Welcome to 2019. Got some great New Year’s resolutions lined up yet? One thing I try to do every year is read more.
Since I’m an English teacher this should come as no surprise to you. The surprising irony I find is that being an English teacher actually gets in the way of my reading. This is because work gets in the way of most people’s reading, no doubt.
It’s a bit sad though when your job involves encouraging reading and you can’t even manage it yourself. The last two years I’ve aimed to finish twelve books across the year, which of course averages out to one a month.
I’ve reached seven both times: fail.
Although in my defence I’ve started a couple that I’m yet to finish. I’ve been reading a collection of George Orwell’s essays on and off for over 12 months now.
Inspired by the one and only blog I read regularly – Sheridan Voysey’s – I thought I’d share my ‘2018 Reading-Fail List of Seven’. (In chronological reading order)
Glory Days by Max Lucado
Since I started noting the books I read in a year, I’ve discovered that I read more Lucado than I had realised. I can recall having this book sitting in the seat pocket of a plane, early in 2018. I can’t recall anything much about what I read now! The back of the book has this poem:
“These days are Glory Days. Your past is past, your future is bright, God’s promises are true and his Word is sure. With God as your helper, you will be all he wants you to be, do all he wants you to do, and receive all he wants you to receive. These days are Glory Days.”
Before Amen by Max Lucado
So this Max Lucado guy has written a fair few books and apparently has more than 120 million readers worldwide (well done). This book on prayer takes the approach that a seemingly simple prayer is all we need. Lucado goes through chapter by chapter looking at the depth behind some seemingly simple phrases we might use when we pray.
Under Pressure by Andrew Laird
This is my elder brother’s debut book and I was coming off the back of reading a New York Times best seller (Lucado) when I started this one. So if that’s not ‘under pressure’, what is? This book looks at the difficulties Christians face in the workplace and I thought it was worth my time and effort.
When I’d finished the book, I told my brother it was on par with Lucado. My mother told me to stop exaggerating. 🙂
The Shoe-horn Sonata by John Misto
Ah, HSC text… you knew there’d be one somewhere, right?
This is Misto’s excellent 1995 play that explores the dark impacts of WW2 POW life on Australian nurses. Because it’s post-HSC now, I remember with nostalgia the day of the excursion to Newtown, where my class saw a performance of the play. I remember with yet more nostalgia how the boys wanted to do a Woolies-run to get some snacks and I begrudgingly let them. Then they almost didn’t make it back in time. As I write, I’m coincidentally drinking tea from a mug one of them gave me at the end of year twelve.
Cheers to you Misto. Top play.
llustrado by Miguel Syjuco
If you’re a fan of po-mo writing then you’ll probably want to read this book. I borrowed it from a friend who warned me that the reviews were mixed. Published in 2010, it won the Man Asian Literary Prize. It had everything: a continual swirl of multiple text types throughout, a brilliant contrast between the two settings of New York and the Philippines, writing that actually took you to the Philippines… and yet for me it ultimately just didn’t work. It should have, which is what made it worse. What caused it is hard to articulate. I think he just tried too hard. I also think the ‘unexpected amazing twist on the final page’ was clearly one of the denouement options if you’d been paying attention.
Still, worth the read… but I ended the book feeling frustrated (should have been so good… and yet…!!)
Giddy up Eunice by Sophie Hudson
I came across this on the bargain table at the front of my local Christian bookstore. Technically this is an audio book so you may feel it doesn’t count. However, when I saw it on the bargain table for $5 and it promised me the author reading it in an Alabaman accent, I felt I couldn’t go wrong.
I started listening to it that night in bed with a headache. I fell asleep pretty quickly (who knew an Alabaman accent was so calming?) and woke up somewhere during chapter two (wondering who on earth was talking to me, y’all). I was already sold on listening the whole way through though, because Hudson had said she was an English teacher and that the book was all about women supporting one another. This is a great read/listen. Humorous and practical.
Jesus: The path to Human Flourishing by I’Ching Thomas
This book, written by a Christian, explores the spiritual and philosophical mindset of those who are culturally Chinese. Being that I work with so many Chinese Internationals, it’s pretty obvious why I read this book. In particular, I enjoyed learning more about the historical development of Confucian philosophy and how this still impacts daily life and thought.
That brings me to the end of my ‘Reading-Fail List of Seven’.
However, there is actually one other book that I finished reading in 2018, but I’ll leave that review until next week. Considering the title of this blog, the book should be pretty obvious.
Yours in reading-fails,