Book of the Month: February 2018

Say it to God by Luigi Gioia

My immediate reaction to this book was – goodness not another book on prayer. My familiarity and complacency were soon dispelled by this compelling exploration of the nature of prayer. Written by a Roman Catholic Benedictine monk and teacher it is steeped in a deep inhabiting of the tradition and an honest struggle with this key element of the Christian life.

You will appreciate the quality of writing, short chapters, attention to the prayer in Scripture and a grounded approach about what is really means to pray. We are asked to examine our priorities, be honest about the distractions and boredom present in our discipleship and break into a different attitude to God. It is fresh, humane, grounded and real! Your sense of God and view of what God is like and how God is present will be broken open and reshaped.

This book will be my guide this Lent. Those of us who teach should learn from Gioia how to capture truth and express it with authenticity and love.  This book is my best BOM so far ……. Fresh and enlarging. Another book on prayer – yes and one of the best.

Reviewed by Canon James Woodward, Principle of Sarum College.

Say it to God is just £8.49 until 28th February 2018 (RRP £9.99). Available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing bookshop@dev.sarum.ac.uk.

Bookshop Bestsellers: January 2018

  1. On the Third Day York Course Booklet by John Pritchard, York Courses £3.99
  2. Cover to Cover: At the Cross by Abby Guinness, CWR £5.99
  3. Being Disciples by Rowan Williams, SPCK £8.99
  4. Say it to God by Luigi Gioia, Bloomsbury £9.99
  5. A Letter for Lent by Patrick Coghlan, Kevin Mayhew £5.99
  6. Dust That Dreams of Glory by Michael Mayne (edited by Joel Huffstetler), Canterbury Press £10.99
  7. Turning for Home by Barney Norris, Transworld £14.99
  8. On the Third Day York Course Transcript by John Pritchard, York Courses £4.99
  9. The Art of Lent by Sister Wendy Beckett, SPCK £9.99
  10. Palm Crosses (bag of 50), African Palms £9.99

Bookshop Bestsellers: December 2017

  1. New Daylight: January – April 2018 by Sally Welch, BRF £4.40
  2. Leading by Story by Vaughan Roberts, SCM Press £25
  3. Common Worship Lectionary 2018, Church House Publishing £4.99
  4. How to Avoid the Peace by Dave Walker, Canterbury Press £8.99
  5. Love, Remember by Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press £12.99
  6. Daily Bread: January – April 2018, Scripture Union £4.49
  7. Dave Walker Calendar 2018 by Dave Walker, Canterbury Press £6.99
  8. Reflections for Daily Prayer 2018, Church House Publishing £16.99
  9. Writes of the Church by Gary Alderson, BRF £6.99
  10. SPCK & Common Worship Lectionary 2018, SPCK £4.99

Bookshop Bestsellers: December 2017

Below is the list of the top ten bestsellers in Sarum College Bookshop in December.

  1. New Daylight January – April 2018, BRF £4.40
  2. Leading by Story by Vaughan S. Roberts, SCM Press £25
  3. Common Worship Lectionary 2018, Church House Publishing £4.99
  4. How to Avoid the Peace by Dave Walker, Canterbury Press £8.99
  5. Love, Remember: 40 Poems of Loss, Lament and Hope by Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press £12.99
  6. Daily Bread January – March 2018, Scripture Union £4.49
  7. Dave Walker Calendar 2018 by Dave Walker, Canterbury Press £6.99
  8. Reflections for Daily Prayer 2018, Church House Publishing £16.99
  9. Writes of the Church: Gripes and Grumbles of People in the Pews by Gary Alderson, BRF £6.88
  10. Common Worship Lectionary 2018, SPCK £4.99

Book of the Month: January 2018

The Indecent Death of a Madam by Simon Parke

Stormhaven, the least Trip Advised bit of beach in Sussex, has another corpse; and the members of the Etiquette Society, who people the list of suspects, are down by one. One of those still alive is a retired Desert Father.

In this, the darkest of his Abbot Peter murder stories, Simon Parke appears almost, if not entirely, to disconnect his principal protagonist from whatever ties he previously had with God, who is only mentioned twice throughout the book and then not by Peter himself.

If Peter’s monastic past and presumed vocation are in retreat, if his outline is now more uncertain than in any of the preceding books, he is not alone.  Nowhere, nothing, is what they seemed at first.  Stormhaven is no haven against the storm, rather (Parke’s readers know by now) its very denial of them appears to attract them: who would suspect this deed, in this place? Indeed its worst detritus, the abandoned place of refuge – the asylum – ‘became a crime scene the moment they decided to close it down …’

Parke is, in his own words, an introvert: this is not a story written purely to entertain. The subtext is polemic and the choice of site for the murder is important. Explicitly or otherwise, most of Parke’s characters have points to make: through their fictional existence he makes his own point.  The feeling in each that the world needs him, her, to put it right has its roots in early years leaving variously poisoned sap in judge, editor, retired Army officer – even Peter, even Tamsin, his Detective Inspector niece.  Equally in the past is the root cause of the murder itself: it was called Care in the Community.

