Michael Dubriel, a Catholic author and blogger, died suddenly a few days ago, as announced on the site of his wife Amy Wellborn, also a Catholic author and blogger.
I'd forgotten until today, but Dubriel wrote a book I really like: The How-To Book of the Mass. I read it two years ago when I'd just decided to become Catholic and I knew I needed to get a handle on the Mass. There seemed to be a lot of meaning in it that I was missing; the gestures and words would flow by in a stream so swift I couldn't catch and examine any of them. Dubriel's book was exactly what I wanted. He explains all the basics I didn't know and was too shy to ask-- how to genuflect, how to cross yourself with holy water, even why some Hispanics look like they're kissing their hands after making the Sign of the Cross (turns out they're making a little cross with forefinger and thumb and kissing that, as a sign of devotion). Then he also explains the theology of the Mass, the Sacrifice and the Real Presence, with heavy use of Scripture and quotes from the early Church Fathers. For each part he usually says something about its development: what it looked like in the year 300 A.D., what the Eastern Catholics do at this part, what Scripture it's taken from, what Pope stuck this prayer in there and why. And he writes quite a bit about how to enter spiritually into the Mass. One very useful recommendation along those lines was to kill your ego, especially if there's something about the way the Mass is being offered that you don't like. :)
It was a much richer book than I'd hoped for, given that it's written in a simple familiar style and looks like part of the "For Dummies" series. A few weeks after finishing it I started going to Mass every day-- mainly because I found a great parish (and even more mainly because of grace), but I know Dubriel's book helped.
Incidentally, I'd recommend it as therapy for traditional Catholics who love the Extraordinary Form of Mass but want to cure themselves of retching at the thought of the Ordinary Form. This book is entirely about the OF, and although it won't make you love the OF better than the EF, it does make the most of what the OF has got. Most opponents of the EF are so pleased to emphasize the hermeneutic of rupture as applied to the OF, but this book emphasizes the OF's historical continuity. It also plays up the ways that participation in the OF can be spiritually fruitful, and how to have a "full, active, and conscious participation," not superficially but interiorly.
So anyway, having been reminded that Dubriel wrote this book I loved, I feel a sense of gratitude and am sorrier for his loss. I highly, highly recommend the reading of his last column, which seems to have been written at the inspiration of God for the comfort of his family. "The big lie... is to think that if we say all the right prayers and live correctly, then nothing bad will ever happen to us."