology probably?), using a text book that meets his general aptitude.  As you read reviews, you’ll hear about some that are more rigorous, some that are “too easy”, etc.  Try to aim for a ‘just right’ for his science abilities, challenging enough to be interesting, but not overwhelming.   If he’s already in chemistry, either continue with it if he’s strong in the subject and knew what was going on, but if he was flailing, abort that mission and proceed with a different subject for the second semester — either morphing in “physical sciences” or going with something like astronomy (just do the first semester of a year-long program.).  I would not try to remediate Chemistry mid-year.  This is the second subject I’d invest in, in terms of quality of materials.

History: Pick up where he left off, time-wise, and just keep on moving.  This is low-stress.  Pick a book or books he likes, and have him write a paper a week (the infamous 5 paragraphs) on what he studied that week.  If there’s no final exam (for example if you just do library method, where grab books on topic and read ’em), have him do a term paper or oral presentation for his final.  If he was doing the government/economics two-semester combo, do the other subject this semester.

English:  If he was doing a particular study (“British Literature” “English Literature”, etc), you can keep going with that, or morph into a generic “English 2”.  You’re looking for a combination of literature study (reading good stuff and thinking intelligently about it), plus vocabulary practice from a vocab book in preparation for the SAT, and a grammar book and/or composition book to work the writing/editing skills.  You may be able to just continue at home with whatever vocab book he was using at school.  I’d look around at the various curriculum providers (Kolbe, MODG, etc etc.) and see what appeals to you and fits the budget.

Cheap alternative:  Go to your library and check out Grammar Girl or an equivalent; one good beginner’s writing book written for aspiring writers (watch for foul language, there are some excellent writing books that have a touch of potty mouth); and a pile o’ classics that are of interest, and work through those for 2nd semester.  There are also some curriculum out there such as the Literacy through The Lord of the Rings and so forth, that build a one-year or one-semester literature curriculum around a single work or genre. (I have not reviewed the curriculum, FYI.)  If you find one that strikes his fancy, this could be a good way to finish out English 2 and cultivate an appreciation of literature that doesn’t involve too much penance.

Foreign Language: Your #1 concern is meeting the college-entrance foreign-language requirements.  So take into account what he’s already studied, how much time he has left, and figure out whether you need to continue with current language, or if you can start a new one, or if this is a subject you don’t need to worry about this semester.  Pick a program that appeals to you and roughly matches up to his current level.  It’s okay to do, say, “Latin 1” or “Italian 3” spread out over odd-semesters, as long as he completes the necessary units of study.  So don’t panic over this one.

You could also wait a few months and do your 2nd-semester foreign language in ‘summer school’.  Language-learning can be brain-intensive, and some students benefit from focusing 100% on the language for a time, and essentially completing a semester or year’s worth of classes in a shorter more concentrated period.  Picking the exact right book/program is not important in 10th grade second semester.  Language-learning is cumulative in a networked, whole-brain way.  Whatever he uses will benefit him, and you can refine your choice next year.  If you aren’t sure what to do, beg a free loaner book off someone to start with, and invest after you are confident of your choice.

Religion:  If you’re looking for suggestions, give us some more details on what he’s done already?  Kids are all over the map in terms of background knowledge, interests and abilities, and you want to strike a good balance in difficulty-level and topics, in order to keep it interesting and appropriate.

Other electives:  What can you knock out this spring that you’ve got to do in order to graduate / get into college, without making anyone cry?  My thought would be to pursue a hobby that he loves and would consider rewarding, ie if he loves to draw than take an art class, or if he plays sports, join a team and give him credit for PE. But I wouldn’t pursue the extras this semester when you are transitioning if it’s going to stress you out or make him miserable.  A man should be made miserable in moderate doses.

If there’s a pre-packaged curriculum that just seems like the perfect thing, go with it.  If not, compile your course of study a piece at a time.  My advice would be, when you read about the curriculum, does it make sense to you?  Can you get your head around it?  You’ve got so much suddenly on your plate, this is probably not the time to slog through an academic approach that is going to stretch your brain to snapping point.  Look for stuff that makes you go, “Oh yes, that! Perfect!”

***

Okay, that’s my guess.   Other people, correct me, hmmn?   Any personal experiences to share?  Cautionary tales?  Bits of encouragement?

7 Takes: Questions about Higher Education – From a College Student

My awesome niece & goddaughter just started college, and the other day she phoned me.  “Do you have an hour or two? I need to get your opinions on higher education for this paper I’m writing.”

I’m pleased to tell you I kept my comments to 59 minutes, a record for me.  She e-mailed me some follow-up and some get-the-quote-right questions, and that’s on my to-do list for today.

