Summer Reading 2010

Summer is often a time for relaxing and reading. We asked a few people connected with church what they are reading this Summer. Not all the books would do for relaxing on the beach, but we’ve an interesting selection.

Admos writes: I have always wanted to read Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell and never had time till now so that is what I am reading. I am a big fan of these classical novels- especially the social history ones like this one.

Lydia: I’m reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulk. It’s the story of a WW1 soldier and the realities of life during that war.  It examines the emotional and psychological effects of a life spent relentlessly fighting and seeing ones friends and comrades die regularly.  It exposes how little the population being fought for appreciates what is endured by the armed forces for their safety and peace.  A good read.

Fr John: Sarah Dunant “Sacred Hearts”. This is the 10th of the new channel 4 book club books that i have read. It is set in a 16th century Italian convent where a 16 year old has been sent against her will because she did not agree to marry the man her father chose for her and as he agreed to marry her sister the father could not afford another dowry so, as was the custom, sent her off to a convent. PS some of the others were very good.

Fliss: I went looking in the charity shop book sections in Northenden just before the summer hols began, to look for a few good summer reads. Here are two books I would recommend that I have read so far:‘The Piano Teacher’ by Janice Y.K. Lee – A lovely novel, with an old-fashioned solidity and craftsmanship and effortlessly recreates the atmosphere of post-war Hong Kong. Eve Green by Susan Fletcher – A good mixture of romance and spirit, courage and self-doubt – steered through a gripping rite of passage towards a disturbing but satisfying conclusion

Tracy: Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger Set in a dusty post war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at a lonely Georgian house. The house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline. Its stone work is crumbling and the gardens are choked with weeds.  This is a superb ghost story, psychological drama, romance and thriller all encompassed in the one book. A fantastically absorbing read – this gripping story has caused me to sleep with the lights on – on more than one occasion!

Fr Ian: I enjoy relaxing with classic detection novels, if they are set in country villages with well drawn characters so much the better. I’m reading The Three Taps, by Ronald Knox, (a RC priest whose father was Bishop of Manchester), originally published in 1927, it has all the elements I like – eccentric characters, a ‘lay’ detective, a locked room mystery and a touch of humour.

And a couple of recommendations from friends in the US who have read the blog:

Susan: At my sister’s I read a wonderfully quirky book she had saved for me. It’s called The Art of Driving in the Rain, a story told in the voice
of the pet dog of an aspiring race car driver. I can’t explain why but it grabbed me and I stayed up half the night finishing it.

Chad: I am now into Simon Winchester’s “The Man Who Loved China”, about Joseph Needham, who, like me, was both a chemist and an Anglican. Most of the similarities end there – I don’t have an “open marriage” nor a mistress, nor do I understand Chinese. A good book, tho.

Have you a suggestion? You are welcome to add it as a comment

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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1 Response to Summer Reading 2010

  1. Sandra Palmer says:

    Burying the Bones by Hilary Spurling.
    Burying the Bones is the biography of Pearl S Buck , winner of the 1936 Nobel prize for literature. The Good Earth, her most famous novel about a Chinese Peasant family drew on her knowledge of Chinese society gained from being the child of missionaries to Western China in the 1890s and 1900s. I read the Good Earth when I was a 15 year old – my memory of it now is only dim but it certainly helped shape my image of China as a poverty stricken country where women’s feet were bound and infant mortality rates were high.

    I heard some of the biography on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week so it seemed an appropriate choice of reading material for the 12 hour flight to Beijing.

    Spurling paints a vivid picture of the life of a missionary family where the father’s extreme dedication and desire for martyrdom took precedent over the acute needs of his own family. We see Buck playing with her small companions creating stories which included the ghosts of her dead siblings and we also see her learning the Chinese classics from her Chinese tutor. Buck shed her evangelical past as an adult becoming someone deeply committed to intercultural understanding and equal rights.

    A good read especially for anyone interested in China , development or mission.

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