Monday, 25 November 2013

Taking Requests

I haven't the foggiest what to blog on today, so I'm taking requests.

Meanwhile, I'm also curious about your favourite Catholic authors, writing in English. When I say "Catholic authors" I am including Jennifer Paterson of the "Two Fat Ladies", who wrote a cookery column well-seasoned with Catholic devotions, but not Oscar Wilde, who wrote works of high literary genius, but converted to Roman Catholicism only on his deathbed. Let me know who you think I should be reading.

30 comments:

Suddenly Single said...

how to deal with a broken engagement?

Withmycupoftea said...

The letters of J.R.R. Tolkien are quite fascinating. There is a really good one to his son on marriage.

polishtraveler said...

How not to create fantasies in your head when just starting to go out with a guy? I know you write a lot about being rooted in reality but some overall tips about not jumping to marriage in your head after one date would be very helpful!

Seraphic said...

Oh dear. Broken engagement. That is very serious indeed. I will do some thinking and come back. In the meantime, is extended travel on the other side of a large body of water an option?

Sheila said...

Hm, I've been excited recently to find out Suzanne Collins (author of Hunger Games) is Catholic. Also, I love Walker Percy.

Can you blog about clothes? I am hopeless about clothes, but first impressions rely a lot your outfit.

Margaret said...

G.K. Chesterton if you're, like him, fond of paradoxes.

There is also C.S. Lewis who, despite not being catholic, was a great Christian author. I always enjoy his "Screwtape letters", which reminds me of yet another book, inspired by Lewis, which I bought in a catholic bookshop in Cracow last week. It's "As one Devil to another" by R. Platt. The writer imitates Lewis' tone splendidly, and the heroine is a woman doing her PhD in English literature. Very funny and insightful at the same time.

Anonymous said...

(going anon for this comment) - speaking from personal experience, I HIGHLY recommend extended travel on the other side of a large body of water for a broken engagement. It's amazing the confidence you can gain from starting over and struggling through language/cultural/etc. barriers!

JustAnotherCatholicGirl said...

Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson is my favorite Catholic author! If you want some shivers read the Mirror of Shallot.

Margaret said...

There is also a topic that I'd like to suggest.
I never feel any sexual or romantic attraction to men I don't know very well or don't really like as friends. In other words, I need a strog emotional connection to develop any romantic feelings etc. It's contrary to what most people experience. I've just descovered that it's labeled as being demisexual and demiromantic, which made me feel even more weird than before.
What I want to say, for people like me, dating is never going to work because most romantic gestures seem absurd to me because they come far too early, and I'm more irritated than delighted by the flowers from a man I hardly know.
By the way, I have had a pattern for falling for men with SSA. Now it makes more sense. I meet them in my workplace, true, but I also enjoy the slow pace of the relationship that follows. There's no romantic tension in the air and it feels more natural to me in the beginning. Romantic stuff between two (nearly) strangers makes me laugh and shrug my shoulders.
I realised I wasn't meant to have romance in my life, and sincerely it feels more and more ok.

Lina said...

No topic ideas, but Ruth Park was an Australian Catholic author writing in the mid-1900s, I think. I don't think she wrote very much, but her Harp in the South trilogy is excellent (well, I'd skip the first novel, which was written last and isn't as good as the other two). It's about the lives of an Irish-Australian family living in the slums of Sydney; lots of gritty, realistic stuff, but written with a keen understanding of and appreciation for the Faith without being at all preachy, and a wonderfully redemptive (but not Disneyesque) ending. I think she was writing about what she knew, which helps. Highly recommended.

Heather in Toronto said...

I have no idea what religious affiliation, if any, fantasy author Jim Butcher has. But in his Dresden Files novels, Christianity (and the Catholic Church in particular) is actually seen as largely a force for good (albeit made up of corruptible human beings), which is refreshing for the fantasy genre where the Church is often portrayed as anywhere from repressive party-poopers to downright evil.

In fact, it's one of the most positive and most accurate portrayals of the Church in mainstream contemporary fiction I've found. (Or at least, of the Church as it might be in an urban-fantasy world.) I'm willing to forgive a priest's Bible being described as a KJV when the devout Catholic paladin-type character really takes his "you cannot do evil so that good may come of it" seriously. Butcher gets points too for consistently recognizing the lives of both mother and child when a character is pregnant.

MaryJane said...

I think Loyola press (?) did a series of re-prints of Catholic works, including stuff like In This House of Brede. There were some more modern ones I seem to remember wanting to get to...

Oh, and then there is Myles Connolly.

Bernadette said...

I agree with Mary Jane - anything by Rumer Godden is a good read, and In This House of Brede has some very, very good stuff about seeking and testing your vocation. And it's all about Benedictine sisters living in 1940s and later England, which might give it added interest.

Sophia Webb said...

Hi Auntie,

I highly recommend Shusaku Endo's "Silence." It follows a Jesuit priest as he goes in search of his possibly-apostasized Jesuit mentor in 17th century Japan. It's set in a time when Christians must go into hiding, and Japanese officials who catch Christians try to make them deny Christ. ... I think you would love it, considering your interests in politics, terrorism, and modern (global) Christianity.
--Sophia

Heather in Toronto said...

