Books I read on holidays…


Jesus Wants to Save Christians, Rob Bell & Dan Golden, Zondervan, 2008

Incredibly rich understanding of the Biblical narrative, Bell & Golden’s manifesto for followers of Jesus is an incredibly stimulating read.

If you’ve ever wondered about the calling of Christians and the church in the 21st century, you have to read this book.

It made me dream about meeting the challenge of implementing and anticipating the new heavens and the new earth in the here and now.

Every church leader needs to read this book. I bought copies for RCRC’s leadership and ministry teams




I have read a few books on sexual intimacy over the years, and Lehman’s “Sheet Music” is one of the best. There are no embarrassing euphemisms, and no ‘cringe factors’ that I can remember.

This a great resource for couples who want to share a deeper and warmer sexual intimacy. Also great for couple preparing for marriage.

——— ½




11 opens up a raft of relationships any person will do well to cultivate. No one possesses all wisdom and foresight, and I think we all know that truth comes best in a team setting.

Len Sweet is a great wordsmith, an insightful critic of culture and a wise interpreter of Scripture. His book helped me see a little more of what’s going on in my life. He made me ask whether my team and close friends are having a wholesome impact on my life.

I wondered, though, whether 11 critical relationships was a few too many? I am not sure I can have close relationships with that many people effectively.

I also was looking for a sharp, purposeful angle in the book, and apart from acknowledging these relationships will help you cross the finish line well, I struggled to maintain forward momentum. Could be my issue, I guess. But I suppose I would have benefitted from a more purposeful development of the material.

——— ½


The account of the events surrounding the death of Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island on November 19, 2004

Chloe Hooper walked with Andrew Boe through the trial of Chris Hurley. We hear the cries of Doomadgee’s family, we sense the fear of Hurley, we gasp in disbelief at the inequity. Most of all we ache with the sheer hopelessness of the case. Prejudice. Indifference. Seemingly intractable problems. I was disgusted by the history of my own State (Queensland) and the sort of bungling and apparent corruption which has made justice, in this case, almost an impossibility.

I started inquisitive and interested. I finished angry and broken.

All Australians need to be more aware of the oppression that is happening even in this day. Queenslanders, we should all read this book, and at least learn something as Hooper lifts the lid on our own history, past and present (see Chapter 1, The Island, p.7 ff)

———— ½


A gift from Leonie, The Time We Have Taken is an ambulatory study of several suburban characters in the 1960’s. We see how they interrelate, how they love and fall out of love, how they live and die.

Carroll develops his characters with great depth and warmth. We’re drawn into the naiveté and intricacy of Australian homes, hearts, and proclivities.





 The story of how a Jewish Haggadah from the 16th century was discovered and conserved. We are taken into the lives of various people associated with the Haggadah.

You will read sub-stories and adventures from the Yugoslavian Partisans, Jewish communities in Spain, and the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

Brookes’ research brings great texture, and the diverse nature of her characters makes this consuming reading. No wonder this author has been honoured with a Pulitzer.







While not a terribly recent title (2004) I thought this would be good to decompress and get me into holiday mode. Wrong. Having read a number of Jodi Picoult’s titles, I found James’ style irritating. She takes great care developing the back story in the first chapters – stacks of detail there. But I found myself saying “I’m up to page 115 and there hasn’t even been a murder yet!”

I thought her vocab was a little forced in places: transmogrification is a great word, but how much does vocab like that add to engagement and reader value? I thought it was a bit of a pose in places.

But as one person said to me a few days ago, “It’s still not bad for an old woman with a black handbag…”. Enough said.


4 thoughts on “Books I read on holidays…

  1. I agree with you on PD James style. I have trouble getting through books that put too much of the back story up front. It slows things down way to much.

    The best writers tend to intersperse it, and give the backstory as the book moves along.


  2. Hey there. Thanks for visiting my blog, and for your insightful comment. You have great content here. I enjoyed browsing.

    I liked Jesus Wants to Save Christians as well. Challenging, provocative, rich. I read it with friends. It provoked stimulating conversation.



  3. Just wondering what the title of the first book is — sounds intriguing. Might pick up a copy of it, but could not read the title on the cover.

  4. Sorry Jack,

    The title is “Jesus Wants To Save Christians” – should be a hyperlink on the graphic…

    [tests hyperlink…]

    …and now I realise that the hyperlink does not work. What’s the go with that??

    I reckon you’ll love it.


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