Books that I’ve read March-May 2020

Right, I’ve finally managed to write down which books I’ve read over the last 3 or so months in lockdown. My brain is fairly made of mush at the moment so I haven’t written comprehensive reviews, but here’s a flavour…

The Next Five People You Meet in Heaven- Mitch Albom

I really like the concept behind this book and the first one he wrote. You follow someone who has died through their encounter with five significant people in their life when they get to heaven. I found it really interesting thinking through encounters we don’t realise the significance of. An easy read but with depth.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars- Glendy Vanderah

This is such a good novel, lots to love about it. A story of someone encountering a child whilst doing some nature based research at a remote cabin in the woods. A lovely story of encounter and love on a whole load of different levels.

Sunny Side Up, A Story of Kindness and Joy- Susan Calman

I love Susan Calman and this is a journey through her finding joy after being involved in Strictly Come Dancing. Although she comes across as a bit simplistic at times this is good reading from how someone with depression comes to find joy and then encourages us all to be kind to each other. Lots here that resonated with me but I was left with a bit of wishing that she’d found a better hope than just the joy of dancing. I know dancing is a brilliant joy but I guess I always want to follow the breadcrumbs back to the source of the joy which outlasts and deepens the joy… that’s just me though…

3 Things About Elsie- Joanna Cannon

An intriguing novel about someone from the past turning up at Elsie’s old people’s home. Lots to love here in this gentle novel about time, the past and ageing.

An Alter in the World- Barbara Brown Taylor

Such a good read, I like books that make hanging out with God about the normal everyday experiences of life and the natural world around us. Beautiful, wise and super easy to read. A win.

Little White Lies- Philippa East

One of those thriller by numbers books. A fairly engaging story about a girl who had gone missing turning up again and trying to get reconnected to her family. A few twists and turns later and this book was one that helped me get back into the reading groove again in lockdown life.

The Land of Roar- Jenny Maclachlan

Son1 made me read this, it was a book recommended by our excellent local childrens book shop The Book Nook. It’s a tale of imagination, transition and good old fashioned adventure. I read it, he’s read it many times and we spent a couple of days reading it to Son2. Very good indeed.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope- Joanna Glen

SUCH a good book. I loved this so much and it was a complete surprise as I’d put it on my kindle fairly randomly. It’s follows the story of twins growing up and someone growing up in Burundi. How these lives weave together in Spain makes a beautiful story. It was also really easy to read and super engaging. Perfect for lockdown brain.

The Other Wife- Claire McGowan

Such a bad thriller by numbers. Two hideous gaslighting men. Two women vaguely ok as characters. One pretty bad plot. Oh dear.

Bridge to Terebithia- Katherine Paterson

I hadn’t read this classic story of a boy, his friend, an imaginary world and some tragedy. A beautiful book, not quite one for son1 yet, his brain can only cope with imaginary trauma involving magical characters.

The Way Under Our Feet (A spirituality of walking) – Graham B Usher.

Walking is good for our souls. Walking is a whole lot of help for our brains, bodies and life with God. This is a really lovely broad exploration of how wonderful walking is and the impact it can have on a whole wide spectrum of life. For the last month or so I’ve walked for an hour every morning. It’s definitely doing something good to my soul and awareness of God. Read this book if you aren’t convinced. He says things like this: “As we walk into a landscape we leave our mark on it and it leaves it’s mark on us; as we explore the outside so we explore our inner selves”.

Restoring the Woven Cord- Michael Mitton

I had to read this for an assignment I did for my Spiritual Direction course on Celtic Spirituality. It was a fairly broad overview of some themes. Some helpful stuff and some pretty dated 90s views on women in one of the chapters which was fairly cringeworthy to read…

The Celtic Way of Prayer- Ester De Waal

I really enjoyed reading this for the assignment. Probably because she’s a woman and I’m biased. But it was a really helpful deeper exploration into themes that make up Celtic Spirituality and gave a wonderful sense of encountering God beyond and deeper than our tribal boundaries which seem to entrench us so horribly at the moment.

The Naked Hermit- Nick Mayhew-Smith

Man goes and explores some Celtic Prayer rituals. Does it in an interesting and fascinating way. Reports back with some insights into mission and what it means to encounter God in the natural world. Kind of made me want to stand up to my neck in sea water and shout Psalms to God. Kind of.

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