Round up of books read October- December 2021

Moving, exhaustion and more have curtailed my reading a bit over the last couple of months. I feel like I ended the year on a bit of a whimper when it came to books. Thankfully I am starting to find my reading mojo again, and, whilst I have way less time these days, books are creeping back into my hands more than my phone. Hoorah. Anyway, here’s the final round up of the books of last year. Full list in next post…

Ordinary Grace- William Kent Kruger

Such a beautiful novel, a coming of age story, a boy who discovers the darker sides of the world one summer. It’s so well written, contains so much beautiful grace that I would happily read this one again. Really worth a read. 

Clock of Stars- Francesca Gibbons

Son1 made me read this as it was one of his favourites of the year.  A fun exploration into a magical world, some fairly tense scenes so not for the faint hearted 9 year old but lots of gripping adventure and super short chapters, which I seem to like in a book… 

God is not a white man- Chine McDonald

Heartbreaking, wonderful, challenging, insightful, eye opening, brilliant and one to go back to. I don’t think there are any more superlatives to add. Suffice to say it’s a book which explores our views of who we think God is, blows preconceptions to the wind and is achingly challenging to everyone and any white majority church. Read it. Mourn with Chine and become part of living better in this world with a bigger view of God and their love.  

Boy made of Blocks -Keith Stuart 

The story of a man who grows in connection to his autistic son through the world of Minecraft. It almost, almost, made me try and learn how to play Minecraft, and maybe one day this year I will. It’s a good read, so much I could identify with and it helped me want to enter more into the worlds of my sons. 

Phosphorescence- Julia Baird

Such a beautiful book taking the reader on a tour of things that sustain you when the world goes dark. There wasn’t much new if you are familiar with nature memoirs or the idea that we need wonder and awe in our worlds.  However, Julia Baird writes beautifully and puts things in fresh and delightful ways. I loved also that she has a faith perspective and brought that in without it feeling clunky or a gear shift. Really helpful stuff and SO well written.  A treat of a book. 

Anxious People- Fredrik Backman 

I really like Fredrik Backman, he is funny and writes so well. He also has such droplets of wisdom for parenting which litter his books if you are looking in the right place. This novel takes us though the lives of several characters who get mixed up in a bank robbery gone wrong. It’s a brilliant take on the anxiety of our age and the particular struggles of the modern world. And it’s funny. Very much worth a read. He says things like this: “This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.” I could quote way more than that but really, just read the book.

Us against you- Fredrik Backman

The follow up to Beartown. Life in a small town obsessed with the Ice Hockey team. Not as traumatic as the first one and full, as usual, of characters trying to make sense of life and make it through the days. 

The Last Resort- Jan Carson

Set in a caravan park in the north of Northern Ireland this is a wonderful collection of short stories, all interlinked with each other, each one painting a picture of what modern Northern Irish life is like.  I loved these snapshots and the recognition I found in them now we are living over here. Well worth getting hold of if you want more knowledge of life in the northern part of this island we are starting to call home. 

Can you see me? – Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

A brilliant book about a family where the youngest child is autistic with PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance – a trait of autism). It’s told from her perspective and how she makes sense of the world, through diaries and following her story. Libby Scott provided the diary entries so it has an utter ring of authenticity about it. It’s also achingly familiar to our lives right now. We suspect our youngest shows signs of PDA and this book provided some relief in knowing we are not alone in how our family life plays out. It’s a great book and we are reading it to the boys chatting through what they recognise and what might match up with our experiences. 

The Family Experience of PDA- Eliza Fricker

A illustrated guide, really helpful overview of what PDA is and what it looks like in family life. Also perfectly short, super helpful in being able to read before the boys woke up one morning. 

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