Arts

Across the editor’s desk

Every week at least half a dozen books drift across the editor’s desk at The Catholic Register. Most weeks we have barely enough space to thoughtfully review one. So, in the interest of fuller disclosure, here’s a few notes about some of the books we haven’t sent out for review.

Zombie sequel reaps what it sows

When Hieronymus Bosch painted hell in the 15th century it was shocking, thrilling and repulsive. The same was true of the 2002 British horror movie 28 Days Later.

American psychologists give tools to achieve goals

{mosimage}It’s Not My Fault, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend (Integrity Publishers, 241 pages, softcover $19.13).

TORONTO - It’s Not My Fault is a book for those who are seeking goals they cannot seem to reach, but goals they still would like to achieve. Authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend say the problem doesn’t stem from circumstances around a person, but from within themselves.

Sharing the contradictions of a poet-priest

The Forgotten World of R.J. MacSween: A Life by Stewart Donovan (Cape Breton University Press, softcover, 280 pages, $23.95 list).

Stewart Donovan’s biography of his former St. Francis Xavier University professor, priest-poet Roderick MacSween, is a sincere, elegant and thorough account of an unusual life. The Forgotten World of R.J. MacSween is written in a lucid, unassuming style that reflects something of its subject — MacSween’s poetry is characterized by a plainness that modestly conceals the erudition of the professor. Donovan’s book, transporting us to rural Nova Scotia in the last century, provides a soothing retreat from the hurly-burly of most contemporary lives.

Taking creative steps to healing

{mosimage}TORONTO - Before he walked into 6 St. Joseph House a year-and-a-half ago, Dave Evans was no artist. “I was getting drunk on the side of the street,” is how he describes his typical day as an addicted and usually homeless man.

Franciscan convent outdraws Mayan ruins

{mosimage}IZAMAL, Mexico - The Yucatan. To sun-starved Canadians the very name conjures up images of Caribbean beaches, a turquoise sea and ancient Mayan ruins. Lots of them. The Yucatan Peninsula is reputed to have one of the richest stores of archeological treasures in the world. It is populated by the Maya, the largest indigenous group in North America and the focus of Mel Gibson’s recent movie Apocalypto. Multitudes of Canadians visit every year.

Making a choice: to forgive or not

TORONTO - To discover the meaning of forgiveness, film maker Johanna Lunn had to consider the nature of evil.


“In the course of making the film, I really had to ask myself, ‘What is evil?’ I’m forever, eternally an optimist and would maybe secretly like to believe that evil doesn’t exist,” Lunn told The Catholic Register before Forgiveness: Stories for Our Time was to premiere in Toronto’s annual Hot Docs Festival in late April. The film will be shown on CTV May 26.

Lowering the boom on Bibby

{mosimage}The Boomer Factor by Reginald W. Bibby (Bastian Books, 246 pages, soft cover, $19.95).

If, as Reginald Bibby suggests, there has been a cultural shift from “we” to “me” which has accompanied the baby boomers, then is it not obvious that there would be negative social repercussions to such a shift? Bibby’s newest book, The Boomer Factor, proposes that the change has been mostly positive and does not offer sufficient explanation of the negative consequences.

The spirituality of Margaret Laurence

{mosimage}Margaret Laurence. A Gift of Grace: A Spiritual Biography, by Noelle Boughton (Women Who Rock Series, Women’s Press, 208 pages, softcover. $19.95.)

Margaret Laurence wrote with a sense of vocation. She experienced writing as a “gift of grace.” Her Christian faith taught her respect for the “unique and irreplaceable” nature of each character in her fiction. Those familiar with Laurence’s autobiographical writings may already know these facts and much of the rest of what Noelle Boughton tells us. However, those who know Laurence through having read a novel or two, or simply by reputation as an activist, feminist author whose works some have wanted withdrawn from high school classrooms will be intrigued to learn how deep the spiritual dimension runs in her work.

Exploring the myth of Jews as killers of Christ

{mosimage}Christ Killers: The Jews and the Passion from the Bible to the Big Screen by Jeremy Cohen (Oxford University Press, 337 pages, hardcover, $34.95).

There aren’t many of us who would walk into Chapters or Book City and ask for the book Christ Killers. It is a difficult title to get our heads and hearts around. Which is a shame, because Jeremy Cohen has written a remarkable book.

Scorsese’s movie vision shaped by religion

{mosimage}Gangster Priest: The Italian American Cinema of Martin Scorsese by Robert Casillo (University of Toronto Press, 600 pages, softcover, $39.95).

This year Italian-American director Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar for The Departed — a Catholic version of the Buddhist Asian film Infernal Affairs. Both dealt with a fallen world in which the dynamics of law and crime reveal the same patterns of manipulation, abuse and duplicity. This is Lenten fare, for as the psalmist says, “Put not your trust in those in power, in mortals in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3).

How to say yes by saying no

{mosimage}The Thrill of The Chaste, by Dawn Eden (W Publishing Group, 212 pages, soft cover $13.99 U.S.).

In a world where Sex and the City infiltrates television sets and one-night stands are the every day norm comes Dawn Eden’s The Thrill of The Chaste. This book talks about an almost unheard of way of looking at love and relationships in the 21st century.

Church sticks with the familiar in its art

{mosimage}TORONTO - Artist Elizabeth Adams has been making art for churches for 30 years. Her latest commission, titled Unbind Them, is on view at St. Philip the Apostle Anglican Church in Toronto. Despite her years spent studying in Italy, and her love of Romanesque architecture on display in the front hall of her home and studio, almost none of Adams’ work has seen the inside of a Catholic church.