What Are You Reading - New Books -
  • Would anyone here like to share an aedifying new book that he or she has stumbled on to?

    Since I started going again for a coffee and perusing new books at B & N's in recent weeks, I have discovered a fascinating new book which puts all the world's musical traditions in perspective with one another, from Pygmies in Africa to the music of nomads, and insights into prehistoric music, as well as Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Aztec and Peruvian, and our own quite unique Western tradition. A surprising narrative which connects our unique Western culture in surprising ways with that of others, The book is The Musical Human, by Michael Spitzer, Professor of musicology at the University of Liverpool, published by Bloomsbury Publishers. There are many surprising characteristics that are universal, as well as some that are unique to each culture.

    Are there any other new books to share here?
  • I've just finished Chesterton's Saint Thomas Aquinas, and enjoyed both the biographical aspect and the linguistic. For anyone who doesn't know, Chesterton is an acquired taste, but one well worth acquiring. I described his prose earlier this week to a student as something like a kitten chasing a ball of yarn. I've been reading Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ since Advent, and I'm enjoying every morsel. (I've read this book before, so it's neither new to me nor new absolutely, but I can almost hear the Archbishop using his chapters as conferences given to groups of persons.

    In a used bookstore last week in Ojai, California, I discovered a book by the famous author Christopher Hibbert, called simply Agincourt, which I bought I haven't managed to start the book, yet, but it's on my (lengthy) list of must-read books.

    One last one for now, which I'm thinking about as the anniversary of my father's death approaches. He translated Robert Froriep's Aspects the Tongue(1828) with the help of a two colleagues, one of whom was a dentist. I have the book ( a monograph) on my shelf and will some day get back to reading it (I did start, but got lost in some of the details).
  • Chris -
    I've read Chesterton and Lewis, and though they each come from separate streams, each flows from the same unmistakably English river of which they are tributaries. I would put Chesterton's The Everlasting Man amongst the greatest books I have read. As for Lewis, I would put The Great Divorce amongst the most compelling books I've read.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,131
    I'm reading 'Summa Theologica'. Been doing so for a few years and will probably take a few more to finish.
  • Drake
    Posts: 208
    Recently finished The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich.
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 1,018
    "Second Friends: C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation"
    not quite new book (2008) but new to me.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 286
    Sayings of the Desert Fathers edited by Benedicta Ward
    The Music Lover's Handbook, 1943, by Elie Siegmeister
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,835
    I am starting a book a friend asked that I read so we could discuss it. It is, "The Secret Power of Music: The Transformation of Self and Society Through Musical Energy." It isn't a new publication since the copyright is 1984. The author is David Tame.
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 1,018
    Oh !!
    Charles W reminds me of a marvelous book, "Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music" (Tricia Tunstall, 2013)

    If you get past the "star" dust of Dudamel, it's worth a read. Under his fame and leadership, El Sistema has branched out across many countries and is doing marvelous work with impoverished children, offering an alternative to gangs and drugs, teaching self discipline and teamwork, giving them the beauty of music in lives that mostly have little beauty in them. The ability to play will stay with them through their lives and "transformative" is the word, all right.
  • Charles, we all here experience the transformative power of music, 'the Prophet's art, of all the gifts that God has sent, one of the most Magnificent'. Your book should confirm our experience of this most sublime art. Perhaps you will give us a book report when you have read it?
    (I would acquire it but have reached that point at which am trying very hard not increase my possessions.)

    Speaking of the transformative power of music, what are some of the transformative experiences that some of our fellows here have had performing or witnessing music?

    I have had several (most, curiously, most from playing Bach)), but the most memorable was when as a student at the UofH I was learning Franck's B-minor chorale. The fugal section was giving me some trouble. Finally, it came all together and was mine. I have no memory of having stood up form the bench - no, I was suddenly up in the air as if I were a disembodied spirit and felt an exhilarating union with all creation, earthly and universally. And the words came out of my mouth with an astounding spontaneity 'I get it!!! You become the music1'. Such was the greatest of a small number of transformative musical experiences that I have had. It was heavenly. I have had similar experiences when directing a choir, leading hundreds of people in song, or playing Bach, Titelouze, or Langlais in recital. (Playing Messiaen is another sort of thing with its own odd experience.) These things just happen. One cannot make them happen or conjure them up. I say this guardedly, but perhaps they are a very very very small taste of the next life or state of being.

