I set myself a challenge this year – to read the same number of books as the age I will be at the end of it. As I reached (the somewhat forgettable) age of 28 in March, that’s how many books I’m aiming for.And I’m doing OK – I’m a little behind but I’ve completed 12. I have another eight on the go (I find that flipping between several different genres/stories keeps my interest in reading piqued). So I’m well on the way to a nice pat on the back at New Year.
Here are the completed works of Matt Little, 2007, so far…
Somebody’s Child – Sequel continuing the story of John Robinson, my mate who until recently worked with me at The Message. It’s really a story of what God has done in and through a man whose life will have turned out entirely different without Jesus. I met John the first week I was in Manchester, and I was struck by his generosity when he told me I’d be welcome to stay in his vicarage whilst he was on holiday after knowing me about 10 minutes. As a result, a lot of his story I already know – I would highly recommend his original book, “Nobody’s Child”.
The Maths book – My mum lent me this one at Christmas (she’s a teacher who taught me all I know about maths and hundreds of other things). The premise of the book is that there are many things in life that we’d expect to happen a certain way, but the reality is quite surprising. The authors explain how maths is all around us and how fascinating it really is…although – possibly because I’m quite good at maths – I found a lot of their material boring, irrelevant, unsurprising and not worth the read.
Body Language – Fascinating stuff. The (married) authors are two of the best in the field. If you want to understand people better, get your hands on a copy.
The donut book – A novel by A.M. Homes, given as a birthday present. Essentially, the story of a highly-routined reclusive guy who has a mid-life crisis and ends up doing all sorts of spontaneous, sociable things. Worth a read, but wouldn’t be at the top of my holiday list.
The one with numbers – the fascinating auto-biography of Daniel Tammet, a guy with “high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome”. He also has synaesthesia – where the different senses are sort of “mixed-up” – which makes him see numbers with their own distinct colour, texture, sound and/or feeling attached. He has memorised pi to thousands of digits, can learn complex languages like Icelandic in a matter of days, and in general is a fascinating guy. If you loved “The Curious Incident…” and are interested in finding out more about people with Asperger’s, this is great.
Futurize – Written by a friend, I read this meaty overview of Jesus’ Kingdom Parables (in Matthew 13) over a weekend because I was teaching my students about the subject on the Monday morning. Very helpful. It’s now been republished (maybe updated too?) as “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Kingdom”
The Typewriter one – A really quirky (and fairly short) novel by B.S. Johnson. I loved it. It’s weird, clever, fresh in style. I’ll definitely be checking out more of his stuff.
Darkest England – Written by my good friend, ex-boss, ex-pastor Gary Bishop as a challenge for Christians to serve the poor rather than sitting on their apathetic arses! I was familiar with most of the material, as I’ve lived in this guy’s pockets for 7 years, but I would still recommend it to anybody as it articulates truth in a way that is clear and concise. [Gary and his wife have just had their second child this morning – Jeya Amy Lily Bishop. Woohooo!]
The 2 Harry Potters – I’m basically re-reading them all before (i) film 5 and (ii) book 7 are released. Chamber of Secrets is meant to be many people’s favourite, but I think there is way too much repetition of what happened in book 1: Rowling shouldn’t have catered to those readers who couldn’t be bothered to read the first one, as it loses the flow.
Rob Bell’s Sex God and Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind deserve separate posts, which I will provide in due course.