A Journey Below the Mason Dixon

perry-south to america Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, will talk about her bestselling book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, at Boston College on March 1 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. South to America, which won a 2022 National Book Award, is a narrative journey through the American South using a historic, personal, and anecdotal lens. Perry, a Black woman and native Alabaman, returns to the region she has always called home and weaves together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences. A scholar of law, literary, and cultural studies, Perry asserts that to build a more humane future for the United States, concern must be centered below the Mason-Dixon Line. Perry’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, and Harper’s, among other publications. Her lecture is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the African and African Diaspora Program, Law School, and History Department.

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Father Ed, spiritual sponsor for AA’s co-founder

Father Ed cover - finalEdward Dowling, S.J. (1898-1960), was called “the greatest and most gentle soul to walk this planet” by Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson. Dawn Eden Goldstein, author of a new biography titled Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.’s Spiritual Sponsor (Orbis Books, 2022), will share Fr. Ed’s story at a Boston College lecture on Feb. 28 at noon. Fr. Ed’s guidance transformed Bill’s life and deepened the spirituality of the 12-step movement. But despite his vital role in AA history little is known about him. Goldstein’s biography enlightens readers on how the Jesuit priest came to devote his ministry to helping people, not only alcoholics but also people in troubled marriages and those suffering from nervous disorders. According to Goldstein, he was also a champion of civil rights and other social justice issues. Goldstein is an award-winning author whose other titles include Sunday Will Never Be the Same and The Thrill of the Chaste, among others. Goldstein penned an essay on Father Ed for America magazine. Her talk is sponsored by Boston College Libraries, the Center for Ignatian Spirituality, School of Theology and Ministry Continuing Education, C21 Center, and the Jesuit Institute. To register, visit the event website.

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Colm Tóibín’s ‘The Magician’

Toibin_magicianIrish novelist Colm Tóibín will present “Writing Thomas Mann: Fact into Fiction” at Boston College on February 22 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Tóibín’s acclaimed 2021 novel, The Magician, dramatizes the life of Nobel Prize-winning writer Thomas Mann. Tóibín’s other novels include: The Master (winner of the Dublin IMPAC Prize; the Prix du Meilleur Livre; the LA Times Novel of the Year; and shortlisted for the Booker Prize), Brooklyn (winner of the Costa Novel of the Year), and Nora Webster (winner of the Hawthornden Prize), among others. He is also a writer of short stories, nonfiction, and plays. Tóibín’s writing has been translated into more than 30 languages. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. He is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and Chancellor of Liverpool University. Tóibín’s lecture is presented by the BC Lowell Humanities Series and is co-sponsored by the BC Irish Studies Program and Fiction Days Series.

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The Lincoln Miracle

achorn-lincoln miracleAs the Republican National Convention opened in 1860 in Chicago, New York Senator William Seward was the overwhelming favorite for the presidential nomination, with notables like Salmon Chase and Edward Bates in the running. Few thought Abraham Lincoln stood a chance. Lincoln had not held public office since one term in Congress a decade earlier. The Lincoln Miracle: Inside the Republican Convention That Changed History (Grove Atlantic, 2023), written by Boston College graduate Edward Achorn, chronicles the tense political drama as it unfolded and tells the behind-the-scenes story of Lincoln’s history-changing nomination to lead the Republican Party. Achorn explores the genius of Lincoln’s quiet strategy, the vicious partisanship tearing apart America, the fierce battles raging over racism and slavery, and booming Chicago as a symbol of the modernization transforming the nation. Achorn is also author of the book, Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, among other titles.

