19 July 2008
16 July 2008
The Catholic Bookmarks radio program did air their interview with me this past weekend. If you didn't catch it on the air, they have an audio file on their website that you can listen to.
Also, Nancy Carpentier Brown posted an outstanding review on her "Flying Stars" blog; she was also kind enough to cross-post that review at Amazon. In part:
After spending every waking moment trying to finagle more moments to read just one more page of this book, I finally finished it much to my regret. I wanted more.
Passport is a difficult book to describe. It is a novel, yes. But what do you call a novel that makes you want to be a better person? That helps you see the sacrifices you've made aren't really that much, and you should do more? That turns your mind to your own selfishness and lays it bare? That makes you ask yourself if you're doing God's will in every little thing, and not just when His will and yours converge?
This is an adult novel, and yet, it's not that kind of adult novel. It's adult because it deals with mature stuff. Not that kind of stuff, although that's in there, too, just not graphically enough to give it an R" rating. It's adult because the mature stuff is about sin. And sacrifice. And loving someone enough to give up everything for them. And the consequences of even a moment's lapse in judgment. And the love of Christ to help you walk through the darkness.
This is a novel about ... a difficult situation. A very complex story about the complexities of sin, sacrifice, love, honor, chivalry, manliness and womanliness. It's a story about parenting, and families, and children, and faith, and hope. It's a story about a normal man, an average man, and a story about humans as we are. It's a story about how we try, and fail, and try again.
I think the greatest virtue in this story is hope. The main character never seems to give up hope, even though the situation--brought about by his own sin-- seems so hopeless. I loved his circle of friends, the garage where they work on cars and talk about life, the community center where they volunteer. And even though the main character is often hopeful, he is real and human. He often fails, there, too, and tries to run from his sorrows and pain in ways many of us will recognize, because we've run like that, too.
And although this story is told from the guy's point of view, I still liked it, and I could still relate to everything that was happening because it is a human story, and hope is something anyone can understand.
I guess I could also relate because of being a parent and a spouse, and the story revolving around those states in life and issues relating to them. I don't know what an unmarried young adult or a grandparently adult would think of this book. But I suspect the emotions and situations are universal enough for most any adult to be able to find the story compelling, interesting, and even challenging.
I recommend this book to any adult looking for some leisure or commuter-type reading. This book is easy to read. It's a page-turner because you want so badly for the situation to be resolved in a good way, and there are so many almost insurmountable obstacles in the way.
You won't be uncomfortable reading it because it keeps itself modest, and yet, talks about subjects you might not talk about with your friends, unless you know them really, really well, and trust them with your secrets.
Passport: A Novel. Bring a tissue. Bring your hopes and fears. Prepare to be changed. Prepare to be challenged.
08 July 2008
07 July 2008
02 July 2008
Like so many corporate types who dream about chucking it all for a mellow life in the country, Kathy and Josh had talked for years about moving to the family farm. Only problem: The simple life they envisioned isn't turning out quite as they planned.
Yes, Josh loves working the land. "It's hard work and exhausting but I get pleasure in what I do every day," he says. And Kathy loves raising their girls close to nature and their extended families.
But between the demands of the farm and a gourmet beef business they've launched as a sideline, the Gunns are working seven days a week from morning till dusk, close to the 24/7 description associated with high-pressure city jobs. Notes Kathy, wryly: "It's not exactly a relaxed life."
The points I'd emphasize most: Don't give up your day job. Farms can be cash-sucking machines, especially when you're getting them set up. Make the transition slowly, and don't try to do everything at once. You can't simply start a farm business from scratch; it takes time for people to find you, and to discover that your high-quality produce or meat is really worth the premium --- and the inconvenience of buying directly from you, rather than in a single trip to the grocery store.
Say what you will about that weird FLDS sect down in Texas, but one thing I'll say in their favor: the children sure were dressed modestly and tastefully. Turns out, the recent raid brought with it some benefit for the mothers --- and, possibly, for others who have been looking for modest clothing. So many people have observed how tastefully the FLDS kids were dressed, the mothers have begun direct-marketing that clothing to the public from their own website.
As the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Launched initially to provide Texas authorities with clothing for FLDS children in custody, the online store now is aimed at helping their mothers earn a living.
The venture, which has already drawn queries from throughout the U.S., is banking on interest in modest clothes, curiosity and charity to be a success.
"We don't know what to expect on demand but we have had a flood of interest," said Maggie Jessop, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. "Our motive is not to flaunt ourselves or our religion before the world. We have to make a living the same as everyone does."
Only in America.
01 July 2008
In the meantime, I recently taped an interview with the Catholic Bookmarks program that airs on Relevant Radio and Sirius satelite radio. That is scheduled to air in the next week or two, and will then be archived on their website. Again, I'll post those details once they are final.