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Inside NCR

Write NCR about a book (and look for us on TV)

So many books, so little space. One need not be a beleaguered book publisher to realize that there are many more books than there is space to review them, and this includes NCR. In our quarterly supplements and weekly reviews, we do the best we can but inevitably good books -- and others -- get passed over. And people are always saying, "You should have done such-a-book."

So, once a year, we give readers a chance to have a say in the matter. For our Winter Books special issue on Nov. 7, readers are invited to tell us about the books we missed and they didn't -- just in time for the holidays.

So write and tell -- in no less than a line and no more than a page -- about the book that impressed or amused you most this past year. Please ensure that your choice is no older than 1996 vintage. Give us the title, author, publisher and price if you know them. We can't promise to publish every one, or every word of them -- it will all depend on the case you make for your book.

Alas, there is no payment, just a chance to do some book or author a favor. Deadline is Oct. 17. We will not be able to return your contributions, but NCR readers everywhere -- and they are practically everywhere -- will appreciate your effort.

As all the high-pressure advertisers say: Do it today! Send all entries to John Allen at P.O. Box 419281, Kansas City, MO 64141 or deluge his E-mail account at jallen@natcath.org.

It used to be fun when Alfred Hitchcock was making movies, to spot the maestro making his trademark momentary appearance in each film. Similarly today, folks scan drawings by the great cartoonist Al Hirschfeld for his signature insertion of the word "Nina," his daughter's name, slyly incorporated once or several times in each drawing (in the Sunday New York Times, for example).

NCR readers may have the same fun with "Nothing Sacred," the new TV series that began last week on ABC. The program, which airs on Thursdays (check local times), is about the triumphs and trials of an urban Catholic parish. It has already been highly praised (see Raymond Schroth's review in NCR, Aug. 29) and has had the good fortune to be noticed by some right-wing types who kicked a little controversial dust in its face because, darn it, the series deals with reality. Wrote Aaron Barnhart in our local The Kansas City Star: "It is a show for everyone who understands that faith in anything -- in democracy, in marriage and, above all, in a higher power -- is an adventure, at times a comedy, but not a fairy tale."

Now here's the point. If you watch closely, you will see copies of NCR on the set of "Nothing Sacred." That's all we can tell you. They will be there as props, nothing more. Their presence is neither an endorsement of NCR by the show's producers, nor of the show by NCR. On the inevitable other hand, we of course believe the presence of NCR on any coffee table makes that place more relevant, more wholesome, more intriguing and above all more fun. And when, as the series gathers steam, the characters start quoting from the latest NCR, you'll know actor Kevin Anderson's parish finally has its act together.

-- Michael Farrell

National Catholic Reporter, September 26, 1997