Virginia Barton

Bookery Nook: More time for juggling the turkey


Catholic Herald, 13 November 1991


booksHearty Christmas greetings from Bookery Nook! There are still five weeks to go before we must drape the chimney-piece with holly and ivy and juggle the stuffings for that turkey. The purchase of presents is best done at leisure.

Here in the Nook we offer the usual tempting selection of new titles for you to order from your armchair. I believe there is something for everyone, with a special emphasis at this time of the year on children’s books. Get your order off smartly, and it will be delivered in good time for December 25.

Had I not been flat on my back in October, I would have alerted you to the 70th birthday of distinguished Orkney writer George Mackay Brown. All his work has a powerful spiritual undercurrent, but Magnus (first published in 1973) is probably the most overtly ‘religious’. I am an unashamedly ardent fan.

I referred to being flat on my back. Many a sleepless night in hospital was soothed by listening to the Praying the Rosary tape. Described as “walking with Mary through the life of Jesus”, this tape would be a godsend to the elderly housebound.


Dame Felicitas Corrigan OSB, Benedictine Tapestry (Darton, Longman and Todd, £9.95 212pp)
Stanbrook nun, who is to give a Catholic Herald lecture next week to coincide with the publication of this book, writes of life in the convent and her correspondence with writers including Rumer Godden and Sydney Cockerell, one part of the celebrated triangle with George Bernard Shaw and Dame Laurentia McLachan that inspired the West End play Best of Friends.

Bruce Kent, Building the Global Village (Harper Collins, £2.99 60pp)
Peace activist looks at issues challenging the growth of a Christian and equal society. This booklet examines what we as individuals and as parishes can do to effect change. “An excellent pick-me-up for anybody suffering from fin-de-millennium discouragement” – Fr John Medcalf (Catholic Herald)

Ian Petit OSB, How Can l Pray (DLT, £3.95 85pp)
Ampleforth monk and popular retreat giver asks what is prayer all about and how can we use scripture to deepen our prayer lives. Part of the Scripture for Living series.

Ian Petit OSB, This is My Body (DLT, £3.95 96pp)
Second only to Ronald Rolheiser in its enduring popularity with Nook customers, a clear explanation of the meaning of the mass.

George Mackay Brown, Magnus (Richard Drew Publishing, £3.95, 206pp)
One of the very best of this Orcadian author’s books. The murder of Earl St Magnus by his cousin Hakon in twelfth century Orkney is seen through the eyes of fishermen, crofters, monks and raiders. “This book contains probably the most beautiful descriptions of the celebration of the mass in literature” – Virginia Barton

Bert Richards, God’s Diary (Columba Press, £4.99 128pp )
A tongue in cheek account of the world from above from October 29, 4004 BC to the advent of a British prime minister reciting St Francis of Assisi’s prayer on the steps of 10 Downing Street. “There are too many serious books about religion and not enough funny ones” – Fr John Medcalf.

Charles Ringma, Seize the Day, with Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Albatross Books, £7.95)
Charles Ringma has selected daily quotations from the writings of this brave priest who stood up against Hitler and sacrificed his life. These are accompanied by scriptural references, meditation and reflection. A handy chunky book; invaluable bedside reading which may be referred to again and again.

Ronald Rolheiser OMI, Forgotten Among the Lilies (Spire, £5.99, 290pp)
Collection of Herald columnist’s writings.

Ronald Rolheiser OMI, The Restless Heart (Spire, £5.99 206pp)
Winner of the Winifred Mary Stanford award for religious books, an exploration of our loneliness.

Delia Smith, A Feast for Advent (Bible Reading Fellowship, £3.99 126pp)
Journey through Advent, newly republished, highlighting the underlying significance of the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Praying the Rosary with scriptural texts (privately published, £2)
Very popular over the past months, this cassette and booklet set is an ideal companion for the car, or the housebound, and is available at a modest price thanks to generous sponsorship.


For children

Lionel Fanthorpe, The Christmas Story (Bishopsgate Press, £2.95 32pp).
Prayers, prose and verse for children between five and eight by an Anglican writer popular with Nook readers. Illustrations by Lynette Hardwick.

Mary Absolon, A Song at Christmas (Lion, £6.99).
The story of Christ’s birth told afresh through carols ranging from traditional favourites like Away in a Manger to offerings from Poland, Czechoslovakia and France. With musical score plus illustrations by Tony Morris.

Tell Me the Bible (Cassells, £8.95 110pp)
A selection of the best and best known stories from the Bible – Old and New Testaments – given a polish by story-tellers while retaining the essential message and gloriously illustrated in colour by Letizia Gali.



What could be more natural than to mark Bookery Nook’s first birthday with a limerick competition? The entries were rib-ticklingly ingenious. The winner came in by a whisker.


To find buy or sell a good book
You’ve only to take a quick look.
For study and leisure
Religion or pleasure
Rely upon Bookery Nook


Congratulations and a £5 book token to ME Carpenter of Ham Common.

There has to be a runner-up, even if Teresa Melling of Preston gets no prize:


There was an old crow in the Rookery
Who decided to open a Bookery
He retired to his nook
To write his first book
Not on birds, no on trees
but on cookery


If we survive another year a sonnet may be called for….



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(c) All Rights Reserved. Site Designed by Magtype CR