Beautiful Sentences: Derek Robinson

In mid-March the sky over France was all exuberance. Ragged flotillas of cloud sailed before a brisk west wind. Sunlight sought out the gaps and flickered over the new-green fields far below, The sky was a place of awakening, of vigour, as full of life as the million seeds in the earth. Woolley hacked a long, scarlet gash in it with a burst of machine-gun fire and pulled up hard into a tight, half-rolling turn so he could look back and down.

Derek Robinson, Goshawk Squadron.

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Beautiful Sentences: Richard Dooling

His fourth day in Africa was spent deep in the interior of a remote, unmapped equatorial latrine exploring the dark incontinent.

Richard Dooling, White Man‘s Grave.

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Beautiful Sentences: Elie Wiesel

And yet only fanatics—in religion as well as politics—can find a meaning in someone else’s death. That’s what distinguishes them from mystics, or most of us, whose only concern is our own death.

Elie Wiesel, The Judges.

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Beautiful Sentences: Charles Willeford

Policemen undoubtedly had some kind of inborn perverted streak that normal men like himself didn’t have.

Charles Willeford, Miami Blues.

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Beautiful Sentences: Elie Wiesel

Don’t forget that the Jews were not the only victims of my father and his accomplices: we, their children, are victims too. In our own way, we too have been uprooted and left on the scrap heap. For the children of the executioners too, midnight will always be sounding. Don’t forget that.

Elie Wiesel, The Judges.

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Dewey Decimal Project: 464.342 DIO Las Puertas Retorcidas

The 460s are Spanish anNewImaged Portuguese. I was hoping to find something in an intermediate reader since I have at least a decent reading knowledge of Spanish. I thought Las Puertas Retoricidas would be that book, but it turns out it’s a somewhat absurdist story at the service of teaching little lessons of vocabulary and grammar. As such it seems like it could be an effective tool for its target audience (I’d guess middle school students). I skipped the lessons for the most part and just read the story, which did little to stretch my vocabulary and nothing to stretch my understanding of grammar.

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Beautiful Sentences: Ernest Hemingway

“It’s all nonsense. It’s only nonsense. I’m not afraid of the rain. I’m not afraid of the rain. Oh, oh, God, I wish I wasn’t.” She was crying. I comforted her and she stopped crying. But outside it kept on raining.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms.

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Dewey Decimal Project: 458.242 ADR Italian in 32 Lessons

As I worked my way through the 400s, thNewImagee inevitable could no longer be postponed: I’m going to read a language textbook (for most of a year, it turns out), “learning” Italian.

I picked Italian in 32 Lessons primarily because it was a slender volume and I figured I could work through 32 lessons in a reasonable amount of time.

Well, the first thing I realized is that the book does not provide a guide to pronunciation. Sure, I know a little from eating pasta, but this seems essential to a language guide. Then as I worked through the book, I found that a lot of the early exercises were repetitive and somewhat pointless and it was frequent that vocabulary was used in an exercise that wasn’t introduced until a later chapter. Given the lack of any comprehensive vocabulary list in the book, this was especially problematic.

I did manage to pick up some rudimentary Italian skills from the book, but overall, it seemed a poorly conceived and executed book. 

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Beautiful Sentences: Elie Wiesel

Why does the Torah begin with the second letter, beth, rather than the first, aleph? Because the latter was already in exile.

Elie Wiesel, The Judges.

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Trying to Say God—Saturday and it’s over

The Matthew Boudway, Greg Wolfe, Heidi Saxton, Joe Durepos, Jonathan Ryanday started with “The future of Catholic publishing” which was tied up closely with the future of publishing in general. It was observed that the devotional and catechetical sides of the business (for the publishers associated with religious orders) are doing well, but the trade side of the business is diminishing. 

Greg Wolfe’s observation is “There is no Catholic publishing, only protestant publishing… Catholic publishing apes protestant publishing.”

I skipped theJessica Wilson, Mary Ann Miller, Angela Cybulski next session to take a nap and finished the morning with “Imagining the editor as artist” which featured the editor of Presence, a new Catholic poetry journal, an editor for Wiseblood books and a professor editing an unfinished novel by Flannery O’Connor. 

After lunch, my next session was Dave Griffith, Kathleen Tarr, Gordon Oyer, Cassidy Hall Notes from a contemplative: Thomas Merton on the art of writing as resistance and protest.” which, after some recounting of the last decade of Merton’s life went into how Merton’s contemplative life and writing were employed as the spiritual roots of protest.

My Karl Persson, David Russell Mosley, Kevin M. Johnson, Jessica Mesman Griffithfinal panel session, “Rendering the world strange: Folk piety and imagination,” was, I think, my favorite, perhaps because everyone was a little punchy as the conference wound to its conclusion. 

Jessica Mesman Griffith, after stating that she was not actually a witch (a reference to the description of the panel from the conference booklet), talked about how her upbringing in Louisiana with its folk religion incorporating faith healers and the occult helped shape her worldview.

Kevin Johnson talked about how in the early days of Catholicism, Catholicism, was practice, what you did at home, but both the protestants and the Catholics were affected by the reformation and belief became about ideas instead of praxis and discussed the distinction between encounter (“we”) and experience (“I”).

The evening’sTim Powers final keynote was Tim Powers who gave a wonderfully humorous talk before sitting down for a discussion about science fiction and fantasy with Jonathan Ryan and Br Guy Consolmagno.

Guy Consolmagno, Jonathan Ryan, Tim Powers

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