Category Archives: Non Fiction

Book 23 – The Scarlet and the Black by J.P.Gallagher

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True story of heroism and derring-do in wartime Rome, about an Irish priest who used the peculiar diplomatic status of the Vatican to create an underground railroad for escaped Allied servicemen.

(The actual Father O’Flaherty looked nothing like Gregory Peck.)

 

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Book 18 – The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller. 

Nice little Christian self help book, speaking against the modern obsession with self esteem (it’s not a question of thinking more of oneself or less of oneself, but of thinking of oneself, less).

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Book 16 – A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

16_08_2017 07_34 Office Lens

Wow, I had no idea. I’ve not really read any Woolf so far, but I’d this is anything to go by I’ll be teaching much more. Second wave feminism being expounded 30 years before the first wave got going. And such writing.

(PS I’ve only read the first essay so far, may come back to Three Guineas later)

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Book 15 -The Russian Countess by Edith Sollohub

Fascinating autobiographical account of the privileged early life of a Russian woman at the turn of the 20th century, her childhood, marriage and hunting exploits; then the coming of the revolution, separation from her husband and children, hardship, imprisonment and eventual escape to the West.

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Book 12 – The Reformed Soul by John Stubbs

So this is a biography of John Donne who as well as being one of the greatest poets the English Language has produced, lived, survived, faltered and prospered through the English Reformation.

It’s there anything this man did not do? He was the young Catholic student, attending both Oxford and Cambridge under the radar of the Elizabethan persecution. He was a law student, putting himself about town (in every possible way).  He was the careerist administrator in Government, the gentleman soldier heading off with the Earl of Essex to the sack of Cadiz, the lovelorn youth with insufficient prospects eloping with his employer’s niece, the exile from influence forced to earn a living by accompanying rich young men on their Grand Tour, and finally the respected clergyman and Dean of St. Paul’s.

This is a fascinating book. I don’t pretend to know much about metaphysical poetry, so can’t really comment on how much insight is given to Donne’s creative life. But as a gallop through the life and times of someone who lived through such a tumultuous period of our history, is definitely a recommend.

(My one gripe is that I wish they had modernised the spelling where Donne’s writing is directly quoted. I found it distracting and annoying)

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Book 8 – On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkein

Strictly one for fans and scholars, the essay itself only takes up 80 out of 300 pages. The rest consists of footnotes, an editor’s glossary, correspondence and the originated manuscripts.

I haven’t really digested what Tolkein is saying yet. One thing I’m sure of; he would have hated living in the present time.

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Book 6 -Prayer by Timothy Keller

I think I need to read this book a few times and make copious notes to do it justice. Keller states in his introduction that he isn’t setting out to say anything new about prayer (in fact he draws heavily on the writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth Reformers in particular) but aims to bring existing material to modern readers in a book that covers the theological, the devotional and the experiential aspects of prayer.

The main point of course is; just pray and trust that God will lead you to Him.

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