Creative works

Author: Carol Schaal

50 Plus! Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life, Robert L. Dilenschneider ’65 (Citadel Press). The revised and updated guide, with a new foreword by Lou Dobbs, offers tips for mature workers on getting ahead in today’s economy, whether it means starting a business, finding a new career direction or growing within the field you know. The author also includes interviews with executive recruiters, an economist, and fashion and image experts. The New York Times calls the book “practical … with an inspirational flair.”

Two Dogs and a Parrot: What Our Animal Friends Can Teach Us About Life, Joan Chittister ’68M.A. (Blue Bridge). The Benedictine nun explores the bond between humans and animals through stories and reflections about pets she’s lived with at various stages of her life. Our relationship with a dog, cat, horse, bird or other animal companion can offer joy and hope as well as teaching us to accept life’s struggles. “[T]here is something quite spiritually profound in the question of what it means to be entrusted with nature, to live with a pet,” she writes.

I’m Glad About You, Theresa Rebeck ’80 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). What happens when you meet the love of your life in your late teens, but your vastly different plans pull you apart? Alison wants to be an actress; Kyle wants to be a doctor serving in the Third World. From the perils of celebrity culture to the heartbreak of a broken dream, the novel follows two mismatched souls as they search for the lives they were meant to live. The author was the creator of the television musical series Smash.

The Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts that Make Up a Catholic Life, Melissa Musick and Anna Keating ’06 (Image). As the mother-daughter authors note, there is more to a Catholic life than attending Mass. “This book is an opportunity to discover, or rediscover, the sounds and sensations of being Catholic,” they write. With recipes, devotionals, crafts, ideas for celebrating feast days and information on such topics as planting a Mary garden or finding a spiritual director, the guide is a resource to adding spiritual practices to daily life.

Hard Red Spring, Kelly Kerney ’04MFA (Viking). A century of Guatemala’s turbulent history comes alive through the stories of four American women struggling to live through the upheavals of their adopted land and unknowingly linked by the mysterious disappearance of a young girl in the early 1900s. From brutal dictatorships to a destructive U.S. intervention, this historical novel presents a powerful story of the Land of Eternal Spring, where political actions can make a mockery of rational plans.

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Noah’s Wife, Lindsay Starck ’10MFA (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). In a small town where the rain seems never-ending, the streets are starting to flood and the animals in the zoo are breaking free, a new minister and his wife struggle to help a community that is losing faith and hope. This humorous and poignant retelling of the biblical flood story, says Kirkus Reviews, is “variously romantic, symbolic, philosophical feminist, and fanciful. . . . Forget the ark, forget the patriarch. It’s the women who tend to triumph in this modern take on an Old Testament parable.”

Russell Kirk: American Conservative, Bradley J. Birzer ’90 (University Press of Kentucky). What does it mean to be a conservative these days? In his 1953 intellectual history The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk offered a critique of society and presented a defense of the basic principles of conservatism. In this biography, Birzer assesses Kirk’s intellectual roots and development, and analyzes his ethical vision for a humane society. The Wall Street Journal hailed the book as “a beautifully written and deeply insightful biography.”

The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria, Michael Peppard ’98 (Yale University Press). The excavation of an early house-church constructed in the third century unveiled frescoes that are considered to be among the earliest depictions of Jesus. In his interpretation of the murals, Peppard interweaves the texts of ancient Syrian Christians to offer a new assessment of early Christian rituals.

Good Night and Good Sports, Bill Etherton (Bill Etheron). A trip down memory lane with the man who did play-by-play announcing for Notre Dame football and basketball for more than 15 years. Etherton takes readers on a tour beyond the broadcast booth, detailing experiences such as his interviews with Louie Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, John Wooden and Ronald Reagan. “I respect and value Bill’s friendship,” writes Ara Parseghian in a foreword. “He was truly one of the best sports announcers and voices of his era.”

The Demise of American Democracy: Explaining the Crisis and What to Do about It, William Durland ’75M.A. (Edwin Mellen Press). Gerrymandering, drones, the Patriot Act, global warming, the great recession, educational policy and healthcare — the author dissects these and other current events, issues and topics that bear on the American ideal of representative democracy. The former civil rights attorney and retired professor of philosophy, history and government also includes personal anecdotes in his analysis.

C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography, George M. Marsden (Princeton University Press). C.S. Lewis, famed author of the Narnia books and a former atheist who became a committed Anglican, wrote Mere Christianity as a defense of the Christian faith. Here Marsden, a Notre Dame professor of history emeritus, analyzes the 1952 text, which originated as a series of BBC radio talks broadcast during World War II. He also explores the book’s influence through the years.

Shake Down the Thunder, University of Notre Dame Band, directed by Kenneth Dye. The 33-song CD presents favored school classis, from “Celtic Chant” to “Down the Line,” along with songs performed by the band during halftime shows, including “Sweet Caroline” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The DVD of the same name contains the shows the band performed during the 2015 season, from pregame and half-time shows to the band’s Gospel Show. The CD and DVD are available at the Notre Dame Band webstore.

Carol Schaal is managing editor of this magazine.