I read, but I’m not a reader. I am not compelled to finish a book just because I start it or because it exists. I was never the kid who hid a flashlight under my pillow so I could read for hours after lights out. One of the great jokes God played on me was when He got me a job as an American Literature teacher. Part of the greatness of the joke is that I had to read and then had to figure out how to make kids who are more like me than like other friends who will go unnamed actually get something out of the reading we did. I taught for eleven years and loved it.
Anyhow, I start with that disclaimer because it makes what I’m about to say all that much more amazing. At least to me.
On my last trip (Orlando to Chiang Mai — 10 days door to door), I read.
I started with Simeon Harrar‘s Finding Tom. Simeon’s parents are friends and colleagues so I purchased the book because of that. I started the book because of that. I finished the book because I really enjoyed it. The character development was thoughtful and the descriptions were engaging but not nauseating. Yes, I have opinions.
You can order the print or kindle version of this book on Amazon.com and I’d encourage you do to do so. (I made it easy. Click on the image of Finding Tom and it will magically transport you to the book on Amazon.com.)
The next book I read was one of the Afternoon Tea Mysteries — a kindle deal that I got cheap or free maybe. Each of the volumes contains three or four mysteries. I read Murder at Bridge by Anne Austin. I was a decently constructed story — both typical enough to not be ridiculous and inventive enough to be engaging. Probably not award-winning stuff, but perfect for jet lag or pool side reading. I see they are still available on Amazon for $0.99 each, so that makes them rather accessible.
I also read Portuguese Irregular Verbs: A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment by Alexander McCall Smith — yes, the author of #1 Ladies Detective fame.
One Amazon.com reviewer wrote, “Comical episodes surrounding the mishaps of three extremely rigid (and hysterical) German professors who are experts (of course) in their field of language/linguistics (imagine a German version of Fraiser). Racked by guilt and self-certainty, waves of supreme confidence and landslides of self-doubt, their everyday incidents will have you laughing aloud.”
I’m not sure I laughed out loud, but I found these adventures amusing for sure. Each chapter is like a short story, though they do make more sense in the context of the whole.
Finally, I started but did not finish, N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. I’m not going to say much about it here — it should be fodder for multiple blogging sessions. I will say, though: READ IT!
Here is a sample:
“God is the one who satisfies the passion for justice, the longing for spirituality, the hunger for relationship, the yearning for beauty. And God, the true God, is the God we see in Jesus of Nazareth, Israel’s Messiah, the world’s true Lord.”
“[Arguments about God are] like pointing a flashlight toward the sky to see if the sun is shining.”
And finally, one more:
“When Jesus’s followers asked him to teach them to pray, he didn’t tell them to divide into focus groups and look deep within their own hearts.”