I searched online but couldn’t find a list of authors who use Christ’s name as a swear word or to express extreme agitation, excitement or anything else. If I am enjoying a book immensely and then read “Christ!” that’s the end of that book and that author for me. As a result I limit my reading for relaxation to the classics, pre 1950 books, autobiographies of people I respect, or books recommended by fellow Christians. Because I like travel books, I take a chance with them and often find childhood memories written by women are good and interesting. The tragic true stories written by Holocaust survivors are another interest of mine and something we should read “lest we forget”.
For an informative article read The Rev Dr Dan Montgomery’s Blog. He is a theologian-psychologist who writes books with his wife, a former Professor of Child and Family Development. Their Compass Series has met with approval by major American universities of various denominations. See:
What books would I recommend as Christmas presents?
For a 15 year-old girl, Jane Austen’s Emma. One never tires of re-reading her. And then there are the Bronte sisters, and of course Charles Dickens. I remember my uncle Dr Rupert Clarke of the China Inland Mission telling me when I was about 10 that every furlough he re-read the complete Dickens. For an eleven year old girl, the original Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and published in 1906. My English mistress read this to us in my first year at high school and I was absolutely entranced. Another book for a romantically minded 11 year old is Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, an American author. And, if you haven’t read it, it’s a pleasure at any age.
For a pastor or theological student one couldn’t do better than Dr Gerald B Griffiths’ My Brother’s Keeper. Unfortunately it is out of print but used copies are still available. Personally I think it should be prescribed material for any minister. It is a book of sermons, some of which I was privileged to hear him preach. Apposite to this blog is the one entitled Modern Fiction and the Bible. If one reads them a section at a time, they make great devotions.
A book for both new and old seriously minded Christians, is Dr John Stott’s Through the Bible Through the Year which I’m reading for the third time. These are not typical devotions. By reading them one gains many insights into the Bible from a great theological mind.
PD James, the famous crime writer has just died at 94. I’ve only read one of her books. But I came across an autobiography – for want of a better word – in the public library entitled Time To Be in Earnest. She was an Anglican, life peer, (Baroness James of Holland Park) and conservative who sat in the House of Lords, as well as being on numerous public bodies, and a lay patron of the Prayer Book Society. She had numerous doctorates and honours heaped on her and was one of the most accomplished women of her day, active until her death. In A TIME TO BE IN EARNEST, written as a diary of her 78th year, she writes about different aspects of present day society as well as her life and activities. There are trenchant observations on these which are wonderfully expressed.
One of my favourite books is Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road. It is a series of letters between the antiquarian bookshop in London and a self-educated TV script writer in New York. E Books have their uses but to lie in bed with a book in your hand takes a lot of beating.
Happy reading and a blessed Christmas
PS For an easy to learn congregational Christmas hymn, may I suggest HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL which begins with “a child is born to us” (See Menu, Scripture Settings for link to Musescore to listen to it or click on this link: http://musescore.com/user/164474/scores/161111 .)
I have also set a small poem from THE HARP’S TOP STRING: I WALK IN THE STEPS OF THREE WISE MEN. See http://musescore.com/user/164474/scores/487916 .