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Reviewer: Joe Bloggs

Culinary treasures, such as oranges, marzipan, coffee, sugar, asparagus; practical household objects, such as carpets; all those magical words beginning in ‘al’, such as alcohol and alchemy; must-haves, such as soap and perfume, and even – in the old days - public baths; musical delights, such as the lute and guitar; and if you’re seriously bright, logarithmic tables and works of astronomy and astrology. What do all of these have in common? They are all a product of the Arab world and so, indirectly, of Islam.

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Ave Maria Press £9.99
Reviewed by Anne Mauldon

Click here to purchase: Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self

Do you ever have a sense that this book is the one you should buy and read when you browse among the bookshelves, often in search of nothing in particular? This is what happened to me with Joyce Rupp’s Open the Door. I had recently read The Enneagram: A Private Session with the World’s greatest Psychologist by Simon Parke (Lion, £8.99) and it seemed right to read this next.The book is designed as a six week journey deeper into our inner selves with a reflection for each day of the week.

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The Message in the Sand is a Changing One

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Joan Chittister, OSB

Recently, in a very real way, I watched the world both come together and fall apart. The interesting thing is that the insight came from where I least expected it. In the middle of Atlanta, Geergia, sits Drepung Loseling Mon-astery, a quiet little Buddhist com-munity intent on reminding us that we may be ignoring one of the basics of life. Here? Us? How could that be?

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The Slowmover (To Finsbury Park)

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Tim Rowe

I caught this morning morning's motorer, Cit- y of London's loiterer, lingering-long-late vehicle; I went riding on the lower level (underneath the smoky air), and tidying my hair (how it falls onto my face from its apposite, ordered, parted place!) then off, off now, we quit the bus-stop. Back bench and a-bouncing, the hurl and gliding produced a big wind. My stomach, chiding, stirred; I had erred! The haddock and the sausage! I was a twit! Fried fish and saveloy act, oh, air, full phlegm, now throw up! AND the fire that breaks from me then, a hundred times more searing, more acid, and so I'll go, I vow! No chance of it; slów plód makes tracks, and I dread trouble. The blue-black costume comes so slow- ly down, hounding me, and would that I were dead!

© 1979, 2009. With apologies to GMH and TfL. Tim Rowe is a writer, poet, worship leader and software engineer who lives with his family in Kent

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Is Spirituality the new Religion?

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Gethin Abraham-Williams

To begin at the beginning, to quote Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood! (Penguin, ₤7.99) - retirement provided me with the opportunity to reflect on what my ministry had been about, half of which had been in pastorates in England (in Coventry, in Sutton Coldfield and in Sutton, Surrey), and half as an ecclesiastical bureaucrat (albeit of an ecumenical kind!) in both England and Wales.

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Give a Boy a Gun: From Killing to Peace-making

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Alistair Little and Ruth Scott
Published 2009 by Darton, Longman and Todd

Click here to purchase: Give a Boy a Gun: From Killing to Peace-Making

Imagine being part of a community that leads you to believe God is on your side and sanctions your path into violence. Imagine having a faith that enables you to justify killing another human being. Imagine sitting in prison, convicted of murder, and slowly coming to question that belief and that faith. How can a man committed to doing the right thing live with the realisation he has done great wrong? How can he come to terms with the devastating impact his actions have had not only upon the family of his victim, but also upon his own beloved family? When he discovers his enemy has a human face, how can he face his own inhumanity?

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An Introduction to Christian Mysticism

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Thomas Merton edited by Patrick O’Connell
Cistercian Publications, ₤19,99
Reviewed by Peter Tyler

Click here to purchase: An Introduction to Christian Mysticism: Initiation into the Monastic Tradition: Bk. 3 (Monastic Wisdom)

Forty years after his death there seems no let up of the tide of posthumous publications from the pen of Thomas Merton, the ‘great communicator’ of the Twentieth Century Cistercian tradition. This latest volume is in the ‘Monastic Wisdom’ series published by Cistercian and is the third in a series of edited notes given to the monks and novices of Gethsemani Monastery in the nineteen fifties and sixties which have been titled ‘Initiation into the Monastic Tradition’.

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Maid in God’s Image: In search of the unruly woman

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Verena Wright.
DLT, £12.95
Reviewed by Nicola Slee

Click here to purchase: Maid in God's Image: In Search of the Unruly Woman

I enjoyed reading Verena Wright’s lively and intelligent reflection on the feminine in religion and culture. It is not an entirely even book, and most of the theological ideas presented – on notions of the feminine in the Bible and Christianity, purity codes and their connections to gender, Jesus’ subversion of Jewish ideas about pollution, and so on – have been treated more systematically elsewhere.

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Unknowing

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Speaking on “Wonders of the Universe” on BBC television, Professor Brian Cox said, “That is the most beautiful place for a scientist to be: on the borders of the known and the unknown.”

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Philida

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André Brink
Harvill Secker, August 2012, £14.99
Reviewed by Jill Hinchliff

Click here to purchase: Philida

The story of the surname-less mixed-race slave Philida, is not a comfortable, easy read. It is set in Cape Town and its surrounds, during the years leading up to and finally culminating in the abolition of slavery in 1834.

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Why Women Believe in God

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Liz Hodgkinson .In Conversation with .BK Javanti
Circle Books, .Oct 2012, £11.99
Reviewd by Catherine von Ruhland

Click here to purchase: Why Women Believe in God

That’s a weight of a title if ever there was one! To be seen reading it is surely to invite some sort of a response.That I’m sitting on a train, reading a book about belief when there’s a higher chance of encountering someone reading a strident Hitchens makes the cover all the more eye-catching. Then add that word ‘women’ in the title! Trust those flibbertygibbets with their head full of stuff, eh, to get all excited about a man in the clouds!

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