Review of 2018: books

by
21 December 2018

LENT 2018 titles reviewed in the Church Times included the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book by Luigi Gioia, Say it to God. Other Lent titles that topped the Church Times monthly Top Ten bestseller list were: The Art of Lent, by Sister Wendy Beckett; Dust That Dreams of Glory, by Michael Mayne; A Place for God, by Graham James; and Lent Talks: Preparing for Easter with Radio 4. Titles reflecting on Easter included Alleluia is Our Song, by Michael Mayne (edited by Joel Huffstetler); and Cross Purposes, by Kevin Carey.

Anglicanism was discussed in two volumes of The Oxford History of Anglicanism series: Volume II: Establishment and empire, 1662-1829, by Jeremy Gregory, and Volume V: Global Anglicanism, c.1910-2000, edited by William L. Sachs. This topic was also covered in All Things Anglican, by Marcus Throup; The High Church Revival in the Church of England, by Jeremy Morris; The Lambeth Conference, edited by Paul Avis and Benjamin M. Guyer; The Anglican Communion at a Crossroads, by Christopher Craig Brittain and Andrew McKinnon; The Gospel and the Anglican Tradition, by Martin Davie; and A Church Observed, by Andrew Norman.

Titles on the God debate included Religion and Atheism, edited by Anthony Carroll and Richard Norman; Why We Need Religion, by Stephen T. Asma; Secularism, by Andrew Copson; Faitheism, by Krish Kandiah; and Seven Types of Atheism, by John Gray.

The relationship of science and religion was explored in Science and Spiritual Practices, by Rupert Sheldrake; Religion vs Science, by Elaine Howard Ecklund and Christopher P. Scheitle; and two books by Denis Alexander: Genes, Determinism and God, and Is There Purpose in Biology?

Books on the Bible included The New Testament: A translation, by David Bentley Hart; Inspiration, by Gerald O’Collins; According to the Scriptures, by David Allen; The Bible and Disability, edited by Sarah Melcher, Mikeal C. Parsons, and Amos Yong; Engaging the Word, by Peter M. Phillips; The Bible in a Disenchanted Age, by R. W. L. Moberly; and The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, edited by Stephen B. Chapman and Marvin A. Sweeney.

Liturgy and worship were covered in The Language of Liturgy, by David Jasper; Liturgy on the Edge, edited by Samuel Wells; and Reimagining Worship, edited by Anna de Lange, Trevor Lloyd, Tim Stratford, and Ian Tarrant. The Book of Common Prayer was discussed in The Rise and Fall of the Incomparable Liturgy, by Bryan D. Spinks, and The Book of Common Prayer: A very short introduction, by Brian Cummings.

Books covering preaching included Preaching Radical and Orthodox, edited by Alison Milbank, John Hughes, and Arabella Milbank; Reflections for the Unfolding Year, by Alan Wilkinson; God Be in My Mouth, by Doug Gay; A Preacher’s Tale, by Jon Russell; and One Unfolding Story, by Michael Perham (edited by Paula Gooder and Joanna Moriarty).

Among titles exploring Christian-Muslim relations were Abducted in Iraq, by Saad Sirop Hanna; Exploring the Qur’an, by Muhammad Abdel; and British Muslims, by Philip Lewis and Sadek Hamid.

The growth of Chinese Christianity was covered in Shandong, by Paul Hattaway, and China’s Urban Christians, by Brent Fulton.

Faith leaders made a call for social action in Faith Finding a Voice, by Cardinal Vincent Nichols; and Reimagining Britain, by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Other titles exploring the future of welfare included For Good, by Samuel Wells; and Reclaiming the Common Good, edited by Virginia Moffatt. Alan Everett reflected on social action in practice in After the Fire (the Grenfell Tower disaster).

There were auto­biographies and mem­oirs, including My Life, Our Times, by Gordon Brown; and In the Days of Rain, by Rebecca Stott. There were new biographies of Oscar Wilde, Cicely Saunders, Lady Hope, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, John Bradburne, George Frideric Handel, Phyllis Tickle, Sue Ryder, and Mary Sumner.

Novels reviewed included Melmoth, by Sarah Perry; Aftershocks, by A. N. Wilson; The Indecent Death of a Madam, by Simon Parke; The Killing of Butterly Joe, by Rhidian Brook; Of Men and Angels, by Michael Arditti; and The Paper Lovers, by Gerard Woodward. Reviews of novels written by academics included Phoebe, by the biblical scholar Paula Gooder, and A Unicorn Dies, by the theologian Paul S. Fiddes.

Books by well-known authors included Royal Books and Holy Bones, by Eamon Duffy; Thomas Cromwell, by Diarmaid MacCulloch; Paul: A biography, by Tom Wright; What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson; The King and the Catholics, by Antonia Fraser; The Landscape of Faith, by Alister McGrath; What we Talk About When we Talk About Faith, by Peter Stanford; Four Ministries, by Richard Burridge; The Character of Virtue, by Stanley Hauerwas; A Radical Sacrifice, by Terry Eagleton; and The Christian Idea of God, by Keith Ward.

Titles by Rowan Williams included his bestselling Being Human, and Christ The Heart of Creation.

Priesthood, ministry, and mission were discussed in Incarnational Mission, by Samuel Wells; A Christian Theology of Chaplaincy, edited by John Caperon, Andrew Todd, and James Walters; Who is My Neighbour? edited by Richard Carter and Samuel Wells; Self-Supporting Ministry, by John Lees; Enfolded in Christ, by John-Francis Friendship; Church in Life, by Michael Moynagh; and The Culturally Intelligent Leader, by Hirpo Kumbi. The lives of eccentric clerics were celebrated in A Field Guide to the English Clergy, by Fergus Butler-Gallie.

Ageing and end-of-life issues were explored in Waiting for the Last Bus, by Richard Holloway; Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler; and Dying Well, by John Wyatt.

The issue of gender and same-sex relationships were covered in Queer and Catholic, by Mark Dowd; Our Witness, edited by Brandan Robert­son; Undivided, by Vicky Beeching; and Just Love, by Jayne Ozanne.

Titles on spirituality included Living the Prayer, by Trystan Owain Hughes; Give Love and Receive the Kingdom, by Benedicta Ward; The Intercessions Resource Book, by John Pritchard; Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book, edited by Robyn Wrigley-Carr; Earthed in God, by Christopher Chapman; Silence: A user’s guide, by Maggie Ross; Where Prayer Flour­ishes, by Thomas Merton; and A Franciscan Way of Life, by Arthur Howells.

Titles for Advent included The Art of Advent, by Jane Williams; Celtic Advent, by David Cole; and A Shaking Reality, by Peter B. Price.

Other books of interest reviewed in the columns of the Church Times during the year included Tomb and Temple, by Robin Griffith-Jones and Eric Fernie; Wonder Beyond Belief, by Navid Kermani; Bound to be Free, by Graham Tomlin; What Did Jesus Look Like?, by Joan E. Taylor; The Minister and the Murderer, by Stuart Kelly; Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket, by Stephen Fay and David Kynaston; What Would Jesus Post? by David Robertson; Blue Planet, Blue God, by Meric Srokosz and Rebecca S. Watson; A History of Judaism, by Martin Goodman; Belonging: The story of the Jews 1492-1900, by Simon Schama; The Keys and the Kingdom, by Catherine Pepinster; Love, Remember, by Malcolm Guite; Haunted by Christ, by Richard Harries; and The Hidden and the Manifest, by David Bentley Hart.

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