The Portal of the Mystery of Hope, by Charles Peguy, T&T Clark, £11.95. Peguy (1$75-1914) is one of France's best-loved poets. An intellectual and early socialist, Peguy rediscovered Catholicism in 1908 and began to write intense religious poetry. He was among the first to fall in the First World War. In this enormous poem, republished in a collection of the best of modern Catholic literature, he meditates on the often
neglected second theological virtue, incarnated in his celebrated image of the "little girl Hope".
The Way of the English Mystics, by Gordon L Miller, Burns & Oates, £7.95. A distinctive feature of Western religious life in recent years has been the rediscovery of the contemplative tradition. This book, by an
American historian, encourages readers to explore the English mystical tradition of Julian of Norwich, Margery Kernpe and George Herbert by visiting the places where they lived and prayed.
The Psalms: Meditations for every day of the year, by Joan Chittister OSB, Crossroad Books. The Psalms are the oldest prayers in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The author, an American Benedictine nun, holds up a favourite psalm for each month and provides a reflection for each day so that the prayer, as she puts it, "can
become a benediction that pulsates in our hearts".
The Lost Mariner, by William Bedford, Abacus, £6.99. Echoes of Dickens and sometimes of Melville in this occasionally harrowing tale of a young fisherman searching for his lost love and dealing with the social evils of life ashore (Satan's Hole in Grimsby) and at sea (a tyrannical skipper with religious mania and a murderous bent). A Catholic author to watch.