2017 has been a year of transition and new beginnings for us. In between a new baby, house and city, we haven’t written much, but we have read, watched and listened to some good stuff. Here is a selection of the hits:
One of the simple pleasures of living back in Scotland has been the library, especially when we’d challenged ourselves not to buy books in 2017. Two of the stand out fiction books of the year were ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas and ‘This is Where I am’ by Karen Campbell. Both of these books pulled us in and provided glimpses of life from the perspectives of people who are pushed out by society. Both stories talk about relationships across cultural divides and the importance of community. The Hate U Give helped me to understand why those who are oppressed sometimes see violence as their only option. We loved that ‘This is Where I am’ is set in Glasgow, it challenged us to visit some of the tourist spots around the city.
We both continue to reflect on our faith; decomstructing & reconstructing. Discussing Brian McLaren’s ‘The Great Spiritual Migration’ in our mini book group with a friend has been a gift. We both also read ‘What is the Bible?’ by Rob Bell which encouraged us to appreciate the depth and expansiveness of the Bible. Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue was another favourite of Paul’s with it’s personal story of reconciling science, God & mysticism.
We love reading with our boys, and some of the family favourites this year have been Stick Man (and really anything by Julia Donaldson), There’s a Bear on my Chair by Ross Collins (just so great to read aloud) and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (spoiler: the green crayon quit due to….).
The quirky film Hunt for the Wilderpeople brought us joy: beautiful Kiwi landscapes and an unlikely friendship against the odds. Parks and Recreation has been our go-to watch, Leslie Knope is an idealistic bureaucrat in an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. Somehow her enthusiasm for local government and love for her colleagues make me feel a bit better about humanity. Paul also loved The Night Manager.
Paul’s favourite podcasts this year have been Collective Audio and TalkUltra. I (Debbie) felt like MotherBirth podcast walked me through this second pregnancy with their tender, honest conversations about motherhood (the recent Christmas episode ‘Less Stuff, More Meaning’ was thought-provoking too). The Shalom Sistas podcast has been a regular encouragement to ‘seek shalom’ (wellbeing, peace, justice) in my everyday life, and the book was great too.
What have you enjoyed reading, watching and listening to recently? We love to get recommendations!