News about new books is nothing new from Ignatius Press, but it seems as if the past week or so has seen far more new book news than normal. (Say it ten times, as fast as you can: "News about new Ignatius Press books is nothing new but the new book news is newer than normal". Or something along those lines.) Here is some, hopefully most, of that news; if I've missed something important, please let me know.
• Last week I had the dual pleasure of reading David Downing's new novel, Looking For The King: An Inklings Novel, and interviewing him about it. The interview will be posted soon (probably next week). Here is the opening of that interview:
How and when were you first introduced to writings and thought of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings? What did you find most interesting and attractive about their work?
Dr. Downing: I first read both Lewis and Tolkien during my college years. Someone recommended the Narnia Chronicles to me in high school, but I thought I was far too sophisticated and mature at the age of 18 to be reading "kid stuff"! When I finally dipped into The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe one summer, I was so enthralled I read all seven Chronicles in a month. Then I sat down and re-read all seven of them again the next month.
Reading The Lord of the Rings was all the fad when I was in high school, but, contrarian that I am, I resisted reading this fantasty epic simply because everyone else was doing so! But I started reading one evening in college, when I had classes the next day, forgetting all my homework because I couldn't put it down. I recall that it was about 2:00 in the morning when Gandalf was pulled into the abyss by the Balrog. I almost had an anxiety attack, thinking, "Now we'll never get out of the mines of Moria without Gandalf to lead us!" Later in the story, when Gandalf reappears, I had a sense of relief and elation that seemed some small tincture of the joy of that first Easter morning.
I'm sure that part of my attraction to both Lewis and Tolkien is simply that both are master story-tellers. But there is also a power of Goodness in their work. As an English major in college, I spent much of my time reading contemporary novelists who are experts at portraying troubled people--selfish, neurotic. brutish, and downright evil. But very few twentieth century novelists besides Lewis and Tolkien (and Chesterton) have the power to show us what good people look like--characters with integrity, compassion, courage, and a willingness to sacrifice for others. I'm sure this ability to portray good characters convincingly is derived from their Christian world-view, a sense that ultimately, it is not evil or chaos, but Goodness that reigns in the universe.
I thoroughly enjoyed Looking For The King; it is one of those enjoyable reads that ends too soon and has you wondering, "When is the next one coming out"? (Downing says he is considering writing a sequel.) But don't take my word for it, since I'm a company man and shameless seller of all things good and wonderful. Check out the lengthy (and illustrated!) review written by Denise Roper of "The Lord of the Hallows" blog (and author of the book of the same name); here are a couple of short excerpts:
I enjoyed this book for many reasons: the Spear of Destiny plot was intriguing, the original main characters (Tom and Laura) are likeable and interesting, and the most importantly, the Inklings dialogue was based on quotations from their published works, letters, and biographies. When reading this book I felt that I had actually met C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. Hugo Dyson’s appearance in the novel is brief, but nearly all of his lines were really hilarious. I also enjoyed the cameo appearance by Tolkien’s daughter Priscilla. Downing’s detailed descriptions effectively captured the atmosphere of wartime England in 1940. ...
This novel is a must-read for Inklings fans and is available from the publisher, Ignatius Press, ... This novel was truly a delight.
Read more five star reviews on Amazon.com. Also, as someone with a little bit of graphic design experience, a special note of congratulations to John Herreid for designing such a wonderful cover for the book. John and Roxanne Lum are the two primary designers for Ignatius Press, and they do some outstanding work.
Looking For The King (Downloable Audio) - Downloadable Audio File
• In less than a month Ignatius Press will be publishing a book by a fairly well-known man that is sure to get some attention: Light Of The World The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times, the third book-length interview by German journalist Peter Seewald of Pope Benedict XVI. The first two interviews, Salt of the Earth, and God and the World, took place before Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope; Seewald is also the author of Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait. Light of the World is wide-ranging and unprecedented:
Never has a Pope, in a book-length interview, dealt so directly with such wide-ranging and controversial issues as Pope Benedict XVI does in Light of the World. Taken from a recent week-long series of interviews with veteran journalist Peter Seewald, this book tackles head-on some of the greatest issues facing the world of our time. Seewald poses such forthright questions to Pope Benedict as:
- What caused the clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?
- Was there a "cover up"?
- Have you considered resigning?
- Does affirming the goodness of the human body mean a plea for "better sex"?
- Can there be a genuine dialogue with Islam?
- Should the Church rethink Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, women priests, contraception, and same-sex relationships?
- Holy Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics?
- Is there a schism in the Catholic Church?
- Should there be a Third Vatican Council?
- Is there any hope for Christian unity?
- Is Christianity the only truth?
- Can the Pope really speak for Jesus Christ?
- How can the Pope claim to be "infallible"?
- Is there a "dictatorship of relativism" today?
