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jessica@jkp.com (London, England)

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Meeting God in Mark
Meeting God in Mark
by Rowan Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic book, 2 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Meeting God in Mark (Paperback)
I read this with huge enjoyment - it's so clearly and well written, I found myself just wanting to keep reading until I got to the end. The book was for me full of AHA moments, either showing me a completely new dimension that I would never have seen, or showing me something that I simply hadn't noticed, but which now made complete sense. As well as this, he covers the historical and scholarly bits of the background that it is really useful to know, but not easy to find out as a complete non-specialist. A really good book - I'm so glad to have found it, and I fully intend to reread it. Soon.


The Ox-Herder and the Good Shepherd
The Ox-Herder and the Good Shepherd
by Addison Hodges Hart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple, a wonderfully thoughtful little book, 21 Feb. 2015
This is one of those apparently very simple books that manages to express deep truths that lodge in the mind, and make one return. I found it a very enjoyable read - well written, and with enough of the author in it to make one feel that one is being accompanied by someone one likes, a good teacher leading one on to understand the spiritual path better with each chapter. The Ox-herder pictures are lovely, and I understand them much better now, having read this book - the real point in the end, which I completely subscribe to, is that they are not just a pattern of the Daoist path to enlightenment, but the universal path of everyone who is trying hard to become a bit better than they are. The author is very good on the process, the centrality of the universal spiritual path (I very much like the way he does not get hung up in whether we are looking at Daoist, Buddhist, or Christian spirituality), and the ways we can wander off it and find our way back. A very useful book which I will revisit regularly, and which will not find its way to the charity shop any time soon.


The Mystical Language of Icons
The Mystical Language of Icons
Price: £14.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book by a Master Icon Writer, 8 May 2014
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This beautifully produced book is deceptively simple in its description of the icons included. Re-reading really repays the attention, and the more time you spend with the images themselves, the more there is to find. Solrunn Nes has taken both Russian and Greek traditions to find her own interpretation of the style in which the icons can be shown, and the result is pure and clean. All the images in the book are her work, and all are true to the old traditions and images. It is wonderful to see how a modern icon writer can remain so true to the integrity of each representation, yet bring her own artistic judgement and creativity to enlarge it for a 21st century sensibility. The book itself is a small masterpiece, each icon beautifully described, its essence quietly shown in words. Highly recommended!


Barefoot Prayers: A Meditation a Day for Lent and Easter
Barefoot Prayers: A Meditation a Day for Lent and Easter
by Stephen Cherry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Lent..., 8 May 2014
This is a wonderfully exuberant book, big ideas and thoughts in the small change of everyday life, lots of ways of looking at what is in front of us all the time and finding ways to expand that thinking out of the literal and the immediate, and into something much more life enlarging. Some of it is wonderfully literal - Shrove Tuesday and eggs, but then eggs with a difference, entirely enjoyable and with the effect that you feel bigger rather than smaller for reading and thinking. I very much admire this ability to take the everyday taken-for-granted world and transform it so that the colours are brighter and the people around you are nicer and more interesting. Stephen Cherry somehow manages to reach the place at which all the great spiritual traditions, both eastern and western, meet up, without in any way losing sight of his own Christian perspective, but without imposing it either. This book shares the strengths of his earlier Barefoot Pilgrim - a book I read much of between the cracks in my fingers (aaargh, yes, I do that). I simply loved the poem in this book about being thanked - so honest, so complicated (why are we?), so utterly self-aware, but in the end how wonderful to be shown the human way simply to give in and give thanks onward to the larger reality. It is funny, human and helpful, as is so much in the book. I'm not sure all the poems entirely work as poems, but this is also something I so much liked about the book - I think we are mostly so reluctant to put ourselves on the line that reading slowly through the cycle I found myself increasingly rejoicing at a human spirit so prepared to share the journey, from which I so much benefited.

I did struggle with the constraints of Lent. Some days the poem didn't resonate. Some days I just forgot. Then I gave up, because I wanted to read forwards, and go back to things I had logged but not much felt like thinking about on the day. Now Lent is over, it is easier to read in the order it appears as more of a diary of a journey, and for me it works better like that. But in fact I think I will be going back and forth in the book for some time to come, and his note in the introduction, about how one of his early readers said that these were more like prayer 'stems', ways of unpacking some quite directed thoughts on particular subjects, is very helpful - it is a very creative way of beginning to think about something one may not have really found a way into before. Poetry does seem to do that.


