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What I read in May 2019 (Part 1) Borderlands

The second of three books I received from IVP UK as a Twitter giveaway is Borderlands Navigating The Adventure Of Spiritual Growth by Mark Brickman. This is a scholarly book, which is very readable. It is particularly suitable for reading during this season between Easter and Pentecost. As well as drawing on the author’s own life experiences there is much about those of others, who have been involved in Christian revival in the past.

Although the beginning of Borderlands requires careful reading, towards the end I found that it was very exciting and easy to read. Most of the Bible references in the book are very well known. The reading I had heard in the service on the Third Sunday of Easter (John 21:1-19) was discussed in the part of the book I read the following day.

There are references to many books and online sources.

Borderlands is primarily about spiritual growth,but what I personally gained from this book is that I should continue praying for revival with more fervour.

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What I read in April (Part 3) Empire Antarctica

On the staff recommendations display at the local library I found a copy of Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence and Emperor Penguins by Gavin Francis.

Gavin Francis went to the Halley Research station as the medical doctor for about a year. He spent a lot of time reading while he was there, which no doubt helped him to develop the skill to write this very readable book.

Empire Antarctica is a record of his experience of living and working in an inhospitable land with digressions which include the history, geography and animal life of the continent as well as references to philosophy and Western culture. It is a fascinating book.

Another reader had used a ballpoint pen to make some totally unnecessary editorial suggestions. I needed a more comprehensive dictionary than I usually consult to find the meaning of one word which puzzled him or her. Nemoral is to do with woods/glades. Not something found in Antarctica!

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What I read in April 2019 (Part 2) A New Day by Emma Scrivener

I received a parcel of three books from IVP (Intervarsity Press UK) before Easter as a Twitter giveaway. I decided to read A New Day first as I had heard of the author and her husband (Glen Scrivener). The book has the most attractive cover of the three! Moving On From Hunger, Anxiety, Control, Shame, Anger And Despair is the strap-line.

Emma Scrivener is a young mother, who has personal experience of anorexia nervosa. Her first book, A New Name, (which I haven’t read) was very well-received. A New Day is her second book. It is well-organised in sections named after parts of a 24-hour period, moving from partial darkness, through night into day. It is full of sensible, helpful advice about all kinds of mental health problems: eating disorders, panic attacks, self-harm, depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, SAD, schizophrenia and PTSD, perhaps resulting from abuse. It also addresses diagnosis and treatment.

Letters from sufferers are included as is advice on how to receive or offer help. When professional help is required and when/how the Church can help is discussed. The book is written from a Christian perspective and debunks the myth that Christians should not experience problems with their mental health.

I found this book particularly appropriate for the approach to Easter and finished reading it on Easter Day. The theme of moving from darkness into a new day or from an old way of life to a new one was timely. The explanations of why people’s problems take particular forms helped my understanding of some people I know. Having accessed mental health services myself in the past, I can vouch for the authenticity of this book.

There is a useful appendix with resources.

This is a book, which should be read by church leaders and those with safeguarding responsibilities as well as people affected by the mental illness of friends and family members. Recovering patients may also find it helpful. (I suggest that patients in crisis are not ready to read books of this kind.)