If you’d like to answer some or all of them at your place, I know she’d be interested in your answers.  Leave the link in my combox and I’ll direct her to take a look.  Or just answer in the combox here, if you aren’t a blogger yourself.

***

1.      What is your opinion of the value of college in today’s society?

 

2.      Do you believe in the theory that everyone should have a college education?

 

3.      According to Louis Menand, author of “Live and Learn”, there are three theories of why people attend college. The first theory is that college is an intelligent test meaning people go to college to prove they are smart. The second theory people go to college is for the social benefits since college should theoretically be getting people ready to enter society. The third theory is that college is job training. How does this align with you own theory of the purpose of college? Do you believe in these some values?

 

4.      Growing up was your value of a college education influenced in any way? If so was it family? Teachers? Or some other form?

 

5.      In recent years the availability of a college education has changed and become more accessible to more people. For example there are online Universities, certain states offer scholarships to many high school graduates, and there is government funding to minorities. Do you agree or disagree with this?

 

6.      What will you teach your own kids about the value of a college education? What influences this?

 

***

Since she had 6 questions and our theme is 7 takes, how about you add a 7th: What else would you like to say?  FYI for those who haven’t heard, Erin at Bearing Blog has a whole series on this topic.

Thanks to our hostess, the always-inquisitive Jen Fulwiler.  Pray for Allie Hathaway, then visit Jen’s site, Scorpions Are Us ConversionDiary.com to see more quick takes.

 

The Kolbe Reviews: Religion

Freedom’s just another word for “knowing what to do.” And then doing it.

I’ve been using the Faith and Life textbook series for homeschool religion since the boy was in first grade.  I loved it then, and still love it now.

 

What you get: Each book in the series has approximately 30 chapters, designed to be read one a week throughout the school year.  (Some years there are more chapters, some years less).  The reading is on grade-level, but the first grade book is designed to be a read-aloud, and the second grade book will be a read-aloud for some students.  Each chapter might be ten minutes worth of reading?  One day’s assignment. At the end of the chapter there are usually some vocabulary words, a scripture or prayer, and some catechism questions and answers.

All except the 2nd grade book feature gorgeous traditional artwork for the illustrations.  The second grade book uses contemporary-school-book genre stuff, but you’ll get over that insult when you get back to 3rd grade and the serious art resumes for the remainder of the series.

Each book has a theme — first grade covers Salvation 101, 2nd grade prepares students for the sacraments of reconciliation and communion, fourth grade is a survey of the Bible, sixth grade is heavy on the moral life.  Along the way you spiral through the essentials of the faith at an age-appropriate level, so it’s possible to jump right in at grade-level even if you haven’t used the texts before, or even ever studied the faith before.

The accompanying Activity Book is a consumable workbook with a combination of study questions and fun activities like coloring pages and crossword puzzles.  Together the two make a complete package for home use — the student does the reading, completes the study questions, and does any of the extra workbook pages as desired.  I let my kids write in the book, but if you did only the study questions on a separate paper, and no fun-and-games, you could pass the book down.

I have looked through the expansive (and expensive) teacher’s manuals, and they do contain a lot of helpful information for the catechist.  But for home use, I think these are not needed.  My advice for a parent who is not very knowledgeable of the faith would be to do the student reading along with the child, and then to learn more about the faith in general by picking out other good Catholic books on topics of interest.

UPDATED: Tara in the combox observes, and I would take her advice over mine:

I find them really really useful because I am not a catechist and I cannot make this stuff up. They have the answers for the activity book pages and have a test / quiz for each chapter and each section (again, answers supplied too). Unless you’re very confident and very experienced, I think they’re well worth the money.

FYI the teachers manuals are huge.  So priced comparably (even favorably) to other works offering similar amounts of info.

I’ve never used Faith and Life in the classroom.  My parish has always used some-other-brand.  I have talked to several catechists from other parishes who didn’t care for F&L, because of the strongly academic focus (a selling point for me — I love it), and because the style of the lessons didn’t call for crafts and activities and so forth.  We did do one test section of F&L for 8th grade last year, and the feedback I received at mid-year from the catechist teaching that class was very good.  Feedback from a 2nd-grade catechist at another parish was that course material was good, but the lessons worked best if the teacher had free reign to present the topics the way she thought the students would learn them best.   I think a lot depends on whether the parish in fact wants students to learn the faith with the rigor expected in other academic subjects, and whether the teacher has the experience and confidence to teach the material effectively.

