Yet again we come to the end of the year and I share the books I read. I’m pretty sure I’ve got all of the ones I read from cover to cover, but I could have had a momentary lapse of memory (we’ve been through a lot…).
Educated by Tara Westover – This was the first book I read in 2020. It’s a fascinating and disturbing read that shows how some can become so confused about what The Bible says, to the extent that they endanger lives physically, emotionally, mentally and ironically, spiritually.
Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan & Angela Yuan – again an American memoir. This book explores how a young man’s sexuality estranged him from his family. Then it explores how his criminal behaviour landed him in jail. At the same time it explores how his mother became a Christian and everything else that happened after that…
Professional Counselling by Harold Hackney & Janine Bernard plus A safe place for change by Hugh Crago and Penny Gardener – in my experience of Christianity, it can be implied (or even explicitly stated) that if you’re a Christian who reads the Bible and genuinely want to help someone, then you’re equipped with all you need to counsel them. I can’t say that I agree with that one which is why I read these books.
The China Coin by Allan Baillie – this junior fiction novel got pulled out prior to doing HSC marking as it was one of the texts included in the Module I was to mark. I’m sure it was somewhat revolutionary in its day. Also considering how many of my Chinese students believe Tiananmen is a lie, then perhaps it’s still revolutionary today. A slow start but it got better as it went along. PS there’s way too many Year 12 students around the state reading this book.
Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch – so I read this one because I got in a muddle. I was marking Module A. This text is at the top of the list for Module B. Obviously somewhere towards the end of Term 3 I was flicking through the lists and this one stuck in my head when it shouldn’t have. Regardless, it’s a insightful text exploring young Indigenous Australia. The writing is quality but the ending wasn’t particularly positive.
Rainbow’s End by Jane Harrison – I really liked this play. I read it straight after Winch’s book and it highlighted for me what I’d wanted in the previous novel. Both are Indigenous texts. Both explore the negative experiences that Indigenous Australians endure. However, Harrison manages to have a positive ending which doesn’t deny the racism, sexism and pain and yet gives hope, restoration and reconciliation. Loved it.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafza and Christina Lamb – Still going through the HSC texts here… and for some reason I’d never gotten around to reading this one. So many things stand out that I can’t cover them all. I love the insights gained about Pakistan. I see the clear admiration Malala’s father has for his daughter and how he has advocated for the rights of girls to be educated. An emotional read – the part when the helicopter goes overhead and her mother takes her scarf off… oh man… I was a wreck.
Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett – and the final HSC text… also read by far too many students across the state. This novel was Parrett’s debut and the writing is brilliant. Legit, it’s vivid and emotionally evocative. The book is also super depressing and I got to the end of it and thought ‘Now what?’ And there was nothing. Even with the writing as good as it is, I was just left depressed.
The History of Sexuality Volume 1 by Michel Foucault – written by the French philosopher who was also a homosexual, this is a rather intellectual exploration of how power influences concepts of sexuality and also our concepts of liberty surrounding sexuality. Of course, being a French philosopher from the 20th century he had issues with the Catholic Church and bourgeoise (goes with the terrain, I find) and so there are elements of bias in the text – as with all texts – and there are countless assertions made that don’t have referencing, which made the whole thing seem like his opinion. However, there are a range of deep insights about power and control within society and I particularly enjoyed his discussions on sexuality discourse.
Considering there’s a bit of time before the end of the year yet and it’s holiday time…
I may yet have the chance to finish reading The Bible in Australia by Meredith Lake as I’m not too far off the end. If I’m extra focused, I may even go from cover to cover of Media Tarts by Julia Baird. I’ll see how I go.
Yours in praying for us all in the new year,