Category: Books

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…

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,…

Mysteries of de Valera’s Early Life

De Valera: Volume 1 Rise 1882-1932 by David McCullagh (Gill Books, €24.99) Joe Carroll   Apart from about eight full biographies of Eamon de Valera, there have been the hundreds if not thousands of articles and critiques covering his long life. What new is there to say? David McCullagh, who is a journalist with RTÉ…

A Christian voice from a realm of fear

Letters from Aleppo by Fr Ibrahim Alsabagh (Columba Press, €14.99) Anthony 
Redmond   I have a Syrian friend whom I met in Dublin 15 years ago when he was a student of English. He returned to Syria before the terrible war began in 2011 and he is now married there with two small children.  We keep in touch…

The World of Books

‘So are they all, all honourable men’   The controversy that has been aroused by Bob Geldof (or should that be Sir Bob?) handing back his deed as Honorary Freeman of the City of Dublin at the City Hall has focused public attention on just what this title is. Turning as I always do to…

Half a century in television news

Breaking News: An Autobiography by Jeremy Thompson (Biteback Publishing,  £20.00) Peter
 Hegarty   Thompson’s writing is as assured and informed as his reports for Sky News were. He has a keen eye for the haunting details of a story, describing the scorched shapes of Iraqi soldiers, ‘sightlessly staring’ from the cabs of their burned-out trucks. During a…

Recent books in brief

I am infinitely loved: A month of meditations by Brian Grogan S.J. (Messenger Publications, €4.95) The title of this little pamphlet is taken from a remark by Pope Francis: “When all is said and done, we are infinitely loved.” Brian Grogan reapplies this to draw out in a month’s course of meditations the idea that each…