The Two Babylons

Rating: ★★★★★

The Two Babylons: or, the Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and his Wife (1916) by Alexander Hislop

Hislop’s work, nearly 100 years old, is still the best starting point for studying comparative religion. Of course, there is much in it that is no longer valid, and so long as the Vatican still stands,it will probably always feature on their banned books list, however, the main theme of the book is incontestable, which is probably why I know of no serious rebuttal.

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The Cone Gatherers: A Haunting Story of Violence and Love

Rating: ★★★★★

The Cone Gatherers: A Haunting Story of Violence and Love (Canongate Classics)

This short novel must rightly be regarded as a modern classic. It has been compared to ‘Of mice and men’, but the focus is not just on the cone gatherers, but also the complex figure of Duror, the gamekeeper. The challenge put by Robin Jenkins, I believe, is the dichotomy, or division between good and evil, and the different feelings about imperfection, as expressed by the characters..

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Sunset Song

Rating: ★★★★★

Sunset Song

‘Sunset song’ is a hauntingly beautiful tale. I came to it whilst living in North-east Scotland. Sunset song, and the companion novels making up ‘A Scots Quair’, are written in a blend of English and Scots words that only at first seem strange or daunting, you soon find that Grassic Gibbon evokes a lost age in a unique and very effective manner, using very little dialogue (in italics), but talking to the reader all the while..

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The Old Straight Track

 

Rating: ★★★★★

The Old Straight Track (1927) by Alfred Watkins

My casual interest in ley-lines stems from my teenage years, when I, like others, found it possible to connect ancient sites on OS maps in the way Alfred Watkins describes. I found it worth investigating, and discovered ‘The Old Straight Track’ to be far more coherent in explanation of ley-lines, and related features, than much of what has been written since.

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Romeo and Juliet (Cambridge School Shakespeare)

Rating: ★★★★★

This edition of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has much to recommend it, not simply for students. Accompanying each page of text is a study section explaining the language and context, but also engaging the reader in a series of questions about their own feelings of what is happening, or what Shakespeare might have intended?

Differing opinion on these questions is inevitable. The play of course, deserves the reputation of the ultimate expression of romantic love in western literature, and we are forced to look for credible reasons for its tragic conclusion. It addresses timeless issues that matter to all humanity.

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