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

Posts Tagged ‘book reviews’

Reader reviews of My Cousin the Saint

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

I just came across a treasure trove, a compilation of reader reviews of My Cousin the Saint on one web site. About a dozen of them.  There’s nothing better for a writer than to see how his or her story has resonated with readers.

Alas, the link is no longer live, but here’s an excerpt from one: “When a friend suggested that I read My Cousin The Saint, I hesitated for many reasons….I am not Catholic, I expected the book to be a boring tale of a religion that doesn’t necessarily interest me and I was raised in a secular home. My friend persisted and I am so grateful to her. By page 2, I was hooked…..and my interest continued all the way into the epilogue. Justin Catanoso writes about a quest that could just as easily be another country with different characters.”

My book, by the way, can be purchased inexpensively at many online retailers, particularly

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.”

North Carolina Bookwatch, the video

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

In case you really, really wanted to see me talking with host D.G. Martin on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch on July 12, but just couldn’t get to a television, stop worrying! Just click here and enjoy the video.

Through a Glass, Darkly: A review

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Kari Baumann, a Greensboro blogger, reviews My Cousin the Saint 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.”

Mother Teresa

Friday, June 20th, 2008

This would seem a simple question: is Mother Teresa a saint? If you took a vote, she’d likely win in a landslide. But as I learned firsthand in the course of researching my book, canonization is not a popularity contest. So while Pope John Paul II placed his friend from Calcutta on a saintly fast track, waiving the five-year waiting period before the cause could be considered, things have slowed considerably since her beatification.

This article explains why.