What you don’t get in F&L:  There’s very little in the way of multicultural imagery, church geography, or even much for lives of saints.  This is a theology course, and you need to plan to fill out your students’ religious education with all the other stuff that makes up our faith and heritage.  If you are going to Mass, observing the feast days, living out in the wider world, praying as a family, and reading lives of saints as part of your literature curriculum, you’re in good shape.  Otherwise, plan to pick up some supplemental materials that will fill in your gaps.

About the Three Editions:  There’s original, revised, and 3rd edition to match the new mass translation.  Don’t worry about it.  If someone gives you an older edition, it’ll work fine. Every now and then one of the assignments won’t line up, but it’s not a big deal.  On the other hand, the books are fairly affordable new.  My personal approach is if I’m going to buy, I buy new, but I’m not upgrading my older stock.

Kolbe also uses the St. Jospeh Baltimore Catechism series.  These are retro-style catechisms, complete with an English translation of the mass that sounds almost like our new mass translation, because, get this: it’s translated straight from the Latin.  Because the books are that old.  The language is frank, the drawings are 1950’s-chic, and yes, I love this one too.  Great discovery.  If you want to justify mowing the lawn on Sundays, don’t let your kids read this book.  No toe left un-stomped.

The course plans.  For me as a catechist who happens to be a parent, the course plans primarily save me the work of writing up my own.  But I think they’d be one of the sets of plans worth purchasing if you aren’t registered with Kolbe, because each day’s and week’s assignments include a summary of the lesson topic, and points to clarify as you teach your student.  Lots of material in the plans.

The planned assignments do call for a lot of memorization and recitation.  Recall that as the teaching parent, you’re free to decide just how much of that memory work your student needs to do.

FYI: The Kolbe plans run on a four-day schedule, and are built around a tutoring-type environment, so they can’t be peeled off the page and inserted into a parish religious education program as-written.   That said, if I were Queen of Religious Ed (I’m not) and had the budget to match my imperial fantasy life, I’d want something like this to give to new and struggling catechists, because the plans to do a good job distilling the faith into the essentials.

***

Questions?  Comments?

My vote for Most Important Book of 2012

I just spent 3 days in the largest Catholic bookstore in the world.  I bought one book.  This is it:

Then I was stuck in an airport for five hours.  Perfect timing.

What it is:  Tiến Dương is a real guy about your age (born 1963) who is now a priest in the diocese of Charlotte, NC.  Deanna Klingel persuaded him to let her tell his story, and she worked with him over I-don’t-know-how-long to get it right.  Fr. Tien is a bit embarrassed to be singled out this way, because his story is no different from that of thousands upon thousands of his countryman.  But as Deanna pointed out, if you write, “X,000 people endured blah blah blah . . .” it’s boring.  Tell one story well, and you see by extension the story of 10,000 others.

The book is told like historical fiction, except that it’s non-fiction verified by the subject — unlike posthumous saints’ biographies, there’s no conjecture here.  It’s what happened.  The reading level is middle-grades and up, though some of the topics may be too mature for your middle-schooler.  (Among others, there is a passing reference to a rape/suicide.)  The drama is riveting, but the violence is told with just enough distance that you won’t have nightmares, but you will understand what happened — Deanna has a real talent for telling a bigger story by honing in on powerful but less-disturbing details.  Like, say, nearly drowning, twice; or crawling out of a refugee camp, and up the hill to the medical clinic.

–>  I’m going to talk about the writing style once, right now: There are about seven to ten paragraphs interspersed through the book that I think are not the strongest style the author could have chosen.  If I were the editor, I would have used a different expository method for those few.  Otherwise, the writing gets my 100% stamp of approval — clear, solid prose, page-turning action sequences, deft handling of a zillion difficult or personal topics.

Why “Most Important Book?”

This is a story that needs to be known.  It is the story of people in your town and in your parish, living with you, today.  And of course I’m an easy sell, because the books touches on some of my favorite topics, including but not limited to:

  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Diplomacy
  • Poverty
  • Immigration
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom, Period
  • Refugee Camps
  • Cultural Clashes
  • Corruption
  • Goodness and Virtue
  • Faith
  • Priestly Vocations
  • Religious Vocations
  • Marriage and Family Life as a Vocation
  • Lying
  • Rape
  • Suicide
  • Generosity
  • Orphans
  • Welfare
  • Stinky Mud
  • Used Cars
  • Huggy vs. Not-Huggy

You get the idea.  There’s more.  Without a single moment of preaching.  Just an action-packed, readable story, well told.

Buy Bread Upon the Water by Deanna K. Klingel, published by St. Rafka press.

