Jack by Marilynne Robinson (Virago, £18.99 (£17.09); 978-0-349-01181-3).
“Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the final in one of the great works of contemporary American fiction. Jack tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the loved and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa, a drunkard and a ne’er-do-well. In segregated St Louis sometime after World War II, Jack falls in love with Della Miles, an African-American high school teacher, also a preacher’s child, with a discriminating mind, a generous spirit and an independent will. Their fraught, beautiful story is one of Robinson's greatest achievements.”
A Theory of Everything (that Matters) by Alister McGrath (Hodder, £9.99 (£8.99); 978-1-529-37796-5). New in paperback
“On 29 May 1919, British astronomers tested Einstein’s theory of relativity by measuring the path of the stars travelling near the sun during an eclipse. On 7 November 1919, the results of that experiment were announced in London, proving Einstein’s theory of relativity. A Theory of Everything (that Matters) has been written in celebration of this 100th anniversary. With the confirmation of Einstein’s theories at the beginning of the twentieth century, our understanding of the universe became much more complex. What does this mean for religious belief, and specifically Christianity? Does it mean, as so many people assume, the death of God? In A Theory of Everything (that Matters) Alister McGrath - Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University - explores these questions, giving an overview of Einstein’s thought and scientific theories, including his nuanced thinking on the difference between the scientific enterprise and beliefs outside its realm. This groundbreaking book is for anyone intrigued by Einstein as one of the twentieth century’s most iconic figures, who wants to know what his theories mean for religion, and who is interested in the conversation between science and religions more broadly.”
Arts and Crafts Churches by Alec Hamilton (Lund Humphries, £45 (£40.50); 978-1-84822-321-9).
“This comprehensive overview provides the first detailed account of the phenomenon of the Arts & Crafts church, examining 150 of the finest examples, mostly built between 1884 and 1918 in England, Scotland, and Wales. Arts & Crafts studies tend to focus on houses and furniture; churches were no longer central to architects’ practice. A handful of well-known churches have been written about extensively, but these famous examples obscure the existence of scores of churches that express Arts & Crafts ideas every bit as vividly. They also are rarely set alongside each other, nor seen within the wider context of not only how they were built, but why. These churches are visually arresting, with often quaint, far-fetched, or capricious exteriors. Internally, they often contain beautiful elements, including reredoses, pulpits, stained glass, and altars. They also tell a fascinating story about religion as Britain entered the age of modernity. While the architects were often religiously skeptical, they were still committed to making beauty. Author Alec Hamilton sets out the social and political context in which these churches were designed and constructed in the introductory section. The book is then divided into regional sections. Each section is headed by a short essay highlighting key architects and descriptions of notable churches within each region.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.