    Anyone - More books or more musical 'experiences'?
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Carol
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,646
    The Music Lover's Handbook, 1943, by Elie Siegmeister

    I'm familiar with a few of Siegmeister's songs: a cycle of elegies for Lorca, and a wonderfully vivid setting of Eberhart's Evil that I performed when the poet was in his early 100's. How is the book though?
  • PaxTecum
    Posts: 294
    Carinal Pell's prison journal - interesting read.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,191
    The Mind That Is Catholic--James Schall, SJ
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,117
    Anthony Esolen, Nostalgia: Going Home In A Homeless World, Simon & Shuster (2018).

    Feliks Koneczny, O wielości cywilizacyj Gebethner&Wolf (1935) [trans.On The Plurality of Civilizations, Polonica, (1964).]

  • Andrew,

    Do you read Polish, or are you reading it in translation?
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,117
    Both, as it happens
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,451
    Robert Louis Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,067
    I benefited greatly from Robert Wilken's friendship & hospitality when I lived in Charlottesville, and recall that he crossed the Tiber from Lutheranism in the '90s. He and his wife Carol had a wonderful tradition of hosting a Christmas/Advent music singing event (replete with a potluck supper), at which several of my seasonal pieces got their first readings. Above all, Robert has been an incredible Biblical and early Christianity scholar and teacher.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,343
    I just read this pre-publication of a chapter that is being given freely to the public... the book is coming out in a week or so. Let me know what you all think!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,233
    Fast moving fields don't lend themselves to cautious use of published results.
  • Jehan_Boutte
    Posts: 262
    I have read Newman's Apologia pro vita sua recently, as well as the Throne of Wisdom by Fr. Louis Bouyer (an essay about Our Lady).
  • A very profound work, Jehan, is Newman's Apologia. It was instrumental in my crossiing of the tiber. As an amateur historian I often am reminded of his saying that 'anyone who knows history will be Catholic'. I also very much liked his The Idea of a University.
    Thanked by 2Jehan_Boutte Drake
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,968
    "a friend asked that I read so we could discuss it."
    That's a relief, Charles.

    I remember reading Tame in my years BC, and being unimpressed even by my then-Newage standards.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,889
    Currently reading:

    Who Designed the Designer? By Dr. Michael Augros
    Screenman By Fr. Jean-Pierre Boubee
    A Treatise on Plainsong Accompaniment By Prof. Henri Potiron
    A Gregorian Chant Master Class By Prof. Theodore Marier

    It’s amazing how prolific your readings can become when you kiss your cell phone goodbye for a year. The past two months alone, I’ve finished books by Eliot, Faulkner, C.S. Lewis, Maugham, Knox, and - the kicker - the entirety of War and Peace. As an old friend of mine who Sang bass in my old community choir would say, “Palestrina wouldn’t have written over 800 works if he had a Smart phone.”
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland
    Witness to Hope by George Weigel
    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    plus various others lying about taking an attitude with me
  • Stimson,

    Goood to see you're still about. Tell us how Dr. Augros' book reads. He's a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Aristotle - Nichomachean Ethics and Poetics -
    and re-reading Aelred of Reivaulx's Spiritual Friendship -
    in between Christopher Wolf's Bach.
    And enjoying a breathtaking book of Ansel Adams's astonishing black and white photos of Yosemite.

    Has anyone here read Dorothy Sayers's Mind of the Maker?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,835
    Good to hear from Stimson again.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,889
    It’s good to be back, gang, even if only for a few months. Keep me in your prayers. I have managed to do some polyphony at seminary- if you want, I can PM you a link with the work our choir did.

    I've read it, Chickson. Excellent book. Really helped me in grasping the concept of the Trinity (as much as humanly possible, natch) and its connection to the artistic temperament.

