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What I read in October 2019 (Part 4)

I finished reading two more books in October.

The Heavenly Man: the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun with Paul Hattaway

I read another book which was going to be scrapped. I had heard of this book when it was first published, but had not been tempted to buy it. Perhaps I was not ready to read it. Brother Yun (who was born in 1958) has been described as the Billy Graham of China. The story of Brother Yun’s life in China with imprisonments and torture is told in a fast-moving style. It is a book which emphasises the power of God and challenges the attitude of the Church in the West.

(I recently reviewed a new book about the Billy Graham of South America and an old one which was going to be scrapped.)

Lottie and Lisa by Erich Kästner (translated by Cyrus Brooks and illustrated by Walter Trier)

I had to repair my copy of Lottie and Lisa before I reread it! I had forgotten all but the vaguest outline of this book, which was originally published 70 years ago. (The Puffin book was published in 1962.) The style is old-fashioned, with the author addressing his readers at least once in the book, instead of telling the story without interruption. It was perhaps ahead of its time in bringing the issue of divorce into children’s fiction. I found the language clumsy in places, perhaps due to the a translation. It is still a delightful and amusing story, which encourages people to regard twins as individuals. It has been made into a film. “The Parent Trap” and republished in a new translation with the same title as the film.

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What I read in October 2019 (Part 3)

I had hoped to acquire a copy of Annie Try’s new novel, Red Cabbage Blue: Some colours are never forgotten, soon after it was published in September. Due to the forgetfulness of a third party I received it just under a week before I was booked to travel to (among other things) a meeting chaired by the author. Thinking that I had more to do than start a book with about 380 pages, I read the second book in my previous post first. Then I couldn’t resist reading my new book any longer. I found that the good-sized print and the readable style allowed me to read it from cover to cover the same day. It came up to my expectations having read the two earlier books in the Dr Mike Lewis series, Trying to fly and Out of Silence.

The female protagonist had a very unusual problem with its roots in a mysterious past event of which she was initially unaware. Without giving too much away, there are many elements to this book – mystery, romance, hope and realism. Although I like books with all the loose ends neatly and happily tied up, the twist at the end of this book is satisfying in its own way. I wondered whether the choice of one character’s name was an oblique reference to one of my favourite children’s books, which I may reread soon.

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What I read in October (Part 2)

There are two book reviews in this post.

The story of Taizé by JLG Balado

A very old copy of this book was destined for recycling, but I decided to read it. The Taizé community has had a huge effect on worship in many Churches. I didn’t know much about the early history of the community. This book filled in many gaps in my knowledge. First published in 1976, the copy I read was updated in 1981. Of course I was aware of the tragic way in which Brother Roger’s life ended and every mention of Notre Dame Cathedral reminded me of the devastating fire there. It was interesting to read about events of the 20th century and to reflect on the changes which have occurred in society and in the Church since those days.

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

Tears of the Giraffe is the second book in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. I bought a second-hand copy at a charity book-sale. It is a delightful book. My pile of books to read is rather taller than I like at present, but this light read was just what I needed after the non-fiction books I have been reading recently. I have read and enjoyed other books by this author, but this one seemed to be particularly good. The themes woven into the story involved lies and the morality of not always telling the (whole) truth. There was an unexpected revelation at the end, which I found very amusing.