The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott

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I love books by Kate Alcott, so I was thrilled to see that she wrote one about the heyday of Hollywood. The Hollywood Daughter is told from the point of view of the daughter of a publicist who represents, among others, Ingrid Bergman. Jesse idolizes Ingrid Bergman and when Bergman comes to her school to film The Bells of St. Mary, Jesse’s strict Catholic upbringing and her Hollywood family life collide.

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Review: ON HEAVEN AND EARTH by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) and Abraham Skorka

Through Blogging for Books, I received a review copy of ON HEAVEN AND EARTH, which is subtitled Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the 21st Century. This is a bit of a misnomer since the entire book is a conversation between Pope Francis (before he was Pope and was an Archbishop in Argentina) and Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka. The book is divided into short chapters which cover their conversations about a wide variety of topics and how they are viewed in the Catholic and Jewish faiths: God, family, sexuality, world issues, euthanasia, etc. It is easy to read and a great book to pick up if you only have a short time to read, as you can cover a chapter or two easily. I felt like I was sitting in a room, listening to these two men discuss the issues. Their conversations were insightful and intellectual, yet respectful and open.

Highly recommended if you enjoy reading and learning about religion or, if you are Catholic or Jewish, want to better understand your own faith!

Review: “The Vatican Diaries” by John Thavis

On a whim I put in to receive “The Vatican Diaries” by John Thavis from Net Galley. Little did I know that Pope Benedict XVI was about to resign his position as Pontiff! As a lifelong Catholic, I thought I would find the insider’s look at the vatican interesting. What a fascinating read this was!

Just published last week, “The Vatican Diaries” (which is subtitled “A Behind the Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church) chronicles a variety of events and issues spanning the last thirty years. Author John Thavis was a key reporter for the Catholic News Service and spent many years inside the Vatican. His stories range from how the bells are rung when a new Pope is chosen to the sex scandal and how it was handled to some interesting characters and their personalities. Throughout his stories, which are deemed fact not fiction, the inner workings of the Vatican are revealed – the personalities and conflicts, the gossip and infighting, the lack of organization and cohesion. At times over the years the Vatican has made statements — or I should say has been quoted — and I’ve thought, “Wait – what??” This book showed some of these circumstances and how/why they came about.

I found this book fascinating. In light of Pope Benedict’s departure it is even more timely. As a Catholic I found interesting, but I think non-Catholics would find it interesting, too. Politics, power, religion, and relationships – truth can be stranger than fiction!

Thank you, Net Galley and Viking for my copy!