Reading for All

The accessible Christian reading and resources magazine from the Torch Trust.

2015 Issue 4

Reading for All is published by The Torch Trust for people with sight loss with an interest in accessible Christian reading resources.

Produced by Torch Trust
Torch House, Torch Way
Market Harborough
Leicestershire
LE16 9HL UK
torchtrust.org

© Torch Trust November 2015 Reg. Charity number 1095904

Views expressed in the features are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Reading for All is also available in the following formats: Email, Audio CD, braille, and large print (17, 20, 25 and 30 point). Plus it can also be viewed on the Torch website.

Contact Numbers

Client Services

For all general enquiries: 01858 438260

Library

For library borrowers: 01858 438266

Torch Holidays

For all holiday enquiries: 01273 832282

Reflections Radio Show

For responses to our radio broadcasts: 0333 123 1255

Contents

In the Beginning ...

“... books are not just books. They are containers of hope” Nick Page’s comment from the Together magazine caught my eye and expressed what I’ve always felt about books and Christian titles in particular. His inspired writing can be found introducing our Hot off the Press feature - followed by some great reads for Christmas or perhaps Christmas presents - filled with Joy Wonder, Wisdom and Change?

There are lots more gift ideas in our Resource News feature including new Advent titles, a nice new freebie as well as the perennial Scripture Text Calendar 2016.

A New Year, a new resolution perhaps? How about challenging yourself to read a bit deeper in 2016? Whether you need some help just to get started or if you’d like something a bit more ambitious then check out our Take Another Look feature.

But if you’re looking for an altogether more relaxing read, then you’re sure to find a good page turner by one of our favourite authors, Francine Rivers.

Do you pray for Torch? Thank you very much! Our On Your Coffee Table feature offers you a really good prayer resource - Torch News and it’s free!

Wishing all our readers a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year. Happy Reading! Lydia Tebbutt, Editor

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Resource News

New Advent and Christmas resources

Our Advent book this year is Comings and Goings by Gordon Giles, published by BRF and is available to borrow in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB and to purchase price £7.99 in all media except USB.

Another, much shorter title, from BRF is also available on DAISY entitled The Word Was God by John Andrew.

York Courses have produced an Advent course entitled Making Room. This is available in braille & giant print price £4.00

Our FREE give-away this year comes from the Hayes Press and is called: Who is better than Santa? This short tract is available in audio CD, braille and giant print.

If you like carol singing then the Bethlehem Carol Sheet from Embrace the Middle East is a really good resource. The 56th edition is still current and available free of charge in braille and giant print.

The Scripture Text Calendar 2016 is now available in braille and giant print price £3.50 for single copies or 3 for £10.00.

Advert

Go-Bear Puppy & Bear

These charming cuddly toys come pre-loaded with Go-Bible and can be added to with various Apps. They cost £60.00 each from Computer Room Services: comproom.co.uk

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And there’s more ...

Torch Holidays 2016 dates now published!

Yes that’s right, next year’s holidays at Torch Holiday and Retreat Centre are all ready for you to book!

There’s something for everyone on a Torch Holiday! Enjoy learning new skills on our Gadgets and Gizmos technology week, cooking and getting crafty on our Creative Mess week or going back in time on our Memory Lane week. Enjoy relaxing on our Movie week, take some time to be quiet in prayer and Bible study in our chapel, and for readers there’s the popular Read All About It - Book Week, to name but a few!

Don’t forget - our holidays are fully inclusive! That means inclusive of all meals, outings, entrance fees, theatre tickets and transport during the holiday. For more details call Torch HRC on 01273 832282

Reflections Radio Show Audio CD

Following the announcement in Reading for All and Torch News that our popular radio show, Reflections, could now be revisited on audio CD, nearly 100 of you have registered to receive it.

Our producer, Grace Davis, was delighted by the response. She said “A lot of work goes into producing our weekly show, so we are thrilled that so many of you want to listen again through this new product - namely our monthly audio CD.”

The next CD, dispatched in November, covers the following programmes first aired in October:

To register for this FREE audio CD call Client Services on 01858 438260

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Torch Fellowship Group News

(Source: “Good News!” Oct 2015)

A novel way of raising awareness for Torch Fellowship Groups

Diana McCelland from the Coleraine TFG did a sponsored abseil in September to raise awareness and funds for her Group.

The Hayle Torch Fellowship Group that had been running for 34 years recently responded positively to its declining numbers by re-locating and re-naming to Penzance Torch Fellowship Group. As a result, the day centre in Penzance where they meet provides a lunch and numbers have increased.

