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 receiption 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.
- “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.
How to set it up
In the menu of the Universalis program for Windows, select the command File > Daily Books.
This shows what books you are already reading, and how far you have got through them.
To choose a book, double-click on it. You will see full details about the book and a box marked “Read this book”. If you decide you want to read this book, turn that box 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.
How it works
Each book instalment is preceded by a toolbar that looks like this:
This lets you go back and forward, and the button in the middle lists all the book’s chapters.
There is another similar toolbar at the bottom.