The Book of Job by Rev Andy Roland (Filament Publishing, £9.99). The author, an Anglican clergyman, has arranged the Book of Job for public performance. In his foreword, Rowan Williams explains that to understand this ancient text “we need to hear it as drama, as an exchange of passionate, difficult speeches”. Roland has done this admirably. As he writes, the Book of Job could easily be adapted for performance in a church or community centre, and it is also accessible for individual reading and in chaplaincy work. What matters is discovering a living relationship to God in the midst of tragedy and disaster.
Prayers for Dementia by Fay Sampson (DLT, £5.99). The author, whose husband has dementia and who is donating half her royalties to the Alzheimer’s Society, has written a very helpful study for those in her position, as well as others. It is divided into three sections: for sufferers themselves; for their carers; and for family, friends and the wider community. Covering subjects such as aggression, changes, moving on, memory loss and the Church’s role, Sampson is full of sensible and sensitive advice. She includes prayers that are both heartfelt and human. Her message: you can live well with dementia.
Reclaiming the Common Good edited by Virginia Moffatt (Darton, Longman and Todd, £12.99). This is a highly relevant and intriguing collection of essays that tackles some of the modern world’s most pressing problems head on. Moffatt asks: what kind of world do we want to live in and what part can Christians play in creating a fairer life for all? The range of essays is large, looking at such issues as welfare, austerity, the migrant crisis and more general aspects of social justice. The main point behind these pieces is a lament at the loss of a common good for the self-interest of the few.
Queen Victoria’s Match-Making by Deborah Cadbury (Bloomsbury, £25). Of all the match-making efforts made by Queen Victoria for her children and grandchildren, the one that flourished, ensuring the stability of the monarchy, nearly didn’t happen: that between Bertie’s second son, Prince George, and Princess Mary (May) of Teck. Engaged to George’s older brother, the weak and foolish Duke of Clarence, she was swiftly switched to George on his brother’s sudden death. This and other royal alliances are described in this readable book, providing a glimpse of the power of blue-blooded connections during the reign of that great matriarch, Victoria.
Titans of History by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99). This is a welcome new edition of this very readable work, with added chapters on Michelangelo and Simón Bolívar. Montefiore is an effortlessly fluent writer, managing to parse history and leave out the boring bits. In this book he looks at the great characters of history, among them Mozart, Thatcher, Shakespeare and Einstein, and tries to understand not only what made them tick but also, more crucially, what made them so different from their contemporaries.
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