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The sweet life of Fr. Walter Smith

smtih memoir cookbookIt’s not surprising that a memoir by a priest and psychologist who has spent six decades in the Society of Jesus would include numerous tales of significant people and events. The memoir of Boston College graduate Walter J. Smith, S.J., however, comes with an unexpected benefit for readers: It’s also a major cookbook. In addition to his wide-ranging career as a clinician, consultant, professor, department chair, dean, chancellor, trustee, and chief executive officer, Fr. Smith is an accomplished cook who once studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. His  book, Faith, Food, & Friendship: Reflections and Recipes from a Jesuit’s Abundant Life, is replete with 175 carefully crafted classic, original, or adapted recipes, all of which—from dal chawa, an Indian dish once recommended to him by Mother Teresa, to the ’21’ burger popularized by the iconic Manhattan speakeasy-turned-restaurant—in some way reflect his experiences preparing and savoring cuisine from around the world. A Boston native, Fr. Smith joined the Boston College Jesuit community in 2020, and currently teaches courses in lifespan pastoral care and counseling at the School of Theology and Ministry. Read more from BC News.

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The beauty of Annie Malone

cataveras-wonderful hairEntrepreneur, inventor, and philanthropist Annie Turnbo Malone is the subject of a new biography by Boston College graduate Eve Nadel Catarevas. Wonderful Hair: The Beauty of Annie Malone (Creston Books, 2022), is about how Malone turned her personally developed hair care products into a successful industry, including 32 beauty colleges that taught the unique Poro method. Wonderful Hair, a book for young readers, is illustrated by Felicia Marshall. Catarevas, who earned a bachelor’s degree from BC in 1979, likes to share the achievements of little-known historical figures with young readers. She is also the author of Rena Glickman, Queen of Judo.

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When the House Burns

Paton_When-the-House-BurnsThe quest for love and home becomes deadly when Detectives Erik Jansson and Deb Metzger search for the killer of an adulterous real estate agent in When the House Burns (Coffeetown Press, 2023), a new fast-paced mystery from author Priscilla Paton. The murder investigation involves a volatile real estate market, unrest in a homeless encampment, jealousies among would-be lovers, and a case of arson. When the House Burns is not only a gripping “whodunit” but also a social commentary on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on housing. Paton, who earned a Ph.D. from Boston College, is author of the Twin Cities Mystery series. Previous titles are Where Privacy Dies, a finalist for a 2018 Foreword Indies Book Award, and Should Grace Fail, a finalist for a 2020 Foreword Indies Book Award.

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A Catholic intellectual amid many religions

francis-clooney-082018-300x375pxFrancis X. Clooney, S.J., the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, will present the Candlemas Lecture titled “On the Edge: Reflections on Being a Catholic Intellectual amid Many Religions” at Boston College on February 8 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Fr. Clooney, a leading figure in the field of comparative theology, is the author of several books, including Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How It Matters; Western Jesuit Scholars in India: Tracing Their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals; and St. Joseph in South India: Poetry, Mission and Theology in Costanzo Gioseffo Beschi’s Tēmpāvani. He is writing an autobiography tentatively titled, Priest and Scholar, Catholic and Hindu: A Love Story. Fr. Clooney, who taught at Boston College from 1984 until 2005, is currently president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

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Pindar’s songs and his world

eisenfeld-pindarIn her new book, Pindar and Greek Religion: Theologies of Mortality in the Victory Odes (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Boston College’s Behrakis Assistant Professor in Hellenic Studies Hanne Eisenfeld combines close reading and philological analysis with religious historical approaches to the Ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar’s songs and his world. She focuses on a set of mythical figures in Pindar’s victory odes whose identities blur the boundaries between mortality and immortality. By exploring them within the lived religious landscapes of the fifth century BCE, Eisenfeld demonstrates that Pindar’s depiction of these figures are in fact engaged with contemporary religious contexts and revalues mortality as a prerequisite for the glory found in victory. Eisenfeld’s work highlights the inextricability of Greek literature and Greek religion, and models a novel approach to Greek lyric poetry at the intersection of these fields.

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Notorious sisters

Benedict-mitford affairBestselling author Marie Benedict’s new novel, The Mitford Affair (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2023), takes a look at the real-life Mitford sisters who dominated English political, literary, and social scenes in the 1930s. Nancy Mitford grows suspicious as her sisters Diana and Unity are drawn to fascism and Hitler. When Nancy overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, she must make excruciating choices between the personal and the political. A Boston College graduate, Benedict is the author/co-author of several novels, including The Personal Librarian, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Lady Clementine, and The Only Woman in the Room, among others.

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