Grassroots welcomes book reviews

Reading books improves your brain, imagination, and memory. You can gain knowledge, reduce stress, and improve your vocabulary. Books can take you to another different world, where you can relax, be enriched and challenged.

Through book reviews you can become familiar with books, authors, publishers and your thinking skills become sharper. We welcome book reviews that relate to the “Emergent Future Directives.” Good books you have read should be shared with others. Please consider submitting a book review any time; don’t wait to be asked.

New Book on Hope from Joyce Rupp
Reflections and Meditations to Strengthen the Spirit

“We are meant to be hope-filled people,” says noted spiritual writer and  Living Faith contributor Joyce Rupp, but how do we keep an enduring sense of hope “in a society where divisiveness and hostility doggedly work against” it? In this beautiful and profound book, Rupp helps us follow the only path that leads to real hope: the path of building our “relationship with the Holy One who dwells within us.”

Based on the seasons of the liturgical year, and suffused with real-life wisdom, Joyce Rupp’s Constant Hope will be an invaluable companion on your journey of faith, leading you to the One who has been encouraging and wooing you to enter more fully into relationship, and helping you respond in hope and joy to the love that God constantly offers.

Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ
Author of “Dead Man Walking” and tireless activist to end use of the death penalty shares the story behind her new book, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.

Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 p.m.
Mount Saint Joseph, University Theatre
5701 Delhi Pike, Cincinnati, OH

You may want to attend … this is not specifically about the death penalty, but it’s hard to believe the topic will not come up.

The Sympathizer and The Refugees
At the Precious Blood Congress years ago, Sister Joan Chittister recommended reading “ethnic literature” as a way of encountering people different from ourselves. I’ve tried to do that somewhat consistently, and so recently I read Viet Thanh Nguyen’s collection of short stories, The Refugees, and also his 2016 Pulitzer Prize novel, The Sympathizer. The Refugees is much more accessible. In it you meet a cross section of people from the Vietnam diaspora who deal with all the usual problems of displaced persons. The Sympathizer is complex, layered, challenging to read, and at times upsetting. An unnamed narrator is writing a “confession” about his conflicted life. Born in Vietnam of a Vietnamese mother and a French Catholic priest father, the sympathizer was sent to study in the U.S. He absorbs our culture and learns to speak unaccented English. He returns to Vietnam as the war starts, and becomes the assistant to “the general,” head of the South Vietnamese secret police, translating for him and negotiating for him with his American allies. But he is actually a mole, a sympathizer of the communist cause. When Saigon falls, he evacuates to the U.S. with the general, but he continues to send reports about the general’s activities to the victorious communists. When the general rounds up other expatriate military and surreptitiously returns to Vietnam to try a counter-revolution, with the sympathizer in his party, things go badly. They are all killed or captured. Broken by torture, the sympathizer has an epiphany about the nature of war — perhaps best summed up by an article in TIME Magazine (Dec 3, 2018: 30) where Nguyen says: “Every country believes in its own best self and from these visions has built beautiful cultures … And yet every country is soiled in the blood of conquest and violence, Vietnam included.” This is not an anti-American novel. The narrator sympathizer is equally critical of the French colonialists, the Vietnamese communists, and the U.S. and yet also sympathetic to each culture. This novel made me remember the Vietnamese war, the refugees who arrived in Denver when I was living there, the high school students I taught who died there. It made me grateful that today some wounds have healed, as wounds do. Perhaps you will want to read more about this author on Wikipedia and explore these books or his other works.

By Sister Mary Garascia

Directive: Stand with the marginalized, make a collective commitment to promote and witness nonviolence, and strive to effect reconciliation among God’s people.

Comments are closed.