All in book review

For children: Five Books

If you are lucky, you were read to as a child. Some books will have sunk without trace in your memory, though a parent may tell you resentfully that you insisted on the same one every evening, and they can still remember all the words. Sometimes forgotten impressions surface years later: my non-sporty husband’s identification with the hero of The King who Couldn’t Kick’ or my own love of sleeper trains, which I trace back to T. S. Eliot’s Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat. […]

Death and Dying: Five Books

I can’t seem to get away from death, which is probably a lesson for us all. But I mean something more specific than that. When I started graduate school a decade ago, I decided to write my PhD. on the psychological effects of death anxiety on religiosity. Try as I might to pivot to something else, I am still compelled toward the topic. I’m not sure why, but I can guess. In the course of my work on the topic, I have tried to read as much as I can about death and dying, about the ancient rituals and the modern industries that surround them, about accounts of death both real and imaginary. These are the books I return to the most, from which I have gained the most in different ways. […]

Christian Spiritual Practice: Five Books

“Say to yourself very often about everything that happens, ‘God loves me! What joy! And reply boldly, ‘And I truly love Him too!’ Then go quite simply about all that you have to do and do not philosophize any more. For these two phrases are beyond all thought and do more for us than any thought could do; they are all-sufficing.” […]

Discerning a Vocation: Five Books

Vocation is a tricky word. Firstly, we tend to think that when discernment and vocation are placed together, the only thing being discerned is a call to ordained ministry. Second, such a view not only suggests that discernment which leads to different path is “failure” in some sense, but it also sets the vocation to ordained ministry above all other places and professions to which we might be called. Thirdly, such a narrow focus is accompanied by an equally narrow understanding of the gifts we have been given by God and the work of the Holy Spirit.