Cafe Choice books


Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Shark Wars, E.J. Altbacker ’88 (Razorbill). Life isn’t going so swimmingly for reef shark Gray, who has strayed from his shiver, or shark clan, in search of food. Now exiled from his peaceful reef, Gray, with dogfish pal Barkley, must struggle to survive in an ocean of danger — where they might end up as someone’s dinner — and try to defeat an impending evil. This first in a series for middle-grade readers will be followed in December 2011 by Shark Wars: The Battle of Riptide. See to download a free shark wars game iPhone app.

Bin Laden’s Bald Spot & other stories, Brian Doyle ’78 (Red Hen Press). In this collection of 25 stories, readers will meet a barber who shaves the heads of thugs in Bin Laden’s cave; Joseph Kennedy talking to a bartender just before a stroke silences him forever; a man who unearths a living baby boy in his garden; and a teenage boy who hightails it out of town with a surprising cargo in the trunk of his car. The author’s essays and stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Orion and this magazine.

Seasons of the Spirit: Scriptural Reflections for Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, LeRoy Clementich, CSC, ’53, ’61M.A. (Corby Books). After decades of teaching, Clem, as he is known, served for more than 15 years with the archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, where he piloted a Cessna to bring the liturgy to remote villages. He also won several Catholic Press Awards for his scriptural commentaries in the archdiocesan newspaper, which, says that paper’s former editor, “convey deep insights about the gospels in a humble, personal, conversational style.”

Washington Hall at Notre Dame: Crossroads of the University: 1864-2004, Mark C. Pilkinton (University of Notre Dame Press). The Notre Dame professor of film, television and theatre chases “the true ghosts of Washington Hall, the fleeting shadows of myriad ephemeral events that have occurred over time.” His history of the building that’s been home to plays, lectures, concerts, commencements and various assemblies also shines a light on the cultural history of the University. Archival photos and line drawings illustrate the book.

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, Lisa M. Hendey ’85 (Ave Maria Press). The founder of looks at the lives of her “wonderful spiritual mentors” through stories, lessons, traditions, wisdom and scripture. Those “saintly friends” include John Paul II, Margaret of Scotland, Andre Bessette, Rose Venerini and Josephine Bakhita. She also offers saint-inspired activities, such as spending time with a friend, reading the Catechism or preparing some traditional Irish food.

Guys Like Us: A Memoir of Life Lost and Found, Sean Nolan ’97 (Gemma Media). When Mike Nolan is hit by a truck and loses his memory, his son tells him stories of his life and those of three generations of the Irish-American Nolan clan. He hopes the storytelling will remind his father of who he once had been — warts and all. Dan Rather calls the book, “A remarkable story of life and love, fathers and sons, loss and recovery. . . . It is a story to remember.”

American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783, William M. Fowler Jr. ’69 (Walker & Company). The American Revolution didn’t end with the Yorktown victory, and here the author chronicles those two years before the final peace treaty when economic woes, Congressional infighting and a near-mutiny by the Continental Army could have destroyed the newly evolving nation. Fowler’s previous books include Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763.

Now I Walk on Death Row: A Wall Street Finance Lawyer Stumbles into the Arms of a Loving God, Dale S. Recinella ’76J.D. (Chosen). The author does not walk through prison as a convict but as a lay chaplain, serving those on Florida’s death row and in solitary confinement. Here he details his spiritual migration from a prestigious job to living out Jesus’ call to serve him. “In the weighty matters of justice and mercy, Dale chose to follow Jesus, who sided with the poor, the dispossessed and the despised,” says Sister Helen Prejean.

Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight, Tony D’Souza ’00MFA (Mariner Books). When the recession hits, James and his pregnant wife, Kate, decide that transporting drugs for a friend will help them make ends meet. As James becomes more entrenched in the drug underworld, he faces unforeseen risks — the dangerous price of making a luxury income. D’Souza also is the author of Whiteman and The Konkans, which was named “one of the best novels of the year” by The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

Light Up the Night, Jean Reidy ’81, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Disney Hyperion Books). Designed for ages 4 to 8, this rhyming bedtime story offers a colorful view of a child’s “own little piece of the universe,” traveling from the galaxy and the planets right down to a house and “my room with my name on the door, and my dinosaur lamp, and my rug on the floor.” The author’s previous picture books are Too Pickley! and Too Purpley!

