As usual the busyness of winter has gotten the better of me and I haven’t shared what I’ve been up to in a few months. Here are my highlights and recommendations, with the encouragement of Leigh Kramer who hosts this linkup.
I went on an Anita Diamant kick during the last two snowstorms and devoured two of her novels, both set on the North Shore of Massachuesetts. I loved the books not only because of the familiar settings, but because her storytelling – and especially her descriptions of the richness of female friendships – is outstanding. These books have been out for a while but are worth finding if you are looking for a novel.
Not quite as much of a page turner as the aforementioned novels, but a good take on contemporary income/wealth inequality and how it affects individuals and society. Readable academic writing.
I was resolved to wait until I could get this from the library, but for years each time I put a hold on it I was 100th in line. I finally found a copy and tore through it one snowy, cold weekend (are you seeing a theme? Snow helps me read). It took me a while to get into it, which was a surprise considering my expectations of the book, but it drew me in, and by the end I was staying in nights to finish. I happened to read it the same weekend I saw a production of Cabaret, which made for a timely but overwhelming pairing.
This book was mentioned in a homily a few weeks ago, and since it matches my teaching I took the unusal step of buying myself a copy. The author uses sociological studies and principles to explain the rise of Christianity in the first few hundred years of the Church. I found it fascinating to learn, for example, that Christians’ higher rate of fertility was one cause of the flourishing of Christianity, and that this rate was caused by prohibitions against female infanticide and abortion (which often damaged women’s fertility) and the encouragement of warm relationships between husbands and wives.
I have been very busy working on repertoire for a recital I am giving at my alma mater, Boston College, on March 22 at 8 pm. I am working with two friends, pianist Victoria Mariconti and clarinetist Catherine Hudgins on a program including Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock, Barber’s Hermit Songs, and the “et incarnatus est” movement of Mozart’s C Minor Mass.
I am very excited for this event and will surely post video and photos after. You can find out more on the Facebook event page; click “interested” to receive updates.
The BPL finished a major renovation and looks better than ever. There is a cute café with excellent food in the front, that also includes a WGBH studio. Inside the front door there is an easily browsable section of new releases and staff favorites. The change I appreciate the most? Huge hanging banners in the stacks that show you where the different call letters are. No more wandering lost through the stacks (unless that’s your thing).
I was skeptical when this growing chain of Italian imports came to Boston, mainly because its name is a pun and that makes me nervous. But the food at their restaurants is awesome and the groceries remind me of being abroad. I’ve eaten there four or five times in the last two months, and am quickly memorizing its massive floor plan so I can find truffle cheese or Sicilian olive oil (and wine) in no time. I’ve definitely come around on this one.
The had a Make Way for Ducklings exhibit. Nuff said.
I took this photo when it was 75 degrees in February. 8 days later the temperature had dipped to almost zero.
Lenten (and other) resources
I ordered a bunch of classroom activities from CAFOD in Great Britain and love them. I got two beautiful posters, and also a few sets of Catholic Social Teaching cards. Students use these to play matching games, make timelines, and do puzzles to learn about the priniciples of Catholic Social Teaching. They are beautifully designed and in the words of one eighth-grader “pretty cool.” That’s high praise.
Network weekly advocacy
After receiving their daily reflections during Advent, I was happy to continue getting Lenten emails from Loyola Press, this time taken from Amy Andrews’ 2017: A Book of Grace-Filled Days. They are the perfect length and include links to more resources in case you want to dig deeper on a particular day.
And of course I read these while listening to Lent at Ephesus, one of my favorite seasonal recordings.
Speaking of A Book of Grace-Filled Days, I recently started work on the 2019 iteration of this devotional series for Loyola Press. I am writing daily reflections based on the readings of the day, beginning with the First Sunday of Advent 2018, through the end of 2019. It is a massive project that I am literally taking one day at a time. It has been an enriching, prayerful experience thus far and I am so grateful for the opportunity.
I also just finished an article for Classical Singer magazine which will be in their May issue. Now that the blog redesign is done, I hope to be writing more in this space as well.
Big thanks to Ashley at Little Leaf Design for her amazing work on the website redesign. I couldn’t be happier with it.
What have you been into this winter?
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