As well as the normal Universalis content, we now offer you the possibility of reading some additional books in instalments, as part of any of the Universalis pages.
New feature: The name “Daily Books” isn’t fully accurate any more because you can read a book in weekly instalments as well as daily ones. For instance, you could decide to read “The Mass in Slow Motion” on Sundays after the Readings at Mass page.
Because the instalment format is a perfect discipline. It gives one enough to chew over for each day. It also means that a book won’t be rushed through to get it over with, or abandoned and left unfinished.
The list is growing. At the time this page was written, it included the following:
- “St Francis of Assisi”, by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton was a writer and journalist, a poet and essayist, and the greatest Catholic apologist of his age. This book sets out to make the saint and his world understandable from the inside and not just as a collection of facts and events. It is also the response of one great soul to another.
- “The Catholic Church and Conversion”, also by G.K. Chesterton. Written two years after his reception into the Church, it has the depth and clarity of all Chesterton's works, but also the freshness of someone who has at last stepped out of narrow places and into open air and freedom.
- “The Mass in Close-Up”, by Father Antony Jones. Father Antony Jones was for some 50 years a parish priest in Wales. As his priestly ministry proceeded, Fr Antony became increasingly convinced that the more we understand the Mass, the Church’s greatest treasure, the more we will love it and benefit from it. His constant aim was to instruct his parishioners about the Mass and from the resulting talks and papers this book was born. “The Mass in Close-Up” is a detailed examination of the Mass, exploring every aspect of it, theologically, historically and spiritually.
- “A Retreat for Lay People”, by Ronald Knox. "One way of conducting a retreat," Knox says, "is to take a single idea which will run like a thread through all the meditations and bind them together, make them into a coherent whole. The other is to seize upon an idea here, an idea there, as they occur to you in the intervals of prayer or in the course of reading, work it out there and then, and lay it by for future use. This means that you have a stock-pot of meditations from which you can select the items which seem most appropriate to the occasion. There is room for books which offer a varied menu to the retreatant."
- “The Mass in Slow Motion”, by Ronald Knox. At the start of the Second World War an entire convent school was evacuated from London and billeted in the house where Ronald Knox was staying and translating the Bible. In an instant Knox became, as well as a retiring scholar and translator, the chaplain to a school of some fifty girls. The Mass in Slow Motion is a series of talks given to those schoolgirls. It presents the Mass as understood from the inside by a man whose life's work is to celebrate it daily to the best of his ability. This book is one of Knox's most neglected works, but also one of his most charming.
- “Resurrection Is Now”, by Dom Aelred Watkin, monk of Downside. Because of the splendid things it says about death this is set to appear on the 30 days of November, but you can reschedule it for any time of year you want. This, and the next book, are reproduced by kind permission of Downside Abbey Trustees.
- “And So to God”, the final book by Dom Hubert van Zeller, monk of Downside. Dom Hubert was a talented artist, a prolific author and much in demand as a retreat-giver, especially in America.
These books are available in the Android and iPhone/iPad apps only. You can read a number of instalments as a free sample, and then (if you want) buy the whole book as an in-app purchase.
- “Revelations of Divine Love”, by Julian of Norwich.This is the greatest work of spirituality ever written in English.
When its author, Julian of Norwich (1342-1416), was 30 years old, she received a series of sixteen visions of the Passion of Christ. She spent the next twenty years in meditation on them and in deep study of the theological vistas which they opened up. "Revelations of Divine Love" is the result. It presents the visions in all their physical detail; it contemplates the joy of the Passion and redemption from sin, the hidden depths of the Incarnation and the Motherhood of Christ. While reaching to the heights of heaven it keeps its feet firmly on the ground. It speaks with simplicity and directness, and it is ideal material for reading as a daily meditation.
- “Journey into Light: The Challenge and Enchantment of Catholic Christianity”, by Roderick Strange.Roderick Strange presents the core doctrines of the Catholic Church in all their mystery and enchantment. Following the Church’s liturgical year, he invites us to walk with Jesus of Nazareth from Advent, Christmas and Epiphany through to Lent, Easter and Pentecost. In a meditative and accessible style, he reflects upon what Christians believe and how they are called to live. Journey into Light is an introduction for those new to the Catholic faith and those wanting to reawaken their search for God.
How to set it up
Tap once, anywhere on the text in the page, to make the toolbar appear:
Now tap the “ⓘ” button to make the menu appear, then choose "Daily Books" from the menu.
To choose a book, tap it. You will see full details about the book and a switch marked “Read this book”. If you decide you want to read this book, turn that switch ON, and this is what you will see:
You can now choose which page you want this book to be part of, and whether you want to read it daily or weekly. The possible settings are:
- Daily: A new instalment will appear each day. If you miss a day, you can use the “<” button in the toolbar to move back to the instalment you have missed.
- Weekly: The book will appear on a given day of the week, and a new instalment will appear each week. Again, if you miss an instalment, you can use the “<” button to go back and read it.
- Turn pages by hand: The book will appear each day, but the instalment will never change. When you have finished reading an instalment, you can use the “>” button to move on to the next one.
Some books need to be bought before you can read them. In that case, the book details will look a little different:
- To read a free sample before deciding to buy, turn on the "Read free sample" switch.
- To buy the book, press the "Buy" button.
- If you think you may already have bought the book, press "Check with App Store". For instance, you might have bought it using a different Apple device. Pressing this button will ask the App Store to check its own records, and to tell the app about any purchases you have already made. (In any case, the App Store is designed so that it does not let you buy the same thing twice).
How it works
Each book instalment is preceded by a toolbar that looks like this:
The leftmost and rightmost buttons let you go back and forward, one instalment at a time.
The button in the middle brings up a menu which lists all the book’s chapters. It also lets you close the book.
There is another toolbar at the bottom, like this:
The cog-wheel in the middle takes you back to the details of the book. For instance, you can use it to change the day of the week on which you want the book to appear.