A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Inquirer’

Does the Times Book Review matter?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

My Cousin the Saint received about 15 reviews in print and online, including a so-so Publishers Weekly review pre-publication. My biggest review (aside from a nice mention in The Washington Post) was The Philadelphia Inquirer on a Sunday in August 2008. That never would’ve happened if not for the graciousness of Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow, who met with me one morning in his office and introduced me to the paper’s book editor. I was able to make my case in person; he went for it. I remain grateful.

That said, the Times Book Review remains the Holy Grail for writers, and it’s absolutely unattainable for 99 percent of us. That’s because of both the avalanche of books published annually and the Times’ peculiar methods for selecting books to review (many of which simply cannot have potential sales of more than 200). Making the Times Best Seller list is easier than getting reviewed — and that’s really hard!

In any event, this blog post is worth reading, if you care about such things. An excerpt:

“When I worked as an editor at Doubleday and later as an agent doing business with most major publishers, there was a constant lament about the Times’s cultural blindspots.  This lament was rarely given voice beyond whispered conversations because hope sprung eternal that the newspaper would come around in time to review an author’s next work, rather than consign it, too, to oblivion. Well, good luck with that.  Many authors have waited their whole lives for a nod from the gray lady.”

Miracle in Philly?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

From today’s Philadelphia Inquirer: “It was exactly a month ago today that Paul Pickel, owner of a Vero Beach, Fla., stained-glass studio, learned that $100,000 of his artwork had been stolen in Philadelphia. An 8-by-12-foot mosaic of Italian saint Padre Pio and two stained-glass windows depicting the Ascension of Christ were stored in a van that was stolen from a motel parking lot near Philadelphia International Airport. Pickel, 65, feared that his meticulous work would have been for nothing and that his works would be lost or destroyed, possibly putting his studio in jeopardy.” The rest of the  story is here.

Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Frank Wilson, the former book editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s book review section, reviews My Cousin the Saint today in the Sunday paper. The review is here. I think he liked the book, and was really taken by Padre Gaetano Catanoso, the man who became a saint.

Excerpt: “The real miracle on display in this book is the life of Gaetano Catanoso. Here was a man unaffected by theological subtleties, spouting no mystical mumbo-jumbo, content to pray, celebrate Mass, and be unwaveringly good and kind. In short, a good priest … the soul of the book is Padre Gaetano. We all need to become better acquainted with him.”

Philadelphia Inquirer

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

The Philadelphia Inquirer writes about “My Cousin the Saint” in today’s edition. Religion writer David O’Reilly, whom I met and interviewed with in the Inquirer newsroom on July 25, does an exemplary job. No surprise. He’s among the best religion writers in America.


So why did his immigrant grandparents never talk about the southern Italy they fled a century ago? Had they left some family secret in the impoverished mountain region of Calabria – a home to the Mafia?

They had, but never knew it.

And it was no dark secret at all, but luminous.

The clan they left behind in 1903 had spawned a holy man, the Rev. Gaetano Catanoso, whom the Roman Catholic Church would proclaim a saint in 2005.

And in the course of discovering his long-lost cousin – a parish priest born in 1879 who grew into what he calls an “ethereal, holy being, so virtuous that he is hailed as a miracle worker” – Justin Catanoso would discover his larger family, his Italian roots, and the faith he hardly knew.

“It was an experience that pulled me into the heart of the family,” Catanoso, now a 48-year-old North Carolina journalist, said during a recent visit to Philadelphia. He recounts his journey of discovery in a new book, My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family and Miracles.

Read the whole story here.