Saturday, February 09, 2013

This weeks reviews! I read some lovely books on my train journey to London for a Booksellers Association meeting. Yes! they let this bookshop boss out of the shop for a day,  lovely conscripts worked the place for a day and were amply rewarded with chocolate smiley face lollipops (I'm just that sort of bookshop boss, kind and generous to a fault, that's me!).
Now Remember:
All these reviews and indeed a geat many more can be found on the excellent Good Book Stall Website - well worth checking out :D
All the books reviewed here (and don't forget to check out the review page we have on here as well!) and those found on can also be found at or ordered from Unicorn Tree Books too, both in the shop and online at either or or at the wonderful (but please do remember to make us your favourite shop when you visit Hive! the online bookshop where every sale supports independent physical bookshops!)

(Jacket images of books being reviewed - just for you Mr Groom!)
Title – Joy – The Meaning Of The Sacraments (Faith Going Deeper Series)
Author – Peter Waddell
Format – Paperback
Price – £12.99
Publisher – Canterbury Press            
Date of Publication – October 2012
ISBN 978-1-84825-279-0
Reviewer Melanie Carroll

This, the second book in the Faith Going Deeper series, continues to demonstrate the high level of sound and well explored insightful theology that is possible. In a clear and articulated fashion ‘Joy’ (Just as ‘Grace’ before it did) removes theology from the domain of only academics into the reality of the life of the church and the ordinary person, a wonderful and important achievement that certainly deserves for this book to be used by individuals and by churches as groups.
‘Joy’ deals with the sacraments of the church, first pointing out that the sacraments are at their root about joy - the demonstration of the joy of God in his people and His desire for Joy for his people. This proposition is put forward both in the introduction and in the first chapter, ‘Jesus, The Joy Of God’ and from out of this spins a well written, deeply considered and well formulated discussion of the Sacraments. No argument is ignored and though written in an easy to grasp and read style there is no dumbing down in the history, theology and consideration of any of the sacraments here. The Chapter on the Eucharist has one of the best descriptions and considerations of transubstantiation that I have come across in a great many years and for me would have made the book entirely worth it alone. At the end of the chapters there are a short series of Discussion questions and a great ‘For Reflection’ section which consists of quotes from a range of sources and authors through history.
A lovely book and well worth getting, regardless of your academic standing, to be enjoyed as an individual or to be used in a group. This would form a wonderful basis of church catechesis and introduction.

Title – Seasons Of The Soul – An Intimate God in A Liturgical Time
Author – Carla Mae Streeter
Format – Paperback
Price – £7.50
Publisher – New City Press
Date of Publication – October 2012
ISBN – 978-1-56548-451-1
Reviewer Melanie Carroll

There is a beautifully lush lyricism to this series of short meditations on the liturgical seasons, probably because the author is also a poet and we get a sampling of her poetry interspersed between each meditation or contemplation. The word usage is vivid and evocative as she attempts to dig down into the significance of the seasons both as they stand in liturgical meaning but also as they are to us today, so colours, scents and secular involvement all meet together in her considerations of these holy times. There are in the book seven contemplations, each one tied to a season, - so Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Post Paschal Feasts, and of course, Ordinary Time - however in reality there are nine contemplations because to overlook the introduction and conclusion as contemplations in their own right would be to do the book and it’s writings an injustice. This book is a wonderful devotional tool for anyone wanting to consider the movement of the church through the year.

 Title – Death Of A Saviour – Reflections On Good Friday
Author – Michael Collins
Format – Paperback
Price – £5.99
Publisher – Columba Press
Date of Publication – January 2013
ISBN 978—1-78218-022-7
Reviewer Melanie Carroll

What a powerful little book of reflections for Good Friday! One that is heavy on the political comparisons of Jesus’ time and suffering and out own. It’s intense, insightful and keen but not laboured or exclusionary to those not into political theology, rather it is one that anyone with a consideration for Justice and Peace would find of interest and with a good balance between reflection and action.
There is some very strong material here that is totally biblically sound and insightful, and that is this books real power. It is good for individual use but some of it really would be fantastic to use on Good Friday in services, and some of it could also be adapted and used as the basis of a strong group study, either at Lent or anytime really. Excellent little book.

Title – Nine Lives – The Enneagram In Life Stories
Author – Eric Foggitt
Format – Paperback
Price – £11.99
Publisher – O Books (John Hunt)
Date of Publication – December 2012
ISBN – 978-1-78099-978-4
reviewer Melanie Carroll

Nine Lives by Eric Foggitt is a welcome addition to books on the enneagram. The fictionalised accountings of the life of a person of each type really makes it a book that allows you to take in how the lives and actions of the types can be seen both by themselves and in relation to others. This way of telling a series of intersecting stories based around people in the same town and within the same churches really demonstrates how the types as actual people can look at childhood, adolescence, in work and at home in relationships, it also works in identifying and demonstrating the shadow feature of each type as well, the fears and negatives that can drive and hinder. I also like that there is in the book much about how our way of practicing faith can be coloured by our types outlook and drivers. The element of spirituality is central to these stories and views and the questions or ‘spiritual exercises’ at the end of each section are also very good at both helping to draw out the understandings of our types in relation to ourselves, but also at building up a good biblical connection for each type too. Very good and highly unusual book on the enneagram and spirituality and very very easy and enjoyable to read too.

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