What to Consider in Choosing a Homeschooling Curriculum

I’ve gotten a reader request to write up my thoughts on choosing a curriculum, so I’m jumping ahead to the end of the series, and then I’ll come back and revisit Math and Religion.

Can you afford it?  With a very few exceptions, I don’t ever recommend pursuing education you can’t afford.  End of story.  Kolbe and the like are not cheap (though Kolbe is less expensive than some of the other alternatives), and as with many good or convenient things, when you are short on cash, you have to find another way.  Sometimes the other way is in fact a better way, so don’t panic.

–> Don’t spend your whole book budget at the beginning of the year. Save some money for mid-year changes, because you aren’t omniscient, so there’s a decent chance you’ll pick one or two flops.  It’s okay.  Set aside the cash so you have it when you need it.

Does is fit with your real life?  That’s how we ended up with Kolbe, FYI.  I’m perfectly capable of writing and teaching from my own curriculum, and enjoyed doing it. But I’m not at all above outsourcing cleaning help, buying prepared foods, paying some other mom to drive the carpool to dance class . . . whatever it takes to make real life work. [I once started to ask my daughter to pray my rosary for me, then remembered, “No, that’s not something you’re supposed to delegate.”]  When I was at a point where something (else) had to give, on the long list of things I do, writing up weekly course plans was one I learned I could outsource.  So we did.  It’s been good.

–> My point here is to encourage parents to look closely at the time and energy and involvement different curricula require.  Don’t pick Math Made Easy By 60 Minutes of Absolute Silence if you just gave birth to quadruplets. It’s okay to pick the cheesy, low-intensity, lowest-common-denominator program, if that’s the one you’ll actually do.  Doing all (or most) of the work from a cushy program is better than doing little or none of the work from that majestic High Standards Because We Are Achievers program.

Do you like it?  You.  The parent.  When you read about the curriculum, or thumb through the book, does it make you smile?  If it makes you groan, or you think, “I guess I have to do this because these smart people say you have to, but how on earth . . .” that’s your warning.  Back away.  If you hate it, it’s not going to work.

Do you believe it matters?  If the student finds it fun, the student will do it.  Unfortunately, there’s a 95% chance you are going to try to teach your child something the child doesn’t think is fun.  Which means your willpower is the only thing that will make the learning happen.  Don’t spend a lot of money and space and guilt on a product you don’t actually think matters.

–> I am increasingly convinced that the reason Living Books or Nature Study or Memorization Of Everything or Latin First English Second or Name That Approach, Written About With Fervor And You’re Ruining Your Child If You Neglect This One Thing . . . I’m convinced they work, and work well, because of the teacher’s enthusiasm.  There are bad teaching methods, don’t mistake me.  And I have methods I love and firmly believe in, and that I think make for sound teaching and real education.  But ultimately some part of my success as a teacher isn’t about having found The One True Way, it’s about having found a way that I can run with, that matches who I am and how I teach and the way my brain works and helps me connect to my students.*

As you learn about curricula, look for choices that just seem so right.  They just seem to fit.  They make you smile and go, “Yes!”.  That’s your ideal.

Do you scruple?  Kolbe is very intent on subsidiarity, and I love that.  As the parent-teacher, I blackline some assignments, I add to others, some things I trade out wholesale.  I have a friend who nearly died of heart failure using Seton, not because Seton is a money-maker for cardiologists, but because she wasn’t comfortable with paring down the curriculum as she needed to do (and as her advisers at Seton said she should).  She does everything 100%.   Seton proposes a tremendous curriculum, and she didn’t know how to say No to the parts that were too much.  She needed a lighter program that she could plow through from start to finish, and rest knowing she had Done The Whole Thing.

***

Those are my main thoughts.  I know we have a number of other homeschoolers reading here. What else would you add?

 

 

*This, I believe, is why Math books are like a religion unto themselves.

 

 

 

Gregory the Great Academy – Marketing Genius

Just arrived in the mail from the monks at Clear Creek Monastery, a free CD and this pitch for Gregory Great the Academy:

I was recently talking to a mother of two SGA graduates.  As her sons transitioned to college, she marveled at their development of character . . . Once, during his first home break from SGA, she asked her oldest son to help her with the laundry.  Without any comment or complaint, her son proceeded to gather up the laundry in the house and clean his own room as well.

Inferior schools talk about college acceptance rates.  Before you put down your tuition deposit, ask the questions that really count.

At CatholicMom.com: Homeschool Planning & Setting Priorities

Homeschool Planning: You Can’t Do Everything in which I talk about the trade-offs my family makes in order to bring our curricular fantasies down to earth, and put together a homeschool curriculum we can actually sort of accomplish, more or less.  Also in which we discover I’m much better about wanting to study Latin than about actually studying it.

