Wednesday, September 12, 2012

august/september books

More books:
The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene): Our latest book group book. I have to admit to have struggled with this acknowledged “classic” book over the opening chapters, but very much warmed to it by the time I’d finished. It tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest in Mexico during the 1930s (when the Mexican government was endeavouring to suppress the Catholic Church – the persecution being especially secure in the province of Tabasco (the setting of this book), which resulted in closing all the churches in the state and the “elimination” of the clergy.   
A Walk-on Part: Diaries 1994-99 (Chris Mullins): I love political diaries (when they’re well-written) and this one is really excellent. Mullins, Labour MP for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010, is someone I have long admired for his candour, humour and commonsense. It makes fascinating (and often hilarious) reading. I now need to read his other two diaries!
Living Letters of the Word (Neil Paynter): I’ve been using this book on a daily basis since returning from Iona. It contains readings and meditations from the Iona Community (I think this is the third book of this type I’ve read from Neil Paynter). Thought-provoking and constantly challenging.
The Finkler Question (Howard Jacobson): This is a complicated book about grief, belief and memory. Essentially, the book is about a non-Jew’s “love affair with and besotted inquiry into what Jewishness means – politically, socially, economically, romantically, intellectually, emotionally, culturally, musically and so on” (in the words of Edward Docx’s review in The Guardian). I DID enjoy the book (it’s beautifully written) - even if there were times when I struggled with Jacobson’s style (some of his newspaper articles often have the same effect on me!).    
Around a Thin Place: an Iona pilgrimage guide (Jane Bentley+Neil Paynter): A lovely book and, somewhat obviously, even better if you’ve been on one of the Iona Community pilgrimages (but it would certainly prove to be a wonderful resource if you undertook your own independent Iona pilgrimage). Contains reflections for places on the island which have spiritual and/or historical significance, but also provides some challenging readings, poems and prayers.

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