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What I read in December 2018 (Part 1)

The first two books I read in December 2018 were nonfiction.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig was on a display in the library for the Costa Book awards. I have not managed to find a connection between this book and the awards shortlist, but perhaps someone can help me here.

The author tweets as @matthaig1 and I had read lots of his Tweets without knowing anything about him. This is a book based on the author’s experience of breakdown and the coping skills he has developed. It is written in short chunks in a manner suitable for readers of any faith or none. I really enjoyed it and can identify with many of the issues.

The effect of social media on people’s lives and mental health is a main topic. Antidotes include a film I have watched recently with my friends from the Ladies’ Bible study group and a book I read in French in recent years, but have failed to record in my list of books I have read! I must be doing something right.

Woodbine Willie: An Unsung Hero of World War One by Bob Holman is a book I borrowed from a friend. She brought it to a prayer meeting to inspire us. I had not heard of Woodbine Willie, whose real name was Reverend Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, so I asked to borrow the book. This year being the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, it has been difficult to avoid information about battles. History is not my favourite subject, but I am interested in people. This is a book about an extraordinary man. The historical background and the beliefs of the leading churchmen of the time make it an interesting read. I have recommended it to hubby, who enjoys history.

 

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What else I read in 2018

Bible study books

I once complained to my mother, as she removed the cereal packets from the breakfast table, “You have taken my reading away!” Now you know that, it may not surprise you that I have not yet written about everything I have read this year. I have read instructions, messages, letters, the local newspaper, the free local guide, National Trust magazines, English Heritage magazines and numerous blog posts and Tweets.

Some of the books I have read during the year have escaped from my regular bookish posts. They are not books, which I have sat down and read from cover to cover; some are daily Bible reading notes, others are books which help untrained people study the Bible together.

The Bible reading notes I use are New Daylight published by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) and The Upper Room also published by BRF in the UK, but also available in many languages and countries around the world.

Scripture Union/IVP publish Life Builder Bible studies. This year the Ladies Bible study group has used Daniel, The Fruit of the Spirit and is now part way through Angels. Because the studies are intended for use by untrained (lay) people, leadership of the group can be shared between those members, who are willing to chair a study. These were written by people in the USA. Some of the examples in them are less appropriate to UK culture and general knowledge.

The study of Angels barely scratches the surface of the subject. I hope to set aside some time to study it in more depth.

Some of the group read The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz. (I first became aware of this book via Bible Gateway.)

I have also continued to read through the Psalms as part of my daily reading and have begun to use Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book.

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About my Twitter anniversary

I have been rather quiet on social media recently due to a week away from home. My Twitter anniversary came as something of a surprise, when it was flagged up to me – not least because I have now been tweeting, twittering or otherwise being a twit for five years. (Photo from Twitter)

Figure five decorated with coloured scrolls and paisley shapes on a pink background

My reasons for joining Twitter may be found in an earlier post.

Why have I continued with Twitter for 5 years? The short answer is that I enjoy Twitter. Although it is known as a place where feelings run high and people are nasty to each other, that has not been my experience.

I follow accounts for news, writers, books, countryside, photography, heritage, nature (especially wildflowers and birds), people I have met offline, church, music, A to Z bloggers, over 40s bloggers and a few random accounts of bloggers. I also ‘follow back’ people, who seem to have something in common with me. Twitter analytics tells me that most of my followers are interested in dogs.

From Twitter I learn lots of things. I do not watch television at home. However the information I find on Twitter for news and weather keeps me up-to-date. My knowledge of the names of wildflowers and some of their characteristics has been helped by #wildflowerhour.

While I was away recently I watched several quiz shows on my hostess’s television. I was amazed how many answers I could guess correctly. I haven’t learned from TV. Twitter and books are my teachers!

When people tweet about TV programmes, I am not particularly interested, but I do become aware of the programmes, which are being shown. At one time I’d have had this information from the Radio Times. Nowadays it is available online.

I keep away from political debate. If something seems to be happening locally, which might be newsworthy, I do not Tweet about the emergency vehicles I have seen. The emergency services need to be able to work without undue attention. Afterwards I might write about something, such as a recent fire. I sometimes retweet other people’s tweets. There has to be a balance about how much one retweets and original posts. Many of my posts alert my followers to blog posts – either mine or those on the More than Writers’ blog to which I am a contributor. I sometimes interact with others, but not many people reply to most of my tweets.

Since I joined, Twitter has changed from 140 to 280 characters. I could usually say what I wanted in the original number of characters. I have just about become used to the longer Tweets. I also find the Add a Tweet facility quite useful as one can produce a thread of tweets all at once. I have begun to add descriptions to my photos for those with impaired or limited vision. Tweetdeck is very useful for Twitter chats, such as #wildflowerhour.

As I have followed more people on Twitter the number of posts I have liked compared to the number of my tweets (including retweets) has increased.

I perhaps spend too much time scrolling through Twitter. However I do not watch TV, so I regard Twitter as my entertainment.