In 2017, my friend Brother Mickey McGrath took Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’ and created a wonderful visual meditation using the Pope’s words and Brother Mickey’s art. It is just breathtaking. I would highly recommend reading and exploring it, especially if you can do it outdoors with the breeze ruffling your hair and the leaves on the trees.
Our Common Home is published by World Library Publications. From the back cover:
Our Common Home invites us to slow down, look areound us, and remember that all we see has been granted to us and is in our care.
2. David Plouffe‘s two new books, one for adults, and one for children: A Citizen’s Guide for Beating Donald Trump and Ripples of Hope: Your Guide to Electing a New President
3. David Plouffe’s Podcast: Campaign HQ with David Plouffe
Links go to publishers, but books can be bought at any indpendent bookseller or online book retailer. Podcasts links to Player.FM but can be found wherever you get your podcasts.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.“
– C. S. Lewis
Just in time for the weekend! What follows is the list of all the books I’ve read in 2019, followed by two graphics describing President Obama’s 2019 reading list. Please add your own recommendations in the comments. I’m always looking for a new book to enjoy!
JanuaryVery Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling (on the 1st)Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study – Ann Spangler and Jean E. SyswerdaThe President is Missing – A Novel by Bill Clinton and James PattersonThe Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of the Single Biggest Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast – Tim White, Randall Richard, and Wayne WorcesterThe View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction – Neil GaimanFebruaryThe Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero – Timothy EganMarchThe Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump – Andrew G. McCabeBelieve Me: a memoir of love, death, and jazz chickens – Eddie Izzard
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance – Barack ObamaAprilA Holy Mosaic: Love, Diversity, and the Family: Inspiration from a Pope Francis – Michael O’Neill Mcgrath OSFSDoing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law – Preet BhararaSeven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus – James Martin, SJNot by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2019 – Mary DeTurris PoustLenten Reflections – Bishop Robert BarronThe Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain – Bill Bryson
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey – Kamala D. HarrisGaudete et Exsultate – Pope FrancisJuneIn Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines who Dared to Break the Rules – Karen KarboDaily Reflections for Easter: Rejoice and Be Glad 2019 – Various AuthorsEnemies: A History off the FBI – Tim Weiner
Cronkite – Douglas BrinkleyThe Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey – Margaret Leslie DavisJuly
Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry PratchettShortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for the Future – Pete ButtigeigNo Dream is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon – Buzz Aldrin with Ken Abraham
The Library Book – Susan OrleanAugust
Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense: The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy – Dan Abrams and David FisherThe Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl – Timothy EganSeptemberAccidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America – Jared CohenThe Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars – Paul Collins
Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream – Carson VaughnDutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II – Robert MatzenOctoberGirl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her – Melanie RehakYour Fourth Day – National Cursillo MovementCity of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York – Tyler AnbinderNovemberCatch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators – Ronan FarrowDecemberThe No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall SmithThe Education of an Idealist: A Memoir – Samantha PowerImpeach: The Case Against Donald Trump – Neal Katyal & Sam KoppelmanDreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style – Benjamin DreyerA Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals – Thomas MertonOur Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer – Pope Francis
President Barack Obama’s 2019 Book Reads and Recommendations:
Whether you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, Independent or any other political designation, I hope that you believe, as I do that the impeachment of a President (or Cabinet member or judge) should be considered as a last resort, taken with the seriousness and gravitas that it deserves.Unfortunately, with this President and his Administration flouting the rule of law, ignoring subpoenas, and its blatant public acts of corruption and solicitation of foreign election interference, he, Mr. Trump has given Congress no choice.
And all of that was before this quid pro quo with Ukraine and giving the green light for Turkey to invade the Kurdish territory in Syria.
The G7 at the Doral Resort was just another cherry on the top of the ever growing Trump Corruption Sundae.
It may be hard to wade through the Republican lies and disinformation campaign. Personally, I am disappointed in Republicans who in the past at least pretended to be pro-America. They’ve truly shown their true colors and loyalties especially McConnell, Graham, and Meadows. I’m less surprised by Pompeo, Mulvaney, Jordan, and Nunes. This couldn’t have been proved any better than their deliberate and illegal interruption of impeachment testimony in a secure room in the House just yesterday. The President’s involvement in their stunt is another impeachable offense.
However, my opinion doesn’t mean anything without the facts to back it up.
This post offers sources to read, follow, and listen to as they lay out the impeachment case and continue to offer reasoned perspectives. As new information comes out or readers suggest other sources, I will update this post. I will also add it to my Home page.
Please comment with any of your own recs.
Podcasts (I provide links through Player.FM which is where I listen to my podcasts, but you can listen anywhere you already listen to podcasts.)
Article II: Inside Impeachment from NBC hosted by Steve Kornacki
Rachel Maddow Presents: Bag Man A series on the corruption of Vice President Spiro Agnew
Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee
Richard Engel – on the ground in Syria
Your own Senators and Representatives
Books and Other Publications
Neal Katyal is an attorney who served in the Justice Department, was the Acting Solicitor General during the Obama Administration from May 2010 until June 2011, taking over the position after Elena Kagan became Supreme Court Justice. He was born in Chicago, and has argued more Supreme Court cases than any other minority lawyer. He seems to always have cases before the Supreme Court. He drafted the Special Cousel regulations in 1999, and those are in continued use, and used to assign the parameters of the Mueller Investigation. He was one of Al Gore’s co-counsels before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore and teaches at Georgetown.
