- Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
- McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
- Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
- Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
- Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
- Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
- Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
- Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
- Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
- Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
- Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
- Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
- Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
- Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
- Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
Page count: 3430.
This book was recommended to me by chrishansenhome after he found it such a fascinating read. Since I'm Catholic and lived in Boston for so many years, he felt it ought to be required reading for me. Well, how can I dispute that!
I don't share chrishansenhome's enthusiasm for the subject. I maintain one doesn't need to have an understanding of Catholic history or politics to be a follower. I accepted long ago that my Church is all sorts of flawed, but it's enough of a struggle trying to sort myself out without adding Church history and politics to my list of concerns.
With this attitude, I began by reading quickly, practically skimming. However, Ambition and Arrogance is very well written, and the Boston Cardinal's ascendancy and reign so scandalous, that I kept getting absorbed in what I was reading and slowing down. This is a man who climbed to the top of the American Church by backstabbing his fellow bishops and kissing lots of Roman ass with false words and money. While in office, he misappropriated funds, undermined the American hierarchy at every opportunity, was complicit in the marriages of his ordained nephew and another priest, and seemed more interested in worldly pursuits than in practicing the Catholic faith. He would make a great subject for an opera!
Slawson provides insight into the system that allowed O'Connell to rise to and stay in power. It seems almost inconceivable how the Vatican, though painted as consisting mostly of well intentioned people, could allow this situation to go on unchecked. Most disturbing, perhaps, is how the Church simply allowed the dust to clear afterwards in order to avoid public scandal and a little egg on the face, so that nothing was learned and history was allowed to repeat itself nearly a century later in the form of Cardinal Law and the child abuse scandal.