USC Book Club: Between Heaven and Mirth

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Article

March 2012:

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life

By James Martin, S.J.

Review:

If you ever got in trouble as a child for laughing in church, prepare to be vindicated. In Between Heaven and Mirth, Jesuit Father James Martin reveals that God never intended for us to take ourselves, or our spirituality, quite so seriously. Joy and laughter aren’t contrary to a life of faith, but as Martin demonstrates, they are integral to it.


Watch: Extremely loud & Incredibly close

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Directed by Stephen Daldry (Paramount, 2011)

Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel about a 9-year-old boy whose father is killed on 9/11 angered and touched a lot of readers. Director Stephen Daldry’s film has set off its own minor firestorm among critics and viewers, a reminder perhaps that the wounds left by that day may still be too raw for cinematic exploration.


Watch: Moneyball

By Elizabeth Lefebvre| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Directed by Bennett Miller (Sony Pictures, 2011)

Baseball can conjure up nostalgic images of peanuts and crackerjacks, sunny days, and cornfields in Iowa. But Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, set against a backdrop of palm trees, depicts what really motivates American professional sports: money.


Curious about George

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Hollywood’s leading actor shines in roles that show success doesn’t always bring happiness.

My seventh-grade English teacher once asserted that although the word gorgeous usually referred to women, some men were drop-dead gorgeous. I knew from other comments that she was thinking about Cary Grant in that moment. For more than a decade many moviegoers have pictured George Clooney when that expression comes up.


Draft horse

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Steven Spielberg’s latest film is a testament to war’s silent soldier.

“Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in his poem “Requiem.” But when, we have wondered since Homer penned The Odyssey, will the soldier be home from the war? Will those who come back from war ever really get all the way home? This is a question that haunts our greatest contemporary filmmaker.


The Oscars! Read our reviews of the best picture nominees

Meghan Murphy-Gill| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews

Planning to watch the Academy Awards this weekend? We've got movie reviews for some of the best picture nominees, as well as plenty of other films that weren't nominated, but were considered top films for 2011 by our regular culture columnist, Pat McCormick. 

Did you see a film that recieved a nomination but isn't reviewed here? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments. You can also send film reviews to onlineeditor@uscatholic.org at any time.


Read: Between Heaven and Mirth

By Heidi Schlumpf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Between Heaven and Mirth
By James Martin, SJ (HarperOne, 2011)

Perhaps I am not the best person to review this book. Although not completely humorless, I have been told that I am not particularly funny. And I do have a disposition that has earned me the occasional nickname “Negative Norma.”


Read: Learning to Die in Miami

By Carol DeChant| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Learning to Die in Miami
By Carlos Eire (Free Press, 2011)

In 1962 Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children evacuated from Cuba by Catholic parents who believed Fidel Castro would be ousted within months. Those evacuees still living are now grey-haired Cuban-Americans. Eire has written a compelling memoir of that era’s repeated losses (the “dying” of his title), and of what he ultimately gained.


Listen: The Harrow & The Harvest

By Danny Duncan Collum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
The Harrow & The Harvest
Gillian Welch (Acony Records, 2011)

Gillian Welch has described the 10 songs on The Harrow & The Harvest as “10 kinds of miserable.” And that’s pretty accurate. The characters here find themselves mortified, exiled, overdosed, and finally laid to rest “with a pistol in my vest.” These are 21st-century original songs planted firmly in the American old-time folk tradition, the kind that Bob Dylan once described as brimming with “despair . . . sadness . . . triumph, [and] faith in the supernatural.”


USC Book Club: A Dangerous Dozen

Liz Lefebvre| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article

February 2012:

A Dangerous Dozen: 12 Christians who Threatened the Status Quo But Taught Us to Live Like Jesus

By the Rev. Canon C.K. Robertson, PhD
Foreward by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Review:


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