Twice before these two men held wide-ranging discussions, which became the best-selling books Salt of the Earth and God and the World. Then, Seewald's discussion partner was Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's chief doctrinal office. Now, Joseph Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of the world's over one billion Catholics. Though Seewald now interviews the Pope himself, the journalist "pulls no punches", posing some of the thorniest questions any Pope has had to address. Believers and unbelievers will be fascinated to hear Benedict's thoughtful, straightforward and thought-provoking replies. This is no stern preachment or ponderous theological tract, but a lively, fast-paced, challenging, even entertaining exchange.
• The Foreword to Light of the World was written by George Weigel, whose new book, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, is available through Ignatius Press. Some information:
"As March gave way to April in the spring of 2005 and the world kept vigil outside the apostolic palace in Rome, the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, then drawing to a poignant end, was already being described as one of the most consequential in two millennia of Christian history."
With these words, world-renowned author and NBC Vatican analyst George Weigel begins his long-awaited sequel to the international bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. More than ten years in the making, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II-The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy tells the dramatic story of the Pope's battle with communism in light of new and recently disclosed information and brings to a close Weigel's landmark portrait of a man who not only left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church, but also changed the course of world history.
When he was elected pope in the fall of 1978, few people had ever heard of the charismatic Karol Wojtyla. But in a very short time he would ignite a revolution of conscience in his native Poland that would ultimately lead to the collapse of European communism and death of the Soviet Union. What even fewer people knew was that the KGB, the Polish Secret Police, and the East German Stasi had been waging a dangerous, decades-long war against Wojtyla and the Vatican itself. Weigel, with unprecedented access to many Soviet-era documents, chronicles John Paul's struggle against the dark forces of communism.
Moreover, Weigel recounts the tumultuous last years of John Paul's life as he dealt with a crippling illness as well as the "new world disorder" and revelations about corruption within the Catholic Church. Weigel's thought-provoking biography of John Paul II concludes with a probing and passionate assessment of a man who lived his life as a witness to hope in service to the Christian ideals he embraced.
• The first eight children's books from Ignatius Press-Magnificat are now available:
• My First Prayers For Christmas - Hardback
• My First Prayers for My Family - Hardback
• The Bible for Little Ones - Hardback• John Mary Vianney - Hardback• The Illustrated Gospel for Children - Hardback• Pictures From the Gospel - Paperback
Ah! I am so excited today to be finally sharing with you the first of many new religious picture books published by Ignatius Press in conjunction with Magnificat. I've known about this project for some time, and the books have just been released, in time for your early holiday shopping. They were originally published by Magnificat in France, and Ignatius jumped at the chance to bring them to the US. I, for one, am grateful, since there are so few really quality religious picture books.
The first book I opened of these 8 titles was the chubby, cheerfully illustrated board book The Bible for Little Ones. And I was hooked by the second spread, which shows (below) the fall of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve stare at the serpent, and cling to the apple. Their posture is striking: upright, hands raised, eyes wide with wonder and temptation. But what struck me the most were the animals: helpless, they look on the scene, crowding around, and gazing with wide eyes, their mouths open in shock. The Monkey reaches out to stop them. But they cannot speak, they can only watch.
I've often remarked on the prevalence of animals in children's books. In religious books, even, we see more books about Noah's Ark or the animals in the stable or Saint Francis and the animals than we do about anything else. In this one image, Roche captures the child's natural interest in animals, and through that reveals a penetrating truth about our fall: that it affected the whole world.
Read her entire post. Here are some illustrations from a couple of the books:
• I've already posted some information about Paul Badde's new book,The Face of God: Rediscovery Of The True Face of Jesus, so will just point again to the book's website, www.FaceOfGodBook.com, which has anything and everything you might want to know about the book
In this work of Christology, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, a world-renowned theologian, takes as his starting point the Apostle Paul’s statement, “But when the time had fully come, God sent for his Son, born of woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5). Based on many years of lecturing on Christology, Cardinal Schönborn’s work moves from the solid conviction of faith that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel, the Son of the Living God, through the development of the Church’s understanding of this truth, to the consideration of contemporary issues and the views of various modern theologians.
Cardinal Schönborn sees Christology as based on the original Illumination granted by the Father in manifesting his Son, which divides, as if through a prism, into a rainbow of Christological themes. “Christology,” he writes, “in every phase of its development, follows its path by this light: ‘in thy light do we see light’ (Ps 36:10).” Christology is always faith seeking understanding—trying to understand that to which the believer already says, “Yes!”
God Sent His Son has the comprehensiveness and scholarly precision of a textbook but the insights and personal relevance of a work of spirituality. It carefully explores ancient and medieval.
Christoph Cardinal Schönborn is the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria. The primary editor of the major work, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Schönborn is the author of numerous books, including Chance or Purpose?; Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith; Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church; Behold, God’s Son! and Jesus, the Divine Physician.• More books news coming!