One Catholic Life Blog

Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote Chapter-a-Day Read-along Day 1: Prologue and Poetry

Welcome to the Prologue to Don Quixote, the beginning of the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along! In order to read exactly 365 chapters this year, I am counting the prologue to Part 1 as a chapter (and will do so again at the beginning of Part 2), so we won’t start the actual story until tomorrow, January 2. Though the story hasn’t begun yet, you can already get a sense of Cervantes’ humor as he worries about how his book will be received and frets that it will not contain enough...

Library of Congress Reading Room

My Favorite Reads of 2018

After one of my most productive reading years ever in 2017, 2018 was a bit of a dip for me. I had to abandon most of my reading challenges because any free time I had was taken up by principal certification classes and getting used to my new role as an elementary school principal. Still, I was able to read quite a few books this year, and here are the details, with stats according to Goodreads: I read 38 books, consisting of 12,182 number of pages. Not a...

The Bishop and the Candlesticks

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: The Wrap-Up

Congratulations on reading one of the great works of world literature! Whether you finished Les Misérables early, on time, or not yet, thank you for participating. I hope the read-along was as enriching for you as it was for me. (If you liked the experience of reading classic literature in one chapter a day, please consider joining the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along.) You now know some of the most memorable characters in literature: Jean Valjean. Fantine. Cosette. Javert. The Thenardiers. Eponine. Gavroche. Marius. The Friends of the ABC. My hope...

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Classics Club #21: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I finished Little Women five months ago, but am only now getting around to writing this review. I have to admit that my memory of reading the book has faded into a vague sense of enjoyment with few details about what I liked or disliked. That may have nothing to do with the book, since I have been quite busy since then. However, I remember thinking that while the book was pleasant, I enjoyed it less than The Secret Garden but more than She: A History of Adventure, which were the last two...

Don Quixote Doré Sepia

Preparing for the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along: Don Quixote

  Why read Don Quixote? It remains the best as well as the first of all the novels…There are parts of  yourself you will not know fully until you know, as well as you can, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. – Harold Bloom This is it, the grand novel of them all, the novel above all other novels: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Many of my friends think that my favorite novel is either Lord of the Rings or Les Misérables, and while I love Tolkien’s trilogy and Hugo’s magnum...

Announcing the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-Along

This is the official sign-up post for the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along. The Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along was so much fun in 2018 that I’m happy to host another one for 2019. The thing is, there aren’t too many books that have exactly 365 chapters. In fact, I know of only two: Les Misérables and War and Peace. I took a poll among my readers, and the vast majority of responders were not interested in reading War and Peace next year. So, rather than focus on one book in 2019,...

The Annunciation by Fra Angelico

A Thrill of Hope: Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent – Year C

Once upon a time, in the early ages of the world, people believed that storms and droughts and sickness were sent by angry gods and goddesses. To the ancient people, the universe was a fearful place, a place of chaos, a place of danger, and the only way to stay safe was to offer sacrifices to try and please the gods. Ancient peoples would sacrifice a portion of the crops, they would sacrifice animals, and in some cases, they even sacrificed humans. But then came a people who...

Les Miserables Read-along Logo

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: The Final Countdown

Well, this is it, ten days left in the Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along! Are you still on track to finish? Have you already finished? I apologize again for not having many updates after I changed jobs and started back to school. Hopefully that didn’t derail your plans to read the book. For those of you in the Spokane area, I am hosting a Les Misérables Live Final Chapter Reading and Celebration at St. John Vianney Catholic School on December 31 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. I’ll read the final...

Christ the King

Bumper Stickers and Masters: Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King – Year B

The other day I was driving home from work, coming up Freya hill, and I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. People put bumper stickers on their cars for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because they have something to say to the world. “Vote for this or that candidate.” “Work for world peace.” “Support my kid’s school.” Well, this particular driver had a different message. It was a big, red rectangular sticker, and in white letters it read, “No Gods. No Masters.”...

Fabourg du Temple Barricade

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: The Home Stretch

Welcome to the fifth and final Volume of Les Misérables: “Jean Valjean.” Incredibly, this is day 299 of the 365-day Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along. Even though my new job has prevented me from doing much blogging these days, I still plan on doing a wrap-up of the read-along, including some sort of live broadcast of the last chapter, or something similar. If you have an idea for that, leave it in the comments section below or on Twitter with the #lesmisreadalong hashtag. Thank you for keeping up with the...

Jesus and the Rich Young Man by Mironov

One of the Saddest Stories – Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

The gospel reading today has got to be one of the saddest stories in the gospels. This is the only story in Mark’s gospel in which a person called by Jesus responds not by following but by going away, by leaving Jesus. And of all the people Jesus calls, this young man seems so promising. First of all, he seeks out Jesus. And he doesn’t just walk up to Jesus, he runs up to Jesus as Jesus is about go on a journey. Jesus is leaving town, and...

Magic Lamp in Sand

Foolish Wishes – Homily for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

There was once a fool who rubbed a magic lamp. The genie materialized and said, “And your third wish?” The fool, who had never seen a genie before, said “Why are you offering me a third wish when I haven’t had a first wish yet?” The genie said, “Oh, but you have. You don’t remember it, of course. Your second wish was to have everything restored exactly as it was before I offered you three wishes.” “In other words, I only get one wish,” said the fool, feeling...

Jesus the Good Shepherd

The Work of the Shepherd – Homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Brenda and Sarah and I just got back from a short trip to Leavenworth to visit an old friend of Brenda’s. Just to be clear, that was Leavenworth, the quaint Bavarian village near Wenatchee in Western Washington, not Leavenworth the prison in Kansas. Anyway, while we were there, of course we walked around visiting the different shops, because that’s what you do in Leavenworth. In one of the shops we came across this little plaque that made us laugh. If you have adult children you might relate. It...

excellence of misfortune

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: The Halfway Point

Congratulations to everyone participating in the Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along! You’re halfway done! Yesterday marked chapter 183, just over halfway through the 365 chapters of Les Misérables. If you’re on schedule, then you’re in the middle of Volume 3, Book 5, Virtue in Adversity. This is one of my favorite books in the novel because of the way Marius learns from his poverty, and because I think it embodies the core of Hugo’s message. I think if Hugo were to subtitle the book, then Virtue in Adversity would make...