Jan. 28th, 2012

stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
This little book is travelling round the Favourites of 2011 bookring along with 'Fugitive Pieces'. It's a gem: delicate, incisive poems, each featuring a pair of fairy tales. I came back to it several times.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8660871
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
As usual, all the bookrings arrived at once, and I read them in a hurry. This one would have been a 'blitz-through-in-two-days' job anyway; it was compulsive reading.

It's a story of a mixed race girl - black American father, white Danish mother - moving away from a tragedy and finding her place in the world. Reading the notes in the back, it seems to have an autobiographical element. It is told from the viewpoint of various characters, and when I realised how these all joined up I was hooked.

Might suggest this one next time it's my turn to choose for bookclub. It rather depends on whether it's readily available in the UK, though - this is an American copy.

www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9675170/
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
The Church in question is the Anglican communion. The war is the bloody mess it has got itself into over homosexuality. And this book is a useful overview of said bloody mess. I learned quite a lot that I didn't know before - I first became aware of the issue at the age of 13, when Lambeth 1998 blew up. O, days of blissful ignorance! This proved very helpful in filling in the gaps.

Bates reaches back into the origins of the debate, fitting it into the context of a changing society - or rather, several different societies, changing at different rates - summarising the opposing theological views, and nobly doing his best to take seriously what must seem to be a huge fuss about nothing to those who are not stuck in the middle of it.

Leavened as this is by a healthy dose of humour (if you didn't laugh, you'd cry, etc), I still found it incredibly painful reading at times, and - usually at about the same times - angering. If it fell down, it was in the relative lack of acknowledgement of the pain caused to the average gay Christian in the pews by all the muscle-flexing higher up. But I'm hardly an uninterested party in this, so...

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