Irish-language playwrights

Irish-language theatre has at times been on the fringes of Ireland’s cultural landscape, but in his new book Boston College Professor of English Philip O’Leary shines a light on five significant Irish-language playwrights of the 20th century and charts the monumental influence and reach of their work. In An Underground Theatre: Major Playwrights in the Irish Language 1930-80 (University College Dublin Press, 2017), O’Leary offers a full study of the works of Mairead Ni Ghrada, Seamus O Neill, Eoghan O Tuairisc, Sean O Tuama, and Criostoir O Floinn and discusses the production history of their plays and the critical reception of first productions and major revivals. O’Leary, who holds a Ph.D. in Celtic languages, was awarded an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is the author of the award-winning books Ideology and Innovation: The Prose Literature of the Gaelic Revival, 1881-1921 and Gaelic Prose in the Irish Free State, 1922-1939, among other titles.

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Read me a story

StoryTime appBedtime stories are an evening ritual that can transport children and adults alike to lands of fantasy, adventure, and mystery. But increasingly busy family schedules and the demands of work are encroaching on this tradition. To solve that quandry, BC student Justin Gregorius teamed up with his older brother Brian to create “StoryTime,” an app that enables parents or other loved ones to read to their child from anywhere in the world. The subscription-based children’s book platform provides unlimited access to a library of more than 3,000 books, suitable for ages birth to 12. StoryTime won the Bronze “One to Watch” award in the international Reimagine Education Competition, which focuses on innovative methods and technology to enhance learning. Read more from BC News.

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Enhancing Catholic faith of adults

jane-regan-bookEnhancing the mature faith of adults is essential to the life of the parish and to the parish’s capacity to fulfill its fundamental mission of being and becoming a more effective agent of evangelization, according to School of Theology and Ministry  Associate Professor Jane E. Regan. In her new book, Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Transforming the Parish through Communities of Practice (Paulist Press, 2016), she suggests drawing on the times that adults already meet–parish councils and coffee committees –to enhance the faith formative values of those gatherings. By looking at these multiple parish gatherings through the lens of communities of practice, their formative roles can be examined. In the second part of the book, Regan examines characteristics that these communities of practice have in common, and includes reflection and conversation questions. Regan is an expert in adult faith formation and is also the author of Forming a Community of Faith: A Guide to Success in Adult Faith Formation Today and Toward an Adult Church: A Vision of Faith Formation, among other titles.

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Educational change

World renowned education expert Dennis Shirley, a professor in BC’s Lynch School of Education, has published The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity (Routledge, 2017), a clarion call to move beyond the standardized testing and marketplace competition that have become pervasive in school systems to focus instead on creating the conditions that will encourage all students to become critical and independent thinkers. In his new book, Shirley presents five new imperatives to guide educators and policymakers towards a re-thinking of what it means to teach effectively and to learn deeply. Shirley is editor-in-chief of The Journal of Educational Change and co-author of the book The Mindful Teacher. He has led professional development workshops for school leaders in six continents.

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Get psyched!

Practice might make perfect, but perfection is useless if it can’t be summoned when it counts. Success at a pivotal moment requires the right kind of mental preparation, according to Daniel McGinn, author of the new book Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed (Portfolio/Penguin Random House, 2017). McGinn, a Boston College alumnus and journalist, dives into the latest psychological research to share strategies for harnessing talent and emotions to optimize success. His insights are applicable to athletes, business people, soldiers, entertainers or anyone looking to make the most of a given moment. McGinn is a former national correspondent for Newsweek and is currently a senior editor at Havard Business Review.  Read a Boston Globe Magazine article adapted from McGinn’s book

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Catholics & Protestants

More progress toward unity between Catholics and Protestants has been made in the last 50 years than in the past 500 years, according to Boston College Professor of Philosophy Peter Kreeft, author of the new book Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other?  (Ignatius Press, 2017). Kreeft’s book explores the theological divisions that have historically separated Catholics and Protestants and the important beliefs that the two groups share in common. He says the style of the book—short answers, single points to ponder rather than long strings of argument—is that of Pascal, Nietzsche, Solomon, and Jesus. Kreeft, who has been on the faculty at BC for more than 50 years, is the author of dozens of books, including Angels and Demons; The Philosophy of Tolkien; Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven But Never Dreamed of Asking, and The Philosophy of Jesus, among many others. He was recently interviewed by The Christian Post.

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A ringside seat

Moving beyond the typical sentimentality, romanticism, or cynicism common to writing on boxing is a new book, The Bittersweet Science: Fifteen Writers in the Gym, in the Corner, and at Ringside (Univeristy of Chicago Press, 2017), co-edited by BC Professor of English Carlo Rotella and Michael Ezra. The Bittersweet Science is a collection of essays about boxing— written by journalists, fiction writers, fight people, and more—that explores the delusions and dreams of boxers, fans, and the cast of managers, trainers, promoters, and hangers-on who make up life in and around the ring. Rotella also contributes the essay, “Bernard Hopkins, Prefight and Postfight.” Rotella, who directs the American Studies program at BC, is the author of Cut Time: An Education at the Fights and Good with Their Hands: Boxers, Bluesmen, and Other Characters from the Rust Belt, among other works. Listen to an interview with Rotella and Ezra on New Books Network. 

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