Thursday, September 11, 2008

Steven R. McEvoy's Book Review Blog.

SRMcE found my posts from last year on J.F. Powers, one of my favorite writers. He compiled a bibliography of his stories and a short biography as part of his blog. You can find his JFP posts by searching in his blog. Steven's a Canadian; I note he must live in Ontario somewhere near where Layne and I drove last month when we visited Niagara Falls, Stratford, and St. Jacobs.

His sensibly titled "Book Reviews & More" offers his own reviews and plenty of links to tech, author, and religious blogs. He emphasizes Catholic media resources and related literature. Although I note that my teenaged Leo'd be happy with Steven's inclusion of Chuck Pahlaniuk & Neil Gaiman among his favorite authors-- along with notable peers such as Thomas Merton, Thomas Lynch, Josémaría Escrivá, Peter Kreeft and C.S. Lewis. An intriguing mix of conservative and liberal among Catholic intellectuals and commentators.

Not to forget a writer eclipsed in fame as has been J.F. Powers. Steven links to a publisher of the supernatural fiction of Robert Hugh Benson. Son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he left his father's church for the Church. I had no idea he wrote anything other than an anti-modernist doomsday novel, "Lord of the World," in 1907. This Benson Unabridged website offers it. It's never been out of print. In its original yellow binding, I checked it out from a neglected collegiate shelf of my Jesuit alma mater. But, I cannot recall if I actually got around to reading it. I'll take this as a sign that I should.

Photo of Msgr Benson. Don't you miss birettas? Caption from the Benson Unabridged publisher's site:
"Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914) was a Catholic priest, a convert from the Anglican Church, who wrote a series of popular short story collections and novels at the beginning of the 20th century.

Monsignor Benson wrote from an explicitly Catholic point of view. However, his works can be appreciated by believers from all religious and ethical systems as exploring man’s relationship to the eternal, and our individual response to it.

Consequently, any reader can find in Benson’s fiction an exploration of the ultimate questions: Why am I here? What does this all mean? Through fiction, Benson explored these questions for himself, in a way calculated to inform others but not coerce.

Does the reader need to be a Catholic to enjoy Benson? Assuredly not, for his works have been popular with people of all faiths and from all walks of life. No one need toddle 'round to the nearest Vestry to be baptized in order to enjoy or even understand Benson’s writing. The reader only needs to bring an open mind and a willingness to be entertained."

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