I can’t brain properly so I’ll just tell you what I’ve done this week

I just spent a good few minutes staring into the middle distance in my office, trying to work out how to theme this post and what to write at the beginning of it. Then I opened my notebook and flicked through it absently. Then I clicked on my WhatsApp window and scrolled down a couple of conversations I’ve had with friends.

Then I snapped out of it and just started to write.

Normally I open these weekly round-ups with a spiel about something that’s been on my mind over the last few days, but very little has been in my head this week except a constant spinning to-do list, rolling down into an eternal deep.  Read more

Weekly Reading List #1 – Brain Surgery, Demons, And Poems

Previously I’ve been mini-reviewing books in the reading list section at the end of my weekly round-ups, but they’ve been getting a bit long and unwieldy of late so I thought I’d move them to their own separate post.

Sometimes a book will merit a post all of its own, or I’ll be given a book by a publisher in exchange for a full review, in which case they’ll be reviewed separately. But I do like to keep track of the books I’ve read and what I liked / disliked about them, and I read so much that I don’t have time to write full reviews of everything. So here we go: the first of the weekly book review lists.

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Augustine: Conversions and Confessions

Robin Lane Fox,  Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford, has recently released a new book about Augustine. I picked it up the last time I went into Waterstones, because it had a pretty cover and because I find Augustine’s views generally interesting.

Winner of the Wolfson Prize for History 2015, the book charts Augustine’s life up to and including his writing of the Confessions. It compares and contrasts his path with those of other thinkers of his time, including the pagan Libanius.

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Some thoughts on truth, lies, and belief

A couple of weeks ago, two of my friends came over for dinner. One is a committed atheist, the other a vague Christian. And me, a… well, a scar.

The conversation turned to religion at one point, and my atheist friend said that she didn’t understand how anyone intelligent could possibly believe in a god. How she is stunned to see scientists and people like them expressing beliefs in entities whose existence can’t be empirically proven.

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The Occult Tradition by David S. Katz

The Occult Tradition by David S. Katz is a book I read a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed, mainly because it didn’t just discuss dubious claims of current witches dating back their ancestry to ancient Egypt, but took an in-depth look at ‘occult’ concepts in a very literal sense – in the sense of discussing hidden or obscure material.

A lot of the book focused on Jewish and Christian mysticism, which was interesting because again this isn’t something that’s always heavily discussed in books on occult themes.

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