Review: The Shadow Doctor by Adrian Plass via @Hodderfaith

Adrian Plass writes at the beginning of his book:

This book, probably the most difficult I have ever written, is dedicated to my friends.

I can see why it was so hard to write. It is a beautiful, painful and deeply honest book about how hard life can be, how we think it should be and how it actually is.

It could only be have written by someone who understands suffering and it’s challenge to faith first hand.
I thought reading the blurb it might be one of those books where the protagonist offers beauty and light in a dark world and you go away feeling warm and fuzzy.

It wasn’t. It was so much better than that.

I don’t really want to recount any of the story but instead to encourage you to read it yourself.

Adrian Plass communicates truths through his rich and vivid story telling style which I don’t think I would have been able to receive through a sermon. 

The Shadow Doctor allows you to travel with its characters as they search for answers to faith and suffering. So much better than being “taught at” if you see what I mean.

I read this book with an ache in my heart but I finished it with such hope for the journey. I am profoundly grateful for the sacrifice Plass obviously made in writing this book.

I hope you will read it… Preferably more than once.

Beautiful new #EnidBlyton books from @hodderfaith

If you are looking for a nostalgic present for an adult or a nice gift for a tween, take a look at these lovely Enid Blyton books:

I’m going to use them as prizes in my younger youth group and in church… There is nothing like a free book to bring joy. In the meantime if you want to buy them on Amazon:

Noah and other Old Testament stories
The first Christmas and other New Testament stories 
The land of far beyond

#Bookreview Rob Bell’s #novel Millones Cajones

So I just finished reading Rob Bell’s novel Millones Cajones and oh my goodness it’s beautiful. And clever. And free…
You can get it here:

It has also been a timely read for me, but then I suspect it’s theme is one an awful lot of people need to think about.

As ever Rob Bell is clever, deep and interesting. His book is one I will have to read more than once as I percolate its meaning to me…

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have.

#Bookreview “colourless Tsukuru Tazaki” by #Murakami

I have been meaning to read a book by Haruki Murakami ever since “what I talk about when I talk about running” came out. I have yet to read that, but having read this novel, I intend to read everything he has written.


This book really is, as the Literary Review puts it “surprisingly painful and poignant”.

It is not a happy book, but it is deeply beautiful. There are some strong sexual descriptions at one point, and if that sort of thing puts you off, I wouldn’t read this book, but having said that, it isn’t gratuitous and is in context.

What I found especially powerful, is how well Murakami draws the reader into the world of Tazaki. It is like we have a little space in his heart and soul from which we can observe his life.

Particularly as a woman I was interested in the maleness of this book, it was a window into the way this man saw his life and himself, so familiar and yet so alien.

All in all, if you want a sunshine book, this isn’t it, but if you want to take a meaningful journey, to pilgrimage with colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and find your mind richer for it, this is the book for you.

#bookreview the #comic Strong Female Protagonist

Before you sign off because this is a comic, wait. I can faithfully say that this web comic has made me think as much as some of the heavyweight books i have read, and the journey was much more enjoyable. 


Strong female protagonist is the story of a young woman with extraordinary abilities trying to find a way in the world, which as it happens cant have its problems solved by might alone.
In other words, its a treatise on life. One which i thoroughly recommend – do read it from the beginning, it will be worth your while.

#Bookreview Everybody wants to change the world by #Tonycampolo & #GordonAeschliman

I was quite scared as I embarked on this book, I mean, what might I feel compelled to do? And would I have the guts to do it?
It turned out to be a much happier read. Although this book is American orientated and because of its age, a little out of date as far as organisations go, it is still a brilliant book.
Anyone wanting to consider what it means to really LIVE the Christian life, rather than just think about it and then go back to “ordinary” life… Will celebrate this book.
As I read through it and the things I thought I might like to do began to pile up, it dawned on me that I could think laterally, and choose manageable things to do for each section.
That’s not to cop out, but instead to be wise and take on what’s sustainable… And potentially see that list grow.
Even if you are not a student, if you have a desire to lead a fuller, more productive, beautiful life, this book is worth your time.


Book review: The Radical Disciple by John Stott

I have to say, I was a little daunted to read a John Stott book, they all seem so weighty.
And that it not to say this book is light weight, but it is very readable. Stott takes on some of the aspects of living out the Christian faith that it is very easy to ignore or let slip past us in the rush of life.
It is well worth reading.
Some of the chapters such as Christlikeness and Maturity I found easy to read and thought provoking. Others such as Simplicity I found… Not to simple to read.
But through the whole book I found it useful to stop and think how it all applied to my life, such as the chapter on Balance:

All in all, I would very much recommend is book as an opportunity to ask ourselves some awkward questions and in doing so, move closer to Christ, which is after all, the aim of the game.

Book review: A little book of craftivism by Sarah Corbett

I bought this book on Amazon the other day having seen some chatter about it online:


It turns out to be the best six quid I have spent in a very long time.
Corbett has found the elusive line between humility and passion as she describes a way of activism which I think can produce real change in both the activist and those who are on the receiving end.

So much of social media, reporting and campaigning seems to have been taken over by the haters and the trolls. Here in 60 pages is a beautiful antidote.

Jesus would call Sarah Corbett blessed:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

I would encourage anyone who enjoys being creative and who is interested in social or environmental justice to take hold of this book with enthusiasm.

Book Review: a Year’s Journey with God by Jennifer Rees Larcombe and for everyone books by Tom Wright

There are a million different types of books and notes out there in order to help you read the bible. What you use depends on how you approach reading or learning as a whole, but two of the best I have come across are a Year’s Journey with God by Jennifer Rees Larcombe and the  for everyone books by Tom Wright.

The ever lovely people at Hodder Faith sent me a Year’s Journey, and having read a week or so of it, I am loving it.  Rees Larcome finds that subtle balance between taking note of the piece of scripture at hand and applying it to our everyday lives. So often i have read bible notes and wondered what on earth what the writer has said, has got to do with the passage they have chosen.

In contrast here I found myself entering into the passage and identifying with it through Rees Larcome’s application. Using accessible and approachable language, she gently draws the reader towards God – it is a thoughtful and and uplifting start to the day, and I found my thoughts coming back to it as I got on with the business of life.

I have also been reading John for everyone by Tom Wright. I am a great fan of all Tom Wright’s for everyone series. It shares the accessible language of Rees Larcome’s book, and for those who would love to attempt a deeper theological exposition of scripture, but like me find themselves with the book in one hand and the dictionary in the other… and none the wiser.. Wright’s books are a revelation. His clear explanation of what has been written and why is set in the style of daily readings and all that these books have taught me is frankly, really cool!

So whether you are looking for life application or scriptural explanation, these two books are well worth your time and money.