Thursday, February 19, 2009

My own (Catholic) Mother Culture

I've read 9 books since January 1st. Of course most of these have been very light, frothy fun reading, like the Georgette Heyer novels. I reread Rebecca which is a wonderful book and I just this morning netflixed the BBC mini-series which I saw years ago. I remember liking it better than the Hitchcock version. I know that is probably blasphemous! But I really never thought Lawrence Olivier was a good actor. I thought he always overplayed the part to an embarrassing degree. Plus Hitchcock changed the ending from the book and I prefer the book. But the BBC version has Emilia Fox and Charles Dance as the lead with Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers. You can't lose with that cast!

Anyway, I also read Marley and Me which was delightful. I think Rick would like it. He's still slowly, slowly working his way through The Tycoons. John Grogan who authored Marley and Me was raised Catholic though he obviously fell away from the faith, but still there are some funny references to it. I want to read his latest book, the name of which escapes me, which is memoirs about his love/hate relationship with Catholicism. I'm looking forward to that.

For some reason I got it into my head to netflix Going my Way and Bells of St. Mary's last week. This are two really old movies that star Bing Crosby as Father Charles O'Malley. The first one is better than the second. Father O'Malley has more personality and even though everything is really overly sweet and contrived, there's a real charm about it. The second movie is really more of a vehicle for Ingrid Bergman who plays Sister Benedict. The script is really bad and Father O'Malley's personality is reduced to almost nil. Bergman is great as usual but the whole move still doesn't work too well. However, both movies are chock full of Catholic culture and come from a seemingly sweeter and simpler time. So they are kind of like a warm cocoon useful in blocking out the current world.

I just started reading In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. I think I read it or at least started it way back in my early 20's but I don't remember much of it. I think I've seen the movie (which also stars Diana Rigg, I believe. . . . I'll have to look that up.) Anyway, it is a much deeper and slower book than I've been reading so I think it will take me a bit to finish it, but, boy is Rumer Godden a lovely, lovely writer. And the book just radiates such a profound and Catholic spirituality. It is really amazing.


The Bookworm said...

I totally agree about Laurence Olivier. I remember having to watch his version of Othello when I was at school and it was atrociously over acted. So bad I can still remember it 30 years later!

Leonie said...

I love Godden - and especially In This House of Brede. I try to read it every year....