Acclaimed, award-winning essayist and novelist Brian Doyle—whose writing, in the words of Mary Oliver, is “a gift to us all”—presents one hundred new prayers that evoke his deep Catholic belief in the mystery and miracle of the ordinary (and the whimsical) in human life.
In Doyle’s newest work, A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle & Muddle of the Ordinary, which was named "A Best Spiritual Book of the Year" by Spirituality & Practice, his readers will find a series of prayers unlike any of the beautiful, formal, orthodox prayers of the Catholic tradition or the warm, extemporized prayers heard from pulpits and dinner tables. Doyle’s often-dazzling, always-poignant prayers include eye-opening hymns to shoes and faith and family. In Doyle’s words, “the world is crammed with miracles, so crammed and tumultuous that if we stop, see, savor, we are agog,” and the pages of his newest book give voice and body to this credo. By focusing on experiences that may seem the most unprayerful (one prayer is titled “Prayer on Seeing Yet Another Egregious Parade of Muddy Paw Prints on the Floor”), he gives permission to discover the joys and treasures in what he often calls the muddle of everyday life.
Features & Benefits
- Doyle’s combination of imagination and linguistic playfulness dovetail with his deep Catholic ethos. “Catholic is my language,” he has written, “Catholic is the coat I wear, Catholic is the house in which I live.”
- Doyle has written more than a dozen books in as many years and hundreds of short pieces in virtually every Catholic and Christian periodical that exists.
- This is not a collection of previously published essays and poems but an original work, none of whose contents have appeared in print before.
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“Brian Doyle’s writing is driven by his passion for the human, touchable, daily life, and equally for the untouchable mystery of all else . . . [H]is gratitude, his sweet lyrical reaching, is a gift to us all.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Primitive
Pound for pound, Brian Doyle is the best writer of spirituality in Catholicland, and I doubt if any writer can match him in any land. These amazing prayers -- in thanks for decent shoes, for cashiers and checkout counter folks, for the reader who photocopies this prayer and shares it with friends and sisters -- and so much more, are where the rubber meets the road. This is Brian Doyle's time, and your time to read his wonderful books if you haven't before. A Book of Uncommon Prayer is a great place to start."
Author of Why stay Catholic? Unexpected Answers to a Life-Changing Question
“Some people can write. Some people can feel. Brian Doyle, born with a silver tongue and a big heart, is among the lucky few who can do both.”
Author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
“To read Brian Doyle is to apprehend, all at once, the force that drives Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman, and James Joyce, and Emily Dickinson, and Francis of Assisi, and Jonah under his gourd. Brian Doyle is an extraordinary writer whose tales will endure.”
National Book Critics' Circle Award-winning author of Quarrel and Quandary
“Brian Doyle has a fine quick mind alert for anomaly and quirk--none of them beyond his agile pen.”
National Book Award-winning author of Shadow Country
Brian Doyle was a hirsute shambling shuffling mumbling grumbling muttering muddled maundering meandering male being who edited Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon — the best university magazine in America, according to Newsweek, and "the best spiritual magazine in the country," according to author Annie Dillard, clearly a woman of surpassing taste and discernment.
Doyle's books have four times been finalists for the Oregon Book Award, and his essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion, The American Scholar, and in newspapers and magazines around the world. His essays have also been reprinted in the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science & Nature Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. Among various honors for his work is a Catholic Book Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and, mysteriously, a 2008 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His greatest accomplishments are that a riveting woman said yup when he mumbled a marriage proposal, that the Coherent Mercy then sent them three lanky snotty sneery testy sweet brilliant nutty muttering children in skin boats from the sea of the stars, and that he made the all-star team in a Boston men's basketball league that was a really tough league, guys drove the lane in that league they lost fingers, man, one time a guy drove to the basket and got hit so hard his right arm fell off but he was lefty and hit both free throws, so there you go.