America's Book Club

Every few months, I sit down with a colleague or friend of the magazine to discuss a book that may hold a special interest for America readers. Usually a novel, the books are chosen based their artistry and the ways in which--implicitly or explicitly--they address Catholic themes.  

The most recent edition of the America Book Club considers the 2009 National Book Award Winner, Let the Great World Spin. Inspired by Philip Petit's famous tight-rope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center, Colum McCann's is told from multiple perpectives and explores themes of beauty, coincidence and grace. My conversation about the book with Kevin Spinale, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic and rabid fiction fan, has just been posted to our site.

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Listen to our discussion of Let the Great World Spin.

Last summer, the book club took up Brooklyn, Colm Toibin's story of a young Irish woman's journey to adulthood in an unfamiliar country.

Listen to my conversation about Brooklyn with James Keane, S.J.

And the first edition of the book club centered on up Andrew O'Hagan's Be Near Me, a novel about an Oxford-educated Catholic priest who settles down in a working class Scottish town.

Listen to our discussion of Be Near Me.

Have an idea for our next book? Drop a note in the comments boxes below or email me directly.

Tim Reidy

 

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Jim McCrea
8 years 7 months ago
"Brooklyn" was a very good book (but I'm biased:  I'm a long-time fan of Toibin's writing).
 
"Be Near Me" was an EXCELLENT book.
 
Maybe I'll have to get "Let the Great World Spin" and read it now.
Beth Cioffoletti
8 years 7 months ago
I was in need of something new to download to my Kindle (to read while on the treadmill), so I got "Let the Great World Spin".  It sounds fascinating - like something quirky that somehow sheds light on things.  Thanks for the suggestion! (I don't want to listen to the discussion til after I read it). 
8 years 7 months ago
Tim, I'd like to recommend a novel, "Dayspring" by Harry sylvester, forward by Philip Jenkins.  First published in 1945 and reissued in 2009 by Ignatius Press.  It is in paperback and available at Amazon.  Story involves a young anthropologist in New Mexico to study the Penitentes.  Fakes a conversion to Catholicism to gain entry to the group of Penitentes and takes part in their Holy Week practices.  Contrasts the authentic Hispanic spirituality with the hedonism of an artist colony in Taos (based on Mabel Dodge Luhan's groupies).  The influence of Freudianism on their sexual mores.  A novel of grace and conversion. Very relevant to our times.  Hope you give it a try.  I'll be reading "let the Great World Spin".. Thanks!
Beth Cioffoletti
8 years 7 months ago
I finished reading "Let The Great World Spin" this afternoon.  The book entertained, enchanted and changed me.  I am more in love and more alive for having read it.  Thank you for the recommendation.

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