Culture Articles

Dear Life, by Rachel Clarke

25 March 2021 | by Bob Lovett

‘What will survive of us is love.’ | Book cover of Dear Life, by Rachel Clarke

This book may change your thinking – it has done mine. It deals with life and death and the journeys of those who are terminally ill. And yet it is about so much more than that. It is joyful, sad, funny, compassionate and above all full of love, celebrating the gift...

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Parliament of fowls

18 March 2021 | by Jonathan Wooding

'Inaudible as force, a blackbird descends' | by Alfred Kenneally on Unsplash

Inaudible as force, a blackbird descends – she’s charred sky-chaff, (I want to say) incombustible. Winter’s bonfire’s out for this blank bird,

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The Assault on Truth, by Peter Oborne

18 March 2021 | by John H Hall

Book cover of The Assault on Truth, by Peter Oborne |

When the Truth and Integrity in Public Affairs committee was laid down by Meeting for Sufferings in 2004, it seemed the right decision. Broadly speaking, public affairs were conducted correctly by a civil service dedicated to ‘integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality’, and by politicians who, if they lied to parliament, resigned....

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No Visible Injuries, by Sylvia Clare

18 March 2021 | by Daniel Clarke Flynn

Detail from book cover of No Visible Injuries, by Sylvia Clare |

The longer I live, the less I consider ‘growing up’ limited to childhood. This memoir by Sylvia Clare, of Isle of Wight Meeting, reminds me that the ‘growing up’ of our consciousness continues throughout life. This can happen in unexpected awakenings, when long-buried childhood shock bursts out, or in fond...

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Patterns of Russia: History, culture and spaces, by Robin Milner-Gulland

18 March 2021 | by Reg Naulty

‘They conceived the light not as something that leads, but as beholding one of the emanations from God.’ | Book cover of Patterns of Russia: History, culture and spaces, by Robin Milner-Gulland

This is another of those ‘personality and place’ books which are now becoming common. In this book, the place is Russia. The country is well known as a place of three cities – Kiev, Moscow and St Petersburg – but its extent is better conveyed by three ports: Archangel, Odessa, and Astrakhan...

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The Life That Never Ends by Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies

11 March 2021 | by Patsy Freeman

'My own sense after reading this anthology is that it will serve to open hearts and minds.' | Book cover for The Life That Never Ends by Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies

This is a delightful anthology of Friends’ experiences. For ease of reading, it is arranged under different headings: ‘As Death Approaches’, ‘After Death Communications’, ‘Near Death Experiences’, ‘Animals and Afterlife’, and there are also some miscellaneous experiences.

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The Glorious Journey, by Liam Kelly

11 March 2021 | by Frank Regan | 1 comment

'The conversations are far from arcane theological discourse – the themes are at the heart of being human: forgiveness, mercy, loneliness, suffering.' | Detail of book cover for The Glorious Journey, by Liam Kelly

I did not have the good fortune to see the film on which this book is based. Its principal characters are Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, then pope, and Jorge Bergoglio, the current pope (then cardinal). It starred Anthony Hopkins as Ratzinger and Jonathan Pryce as Bergoglio.

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Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a time of pandemic, by Rachel Clark

11 March 2021 | by Nick Wilde

‘You have to promise me something… you’ll make sure you won’t catch it. You, the nurses, all of you here.’ | Book cover for Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a time of pandemic, by Rachel Clark

This book is about faith. Not faith in God, but faith in medicine, and faith in one’s fellow professionals. ‘You have to promise me something… you’ll make sure you won’t catch it. You, the nurses, all of you here.’ This is from one of two sons watching...

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Wilding: the return of nature to a British farm, by Isabella Tree

04 March 2021 | by Simon Webb

'We spoke about the possibility of applying wilding principles to some steep, poor-quality land near Durham City.' | Detail of bookcover for Wilding: the return of nature to a British farm, by Isabella Tree

The Durham Quaker book group turned out to be remarkably well-qualified to discuss Isabella Tree’s 2019 book Wilding, our choice for February 2021. The Quakers and others who attended via Zoom included two professional ecologists, at least four serious walkers, and a couple with an extensive city garden that they are...

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How Long, How Long Must We Wait?, by Anne M Jones

04 March 2021 | by Hugh Dennis

'It is graphic, reflective and important, a needed challenge to the anti-immigrant times in which we live.' | Detail of bookcover for How Long, How Long Must We Wait?, by Anne M Jones

Six years ago there was a lot of publicity about ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp near Calais. It was home to over a thousand people, all wanting to come to Britain. Anne Jones worked there for several years and has written-up her absorbing book of reflections in diary format.

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