Not an easy book – none of this series is particularly easy – but if you prefer a who dunnit to have depth, to be more than a clever puzzle, this is for you.

Reviewed by Julia Taylor 

The Indecent Death of a Madam is just £8.49 until 31st January 2018 (RRP £9.99). Available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing bookshop@dev.sarum.ac.uk.

Book of the Month: December 2017

Unearthly Beauty by Magdalen Smith

Too often the church and our faith seem preoccupied with our own rather incomprehensible narratives as the energy seems to draw us inwards. These are difficult and demanding times with great change as some churches struggle to survive. So easily can we become anxious and distracted. This is a really wonderfully realistic and outward looking exploration of 24 Saints – some familiar and some less known – whose lives and faith are narrated for us and for the expanding of our spiritual horizons. The short chapters are readable, practical and profoundly grounded in the world as we experience it. You will be enlightened and enriched by a range of stories as we are challenged to glimpse holiness in a new and different way.

I specially appreciated the way in which each of the chapters draw the reader into prayer – taking us out of our own world into a passionate affirmation of grace and hope. I really love this book and especially enjoyed getting to know (amongst the other saints) Ambrose, Lucy, Elizabeth, the Innkeeper and Thomas Becket. It is beautifully written and captures so much of why we need to keep faithful and know always in the ups and downs of our modern world that the kingdom of God is near.

Reviewed by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College

Unearthly Beauty is just £8 until 31 December 2017 (RRP £8.99). Available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing bookshop@dev.sarum.ac.uk.

N.B. The bookshop is closed from 4:45pm on Friday 22nd December 2017 and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2018. Any orders placed after 12 noon on Friday 22nd December will be sent out in early January 2018.

Bookshop Bestsellers: November 2017

Below is the list of the top ten bestsellers in Sarum College Bookshop in November.

  1. The Real Advent Calendar, The Meaningful Chocolate Company £3.99
  2. The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory, Simon & Schuster Ltd £20
  3. SPCK & Common Worship Lectionary 2018, SPCK £4.99
  4. Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2018 by The Irish Jesuits, Messenger Publications £10.95
  5. Waiting on the Word by Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press £12.99
  6. Love, Remember: Poems of Loss, Lament and Hope by Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press £12.99
  7. Found Out: Transgressive Faith and Sexuality by Alison Webster, DLT Ltd £12.99
  8. Responding to the Light by Michael Mayne, Canterbury Press £12.99
  9. Christmas Through the Keyhole by Derek Tidball, BRF £6.99
  10. So What Are you Waiting For? by Lucy Winkett, York Courses £3.99

Bookshop Bestsellers: October 2017

Below is the list of the top ten bestsellers in Sarum College Bookshop in October.

1. Common Worship Lectionary 2017-2018, Church House Publishing £4.99
2. SPCK & Common Worship Lectionary 2018, SPCK £4.99
3. That Other Voice by Graham Turner, DLT £12.99
4. Church Pocket Book and Diary with Lectionary 2018 – Blue, SPCK £9.99
5. The Lost Village by Neil Spring, Quercus Publishing £7.99
6. Re-Imagining the Bible for Today by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, SCM Press £19.99
7. The Real Advent Calendar, The Meaningful Chocolate Company £3.99
8. Gravetalk: Facilitator’s Guide, Church House Publishing £3.99
9. Reflections for Daily Prayer 2017-2018, Church House Publishing £16.99
10. Responding to the Light: Reflections on Advent, Christmas and Epiphany by Michael Mayne, Canterbury Press Norwich £12.99

Book of the Month: November 2017

Christmas Through the Keyhole by Derek Tidball

Human beings need to tell their stories and often the best of these are put to music. Sometimes we need help to see beyond the immediate into a wider and more imaginative horizon. Too easily we find ourselves distracted and even bored by religion and its meaning for us. This is as true for those of us who belong to the Church as for those who sit curiously on the outside straining their eyes to look, perhaps at what the Gospel may have to say about their human flourishing.

Derek Tidball is a skilled, creative and innovative communicator. All these skills are put to work in this book of meditations that run from 3 December through to 6 January. The focus is Luke’s songs recorded in that narrative as the songs of Mary, Zechariah, Simeon and the Angels at Bethlehem.

The themes of: the hope of the needy, the Redeemer of the world, the joy of the earth, the light of the nations and the splendour of creation are taken and explored within five sections each with a daily reflection. The book invites the reader to see and hear the songs of the birth of Christ as keyholes through which we can glimpse extraordinary and transformative things. Scripture is attended to carefully and broken open within the context of our complex and contradictory lives. We are challenged to consider and reconsider what kind of love might lie behind the doors which need opening for our illumination- to fill our minds with truth from God and put that love to work in our life.

You will be refreshed and enlarged through these pages. Read them carefully and explore how attention to the gracious promise of God might nurture wisdom and thankfulness.

Reviewed by Canon James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College

Christmas Through the Keyhole is just £6 until November 30th 2017 (RRP £6.99), available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing bookshop@dev.sarum.ac.uk.