Category: Reviews

A short plea for reading classics

At this time of the year publishers are particularly anxious to push their new wares. That is all very well for them, but many readers might also like to read something older, to return to the classics of all kinds that were the common rereading of yesteryear. Oddly enough as a result I suppose of…

Men of God who were much maligned

by J. Anthony Gaughan Sometimes, especially at this time of the year, it is good to look back over the recent past, and perhaps to add a corrective note to what had been written and perhaps widely accepted. I have been reading lately a book that was given to me as present, but which was…

Media go quiet as Advent season settles in

The low key arrival of Advent tends to impact mainly on religious programmes. Some of last week’s discussions on The Leap of Faith (RTÉ Radio 1) were particularly topical. Presenter Michael Comyn started with a beautiful Christmas piece by Mendelsohn, and then got into an exploration of attitudes to Advent and Christmas. Fr Desmond O’Donnell…

Children’s books for Christmas

This week we present a selection of books available this Christmas time for smaller children and young adults.  Younger children The President’s Glasses Peter Donnelly Gill Books, €14.99 This must be the delight of the season for both children and parents. It presents the president as slightly forgetful – well it comes to us all.…

Science and the human soul

Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative experiences and their effects on our bodies, brains, and health by Rupert Sheldrake (Coronet, £20.00) Christopher Moriarty   Scientific evidence shows that humans have sought, for tens of thousands of years, to connect their activities with something outside their day-to-day activities.  Since history began, written records of religious practices have…

The stars in their courses

The Astronomy Book (Big Ideas Imply Explained series) (DK / Penguin Random House, €20) Michael Fewer   When our children were young, one of the highlights of visits to our country cottage was the night skies, particularly in autumn and winter, when we all used to wrap up well and lie out on foam mattresses,…

Collins’ fresh focus on Chopin’s short creative life

Pat O’Kelly   Thanks to the hospitality of ambassador Marie-Claude Meylan, the Swiss Embassy was the convivial venue for a recently launched CD – Chopin Recital – featuring Dublin-born pianist Finghin Collins. On the Swiss classical label Claves, for which Collins has already recorded excellent Schumann albums, the new disc, 50-1719, is a cooperation with…

Steering carefully between errors of extremes

The squabbles about Amoris Laetitia continue to rumble on, with Dan Hitchens, deputy editor of England’s The Catholic Herald observing from his Twitter account @ddhitchens that “Rocco Buttiglione, one of the leading critics of traditional teaching on the sacraments, has collected his articles into a book”, and directing followers to his firstthings.com “critique” from August…