He has written his first book, Impeach: The Case Against President Trump, which is coming out on November 26th, just in time for those family dinner conversations, explaining impeachment to those of us asking the questions. It can be pre-ordered.
It is also helpful to read the following:
Mueller Report (this link will automatically download to your device)
The opening statements of the testimony of Marie Yovanivitch, former Ukraine Ambassador (this link will also automatically download to your device)
The opening statement of testimony by Bill Taylor (this link brings you to google docs)
Politics are everywhere these days. I’m a political junkie, and even for me it can be a little exasperating. In the US we have an unhinged narcissist who can’t control his Twitter fingers and the media who used ot have journalistic integrity churning out pieces on his nicknaming habits, no follow up questions for outrageous lies, and more twattle than I thought humanly possilble. In the UK, Brexit is a disaster, no one gave a thought to Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Theresa May has resigned. The EU is in the middle of elections and fascists are everywhere. The Austrian government has basically fallen apart. And of course, there’s Iran and North Korea.
Amid this frenzy, I offer five ways to bring your blood pressure down and cope with the news of the day, no matter your normal comfort level:
1. Turn it off. Turn off the television, turn off your phone notifications, take a break from Twitter.
2. If you must stay on Twitter, only read Lin-Manuel Miranda exclusively. He is positive and uplifting and always says the one thing you needed to hear. Monday through Friday, he has Good Morning and Good Night tweets for his followers.
3. Read a book. NOT The Handmaid’s Tale. NOT 1984 or Lord of the Flies. Try Bill Bryson. Or James Martin, SJ. Or Becoming by Michelle Obama.
4. Treat yourself to a movie. Avengers: End Game is still in theatres. Other options: A Dog’s Journey, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, and in the coming weeks: Men in Black and Toy Story 4!
5. Try a new podcast: The Hilarious World of Depression with John Moe wherever you get your podcasts. I listen on Player.FM.
Bernard Cornwell is one of the foremost writers of historical fiction. His fictional travels have taken me from the Anglo-Saxon period through to the Revolutionary War. He has a brilliant way of describing the battles and creates the vision in your mind so you feel as though you were there.
For a long time, I resisted reading his Winter King trilogy that focused on King Arthur. I have had my own image of Arthur’s world of Camelot and Excalibur since my five page high school paper on Thomas Malory’s L’Morte D’Arthur that went on for over fifteen pages. My teacher was not thrilled. In addition to that being ingrained in my head and heart, I also had the John Boorman Excalibur movie with Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, and Nicol Williamson that I was attached to. When I eventually gave in to my friend’s persistent recommendation, I could not put The Winter King down and it is now my headcanon. The next two books were equally enthralling and I highly recommend them and every other one of Cornwell’s books.
I’ve read his only historical (non-fiction) book, Waterloo is also brilliant.
Here is some of his writing advice for you to enjoy and incorporate.
World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration of books and the written word organized and proclaimed by the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). On their page can be found information and resources on their programs and the reasoning behind the beginning of this observance and its choice of date.
Books I’ve Read So Far This Year:
Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling (on the 1st)
Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study – Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda
The President is Missing – A Novel by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
The Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of the Single Biggest Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast – Tim White, Randall Richard, and Wayne Worcester
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction – Neil Gaiman
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero – Timothy Egan
The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump – Andrew G. McCabe
Believe Me: a memoir of love, death, and jazz chickens – Eddie Izzard
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance – Barack Obama
A Holy Mosaic: Love, Diversity, and the Family: Inspiration from a Pope Francis – Michael O’Neill Mcgrath OSFS
Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law – Preet Bharara
Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus – James Martin, SJ
Not by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2019 – Mary DeTurris Poust
Lenten Reflections – Bishop Robert Barron
I’m currently reading these three books:
Rejoice and Be Glad: Daily Reflections for Easter 2019 by Michelle Francl-Donnay, Jerome Kodell, Rachelle Linner, Ronald Witherup, Catherine Upchurch, Jay Cormier, Genevieve Glen
A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals – Selected and edited by Jonathan Montaldo
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
I use my library’s ebook library extensively and I take advantage of deep discounts or sales through Book Bub on Facebook and through Email. My Kindle is never without one or two books that I read simultaneously.
Who are your favorite authors?
What are your favorite books?
Answer in comments.
Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite writers, nay people. I don’t agree with everything he espouses, I don’t think anyone can agree with everything anyone espouses, but we’re on the same wavelength more often than not.
He is a writer’s writer. When he finds something that works, he doesn’t hoard or hide it; he shares it with the masses and he believes you can be a good writer too.
In this blog post, he shares the three books that have made him a better writer. I have read Stephen King’s On Writing, and have highly recommended it. I now have the two other books on my to-read list because Wil’s advice is usually spot on.
And while you’re taking his writing advice, read his work as well!