Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rome - London

April 11, 2016 Peace and Good, This past week we had our definitory meeting in Rome. There were no really big items on the agenda, and we had had a series of meetings in the past few months, so we actually ended up finishing the meeting early, something about which no one complained. The weather in Rome is slowly getting warmer for the beginning of Spring. There are afternoons that we can walk outside without a sweater (although for most people it is still sweater weather - I do not suffer from the cold very much, as is evident from the fact that I can wear sandals all winter long without socks. Yesterday I flew into London. I will be here in England (both London and Oxford) until Saturday, when I will fly out to the States. The weather here is considerably cooler than it was in Rome. They tell me it has been raining quite a bit, although yesterday and today were/are fine. I have not seen the custos here in a few months, and he has had some health problems, so it was good to catch up a bit. Oxford is our house of formation. I will take the train up there on Wednesday, and then on Saturday take the bus down to the airport. I finished some books: A Certain Justice by P.D. James This is the second book written by PD James that I have read. She writes about a detective named Daglish and the other detectives with whom he works in London. This is the story of the murder of a very good attorney who is arrogant and makes many enemies. Thus, when she is killed and her body left in a scene that was intended to mock her, there are almost too many suspects to count. Chief among the suspects is a young man whom she defended for killing his aunt (of which he was guilty, but found innocent) who has become engaged to her daughter (an unloved child). The plot is twisted but well explained. I intend to continue to read PD James’ books for they offer an entertaining opportunity. The Thirteenth, Greatest of Centuries by James Walsh This is a book that I read a long time ago, when I was ka freshman in college. I saw that it was available on (an internet site where you can listen to out of print books read by volunteers). The author wrote this in the early twentieth century and was trying to show how many of the things which we assume are modern were actually invented or even perfected in the thirteenth century. This was a century that was the true beginning of the Renaissance. There are a lot of good details, but the authors constant refrain that the thirteenth century is undervalued gets a bit old at times. Hideaway by Dean Koontz Originally I thought that the hideaway would be a place in the mountains where some robbers had fled, but it turns out to be a very different type of hideaway. A man and his wife are in an accident as they are driving along in a snow storm. They are driven off the road into a mountain river where she survives and he is brought back to life by an ingenious doctor. This same doctor had brought his own son back to life, but the boy was pure evil. This first man is close to pure good. The man and his wife adopt a handicapped child who is the joy of their lives, but they must protect him against the insane predator who now stalks them. The Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism by Gary Hamburg This is a series of lectures by a professor from the teaching company that deals with the before, during and early after of communism in the Soviet Union. The presentation is good, but the voice of the professor is a bit annoying. It is a bit whiney. Yet, the content helps one overcome a natural aversion to his presentation. The Anatomy of a Moment by Javier Cercas Four years after the death of Francisco Franco, a group of army officers seized control of the Spanish parliament in an attempt to overthrow the government of Alfonso Suarez. The king refused to back the rebellion which was being called in his name, and the coup was crushed. This book investigates what led up to the coup, what happened during the seizure of the parliament building, and what followed it. The coup was not so clear cut as many would like one to think. The only problem with the book is that it has an overly journalistic, overly philosophic way of expressing things – almost as if the author wants to produce a great classic but only succeeds in producing a cheap copy of one. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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