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Catholic Spending and Acting Justly: a Small-Group Guide for Living Economic Stewardship, Charles. K. Wilber (Ave Maria Press). Designed as an eight-week course for small groups, each weekly lesson focuses on one of the seven core themes of Catholic social teaching, including the dignity of the human person; the dignity of work; community and the common good; and the preferential option for the poor. The author is a Notre Dame emeritus professor of economics and a fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

The Stroke of a Pen: Essays on Poetry and Other Provocations, Samuel Hazo ’49 (Notre Dame Press). This collection of 10 essays explores everything from the home ownership and travel to literary criticism, friendship and music. The author, the McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Duquesne University, also writes about the actor Gregory Peck, with whom he shared several poetry reading seminars.

Homeless Come Home: An Advocate, the Riverbank, and Murder in Topeka, Kansas, Benedict Giamo (Notre Dame Press). The torture and killing of David Owen, a man whose strident advocacy for the homeless incensed many he wanted to help, is the background to this view of contemporary homelessness in America. The book has been called part chronicle, part social analysis, part investigative journalism and part true-crime. The author is an associate professor of America studies at Notre Dame.

King’s Counsel: A Memoir of War, Espionage, and Diplomacy in the Middle East, Jack O’Connell with Vernon Loeb (W.W. Norton & Company). Over four decades, CIA operative O’Connell served as a trusted adviser to Jordan’s King Hussein, who in his final decade wanted someone to write about his “vain quest for peace in the Middle East.” O’Connell became that author, and here he writes about the lost opportunities for peacemaking. A member of the 1940 freshman football squad at ND, O’Connell transferred after an injury but frequently attended Class of 1944 reunions. He died in 2010.

Fragments of Hope: My Life as Holy Cross Priest, Richard F. Berg, CSC, ’59 (Corby Books). Since his 1963 ordination, Father Berg has been a professor, dean, psychologist, chaplain and founder of a residence for the poor in Portland, Oregon. He shares insights he learned from those he’s met through a life filled with grace, miracles, disappointments and adventures. “I think of my stories as pieces of a stained-glass window,” he writes, “brightened by the light of God, reflecting hope.”

To Carthage We Came, Edward Vasta ’52 (OakTara Books). When migrant worker Matt Turner desires a fresh start for himself, his wife, mother, brother and grandfather, he buys an old car, thinking it will help propel them to a new life. Instead, it just might tear them apart. The novel’s author is a Notre Dame emeritus professor of English whose previous works include Love and Redemption.

Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity, edited by Ann W. Astell and Sandor Goodhart (University of Notre Dame Press). A conversation between Rene Girard and Goodhart about the relation between religion and violence opens this book. Essayists then explore the subject of sacrifice and scapegoating in Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Michael Fishbane; Robert Daly, S.J.; Christopher S. Morrissey, Erich S. Gruen and Poong-in Lee are among the contributors. Astell is a Notre Dame professor of theology.

Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace: Overcoming the Divorce between Earth and Heaven, Howard A. Snyder ’83Ph.D. and Joel Scandrett (Cascade Books). Snyder, who has an interest in church renewal movements, focuses on the need “to grasp the full meaning of biblical teachings on creation and new creation.” Snyder is a professor at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto and a contributing editor at Christianity Today.

Rocky Road, Rose Kent (Knopf). When their mother decides to open an ice cream shop, Tess and her deaf brother, Jordan, are uprooted from Texas to upstate New York. But Tess knows her mother’s get-rich-quick plans too often result in disaster. Written for readers ages 9 to 13, the novel follow the rocky road of the Dobson family, who learn that several scoops of friends can make a difference. The author is the mother of Tae Andrews ’08.

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