Oh yes, Silence is a good one, though not originally written in English. In This House of Brede was good, but I actually preferred Five For Sorrow, Ten For Joy by the same author.

And I can't remember the title now, but Ignatius had one that I think you might like. The Father's Tale, I think? A Canadian father has to chase after his prodigal college student son who has gotten involved in some weird cultish thing, ends up running all over Russia and China.

(Okay, my Google-fu has availed me. A Father's Tale by Michael O'Brien.)

Anamaria said...

Don't know if Leif Enger is Catholic or not (my guess is probably Lutheran?), but Peace Like a River is a great read with themes of love and miracles, while also being a modern-ish (1960's) cowboy tale; So Brave, So Young, and Handsome is a late cowboy era cowboy tale, with themes of forgiveness and redemption. Both are really wonderful!

Anamaria said...

Oh, Brian Doyle! Just discovered him, but I've really enjoyed his memoir pieces in First Things on the sacraments. Brilliant stuff.

A.E. Stallings is Orthodox, but a brilliant poet with a sacramental vision. My poet husband's favorite, even over Dana Gioia.

Cordi said...

Hey Margaret, I just wanted to say that your style of being attracted to men sounds really healthy. The sexual aspect of a relationship is an expression of exclusive love and fidelity, right? So meeting someone, getting to know him, developing affection for him, and THEN feeling sexual attraction to him seem like perfectly ordered steps in a relationship. That makes it seem to me more like your person responding to his person, instead of just your body responding to his. I mean really, it doesn't seem to make much sense to desire marital union (which should be a physical expression of love) with someone before you even know him, much less love him, right? Anyway, I just wanted to suggest you ignore the labels, and consider that maybe you just have a more properly ordered sexuality!

Jo said...

I absolutely love Flannery O'Connor. Her letters are phenomenal. She was a very spunky lady.

Gregaria said...

Margaret, I feel the exact same way and I've been wondering about it a lot lately. Granted, I'm kind of off men right now because of a bad experience I had a year ago, but it's been a year. I should be over it, right? I used to be attracted physically to some guys almost immediately, now I really don't care at all. I feel like I would be more likely to feel physically attracted if I could become friends and have a slowly developing relationship with them first. Though not always. I'm not attracted to everyone. I guess I feel like my chances of finding a guy I can be friends with and then actually be attracted to are slim to none. I'm planning on being single for the rest of my life. I'm ok with that, actually, but still a tiny bit heart broken.

Catholic authors: Flannery and GCK are the only ones I know besides you, Auntie Seraphic. Oh, and Gabriel Olearnik, though he writes poetry. I would love to know about more!

Gregaria said...

Forgot to mention Michael D. O'Brien. His stories are always apocalyptic, but I've gotten some good things out of them. I like a lot of his themes.

Gregaria said...

Apparently William Peter Blatty who wrote "The Exorcist" as well as the screenplay for the movie is Catholic. Also, does T.S. Eliot count? Wasn't he a convert from atheism?

Gregaria said...

Also, Mary Higgins Clark.

Seraphic said...

Thank you for the names and suggestions!

Margaret, I wonder if it is true that most WOMEN (women being different from men) are sexually attracted to complete strangers or men they don't like. Young girls often are, of course, getting painful crushes on film and pop stars, and persisting in finding certain young men attractive even when those boys are mean to them. But I don't think this is universal for adult women.

Seraphic said...

Hello Margaret again. I have now looked up "demiromantic" and "demisexual" and these terms seem popular with people interested in categorizing people so as to have as many sexual orientations as possible.

I am not a fan of such categories because I think they can be more limiting than helpful, especially if they make you feel weird

The thing is for a very large number of people, sexuality is fluid, especially on the cusp of adulthood, and it very much bothers me when teenagers, for example, are told they are this or that.

I'm amused as how the first link I read said that people who think the tendency to be attracted only to those they love a virtue are WRONG and it's not a virtue it's an ORIENTATION as is if orientation, like "choice", were the whole point of the moral life.

Well, well, well. I will have a think.

John C. said...

Oh, and Sigrid Undset! Her Kristin Lavransdatter is the best chastity message I've ever heard ... if you have the persistence to get through all three volumes. The newer translation is much better.

Margaret said...

Gregaria
"I feel like I would be more likely to feel physically attracted if I could become friends and have a slowly developing relationship with them first."

That's exactly what I meant:-)
I used to develop stupid romantic crushes in the past and always ended up in unrequited love, so that's probably my emotional response to serial disappointments. It's about not wanting to waste your feelings any more and staying rooted in reality..

Julia said...

I'll freely admit that I know very little about world literature, but a Catholic writer who hasn't yet been mentioned here comes to mind. James McAuley was an Australian writer and poet and convert to Catholicism who died in 1976. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_McAuley

Bunanns said...

A.J. Cronin!

Bunanns said...

A.J. Cronin!