Newest Spirituality and Religion Reviews

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The Atlas of Monsters by Stuart Hill and Sandra Lawrence

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

There are monsters and mysterious characters, such as trolls, leprechauns, goblins and minotaurs. They're the stuff of far too many stories to remain mysterious, and every schoolchild should know all about them. There are monsters and mysterious characters, such as Gog and Magog, Scylla and Charybdis, and the bunyip. They are what you find if you take an interest in this kind of thing to the next level; even if you cannot place them all on a map you should have come across them. But there are monsters and mysterious characters, such as the dobhar-chu, the llambigyn y dwr, and the girtablili. To gain any knowledge of them you really need a book that knows its stuff. A book like this one… Full review...

Revelation Ch:25 - A Letter To The Churches From The 24th Elder by Edward K Micheal

1.5star.jpg Autobiography

Edward K Michael has taken the brave step of laying out his spiritual journey for all to see. It is a deeply personal book and he's honest enough - genuine enough - to wonder if he would have taken a different path if he had known then what he knows now, but he's generous enough too to hope that people will find comfort in the supernatural manifestations he has seen. Before you begin reading you will need to accept that the book seems to have been written without editorial intervention: you are hearing the real man speak and what you will read is very close to stream of consciousness. Full review...

The World of Lore, Volume 1: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

4.5star.jpg Reference

Every country, every town, every village has a folktale – a story passed down through generations that often focuses on the dark and unexplained. No matter how the modern world moves on, there's a still a part of everyone that is vulnerable to a good tale. From ghosts to werewolves, by way of wendigos and elves, author Aaron Mahnke delivers the reader legends from all over the world, whilst examining how they've become part of our collective imaginations, still striking fear into the hearts of many of us today. Full review...

Basic Witches by J Saxena and J Zimmerman

4star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

Before I started this book I was expecting to be thrown into the world of magic and would know how to levitate by the end of the first chapter. Unsurprisingly, I was wrong. However, what I was met by was a book that explores the origins of witchcraft, teaches you how to dress and act like a witch and contains spells ranging from accepting compliments to conjuring up a relaxing Netflix binge. Full review...

The Universe and Life but Not Everything by Anthony Christian Wright

3.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

I often wonder - usually after a moment of shaking my fist at the news on TV - what my manifesto for life and society would look like were I to write it down. I have all sorts of thoughts about these things, from the metaphysics of who we are and where we come from, right down to detailed critiques of quite insignificant government policies. I've never done such an exercise - mostly because I lack the time, the patience and the diligence required. It seems like an enormous task. Full review...

Returning Home by Stephan Santiago

3.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

Stephan Santiago has experienced life in a way that's led him to believe we're all on a soul journey back home – that place we inhabited before we were born. This book is a guide as to how we can optimise this journey for ourselves, those around us and our children. Full review...

Buddha: An Enlightened Life (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Kieron Moore and Rajesh Nagulakonda

4star.jpg Graphic Novels

I don't do religion, but still there was something that drew me to this comic book. For one, the whole Buddhist faith is still a little unknown to me, and this was certainly going to be educational. Yes, I knew some of the terms it ends up using, but not others, such as bhikshu, and had never really come across the man's life story. Yes, I knew he found enlightenment and taught a very pacifist kind of faith, but where did he come from? What failings did he have on his path, and who were the ones that joined him along the way? Full review...

Shepherd of Another Flock by David Wilbourne

5star.jpg Autobiography

David Wilbourne's CV looks like a career path for people who are hard-of-humoured. Banker, teacher of Ancient Greek, vicar, bishop…none of these are jobs normally connected in our minds with a jovial twinkle. Yet in David's case we'd be totally wrong to assume. The current Bishop of Llandaff takes us by the hand to show us episodes from his life as vicar of the character-packed Yorkshire parish of Helmsley proving that tears of sorrow are equally shared with tears of laughter. Full review...

How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci

3.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

Stoicism is about developing the tools to deal as effectively as humanly possible with the ensuing conflicts, does not demand perfection, and does not provide specific answers. For many readers, living in an age of rules to make us happy and the inevitable failure to stick to them, this is an intensely reassuring sentence. Pigliucci certainly makes Stoicism an appealing philosophy, one which can sit alongside religious faith but doesn't have to, one which doesn't demand Aristotelian heights of intelligence, beauty or riches in order to truly succeed in life, and one which recognises life's messy difficulties. Full review...

A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce

4star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

Music used in religions and worship itself goes back to the beginning of humankind. In this book musician and theological academic Dr Mark Pearce explores its Biblical history in a Christian context as well as providing tips and suggestions for those involved in worship in the present day. Full review...

The Thoughts and Inner Journey of Dr. John Dee by Clair Iles

3.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

Clair Iles is, in her own words, a normal person who was educated at a normal comprehensive school. However, she's a normal person who hears dead people. Yes, Clair is a spiritualist with ability to hear from those who have passed on. In the past they had generally been relatives or everyday folk. Imagine, then, her surprise when she felt she was hearing from Elizabethan court polymath John Dee. Over a period of time she could feel his dictated thoughts and ideas in her mind and this book of the channelled words is the result. Full review...

The Stone Cradle by Patrice Chaplin

5star.jpg Autobiography

'The Stone Cradle' is a remarkable book from the author Patrice Chaplin. It is a biography, the third in a series set in the Catalonian city of Girona. It is also an enduring love story and a journey into mystery and spirituality. The city has drawn artists, writers and philosophers for centuries. Rich in Kabbalistic thought through Azriel, the most famous student of Isaac the Blind, it has always been a home for mysticism and secrets. The magnetism and resonance of the city has had a hold on Patrice Chaplin since she first visited it in the fifties. The series of books detail her journey and her encounters with the esoteric society that have protected its mysteries since ancient times. 'The Stone Cradle' also gives a new life and direction to the mysteries of Rennes le Chateau, the small French village, made famous by the Da Vinci Code and the Holy Blood and The Holy Grail. Linking the two places through sacred geometry to the mountain of Canigou. Full review...

Becoming Reverend: A diary by Matt Woodcock

4.5star.jpg Autobiography

Matt Woodcock is enjoying life: successful journalist, happily married and a new dream home bought and heavily mortgaged. The only cloud on the horizon is their struggle to have children but they have faith in the IVF treatment as it's early days yet. Then comes the funny turn Matt has on the way to a story one day. This takes him by surprise but the resulting clergy collar comes as a total shock. He's a normal bloke who always thought of himself as more pint than piety believing in a God who's happy for him to remain in the pews. Errrrm… whoops! Full review...

Sun Moon Star by Kurt Vonnegut and Ivan Chermayeff

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

In his own delightfully imaginative way Kurt Vonnegut tells the story of the birth of Christ in this unique and long out of print children's book. Told from the perspective of the new born infant in his first hours of birth, this charming little story feels different to other children's Christmas books whilst at the same time goes back to the basics in exploring the true nature of Christmas. Full review...

The Forbidden Tree: History or Folklore? by Jabulani Midzi

3.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

This is indeed a good question that not even Christians can agree on. The spectrum goes from the right wing Evangelical literalists who believe right down to the creation's 7 days being just that, all the way over to the left wing Anglo Catholic liberals, some of whom take issue with the virgin birth and the crucifixion. Staking my colours to the mast, I'm in the middle, believing that the Bible should be taken in historical context, that it does contain Old Testament myths and some accounts clearly written in a one-sided way but I firmly believe in Jesus, the miracles etc. Full review...

Amma, Tell Me About Diwali! by Bhakti Mathur

4star.jpg For Sharing

Klaka had celebrated Diwali and it had been great fun - a wonderful, beautiful day and tonight the city is lit up by thousands and thousands of lights. Amma and daddy had given many gifts to their boy and Klaka and his brother had lit the earthen oil lamps known as diyas. They didn't just eat and have a good time - they also offered their prayers for good fortune, prosperity and health to Ganesha, the God of new beginnings and to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. But Klaka was curious: Amma he said, tell me about Diwali. Full review...

Letters to Poseidon by Cees Nooteboom and Laura Watkinson (Translator)

4star.jpg Travel

A serviette, a glass of champagne taken outside a fish restaurant in the open-air Viktualienmarkt in Munich, all taken to celebrate the first day of spring, prompt Cees Nooteboom into Proustian reverie. Upon the paper napkin is written in blue capitals the word POSEIDON, the Greek god who has preoccupied Nooteboom's thoughts for several summers. The blue colour reminds him of the sea viewed from Mediterranean garden of his villa in Menorca. Taking this prompting as a moment of benign synchronicity, he later begins a correspondence with this sea-deity. He seeks to inquire how this somewhat unreliable ancient Greek Olympian sees aeons of time and sends him letters and legenda; meditations and stories to be read, both poetic and tragic, from the arts and the contemporary world. He is not expecting a reply. Full review...

Between Gods by Alison Pick

4star.jpg Autobiography

Alison Pick's paternal grandparents escaped Czechoslovakia just before the Holocaust by bribing the Nazis for visas to Canada; the rest of the family died in Auschwitz. They spent their whole lives trying to pass as Christians, and Pick's father, too, was reluctant to have anything to do with Judaism. Pick only learned he was Jewish through a conversation overheard when she was 11. Full review...

Mythology: An Illustrated Journey Into Our Imagined Worlds by Christopher Dell

4.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

What does a rainbow mean to you? How would you explain the creation of the world if you had no science as such, or the changing of the seasons? What other kinds of natures – chaotic trickery, evil personae or even the characteristics of goats – people your world? And why is it that the answers man and woman have collectively formed to such questions have been so similar across the oceans and across the centuries? This highly pictorial volume looks at the mythologies that formed those answers, and locks on to a multitude of subjects – blood, music, godly activity – to show us what has followed. Full review...

God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness by Femi Bolaji

4star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

Jacob was the second born of twin boys and resented the privileges that would come to Esau who was, after all only a few minutes older than him, but would get twice the inheritance from their father, Isaac, than that which would come to Jacob. Even in his teens Jacob plotted to usurp Esau’s position. What would happen if Esau died? But Esau was fit and a born hunter. Jacob thought about killing him, but the stories of what had happened to Cain and Abel came to mind and he was determined that he would not make the mistakes which Cain had made, so he developed an alternative plan and took advantage of Esau’s well-known greed: he was always desperate for something to eat. Esau is the man who sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Full review...

The Edge of Words: God and the Habits of Language by Rowan Williams

4star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

This, Rowan Williams' first book since standing down as Archbishop of Canterbury, is based on a series of lectures that he delivered as Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh in 2013. Gifford Lectures are famous for their examination of developments in natural theology; a branch of theology that argues the existence of God based on reason and nature. In these lectures Rowan sort to examine how we as human beings develop use and process language, particularly when it comes to the use of language around faith and our perception and understanding of God. Full review...

Like a Tramp, Like A Pilgrim: On Foot, Across Europe to Rome by Harry Bucknall

4star.jpg Travel

What links London and Rome? Their capital city status for one, of course. One has a St Paul's cathedral, the other a St Peter's (although pedants will say not). They both have a football team who wear red and white. Oh, and the ancient pilgrim route called the Via Francigena – although the pedant will again say that that strictly starts at that other pilgrimage site, Canterbury. As for Harry Bucknall, the Via starts at St Paul's and should end at St Peter's. Whether or not Harry himself will connect the two cities – and entirely on foot – is the subject of this travel book. Full review...

An Atheist's History of Belief by Matthew Kneale

4.5star.jpg Politics and Society

I’ve been an atheist since I was old enough to take a view on the subject. (Many atheists would argue that we’re all atheists at birth, but that’s not a subject for a book review). I did have to take Religious Studies at school but have entirely forgotten almost everything I learned! Full review...

The Rev Diaries by Reverend Adam Smallbone

4.5star.jpg Humour

Adam Smallbone wasn’t always a vicar. He used to work for the Bristol Housing Department, enabling his father-in-law to tell everyone he worked 'in property'. From there, his initial calling was to a rural church in Suffolk which did nothing to prepare him for this, his current London inner city parish. Indeed, he's not prepared for Adoha (the Nigerian parishioner with 19 grandchildren and 'the bottom of God') or Colin, the homeless alcoholic who has adopted Adam and his wife Alex (Mrs Vicarage to Colin). But then Alex also has a lot to get used to; after all, she didn't actually marry a vicar. Full review...

Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America by Ranya Tabari Idliby

4.5star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

I can’t imagine it’s that easy to be a Muslim in most areas of the USA. Even if you don’t ‘look like’ a Muslim, even if you don’t drop to your knees in the direction of Mecca 5 times a day, even if you give your kids arguably Jewish names. And being openly Muslim cannot have got any easier in the wake of 9/11. This book examines one Muslim-American family’s life and the constant challenges they face from friends, neighbours and teachers. Full review...

The Atheist's Prayer by Amy R Biddle

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

I don’t shy away from a book with a little edge, in fact Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favourite authors and his books can be so sharp you can shave with them. On the surface The Atheist’s Prayer would seem to be courting controversy; why else have such a provocative title? But, is it really that shocking? Nope. This is a story about how people deal with the modern world and what happens when dangerous ideals infect a vulnerable group. Full review...

Mindfulness and the Natural World by Claire Thompson

3star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

This book appealed to me for a couple of reasons; I have recently completed a workshop on mindfulness and have been attempting to put some of the ideas into practice throughout my daily life, and I love nature and spending time outdoors cycling. Therefore, this seemed the perfect choice to learn more about combining the two and exploring fresh perspectives in my everyday life. I began reading this hardcover with high expectations, particularly as the book was beautifully laid out with unique artwork and philosophical quotes included. However, although there were some insightful ideas and inspiring thoughts presented amongst the five chapters, overall I was a little disappointed in what the book had to offer. Full review...

Rogerson's Book of Numbers: The culture of numbers from 1001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World by Barnaby Rogerson

4star.jpg Spirituality and Religion

One book, split into two testaments, regarding a holy trinity, the principal part known from four writers, in a world abutting another where five pillars are important, up against a world where a six-pointed star holds so many meanings… It's obvious from just a quick dash through the most schoolboy-friendly parts of religion that numbers are important. This book, although counting down from multitudes to that late-comer zero, brings them all to us, with brief notes about why they all hold relevance where whichever country, civilisation or religion is concerned. In the end, I'm sure it's a lot more user-friendly, interesting, and will be a lot more popular, than the original Book of Numbers. Full review...

Inventing the Enemy: Essays on Everything by Umberto Eco

4star.jpg History

Imagine a sumptuous Italian feast in the sunlit-bathed ancient countryside near Milan. Next to you a gentleman talks and eats with furious energy. He tells of Dante, Cicero, and St Augustine and quotes a multitude of obscure troubadours from the Middle Ages. He repeats himself, gestures flamboyantly, nudges you sharply in the ribs, belches and even breaks wind. His conversation contains nuggets of information but in the flow of his discourse there is a fondness for iteration and reiteration. He throws bones over his shoulder and when he reaches the cheese course - definitely too much information on the mouldy bacteria! When you finally get up things the elderly gentleman has said prompt your imagination. You are better informed, intrigued and prodded to examine his discourse again and again, even if only to challenge what you have heard. Such are the effects of reading Eco’s essays in Inventing the Enemy. Full review...

Sisters of the East End by Helen Batten

3.5star.jpg Historical Fiction

Katie Crisp had never intended to become a nun. Raised by non-religious parents, her family frowned upon organised religion and when Katie started secretly going to church, they strongly disapproved. When Katie ran to the aid of a stroke victim, she had a vision that changed her life. She saw herself dressed as a nun with a large silver cross hanging from her neck. She decided to follow her calling and join the community of St John the Divine, a group of Anglican nuns dedicated to nursing and midwifery. She thus shed her old identity and became known as Sister Catherine Mary. Full review...