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Christmas books: Daily reading

25 November 2022

DAILY reading is in plentiful supply. A Pleasant Year with Father Brown, edited by Stephen Poxon (Darton, Longman & Todd, £16.99 (£15.29); 978-1-915412-06-5) provides 365 extracts, each prefixed by a short line from the Bible, and with a short prayer for personal reflec­tion. The entry for Christmas Day focuses on courtroom trials, and those who are called to stand trial for their witness. The collection can be picked up at any point in the year.

Snapshots of the past 50 years of BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day are compiled by a former editor, Christine Morgan, in a book of the same name (BBC Books, £16.99 (£15.29); 978-1-78594-769-8). Contributors include the Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the Rt Revd James Jones, Rabbi Lord Sacks, Chine McDonald, Canon Angela Tilby, Professor Mona Siddiqui, Hannah Malcolm, Jayne Ozanne, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, and the King, then Prince of Wales, in 2000.

Pope Francis’s third book, A Gift of Joy and Hope (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99 (£14.99); 978-1-399-80282-6), was written in response to the Covid pandemic. It comprises short passages in nine chapters, whose titles include “Freedom from Sadness”, “Joy has the Final Word”, and “Ask the Right Questions and You Will Find the Answers”. In “Be Hope”, he writes on how the eucharist heals closed memories.

A new anthology from Gracewing is The Saint Mary’s Book of Chris­­tian Verse, compiled by Edward Short (£20 (£18); 978-0-85244-986-8). Extracts on faith, hope, love, loss, praise, rejoicing, mortality, and immortality are taken from authors including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, and Christina Rossetti. Suitable for use in schools, colleges, and church groups, and by indi­viduals.

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