What was the last book you read that moved you and shifted the way you think about life?
I have been privileged to read many books which have been instrumental in growing my capacity for understanding of and compassion for humanity.
One such book was ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’ by Phillip Yancey, which really deepened my understanding of the core of my christian faith. I read it alongside ‘Destined To Reign’ by Joseph Prince, and both books profoundly shifted and deepened my understanding of Jesus and what he offers us.
Another was ‘Teach Your Own’ by John Holt, which triggered a whole paradigm shift in the way I thought about education, at a time when we were considering home education for our children.
I remember the first time I read through C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series being filled with a deep sense of hope, and how after reading The Colour Purple I was profoundly moved.
Each of my experiences with books, have shaped my thinking and feeling life, challenging my perceptions and empathy.
Here are some of things I have been reading, this past couple of weeks:
Bandersnatch – Erika Morrison – a book which is once again challenging my perspective on the nature of being a daughter of God, and how that should allow me to love those around me with radical and individual abandon, in order to bring in the Kingdom of God. I have been reading this one slowly, as I feel God working on my heart as I read and need the time to let it settle.
Read-Aloud Family- Sarah Mackenzie – A book that offers a whole perspective on reading aloud as a family, in order to form deeper connections and relationships with our kids. It also offers evidence as to why this is also so academically beneficial, but as more of an added bonus.
Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow – A biography of one of America’s founding fathers. I have been inspired by my recent discovery of the wonderful musical ‘Hamilton’ by Lin Manuel Miranda, to read this, and it has been surprisingly gripping. I am learning a lot.
Moby Dick – Herman Melville – Pete and I have decided to read this together – with him reading it aloud to the both of us, (otherwise he’ll just fall asleep – no matter how well I perform). We are both new to this story and as well as Melville’s exquisite descriptions, we have been surprised by how incredibly funny it is.
Warhorse – Michael Morpurgo – Pete and I saw the wonderful production of this, at the National Theatre years ago, but I have never read it. So the past couple of days, accompanied by tea and cake, I have been reading it to the children in the afternoon. It’s beautiful, and very deserving of all it’s acclaim.
The Snail And The Whale – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – This delightful picture book is a regular favourite in our home, but has lately been enchanting my one year old as much as his older sister. And enchanting his parents at the same time – the measure of a good picture book.
Perhaps this seems like a pretty large list to you, but I find that some days or times I have appetite for a different sort of brain food, so will chop and change throughout the week, and I imagine that I am not alone in this.
As we journey along the stories and thoughts of the authors, we are able to connect more deeply to our own stories, and see how they resonate with the stories of those around us.
I know no other way to have so broad an education – without a lifetime of travelling the world – and so deep a connection with my brothers and sisters from all walks of life.
Making time for just ten minutes daily of reading for pleasure will add up to seventy minutes per week, that’s almost sixty one hours in a year – think how much we can learn and grow in that time! And ten minutes is manageable. That’s ten minutes in bed before sleep, sat with a snatched cup of tea in the afternoon, or even during an extended bathroom break – it’s worth every minute.
And it also does wonders for our creativity – just look at what Chernow’s Hamilton biography inspired Lin Manuel Miranda to create – we would be much poorer without his superb show. You never know, you may just find the burgeoning idea for your next creative work.