Tom Swan and the Head of St. George Part Six: Chios (Tom Swan and the Head of St George Book 6)
Tom Swan and the Head of St. George Part Six: Chios (Tom Swan and the Head of St George Book 6)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Getting better all the time, 6 Aug. 2013
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A really enjoyable episode - the characters are all growing in complexity and becoming more interesting. This episode ends with marvellous twist so I am thoroughly looking forward to the next episode now. I do hope Cameron is properly committed to this series - I would simply hate not to know what happens next! Great fun, as well as providing lots of convincing information about the period, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2014 10:33 PM GMT


The Ill-Made Knight (Chivalry Book 1)
The Ill-Made Knight (Chivalry Book 1)
Price: £4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable!, 6 Aug. 2013
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A hugely enjoyable book. Christian Cameron continues to get better - good characters, good history, and a level of self-reflection in his heroes that is enormously satisfying. The young man of this new epic behaves so exactly like a young man, but learns and grows, gets better at everything (especially fighting) through the school of hard knocks and a few decent people who see something in him worth helping. Great atmospheric sense of the time, and of the chaos of mediaeval war. I had no idea that this was actually what had happened in France. One can see the historian in the background of the writer, but it is not at all oppressive. I really enjoyed this book and it is responsible for my not having done all sorts of things I intended over the weekend, because I simply did not want to put it down. Great entertainment, and I learnt something too.


Tom Swan and the Head of St. George Part Four: Rome (Tom Swan and the Head of St George Book 4)
Tom Swan and the Head of St. George Part Four: Rome (Tom Swan and the Head of St George Book 4)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Back on form - first rate, 22 Jun. 2013
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How nice to see Tom Swan back on form. Vol 3 was depressingly weak, but this is excellent - funny, adventurous, intelligent and thoroughly good fun. Long may it continue


Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom for Ministry
Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom for Ministry
by Stephen Cherry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple - a really good book, 29 May 2013
This very good book made me reflect on so many things - some of which have been hard to think about. That is good, and perhaps exactly what it's for. I was surprised by how many of the same priorities came up in my own work, well outside any sort of ministry. Perhaps the central idea, for me at least, is the importance of people and the absolute necessity of truly stopping and paying attention, and making that a priority. The importance also of making time for yourself - a recurring theme in the book, or perhaps just the one I heard. But I liked this very much. So often quite shallow (though real) reasons for this are suggested (such as the importance of taking care of oneself so that you can better take care of others), but here there is a deeper theme that is not really made explicit, but keeps appearing, about the true value of the quiet and centred self, beyond any of its duties, desires or weaknesses. Pretty good writing to make one conscious of that while the whole book is on the surface light, funny, self-deprecating and not a bit patronising. It is of course also impossible to ignore, because there are just so many ways one can think of brushing it all off - really and truly one is just too busy for any of this - but he has thought of them all and got there first. Darn.

I found too that the idea of ministry is very strong - the fellowship that ordination brings, the shared experience beyond the daily round. Not explicit in the book, but strongly present, and something that makes sense of what being human means (and an inkling of what it means to be a priest).

This is a really good book. I'm going to have to keep going back to it, and I expect to think slightly different things as a result each time. I can't think of a higher compliment actually


The Sealed Letter
The Sealed Letter
Price: £5.69

12 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Continuous present strikes again..., 16 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Sealed Letter (Kindle Edition)
The continuous present strikes again (she walks along the street and she looks in the window of the shop as someone looks back at her - aaaaargh) - the most irritating possible form. Had I known this before I downloaded the preview, I would not have bothered. Though I read to the end of the preview, the plot was nothing like gripping enough to make me want to read more. Valiant attempts to make a contemporary experience of travelling by underground interesting, for example, did not encourage me to think that the background to the relationship between the two women was going to be either interesting or convincing. I'm afraid I gave up. I feel bad, but...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2014 6:14 PM BST


Barefoot Disciple: Walking the Way of Passionate Humility (Lent Book 2011)
Barefoot Disciple: Walking the Way of Passionate Humility (Lent Book 2011)
by Stephen Cherry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - helpful and thoughtful, 9 Jun. 2011
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What a good book! Such a difficult topic to write about without sounding arrogant or self satisfied, and he manages to avoid both, with an admirable degree of honest self-reflection at the outset. He certainly got my sympathy on this in the first chapter. From there on I found it painful reading for several chapters, because while showing how easy it is to fall short, he certainly makes it clear how and why this happens, and one cannot help but cringe in reflection of one's own failures and failings. At least one begins to understand them better. There's an excellent chapter on grumbling - what is really going on when we grumble, and why it is so corrosive of our relationships, and so self-destructive. Ouch! I think this is really well done - no criticism of the reader or the reader's possible attitudes, just a gentle but firm analysis of what grumbling is and what happens when you do it. There is a lovely exploration of seeing the new - in people, places, cultures and ideas - beautifully connected to the awareness of who we are as people and how we pay attention and open ourselves to new possibilities, and how we change and enlarge ourselves in the process. I loved the stories he wove through the text of his own experiences - these were so helpful, and I resonated with so many of them. The luggage on the bus and the anxiety about losing it, and what a burden one lugs around with one worrying about all one's possessions. How painfully true. I thought this was a really excellent book and am so pleased to have found it, and feel I have grown just a little by being challenged and made to think about bits of myself I am not very proud of. Looking forward to his next book now!


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