Category: Books

Come spend a while in the magic that is John McGahern

In this series some of our literary collaborators will be giving suggestions for lockdown reading, books of all kinds to enlighten us and raise our spirits. This week Mary Kenny writes of John McGahern’s Amongst Women (1990), a novel of ordinary family life in provincial Ireland built around the life experiences of an embittered Republican…

Brilliant legacy of scholar priest: Thomas Finan, Christian humanist

Thomas Finan, Collected Writings ed. D. Vincent Twomey (Columba Books, €34.99) Fran 
O’Rourke Reading this delightful collection, the word that repeatedly came to mind was the Latin for ‘wisdom’, sapientia, in its original meaning of ‘sweet knowledge’, knowledge to be savoured. As the editor Vincent Twomey notes, Thomas Finan’s primary draw was towards the sublime or…

Paths to a theology for the third millennium

Theology and Ecology in Dialogue: The Wisdom of Laudato Si’ by Dermot A. Lane, with a foreword by Seán McDonagh SCC (Messenger Publications, €19.95/£17.95) This year marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s dramatic and historic encyclical Laudato Si’. It is being marked by the publication here in Ireland of a book exploring the document’s significance…

There are other ways to lead our lives

Utopia for Realists and How we Can Get There by Rutger Bergman (Bloomsbury, £8.99; can be ordered online for around €10.00) Christopher Moriarty   At Easter, Pope Francis delivered a message endorsing the concept of the universal basic wage. This idea, whereby every individual receives a basic income from their government whether they are in employment…

Honeyed words about the wonderful bee

The Bee’s Knees by James Morrissey (Currach Books, €19.99) Barbara Pierce The title comes from 1920s slang: “Bee’s knees – highly admired person or thing; Something excellent!” This all applies so well to James Morrissey’s tremendous book. As a long-time bee keeper in flowery south Dublin, I simply loved it and warmly recommend it to all.…

Oh for the safety of a desert island!

In this series, some literary collaborators will be giving suggestions for lockdown reading, books of all kinds to amuse and raise our spirits. This week: Ian d’Alton writes about The Swiss Family Robinson (1812) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871)   For adults, children’s books often open a window onto a…

High thoughts in the middle ages

Medieval Philosophy (A History of Philosophy without any Gaps) by Peter Adamson (Oxford University Press, £25) When I discussed with a friend my intention of reviewing this tome – and tome it is, running to more than 600 closely printed pages – he wondered:  “Are readers of The Irish Catholic interested in medieval philosophy?” Ignoring this…

A warning for the many religious know it alls

The Sin of Certainty: Why God desires our trust more than our ‘correct’ beliefs by Peter Enns (Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99) Author Enns, who is a professor of Biblical Studies at a Pennsylvanian University, is a writer in the evangelical tradition. This book, though issued before the present plague descended on us, has interesting things to…