Mount Wonder – a novel inspired by IHP

My dad wrote a novel called Mount Wonder. It’s a romance based on his personal experiences in the Integrated Humanities Program (IHP) at KU in the 70’s. Given how influential that program has been for American Catholicism and with all of the issues in academia today, and because it’s a totally wild adventure, you’ll enjoy the heck out of it, and learn a lot about yourself. So I’m highly recommending you get a copy of the book and read it!

          Experiential knowledge of something, they say, is a great teacher. Some call it learning things the hard way, but you can also borrow or share in someone else’s hard earned experience. They call this literature. Now I’ve heard a lot of stories, seen some pictures, and heard audio recordings of the professors discussing Shakespeare, and read a great deal about the IHP, but I haven’t, until now, felt what it was like to be there. My dad went there in the 70’s. That’s where he and my mom met. That’s where he and a lot of his friends went and met. There are a lot of characters in this book that are based on real people and things that really did happen. One of the college students drives a hearse, true story! But way beyond just recounting the glory days, the novel critiques the modern American higher educational machine: administrative bloat, incompetence, and corruption putting students on a conveyor belt feeding them curriculum drained of nutritional value — preparing students for work, not leading full human lives, and so on and so forth. And who gets left behind in the world that no longer values anything but the bottom line? The hippies, revolutionaries, disenfranchised, and wanderers. They all play a part in the novel, and it’s what makes it so fun to read! But the core of the novel is about a dude rebelling against his father and trying to get the girl, but what he finds is something unexpected and wonderful.

It’s incredible to get to read my father in his own words, to enjoy his writing, to let the novel work on me. I’ve been hearing some of the phrases in the book most of my life, and if you just read the table of contents, you’ll have about 38% of my dad’s best puns–gems like ‘Eggs Benedictine’. Growing up in Lawrence Kansas, I often remember the unenviable task of calling my father to dinner. It was not my favorite task because it was basically impossible to tear him away from his work. It was the ultimate fool’s errand. His study had beautiful french doors, floor to ceiling built in bookshelves full of dusty old tomes, and a desktop computer boasting the latest versions of AOL and Windows 95. He would get home from the office, and before dinner was ready would spend that time typing. His posture: sitting forward, alert, tense. I can still hear the symphony of smashing keys, clattering inexorably and deafeningly loud. We were all under the impression that he was working on a brief or preparing something for trial. It turns out all those years of subduing his keyboard he was not writing briefs, but briefly writing to escape. I guess writing runs in our family. My great grandfather Albert Bloch wrote memoirs in a neat little book he called Ishmael’s Breviary (and by the way, the cover art is one of his paintings). My grandfather was a writer out in Hollywood. He wrote episodes of Gilligan’s Island, Johnny Quest, and others. Although he died before I was born, I have encountered his writings through watching these episodes. But it turns out my father has been writing novels and screenplays all his life. Now he’s finally got this life-long work published.


Father and son

          I think good books actually work people over, sort of get into your head and mess with you–shake things up a bit, or at least set up shop and live in your head for a while, and sometimes forever. What I like best about Mount Wonder is how it feels like a reunion of a lot of these squatters and tenants that have been hiding in my head’s basement for a while. Just a great feeling from the bottom of your belly to the top of your ears when you read this thing. While this book is for everyone, its native audience is more the “not all who wander are lost” types. It’s like the American Brideshead. But especially this book is for all those interested in John Senior, The IHP, and its lore. Give it to someone who went to KU or is interested in the history of US higher education or the roots of Catholicism in America. A ton of great people and institutions are the product of the IHP Legacy; so it’s amazing to have a peak at what it might have felt like from a student’s perspective. This book is part history, part autobiographical, but all romance–not just in the common sense of the word, but in the literary sense especially.

You can learn more at, including a reading guide for your book club! Buy the book on Amazon and write a review!

AB: The Life and Work of Albert Bloch


“AB”, over a decade in the making, explores the delightful story of a famous American artist few have heard of but who belongs in the pantheon of great twentieth century American artists.

It will screen in the Kansas City International Film Festival on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Cinemark Theater on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. See the website to view a trailer of the film,

AB Trailer from Tim De Paepe on Vimeo.

The film festival website may be consulted about announcements of actual time of screening at

Please also go to the AB facebook page at and invite your friends. Yours truly is in the film too!

IHP Reunion

Dear friends, especially Pearsonites and IHP babies

If you have not heard already, there is going to an IHP Reunion September 3-5, 2016.

IHP SealPlease visit to see the schedule and RSVP.

By the way, great website design Mister Shopen!

(see all entries under topic IHP)