Reading update

Breakfast reading

So, the plan for reading more is working better than I thought. Breakfast reading tends to happen on the days when I am getting up with the kids but not needing a shower before taking J to school.

After Paula Gooder’s book Body, I tried one of my preaching books, So everyone can hear by Mark Crosby. This didn’t work at all at that time of the morning – it is too discrete and not discursive enough. It needs reading with a notebook and pencil.

Multi-congregation Ministry, by Malcolm Grundy was next. Really interesting theological reflection on the theory of multi-congregation ministry. I need to think further in how to apply it here.

I think the best book so far for breakfast reading was Preaching Women by Liz Shercliffe. This got me thinking about my own way of preaching and preparing. I really had never given any thought to being female and preaching rather than just human and preaching. I’m still not sure how much difference it makes for me although it is useful hearing how other people experience it. One thing that has stuck with me is the observation that men (not all men etc.) tend to have pride at the root of their sin while women (again, not all women…) tend to have a poor self-image at the root of theirs. Again, something that needs more thought.

Current Breakfast Reading is Steel Angels by Magdalen Smith. This is the book that the vocations groups are reading this term. Since I’m stepping in to co-lead a group, I need to make sure I have read it. So far so good. It is written based on the same criteria (or similar) to when I was ordained, and I am finding it encouraging to read.

Book Club

The children’s book club has now had three meetings. We have read The Vicarage Family by Noel Streatfield, which I read as a child and had on the shelf still. I enjoyed this. It was useful to reflect on how my children are experiencing vicarage life. Hopefully, I am not inflicting quite the suffering that Noel went through. It amuses me to think that next year I could suggest the lenten fast with absolutely no cakes for the whole of Lent. I know precisely how well that would go down.

April’s book was Tom’s Midnight Garden, another re-read. I don’t remember when I read it before but I must have done since I remembered the ending. I think there was also a tv adaptation back when I was about 11. Anyway, it is a great read which I will pass onto T and J.

This month we are reading an Allison Uttley, which I have never read, but I can’t go to the meeting so I’m not sure whether to get it.

Bedtime reading

This is less successful as a time for reading for several reasons. First, I often forget to go to bed in time. Really, I need to be heading for bed at 10pm if there is going to be time for reading. Then, I often just want to read whatever trashy fiction is keeping me going. Also, if Phil is also asleep, I am limited to reading on Kindle.

However, there is often a half hour window when I can read a book for a while. I finished the English Murder Mystery book and then did read English Pastoral by James Rebanks. This is such a good book – well written and important content too. The question I have is how to get the farming community to read it. I’ve recommended it to a couple of people I know who are married to farmers.

The latest bedtime read is Dominion by Tom Holland, which takes you through the foundations of Western Civilisation. I like the structure. It is broadly chronological but focuses on various places at particular points in history. I am currently in the chapter set in Lyon in 177AD. I do need to be fairly awake to read this, not least since it is quite a heavy paperback. I have fallen asleep and dropped it on my nose a couple of times. Holland’s voice is quite distinctive and he is very funny.

I tried reading some of Rowan Williams’ simpler writing in this slot but it didn’t work. Too complicated for the brain to process so I dozed off. I think I’ll stick to history or other non fiction in this slot.

Other reading

Various re-reads, including some Gail Carriger. My annual re-read of the Daughter of the Empire trilogy has happened. I remember reading it right near the beginning of first lock-down. It is such a vivid world and reassringly familiar characters. Kathy recommended a trilogy of books by Nora Roberts, which were great.

Still in progress on the Kindle, I have Breaking the Mould: Learning to thrive as a ministry mum, by Jules Middleton. This is excellent and I am particularly enjoying reading the different profiles of people in ministry.

For my birthday I have The first three Bridgerton books on Kindle and the final Trudi Canavan book – Maker’s Curse. I also got Dancing by the light of the moon by Giles Brandreth, which is a book about learning poetry by heart.