Cafe choice

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

The Long Yearning’s End: Stories of Sacrament and Incarnation, Patrick Hannon, CSC, ’88M.Div. (ACTA Publications). The 21 stories here, three for each of the seven sacraments — baptism, reconciliation, eucharist, confirmation, matrimony, holy orders and the anointing of the sick — demonstrate how God is present wherever humanity finds itself. Through such stories as “Hustled by a Holy Man,” “Christ in Pigtails” and “Big Mac Sauce and Other Lessons on Love,” the author shows the presence of God’s grace in everyday life.

Brother Andre: Friend of the Suffering, Apostle of Saint Joseph, Jean-Guy Dubuc (Ave Maria Press). A revised and updated edition of the biography of Andre Bessette, CSC, (1845-1937). This year, the “Miracle Man of Montreal” will become the first saint of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the order that founded Notre Dame. Although Brother Andre left nothing in writing, his friends and co-workers did, and the author draws upon their stories and on newspaper accounts to show the contemporary relevance of a humble man.

Forget-Her-Nots, Amy Brecount White ’85 (Greenwillow Books). In this young adult novel, 14-year-old Laurel discovers she can use flowers to help friends pass pop quizzes — or to make people fall in love. Does an ancient family secret account for her new-found power? Publisher’s Weekly says, “A delicate sense of magical possibility and reverence for the natural world help elevate White’s story from a typical prep-school drama into something more memorable.”

Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes, Therese J. Borchard ’94M.A. (Center Street). “I’m a manic-depressive, an alcoholic, and the adult child of an alcoholic,” the author says as she takes readers on a tour of her often dysfunctional life. With practical advice, humor and encouragement, she offers hope to readers struggling with depression. Her popular blog “Beyond Blue” is at

The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, Lisa M. Hendey ’85 (Ave Maria Press). The creator of the website coaches Catholic mothers on how to care for themselves so “we have the energy, spirit, and peaceful souls to help take care of those who fill our homes and our lives.” She ends each chapter with suggested self-help tips, called “Mom’s Homework.”

The Farthest Home Is in an Empire of Fire: A Tejano Elegy, John Phillip Santos ’79 (Viking). The National Book Award finalist travels from South Texas to New York to Spain to the Middle East as he attempts to recover the missing chronicles of his mother’s family. This memoir is a companion to Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, in which Santos told the story of his father’s family, set within the larger story of Mexico itself.

Sin: A History, Gary A. Anderson (Yale University Press). Attempting to answer the age-old question, “What is sin?” Anderson explores the history of sin and how it has shaped the Christian church. The book received the 2010 Christianity Today book award in the Biblical Studies category. The author is a professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies at Notre Dame.

The Diet Joke: A Reprogramming Guide for Perpetual Consumers, Lisa Pedace ’85 (Big Shot Press). “Who says losing weight has to be so serious?” the author asks. She proceeds to offer advice on how to lighten up without letting it get you down, with a mix of humor, games and common sense. You can break bad habits, she writes, as she cuts through the confusion of food pyramids, diet programs and mixed messages from advertisers.

Quotidiana, Patrick Madden ’93 (University of Nebraska Press). The engaging essayist takes on everything from the joys and woes of fatherhood to the origins of human language to common actions that illuminate the wonders of everyday existence in a book one reviewer called, “a truly creative creative nonfiction book . . . a remarkable achievement of complex simplicity and elegant confusion.”

A Lifetime of Making Art: Brother Mel, Anne Brown (The Arts Company Press). Over a 50-year period, Brother Mel Meyer, S.M., ’60MFA, has produced work ranging from found-object sculptures to bold abstract watercolors. The book addresses his spiritual commitment as well as his time spent studying with famed sculptor and Notre Dame Professor Ivan Mestrovic, and presents a portfolio of selected images from his thousands of works.