Christmas CD

Tim O’Brien from Milton Keynes TFG has produced an audio CD of Christmas music, which includes traditional songs such as O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Ding Dong Merrily on High and We Three Kings.

The CD also includes a bonus track with a special rendition of Silent Night in which the words of scripture are spoken.

Torch will benefit from the sale of these CD’s, which can be obtained from www.fadin-shoes.com price £12.00

Is your TFG making any New Year’s resolutions?

Let Reading for All know. We would love to hear your exploits from any Torch Fellowship Group. Contact lydiat@torchtrust.org or call 01858 438260

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Enabling Church

From spectator to worshipper

Worship for All

Many people with sight loss feel excluded from worship because they cannot see the screens. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Torch has developed Worship for All, which is a free, online automated transcription service, enabling churches and Christian organisations to prepare large print and braille resources for people with sight loss. To find out more and register for the service, search “Worship for All Torch Trust” or contact David Shepherd on 01858 438260 or email him at davids@torchtrust.org

Torch also has some accessible hymn and prayer books and we have a comprehensive online listing of accessible Bibles.

TorchTalk Sunday Service

If you can’t get to a Sunday service or even if you can, you might like to join our TorchTalk Sunday Service group. Once you’ve registered, you just need to be by your phone to receive the call and you will be part of a Sunday Service.

For more details contact Jan Turner on 01858 438260 or email her at jant@torchtrust.org

Church joins forces with Twitter to broadcast live services

(Source: Premier Christianity online Oct 2015)

Church services will be broadcast live online, thanks to a new partnership between the Church of England and social networking website Twitter.

“ChurchLive”' will see a range of events shown live on the mobile phone app Periscope, available for free to audiences around the world.

The Church said the broadcasts could be “the first taste of Church for those unfamiliar with church services”.

It would act as an introduction to “the best of worship, preaching and prayer”.

Revd Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishops' Council said: “This is a project designed to bring Church of England services from Malton to Miami, Middlesbrough to Milan and Manchester to Mumbai.

“Those who may not make it to church on a Sunday for all sorts of reasons will have the opportunity to be part of a service.

“The ability to join in worship shouldn't be restricted to geographical constraint. We know that Periscope users are a global audience and we expect that there will be as many watching services broadcast via Periscope as are physically present at the services themselves.”

It won’t be the first time church services have been broadcast on Periscope.

Earlier this year parishioners at St Radegund's Church in Grayingham, in the Diocese of Lincoln, were joined by another 350 people around the world for their regular traditional Sunday service after becoming the first to experiment with the app.

Julia White, from Twitter UK, said: “Periscope gives people and communities the opportunity to live broadcast everything from on-the-spot breaking news through to individual reflections. It's great to see the Church of England taking the best of what they have to offer and using Periscope to show it live across the world.”

Tallie Proud, Digital Officer for The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, said: “It could be someone too ill to attend, a family who want to 'attend' even when on holiday or someone who just wants to know what the church is like before they make the sometimes scary step of walking into the building for the first time.”

The first service is due to take place on Sunday 11th October and features a service with Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad” who will be speaking at The Point, a Fresh Expressions church in West Sussex.

Future services planned include St Martin in the Fields in London and Beverley Minster.

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Author Interview: Francine Rivers

(Source: Together Magazine Excerpt Jan 2014)

TM: Francine Rivers is a multi-million bestselling writer of Christian fiction. Prior to becoming a Christian she had already made her mark as a writer of romantic fiction in the secular market. Her first “post conversion” book, Redeeming Love, has sold well over a million copies and all her subsequent books have become bestsellers too. Her latest book, The Bridge to Haven, was released in 2014. Here she shares some of her story.

How did you get started as a writer?

FR: I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I had no idea what I would write, so when I entered college I majored in creative writing with an emphasis on literature and a minor in journalism. It wasn’t until after college, when I had time to discover the rich world of popular fiction, that I knew what I wanted to write. My first novel was a combination of the genres I loved: historical, romance, mystery.

TM: You were a successful author before you became a Christian. How easy was it to switch to writing books with a Christian angle?

FR: It wasn’t really a matter of switching. God closed the door to my writing romances after I became a Christian. I tried, but nothing made sense to me. I realised I needed to get to know God through the scriptures. Writing ceased to matter to me. After three years, during which time we opened our home to a group Bible study, things changed. When we began a reading of the Minor Prophets and came to the story of Hosea, I was overwhelmed by God’s love. I also felt Him nudging me to write HIS story through that allegory.

