Author: Lyle W Dorsett
ISBN: 978-1-59856-356-6
Date: 2009 (First edition 1983)
Price: £11.99
Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.

Anyone who has read the book Shadowlands or seen the film versions will know something of the relationship of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. This is an unexpected story of how a middle-aged English bachelor and an American divorcee met and fell in love, and their fulfilling but tragically short marriage. For me the most intriguing part of the story is not the similarities of the partners, but their differences, and how their lives together were challenged and enriched by these. Dorsett’s portrait of Joy Davidman, and particularly of her life before meeting Lewis, adds a great deal of interesting material to this picture.

Plenty has been written about Lewis’s life, including his own autobiography Surprised by Joy. In 1952, when he first met Davidman after three years of correspondence, he was a successful Oxford don, living with his brother, with a circle of male literary friends.

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July/August 2012

Author: Michael Mayne
ISBN: 978-0-232-52862-6
Date: 2011
Price: £9.99
Publisher: Darton,
Longman and Todd

Michael Mayne (1929-2006) was an Anglican priest who published five books all on spiritual matters. The fifth book was posthumously published in 2010 under the title To Trust and to Love, consisting of various unpublished sermons and addresses. Mayne is remembered as a person of prayer who held some high-profile positions. He became Head of Religious Programmes for BBC Radio in 1972, Vicar of Cambridge’s University Church in 1979, and from 1986 until 1996 Dean of Westminster Abbey. In the latter position, Mayne’s main objective was to make the Abbey more obviously a place of prayer.

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July/August 2012

Author: Gerald O’Collins SJ
ISBN: 978-0809147106
Date: 2011
Price: £11.99
Publisher: Paulist 2011

This is an eminently practical book. It makes it easy for people to make time for prayer and reflection as they can just dip in and out of its clearly defined sections as they will, or spend longer as time permits. The author gives space to reflect on what prayer is like and its value – the need for dedication like bird watching, that lack of prayer is like a ‘power failure’, the crucial need for prayerfulness in the celebration of our liturgy. He helps us see how to use scripture and other texts to pray.

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July/August 2012

Author: Sebastian Moore OSB, with Kate Wilson
ISBN: 978-0232528572
Date: 2011
Price: £14.99
Publisher: Darton,
Longman & Todd

‘The reality we call the Good News is that God is infinite bliss and is trying to win us over to himself.’ (p.3)
With these words the author sets out his vision, expressed in rich and full language including his own poetry, and supported by many other voices of people struggling to explore that same theme. He sees this fulfilled in the liturgical action, and challenges any who try to see the eucharist from a single viewpoint alone. Liturgy and doctrine interweave in their exploration of the meaning of the paschal mystery and precisely because it is mystery the author invites us to never cease the exploration in our theology and celebration.

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July/August 2012

Author: Richard Harries
ISBN: 978-0-232-52787-2
Date: 2010
Price: £12.95
Publisher: Darton,
Longman and Todd

Christians who see themselves as veterans of efforts back in the 1980s to get the churches in this country to condemn unequivocally nuclear weapons will have memories, not particularly fond, of the man we dubbed ‘Bomber Harries.’ Richard Harries, as Dean of King’s College, London and then Bishop of Oxford, was one of the principal proponents of the view that the British nuclear deterrent could be morally justified; not long after he shocked many, and not just Roman Catholics, by accepting under conditions the practice of In Vitro Fertilisation and serving on the first commission to supervise its operation. His critics would see him as encapsulating a dangerously utilitarian approach to social ethics which has actually deepened divisions among Christians.

But we still find him worth listening to on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and we will find this book provoking and enjoyable as well. Harries points out in his introduction that the MPs expenses scandal in 2009 and the widespread growth in apathy and cynicism about political life are a real crisis for Christians as much as for everyone else; his answer is to assert that we must recover confidence in political institutions and that we can do so on the basis of the undergirding of the values at their heart in Christian understanding of the nature of the human person.

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July/August 2012

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