Following Newman’s Way

The Gentle Saint: A pilgrimage to Oxford, Dublin and Rome in the Footprints of Saint John Henry Newman by Patricia O’Leary (Gracewing, £12.99) To many readers Patricia O’Leary will be a familiar name, as she contributed a column to this newspaper for some 14 years. By metier a Cork-based journalist, she also studied catechetics and scripture at…

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Finding a spiritual way forward

The Art of Spiritual Direction: a guide to Ignatian practice by Jos Moons SJ, with a foreword by Paul Nicholson SJ (Messenger Publications, €19.99/£18.99) Most of us recognise in areas of our life and leisure that training is important, and that practice is needed to keep in trim. Yet when it comes to matters of the…

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Self-Help in hard times

How to be Our Best Self in Times of Crisis by Stuart Breen and Tom Gunning (Veritas, €7.99) As human beings we seemed made to thrive at times in moments of danger. Yet the present pandemic, being what it is, created great and unexpected troubles: physical, mental and spiritual. This little book by two writers…

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A Poet’s Lost Year by Desmond Egan

Readers may forgive me at this season of peace and goodwill, having already written about my most enjoyed book of last year (The Irish Catholic December 24, 2020), for concluding here my thoughts about 2020 with something I wrote during this Covid-19 year, which – I now discover – seems curiously ad rem: A Poem for 2021 Bunting…

The Holy Land in early modern images

For centuries Jerusalem and the Holy Land was a place of great mystique, the hope of pious pilgrims as the object of a once in a lifetime visit. But over the course of the long nineteenth century this began to change: new techniques of image making and reproduction began to alter the ideas that people…

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Books for children and young adults

The Christmas season has always been the time when families buy more books than they do at other times of the year. Here, arranged in something like order of age, are some suggestions from this year’s new offerings. The Dead Zoo by Peter Donnelly (Gill Books, €14.99) This artist’s most amusing books about the president up…

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Passing on a love of books

The World of Books by the Books Editor Literacy for both young and adult is an essential of social life. So these days teachers, politicians and booksellers are all agreed on the need to encourage reading. Easy enough with girls, it seems, but boys need more encouragement. So at Christmas all the deluge of new…

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Christmas Books

This has been a strange and difficult year for publishers, large and small. As religious and spiritual books come largely from small firms, they have been hit very hard. With lockdown across their main markets closing bookshops, online purchases, click-and-collect, and special localised deliveries have been the trend. So sales do go on, but many firms…

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