    I love Sayers, especially her theatrical pieces. The Man Born to Be King is the monumental work everyone knows, and rightfully so; still, I have a soft spot in my heart for The Zeal of Thy House.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,889
    CGZ - Augros is very informative. His anecdotal style helps, along with his background. (He’s one of the most working-class philosophers since Eric Hoffer.) He came highly recommended from my philosophy professor.
  • The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy is a book that I'll be starting soon.
    An interesting choice is The Mass and Modernity by Fr. Jonathan Robinson (RIP) is a great book as well - I've made it halfway through. Fr. Robinson takes a philosophical and non-polemical look at the liturgy over the past half-century beginning just before Vatican II (when he was ordained) and up to the present day. A great option for those who don't want to see the TLM absolutist as the only option, but rather want to hear about how to make the Novus Ordo as beautiful as possible. It was written prior to Summorum Pontificum, in fact, so that wasn't even an option at the time (except for the SSPX and various indult Masses).
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 1,018
    “The Heart of the Gospel: Traits of the Sacred Heart”
    Francis P Donnelly, S. J.
    Not a new book - 1911. All the authors I like are dead
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,233
    Mary: the church at the source ; Essays by Ratzinger & von Balthasar.

    As a preliminary to trying von Balthasar's Love Alone is Credible, I saw a comment that the 120 pages would take months to read.
  • Von Balthasar will take that long, unless you manage to be on his "wavelength". I used to slog through Chesterton, but now I enjoy his work. That said, Von Balthasar is, in my experience, both dense and vacuous at the same time. What's the abbreviation people use around here.... YMMV?
  • I have read little of von Balthazar but have found that little compelling - especially The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church.
    I forget the title, but have also generously perused his book about Jesus on Holy Saturday, which a professor dismissed as 'speculative theology'.

    As for The Stripping of the Altars, it is indeed a lamentable tale about a land that was once known as 'our Lady's dowry'.
    It is not widely appreciated that Western Mariology as we know it began in England.
    What a sorrowful irony.
    Sadly, there are many Catholic areas today which might well fall under that title!
    We have seen in our own time altars stripped and beautiful interiors whitewashed, beautiful vestments, thuribles, altar missals, and other such literally thrown in the trash.
    Some of these were retrieved by Anglicans who were overjoyed to have them.
    We live with people who are not unlike those who stripped the altars of England.
    Every age has them.
    The threadbare difference is that the English stripping was state sponsored, whereas ours erupted from within.
    The irreverent minds of the perpetrators are barely, if at all, different.
    One might well ask who is the guiltier - the wolf who doesn't hide his colours, or the wolf who does and waves the false banner of 'Vatican II' to justify his (and her!) irreverent and iconoclastic deeds?
    Thanked by 1Jehan_Boutte
  • francis
    Posts: 10,343
    Just finished this... first half very good recap on everything that has happened. Unfortunately, the part about looking forward is foggy...

  • Jennifer Roback Morse: The Sexual State, whose title is meant to recall Belloc's Servile State.
    Thanked by 1Jeffrey Quick
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 645
    On The Wing - the Story of the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy 1843-1968. It's new for me 1980, a library book from the Cardinal Spellman Library.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,889
    While we’re on the subject of new books this summer (and as I’m about to finish the Augros...) what books would you recommend for someone who’d like to improve his conducting skills, especially in regards to renaissance polyphony?
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 326
    Priest and Beggar: The Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz

    Also, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • The Keys to the Kingdom, by A J Cronan, is quite entertaining, and reveals some of the warts and myopia as well as the manifest graces of the Catholic Church in the mid XXth century, both in the missionary Orient and back home in Britain. Colourful and revealing of good and not good. I read this about seven years ago and it is still thought provoking and adventurous to recall.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • francis
    Posts: 10,343
    Catholic Prophecy : by Yves DuPont : Tan Publishers : 1970

    As expansion of Luke 21 as we look back and forward through hundreds of prophecies by Catholic Saints, mystics and prophets.

    Fascinating, since this was written 50 years ago, and much of what was shrouded and veiled is now obvious and has come to light.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,451
    Saint Paul by Pope Benedict (Collected Wednesday Catecheses).
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,131
    Currently reading "But Who Do You Say I Am?" by Bishop John Marshall. It takes every question Jesus asked in the Gospels and every question asked of Jesus in the Gospels and give a possible answer and a meditation on the question.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn