YouCat Bible (Ignatius Press, £19). The latest title in the international bestselling YouCat series is a version of the Bible. Abridged for easier understanding, this is a lovely edition, encompassing both Old and New Testaments, as well as commentaries and tips about how to put Scripture into practice. The sidebars, containing useful quotes from Catholic thinkers, are very welcome, as are the colour photographs of the Holy Land scattered throughout. A perfect present for a young man or woman, it also includes a touchingly personal preface by Pope Francis.
What God is by Nature, Mary is by Grace by Frank Rega (CreateSpace, £15.97). Subtitled “The Greatness of the Blessed Virgin as Revealed to Luisa Piccarreta”, this book is a compendium of the teachings about Our Lady contained in the revelations of The Book of Heaven, written by Luisa Piccarreta. From southern Italy, this victim soul spent more than 60 years bedridden, subsisting on the Eucharist. Her Cause is currently being considered by the Congregation for Saints. Frank Rega, an authority on 20th-century mystics, here introduces her writings to a new readership.
The Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism edited by James R Lewis (Cambridge, £24). Not a day goes by without a newspaper or television show devoting time to the controversial question of whether religion causes terrorism. Bringing together essays by various academics, the book ranges from complex breakdowns of morality to more historically based accounts. There are good pieces on the crossover between the terrorist and the revolutionary, the role of religion in al-Qaeda and the meaning of ISIS’s caliphate. A heavy-going but interesting volume.
A Forger’s Tale by Shaun Greenhalgh (Allen and Unwin, £16.99). All art dealers and their clients should read this book, if they haven’t already. How did a boy from Bolton, with a great love of art and an exceptional gift for “copying” Old Masters, in sculpture as well as painting, fool the international art world for so long with his forgeries? Sent to prison in 2007 for four years, Greenhalgh explains the techniques he employed in his garden shed atelier. It’s a fascinating story and, although he was rightly convicted, you can’t help admiring his chutzpah, ingenuity and dedication.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards (British Library, £25). The British Library’s series of reissues of classic books from the middle of the last century continues apace with this insightful and valuable tome. Edwards is an acknowledged master of the “golden age” of crime fiction and his prose is pithy and studded with understated wit. From Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles to Agatha Christie, Edwards surveys this fecund period which has provided so much material for BBC TV shows.
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