Books

Briefly noted

The Archaeology of Faith by Louis Cameli (Ave Maria, £10.99). Subtitled A Personal Exploration of How We Come to Believe, this book explores the author’s own family history and how the faith has been passed down through the generations in his native Italy. Fr Cameli’s purpose is to show readers how their own faith comes to be formed and how it is transmitted through the community of the Church. Moving from his own ancestral story, the author provides a thoughtful introduction to the way faith develops, using significant passages from Scripture as his reference point. This is an original and accessible approach.

The God Book by Michael Arnheim (Imprint Academic, £14.95). Described as “a whole new take on atheism and religion”, this book presents the case for Deism. As Arnheim points out, unlike conventional religions which are based on belief in a personal God, “Deism believes in an impersonal God who does not get involved in the day-to-day affairs of the world”. It is an interesting perspective – but the alleged tolerance of Deism will not appeal to those of the Christian faith who believe in a loving personal God and in his birth, death and resurrection.

St Teresa and the Our Father by Aloysius Rego OCD (Teresian Press, £6). The author, an Australian Carmelite friar, has written an excellent interpretative book on St Teresa of Avila’s classic commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, which she includes in The Way of Perfection. He thus makes the saint’s thoughts accessible to a new generation, emphasising that although Teresa was writing for her Carmelite nuns, her meditations speak to anyone open to her unique spiritual insights. Each section of the Our Father is considered in turn. Particularly useful are the trenchant observations on the petition “Lead us not into temptation”.

Inventing Socrates by Miles Hollingworth (Bloomsbury, £20). Readers may worry that a book “ostensibly on Pre-Socratic philosophy” will have rather narrow horizons. Fear not. This is, for sure, the story of how Socrates was “invented”, but it is also a bold assessment of a host of hackneyed Western intellectual assumptions. Hollingworth redefines the whole narrative of ancient Greek philosophy, making us wonder if worshipping reason, while an honourable intention, is always the wisest idea, and by reminding us of the soul it suggests that “no human being can at heart want to be a calculating machine”.

Make Me by Lee Child (Bantam, £20). A Lee Child book is sold somewhere in the world every four seconds. That’s a lot of books. Make Me, the 20th Jack Reacher thriller, shows exactly why Child is so successful. Reacher is like Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century crossed with a Western hero. He rides into town and saves the locals from evil men and bullies. He uses his sharp sense of logical deduction to right wrongs. It’s a classic mythic structure and Make Me, set in a spooky Midwest and full of tight, snappy sentences, shows Child to be the modern-day poet of the prairies.