Dana Gioia is a poet and critic who served as chair-man of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author, most recently, of “Pity the Beautiful,” his fourth volume of poems.
“I was raised in a Catholic family in a mostly Mexican neighborhood and attended 12 years of Catholic school. Consequently, my whole early worldview was Catholic, and it seemed consonant with the great art I encountered — Dante, Michelangelo, Mozart, Shakespeare.”
He also has a genius for connecting people. To that end, he’s spearheaded a conference called “The Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination” that will take place at the University of Southern California Feb. 19-21.
The pressures of work and ministry, unfortunately, limit the time I have available to read as widely as I would like. Still, addicted as I am to books and knowing that without the insight and stimulation that I draw from them I would forever stagnate spiritually and creatively, I scrupulously carve out some time most days to read. As well, given my ministry and personality, I like to read various genres of books: novels, biography, critical essays, and, not least, books on scripture, theology, and spirituality.
So given these particular appetites, what are the best ten books that I read in 2014?
Reading these essays, you see Skid Row, you hear Skid Row, you smell Skid Row. You remember that love is not a theory. Love is a face, love is a name.
We first meet seven-year-old Marie as she is sitting on her front stoop in Brooklyn, awaiting the arrival of her hero — her father; “my heart pinned to my father’s sleeve in those days,” she explains. Thus opens “Someone,” recently released in paperback, another brilliant piece of literature by Alice McDermott, made all the wiser by its roots in Catholicism.
Catholic victims of the Soviet Union’s cruel anti-Christian persecutions faced execution, exile and arbitrary imprisonment for their faith – and now a new website tells their stories.
“The world today is upside down, and is suffering so much, because there is so very little love in the homes and in family life.”
The study of history is an opportunity to unite faith and reason and to recover a distinctly Catholic perspective that sees God acting in the past, present and future, the authors of a new book say.
“Is the Catholic Church good for America?” That was the question recently posed to Americans on the streets of major cities across the United States by the nonprofit advocacy group CatholicVote.org.
The best aspect of the movie “The Giver,” currently in theaters, is its reminder to read Lois Lowry’s Newberry Award winning novel, from which the warped and withered adaptation is inspired.
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