The Treasures of English Churches: Witnesses to the history of a nation by Matthew Byrne (Shire Publications, £20 (£18); 978-1-78442-489-3).
“This celebration of some of the greatest art, architecture, and furniture to be found in English churches offers a fascinating account of centuries of accumulated wealth, and is set off by a selection of breathtaking photographs by Matthew Byrne. It covers changing architectural styles across the centuries, and prominent examples of artistic work, including stained glass, rood screens, church monuments, and curious carvings. This book is published in association with The National Churches Trust, a national, independent charity dedicated to supporting church buildings across the UK.”
The Book of Common Prayer: A guide by Charles Hefling (OUP, £16.99 (£15.29); 978-0-19-068969-8).
“The Book of Common Prayer is a remarkable book, a sacred book in more than one sense. It is primarily a liturgical text, meant to be used in corporate worship, and at the same time a literary landmark, a cultural icon, and a focus of identity for Anglican Christianity. This brief, accessible account of the Prayer Book, as it is often called, describes the contents of the classical version of the text, with special emphasis on the services for which it has been used most frequently since it was issued in 1662. Charles Hefling also examines the historical and theological context of the Prayer Book's origins, the changes it has undergone, the controversies it has touched off, and its reception in England, Scotland, and America. Readers are introduced to the political as well as the spiritual influence of the Book of Common Prayer, and to its enduring place in English-speaking religion.”
The Well Gardened Mind: Rediscovering nature in the modern world by Sue Stuart-Smith (William Collins, £9.99 (£8.99); 978-0-00-810073-5). New in paperback.
“How can gardening relieve stress and help us look after our mental health? What lies behind the restorative power of the natural world? In a powerful combination of contemporary neuroscience, psychoanalysis and brilliant storytelling, The Well Gardened Mind investigates the magic that many gardeners have known for years — working with nature can radically transform our health, wellbeing, and confidence. With illuminating stories of how people struggling with stress, depression, trauma, and addiction can change their lives, this inspiring and wise book of science, insight, and anecdote shows how our understanding of nature and its restorative powers is only just beginning to flower.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.