Culture Articles

Notes from an Apocalypse: A personal journey to the end of the world and back, by Mark O’Connell

06 August 2020 | by Michael Crossland

'The author is clear that the most likely source of apocalypse is the climate crisis.' | Detail of book cover of Notes from an Apocalypse: A personal journey to the end of the world and back, by Mark O’Connell

How will humans respond to a species-threatening event? Mark O’Connell attempts to answer this question in this very timely new book, written before Covid-19.

Read more

The Boy With Two Hearts: A story of hope by Hamed Amiri

06 August 2020 | by Judith Weeks

‘It is a testimony to the goodness of the many people who assisted them on their way.’ | Book cover of The Boy With Two Hearts: A story of hope by Hamed Amiri

This is an inspiring, yet easily read, book about asylum seekers; some Friends may have heard it as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’ a few weeks ago.

Read more

Accompaniment, Community and Nature by Jonathan Herbert

06 August 2020 | by Sharen Green

Accompaniment, Community and Nature: Overcoming isolation, marginalisation and alienation through meaningful connection, by Jonathan Herbert | Book cover detail

Jonathan Herbert started his journey as an accompanier at eight years old, sitting on the vicarage doorstep with rough sleepers. He has since practised accompaniment in urban Liverpool, rural Dorset, the Solomon Islands, Uganda and Palestine. Decades later he has formulated his ideas on the subject, which, he claims, is...

Read more

Roger Fry: A biography, by Virginia Woolf

30 July 2020 | by Simon Webb

'I was surprised to find a lot about Quakerism in the book, though I should not have been: the surname Fry...' | Book cover for Roger Fry: A biography, by Virginia Woolf

After four years studying English Literature at university, Virginia Woolf stuck in my mind as an author I really needed to look at in more detail in later life. It’s only taken me thirty-five years and a global pandemic to get round to reading her biography of Roger Fry,...

Read more

For America in a time of a drought

30 July 2020 | by Dana Littlepage Smith

'Alongside the ancient Siberian apple. I offer what I am to the alongside of it.' | Shelley Pauls / Unsplash

The rain in the old cemetery is simple. It falls on yarrow, clover, ragwort dispensing pearls into the grain of day, into the Yorick skull-clot of Devon clay. The tissue of the warm-wooded dead is wormed with the first drop of its showers, runs into the finger-hold of tiny oaks,...

Read more

Confessions Of A Non-Violent Revolutionary by Chris Savory

16 July 2020 | by Harvey Gillman

'He wants to change society, bring about world peace, save the planet, and bring about respect for diversity.' | Book cover for Confessions Of A Non-Violent Revolutionary

This autobiography was written by a peace activist who for a number of years was a Friend. It is an easy-to-read, intriguing and racy record of a resonant journey. I learned a lot about someone with whom I was acquainted but didn’t know at any depth. Particularly striking was...

Read more

Ahab in Rehab

16 July 2020 | by Anne Stephens

'But look here: imagine that if as you unpacked these nested dolls they were becoming successively larger rather than smaller.’ | Schwoaze via Wikimedia Commons.

Call me male-ish I enjoyed playing doldrums in our school orchestra. And there weren’t really any significant repercussions until I also took up the Bermuda triangle.

Read more

‘Our own creativity can best come from deliberately-chosen places of quiet and silence.’

FREE 09 July 2020 | by Peter Varney

‘Painting can be a place where the Spirit flows and the painter finds calm.’ | Image courtesy of Peter Varney

Advices & queries 29 tells us that ‘Old age… can… bring serenity.’ But lockdown has taught me that it might be more widely available. The world’s religions frequently suggest we need places of waiting – places where we accept and go with the flow of life. Lao Tzu asks: ‘Do you...

Read more

The Fabricated Christ: Confronting what we know about Jesus and the Gospels, by Paul Laffan

09 July 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding | 2 comments

'He wants to expose sleight of hand and imposture – fantasy and specious reasoning – in the gospels and in biblical commentary.' | Book cover for The Fabricated Christ: Confronting what we know about Jesus and the Gospels

In the beginning was a folktale – a folktale about a holy man, a man of the people, cruelly done to death by the powerbrokers of the day. The man was impish and witty. Some say he was a bit of a devil, while others say he could have saved us,...

Read more

To Thine Own Self Be True: A spiritual journey by Howard Grace

09 July 2020 | by Daniel Clarke Flynn

‘There are two levels, and not just one, with which humanity reaches out to the Ultimate Reality. One is with the mind; the other is with the heart and spirit.' | Book cover for To Thine Own Self Be True: A spiritual journey

This is a small book of thirty-two pages but it is not a quick read – there is much in this gem to reflect on. Howard Grace recounts a journey of four score years from militant atheist, to becoming a believer in ‘shared humanity’ as a Christian, to, finally, a Quaker.

Read more