Some News

It may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but I have decided to move away from updating my WordPress site – doohan.id.au – in favour of making my Facebook account the primary means of sharing my book reviews, my homilies, and my occasional other offerings.

I am not, however, abandoning doohan.id.au completely. This will remain the place where I write longer form articles and reflections, but which will then be shared to Facebook. The website will also serve as an ‘online archive’ of my past offerings, searchable using the option to the side.

If you would like to stay up to date with things I am thinking and writing about, you’ll now have to go to my Facebook account. I hope to see you there at some point…

Review: Catholicism in the Time of Coronavirus

Catholicism in the time of coronavirusCatholicism in the time of coronavirus by Stephen Bullivant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although written from the particular perspectives of the United States and the United Kingdom, and therefore directly applicable to the Australian context, I’m very glad that someone has given some thought to the response and challenges facing the Catholic Church during and after the time of the COVID-19 pandemic event. I wouldn’t agree with everything that Stephen Bullivant has written – in fact, in some points I believe he has missed the mark completely – it was good to have something with which to engage, and therefore to stimulate my own thinking.

From that perspective, this is a good book, and one worth reading at this time in society’s life.

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Review: See Delphi and Die

See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco, #17)See Delphi and Die by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our hero, Marcus Didius Falco, and his wife, Helena Justina, take a trip to Greece, to see the sites, visit sacred shrines…and to find a killer!

Prompted by familial commitments, Falco and entourage visit all the sites that one might expect to visit during first century Greece – Olympia, Corinth, Delphi, Athens – in search of a killer who had been preying on young women who were also travelling. Venturing into the world of ‘budget travels and tours’, we discover not only the identity of the killer (at the end) but also the long history of travel company who were seeking to make profits by promising much but delivering the very basics.

Along with the identity of the killer, our hero also uncovers the beauty of ancient Greece, or rather what’s left after the Romans have conquered and ravaged ancient Greece. The situation is beautifully captured in the descriptive writing of Lindsey Davis. The ongoing lives of our well-loved characters is always interesting to follow with each volume of the ongoing series of adventures of Rome’s most well-known informer.

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Homilies: The Solemnity of the Ascension, Year A

The homily preached by Bishop Bill for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Year A) from the live-streamed 9.30 am Mass from the (all-but-empty) Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.

The readings proclaimed were Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20.

“My hope is that this time of lesser activity will be an opportunity for us to reflect on what really matters, on what we have most profoundly missed, and will allow us to return to the most fundamental ‘Mission’ of the Church, to be the Lord’s witnesses in the world, to go out to all the world and tell the good news, to go, make disciples of all the nations.”

Review: Hannibal: Enemy of Rome

Hannibal: Enemy of RomeHannibal: Enemy of Rome by Ben Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The time taken to ‘read’ this book shouldn’t be taken as a sign of disinterest. The reality is that most of my ‘reading’ of audio books takes place when I am in my car – something that has been sorely lacking for the last couple of months during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic event.

The story of this book, set in the lead up to and during the historic journey of Hannibal across the Alps into northern Italy, takes place in a period of ancient Roman history with which I not overly familiar. It was interesting, therefore, to hear the story of two young men – one Roman, one Carthaginian – and their families as it is impacted by the ongoing hostilities that exist between their two City-States. Bound together by a developing friendship, the internal struggles between them are complex and, alas, seem destined to tragedy.

As with his other novels, Ben Kane has woven together an engaging narrative with an historical backstory to provide the ‘reader’ with a tale that captures the attention (even if it took me longer than expected to complete it!). The voicing of this novel by Michael Praed makes only positive contributions to the enjoyment of this tome, his nuance of tone and each individual character being masterful and enjoyable.

A wonderful ‘read’, and one I’d recommend to any student of ancient Roman history.

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Review: Scandal Takes a Holiday

Scandal Takes a Holiday (Marcus Didius Falco, #16)Scandal Takes a Holiday by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another enjoyable read in the ongoing and unfolding adventures of our hero Marcus Didius Falco, his family, and the wider group of regulars who, by now, are well known to the reader.

The opportunity to visit Ostia while searching for a missing ‘journalist’ sees Falco pack his household and head down for a holiday as well. It was going to be an easy assignment, and the opportunity was just too good to miss. And then the trouble starts…

Stumbling across local intrigue, Falco is drawn into more than he bargained for. There is kidnapping, there is murder, there is graft and corruption, and there is foreigners with shady pasts. Falco is almost at home, but his doggedness – along with some help from family and friends – eventually unravels the various threads to reveal not only what was truly happening in Ostia, but also the surprise identity of who was behind it all.

Lindsey Davis is rapidly proving to be a favourite author. Her grasp of her characters, by now well developed and loved, along with the historic setting in which Falco’s adventures are set, are masterful and engaging. Reading these novels are not a burden; it is like delving into the story of the extended family. I’ve already started the next edition…

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