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As you know, I was bitterly disappointed when Satalyte shut up shop as it might have meant the end of my admittedly short career as a publi...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Book review: The Book of Common Prayer by Alan Jacobs

The Book of Common Prayer: A BiographyThe Book of Common Prayer: A Biography by Alan Jacobs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


American academic Alan Jacobs is a Distinguished Professor in the honours program of Baylor University, a Baptist institution in Waco. Texas. He was previously the Clyde Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College, where he almost became an institution in his own right, spending thirty years in the post. He has been compared to CS Lewis: a fair comparison, given his interests in classical literature and religion. He has, in fact, written on Lewis, with particular reference to his children’s books, in his 2006 opus, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis. Nonetheless, Jacobs brings a contemporary perspective to his work, as is apparent from the book under consideration here, The Book of Common Prayer - a Biography. It is his thirteenth published book and it forms part of Princeton’s series Lives of Great Religious Books. There are already nine books in the series, with the promise of another dozen or so to come, covering the principal religions of the world and including works as disparate as The Book of Mormon and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

The subject matter has been discussed by several other works, notably Sussex University’s Professor Brian Cummings’s comparative study The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (OUP, 2010). One might suspect that the present work is in some measure Princeton’s response to the Oxford opus: the two works, however, similar though they superficially appear, serve different purposes, Cummings’s book being largely a study of the earliest versions of the texts while Jacobs takes a more straightforwardly historical approach, covering more ground in less detail. He traces the BCP’s origins from its beginnings in Tudor England to its transportation to the colonies and its recent history, with particular reference to its adaptation and development in the USA.

Although this is a scholarly work that will be of interest to church historians and students of Theology and Religious Studies, it will also be appreciated by laymen of similar interests. As a lapsed Anglican with a deep interest in Shakespeare and his life and times, I found it a joy to revisit Archbishop Cranmer’s beautiful prose. What was it about this era, that it could come up with the wondrous works of the Bard of Avon, the metaphysical poetry of John Donne and his contemporaries, the King James Bible – and the BCP? Or to give it its full title in 1662, The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the use of the Church of England together with the Psalter or Psalms of David pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of bishops, priests, and deacons.

Consciously or unconsciously, Cranmer utilised techniques that creative writing students of today struggle to do half as well – repetition, balanced antithesis, metaphor – all these and more Cranmer called into service, setting a high bar for later writers of devotional texts. It matters not what Christian denomination one follows: the solemnisation of marriage invariably begins with ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together…’ or something similar that closely echoes Cranmer’s words. Modernised versions of Cranmer’s text, or modern efforts to rewrite the Latin of the Mass into English, such as those that followed the Second Vatican Council, fail miserably when compared to the beauty of Cranmer’s work. Alan Jacobs makes us very aware of our debt to Cranmer.

The Book of Common Prayer – a Biography is well set out, easy to follow, well-referenced and indexed and pleasing to look at. The only thing I did not like about this book was its ’handle’. It’s a good size and looks attractive, but the dust jacket feels like some nasty synthetic fabric, even though it is definitely paper! However, dust jackets are easily removed or covered by some other material, and it certainly wasn’t enough to make me set the book aside.

The author runs a Tumblr blog for the book at  http://bookofcommonprayer.tumblr.com/

This is a five-star book. Thank you, Professor Jacobs, and thank you, Princeton University Press.

Alan Jacobs The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography



View all my Goodreads reviews
Thursday, 5 December 2013

Here's a meme that's doing the rounds


To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?


I'm currently reading several books. Since I've had a Kindle I've found I'm happy to skip from one book to another, although not without conscience as I'm not a natural book-hopper. In the past, if I ever read two books at once, one of them would be fiction and the other would be non-fiction of some kind. Now, however, I have become a promiscuous reader, dipping into one book after another as the fancy takes me. It's so easy when you can get a new book without leaving your chair - and excellent for reading on public transport! My selection at the moment includes The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge; Catalina by DannyFahey; Daughters of Icarus by Josie Brown; The Emotional Thesaurus by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman; Saxons, Vikings and Celts by Bryan Sykes; Dangerous Women, (an anthology edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Duzois); Hal Junior: The Missing Case by Simon Haynes, William Shakespeare's Star Wars, by Ian Doescher and Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff.


The book I most recently finished is The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography by Alan Jacob. I shall write a review when I've had a few days to think about it. It's actually a biography of the prayer book, not of a person, and it is of considerable interest to me for several reasons. You'll find out what they are when the review turns up here!

What shall I read next? Well, I have a To-Be-Read pile taller than I am, and it will not get any shorter because I keep buying more. The newer books are nearly all in Kindle format, and it's just too easy - they are inexpensive and can be downloaded onto my Kindle with just one click on Amazon! I feel guilty for book-hopping and not finishing some of them in a timely manner, but I suspect that this is the new pattern of reading for many people. It has its problems, of course - if I leave some of the books alone for several weeks I find I can't remember which one is which! However, I am getting behind with Marianne de Pierres's output - I haven't read the last two Tara Sharp novels yet, and de Pierres has a new Sci-Fi Western
called Peacemaker coming out soon,  so one of these could be my next read. Here's the cover of the latest book, to whet your appetites!

Please pick this meme up and run with it if you want to - and do leave a message on this post to tell me where to find your answers!
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