Culture Articles

The Book of Trespass: Crossing the lines that divide us, by Nick Hayes

15 October 2020 | by Tony Tucker

‘Nationalism suits the landowning classes because it gives people a sense of ownership when they own nothing at all.' | Book cover of The Book of Trespass: Crossing the lines that divide us, by Nick Hayes

Nick Hayes’ fascinating and provocative book is a tearing away of much of the pretence of British history. A nation’s view of itself is rarely realistic and in our case the fabrications are literally set in stone. The great houses and estates of the land are, if we care...

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Ground zero

15 October 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding

'...building a meeting-house from open air...' | by Valentin Petkov on Unsplash.

Rain is all mist without fall, and mottled with grey motions, the sky. There’s a sea-roar in that fruitless sycamore, and eucalyptus leads the cheer, throwing jackdaws in streaming perichoresis about a pale, unblooded sky.

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The proud old lineage

08 October 2020 | by Reg Naulty

We Poets of the proud old lineage Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why (James Elroy Flecker) When found, they are free to follow their imaginations, gladly, wherever they may lead:

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Practical Mystics: Quaker faith in action by Jennifer Kavanagh

08 October 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding

‘Look closely and you can find some snippets of personal disclosure left tantalisingly around when the author’s internal editor was sleeping.' | Book cover of Practical Mystics: Quaker faith in action by Jennifer Kavanagh

‘Oh, Jonathan – the Quakers? Lovely people, but completely impractical!’ This was the polite (but stinging) verdict, sometime in the early 1990s, on my latest head-in-the-clouds, ‘Manchester Guardian’ venture – attending Quaker Meeting in Wandsworth. It was delivered by Mrs O, the elderly mother of an old school friend, who had introduced...

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Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo, by Philippe Lançon

24 September 2020 | by Anne M Jones

‘This book is firmly non-religious, and yet there are moments of universal spirituality...' | Book cover of Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo, by Philippe Lançon

This riveting book, which I discovered by accident in a secondhand bookshop, transcended the rest of my lockdown book pile. Philippe Lançon is the journalist who ‘played dead’ when terrorists burst into the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. This account is a story of...

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Wild Olympians

24 September 2020 | by Ann Banks

'And still they come – in the hope of last-resort' | Brian Sumner on Unsplash

And still they come – in impossible inflatables – The pregnant, the children, men, stubbled And hollow-eyed with desperation. Dwarfed by towering tankers, their tiny boats Pitched and tilted, precipitously, by ferries’ careless wakes.

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Passion and Partings: The dying sayings of early Quakers, by Jane Mace

17 September 2020 | by Judith Roads

‘Again and again the words spoke.’ | Book cover of Passion and Partings: The dying sayings of early Quakers by Jane Mace

This is an extraordinary little book that defies classification. Piety Promoted was a collection of volumes from the seventeenth century, full of ‘the dying sayings of many of the people called Quakers’. Jane Mace has with great care put together a sample of these words to enable us to look...

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Credo? Religion and Psychoanalysis, by Patrick Casement

17 September 2020 | by Neil Morgan

'This short book gathers a whole lifetime’s evaluation of feelings about people and God.' | Book cover of Credo? Religion and Psychoanalysis, by Patrick Casement

What is the relationship between our emotions and our spiritual life? In this short book, an eminent psychoanalyst describes the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion in his life.

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The Good State: On the Principles of Democracy by A C Grayling

17 September 2020 | by Nick Wilde

‘Grayling writes clearly and straight-forwardly about matters which concern us all.’ | Book cover of The Good State: On the Principles of Democracy by A C Grayling

Quaker decision making does not work in the same way as democracy, exactly. Friends get the ‘sense of the meeting’ and, if we do not agree, we wait until we do. Politics isn’t like that. Winston Churchill famously said that democracy is the least bad way of conducting politics...

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Psalm 119

17 September 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding

'Sophistical butterflies – good heavens!' | by David Clode on Unsplash.

O Lord, thou hast dealt graciously with thy servant Butterflies are happy for our garden. Something coppery there, a Small Heath, and a Wood White skipping, luciform.

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