Mothers, Teachers, Plans and Purposes

My Hail Mary post at Sarah R.’s place is up.  What I discovered writing it, is that I’d been looking at this question of feminine genius all backward.  Our culture wants us to look at men, and try to guess how women compare.  But just ask Adam — it’s the other way around.  He was adrift until he discovered Eve.  What, after all, is the purpose of tending the garden and taking care of creation, and all the other amazing and wonderful things guys do?  What is the work of Christ, the bridegroom, done in service to His bride, the Church?  He makes her mission possible.  That is, Christ and the Church have a single mission.

BTW I stuck the photo up big, here, so you can see that girl-smile.  It doesn’t quite come across when posted in moderation, the way sensible blog-owners do.

***

I’ve got an article in the new issue of Mater et Magistra.  I haven’t seen the final (edited) version, so I can’t tell you exactly all the parts that made the cut.  [You never know how many words there will be room for, once all the articles for the month are gathered together.  So I submitted my article divided into sub-sections so it would be easy to edit down in chunks.]

But anyhow, it’s pure accountant-frugality meets homeschool-desperation: How do you decide what books to buy?  Don’t panic, I don’t advise anyone to act like I do and buy waaaaaay too many books.  Instead I actually talked with a bunch of much more sensible and practical homeschool moms, and found out what does and does not work in real life, for staying sane and under-budget, and still getting school done.

Let me know what you think when you read it, I’ll happily post your thoughts here.

***

I haven’t figured out how to get my Amazing Catechists feed working quite right, but one day I will.  Meanwhile, I posted about Journals & the Sacrament of Confession this week.  Because a real live human being (who I don’t know personally, and I have no idea when or where or how the incident took place) asked my opinion on this:

Is it appropriate for religion teachers to ask students about their sins?  In my friend’s  religion class, the teacher asked him to write in his journal about one of the sins he would be confessing at his next confession.  What do you think?

No, seriously.  I didn’t make that up.   I can write fiction, but there are limits.  And anyway, I don’t do horror.

3.5 Time Outs: On Tour

Thanks once again to our host Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy, who pulled the ol’ you-vacationed-where?? trick on me.  Works every time. I’m easy to surprise.

Click and be amazed.

1.

We unplugged for Triduum, and wow:  Peaceful.  But look, the power of scheduling made it look like I was on the internet: In Defense of Pretty Good Schools, at CatholicMom.com. Technically it’s a homeschooling column (because that’s how I tricked Lisa H. into letting me write for her — I said, “Gosh, do you need any homeschooling columnists?”), but actually it’s for everyone.

2.

Remember that whole girl problem I was having before?  That Christian LeBlanc answered so easily, like he always does? I stole his answer, of course.  He’ll probably cringe when he sees what I went and did with it.  My post on the word “Women” goes up at Sarah R.’s blog on Thursday morning.  She says she likes it.  But if you want something really smart, with Doctors of the Church and all that, you’d better just read Jeff Miller’s post about “Among”.  Or for a reflection about intimacy and Old English, you’d want Julie Davis on “Thou”.

But Sarah’s going to be nice to me at least until Friday, because her Catholic Family Fun book tour visits right here at this blog, when I’ll be reviewing her book in seven quick takes, for the other evil overlord who we won’t mention just now.  What you need to know today: It’s good enough I actually bought a copy with my own money to give as a gift to somebody.  Admittedly I buy a lot of books.  But when I acquire a second copy, that’s your hint.

3.

Look, more things for smart people:  Barbara Nicolosi let us post the transcript of her workshop on “Towards a Literature that is Catholic” at CWG.  I think maybe she doesn’t read the Hardy Boys much, because she says things like:

My theory is that the secular world is not anti-Catholic as much as it is anti-bad art.

Me, on the other hand, I’m all about bad art*.  Then again, I’m not real secular.

3.5

In more book tour excitement, this coming Monday I’m reviewing Karina Fabian’s Live and Let Fly, and let me tell you, it is absolutely . . .

 

***

Well, that’s all for today.  It’s Link Day once again, which is not an obligation, just an opportunity.  Because no one likes having their perfectly good link stuck in my inbox with a little star next to it, when it could be down in the combox for everyone to enjoy.  One link per comment so you don’t get accidentally caught in the spam dungeon, where even detective dragons dare not prowl.

And hey, Happy Easter!

*This is not a strictly factual statement.  I’m good with hokey genre fiction as long as the story is fun and entertaining, though I reserve the right to joke about it over a cup of coffee with the boy afterwards.  But even I have my limits.