New Books for a New Year

This web site is dedicated to promoting Beyond Beowulf – though we sometimes wander from the purpose! – but there are other books out there to read and surely there’s no harm in drawing your attention to two recent additions to the supply on your local bookstore shelves.

If tonight is Halloween, some people will realize that All Saints Day is tomorrow and that means the end of the Christian Year is at hand and a new year about to begin.

What therefore could be more appropriate than a book to center your thoughts on the season? We commend to your attention: Advent with Evelyn Underhill, edited by the author of Beyond Beowulf! Evelyn Underhill was one of the great explorers of the mystical tradition in the first half of the 20th century. Her book titled Mysticism is a classic, as is her other large book, Worship. She also published a number of smaller books based on the retreats she gave. “Our spiritual life depends on His [God’s] perpetual coming to us, far more than our going to him,” she wrote. “Every time a channel is made for him, He comes . . .”

And beyond Advent is Christmas and a New Year. Our second recommendation is appropriate for Christmas gift-giving and will occupy you and any other recipients for the whole year to come. It’s entitled A Year with American Saints and contains 365 entries, each for an American Christian who made a difference for better in his or her world. They run the gamut from Quaker to Orthodox and from practitioners of the spiritual life to missionaries and martyrs. They are drawn from the four centuries of American Christianity that take us from Jamestown in 1607 to where we will be in 2007. A saint a day will give you a new appreciation of the difference Christian faith has made in our world and in the lives of a remarkable variety of individuals. The same author/editor was involved in this one but with help from a friend, Pastor Scott Cady, a good friend and neighbor.

Both these can be found at, and Barnes and Noble if your local bookseller doesn’t have them. You can also order from Church Publishing (800-242-1918 or

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