Culture Articles

‘Caroline provided Virginia with a role model of an independent woman.’

13 August 2020 | by Kersti Wagstaff | 1 comment

Portrait of Virginia Woolf | by George Charles Beresford, 1902.

In Simon Webb’s review of Virginia Woolf’s biography of Roger Fry in the Friend last month, he was right to point out that Virginia Woolf was not a Quaker. But she had much closer contact with Quakerism than is often realised – in particular with something quite like Quakerism...

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Apeirogon: A novel by Colum McCann

13 August 2020 | by Harvey Gillman | 1 comment

'An apeirogon is a shape with a countable infinite number of sides. There is no one viewpoint. But this does not mean an anything-goes relativist stance.' | Apeirogon book cover.

This book moved me in a way that few novels have ever done. I could only read a few pages at a time, so powerful was the effect on me. I was often close to tears.

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Humankind: A hopeful history by Rutger Bregman

13 August 2020 | by Reg Naulty | 1 comment

'Our Covid-cursed and globally-warming times need a book like this. It puts faith in humanity on a firm foundation.' | Humankind book cover

This book presents scientific evidence showing that it is reasonable to hold a more realistic and positive view of human nature than is common. Many environmentalists see humans as a destructive plague on the earth. And the news gives a dispiriting picture of human beings. But Rutger Bregman points out...

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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 | 1 comment

'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.

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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.

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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...

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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,...

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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,...

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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...

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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.

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