Having written numerous historical romances set in California between 1840 -1880, I decided to set the Hosea story in the Sierra Mountains during the Gold Rush period of California history. I had received many letters from readers asking why I wasn’t writing anymore, and this seemed a fitting way to share the new love of my life: Jesus Christ. The result was Redeeming Love. My writing moved into a new arena.

I have also been able to work through various questions and issues through writing. Each novel has been a personal quest to find God’s perspective about things I have done, experienced or with which I struggle. In truth, writing has become a personal way for me to worship the Lord. I am on a quest to know Him better, to seek His perspective.

TM: Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream reference the rift between your mother and your grandmother. Do all your books have a personal, experiential, basis to the storyline?

FR: For the most part, I would say yes, with the exception of the novellas. In the Lineage of Grace, I studied the five women in the first chapter of Matthew who are listed in Jesus’ ancestral line. I wanted to know what made them special enough to be singled out for attention. Also, The Sons of Encouragement came out of my study of the Church for my novel, And the Shofar Blew. I could see how important it is to have men of strong faith behind the leader. Sadly, people tend to put their pastors on pedestals and forget it is the Lord alone we are to worship.

The most difficult and personal novel I’ve written is The Atonement Child which dealt with my shame and grief over having an abortion during my college years. My mother also carried the secret heartache over being pressured into a therapeutic abortion by doctors while she was suffering a relapse of tuberculosis. The story of Hannah in the novel is based on my experience, and Evie is based on my mother. I have met a number of Dynah’s (the main character who is pregnant by rape). I went through an emotional wringer while writing the book, but it also turned out to be the most healing.

TM: Why is fiction a good vehicle for telling the Good News?

FR: Fiction is a non-threatening way to share the gospel. Many people don’t want to talk about Jesus, and they don’t want to read the Bible, but they will read a novel. I want my characters to be real so that they will resonate with readers. Jesus is always at the centre of any story I write. Each character is on a journey to, or away from, God. This is true in real life as well as fiction. My hope is readers will experience through story what it means to live in faith in Jesus. I pray they will hunger and thirst for a personal relationship with Christ who is the bridge home to God the Father.

Francine Rivers receives Lifetime Achievement Award.

(Source Together Magazine Sept-Oct 2015)

The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) CEO, Colleen Coble, announced in June that Francine Rivers was to be the 2015 recipient of the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I’ve loved and admired Francine Rivers’ writing since I first read Redeeming Love, but the woman behind the amazing stories is even more wonderful,” Coble said. “I’m honoured to call her my friend and couldn’t be more delighted that ACFW is awarding her our highest honour, the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Coble added, “She showed us that CBA books have the ability to break all boundaries and can’t be pigeonholed. There is a huge readership out there who will respond to a story that challenges us and makes us think about eternal values.”

Rivers received her award at the awards gala at the ACFW conference in Dallas on 19th September.

Accessible versions of Francine Rivers’ titles

Torch has transcribed a number of Francine Rivers’ books; however, we don’t have the resources to do them all, so I’ve included the Kindle and audio CD versions of those we’ve not transcribed. They are shown in the order that they appear in the article.

Contact the Torch Librarians on 01858 438266 or email library@torchtrust.org to borrow or add the transcribed titles to your bookshelf.

Redeeming Love available for loan in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB and for sale on DAISY Price £8.99

The Bridge to Haven available for loan only in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB (not for sale)

Her Mother’s Hope available on DAISY & USB (not for sale)

Her Daughter’s Dream available on Kindle from Amazon price £7.12

Lineage of Grace available on Kindle from Amazon price £8.07

The Sons of Encouragement on Kindle from Amazon price £7.80

And the Shofar Blew available on DAISY & USB (not for sale)

The Atonement Child on Kindle price £6.64 & audio CD price £37.39 both from Amazon

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Take Another Look

Digging Deeper

How’s your Bible study going? Are you even doing any Bible study? Perhaps it sounds like hard work - well actually it does involve some spade work! But, as in gardening, the fruit of your labours will be so rewarding. For even a small investment of time you can engage with scripture in ways that will enrich and transform your mind as well as giving you a deeper respect for the word of God. Reading for All would like to encourage everyone to Dig Deeper. This series of books gives you some “tools” to help you unearth the Bible’s treasures. The authors introduce you to the “Repetition Tool”; the “Context Tool”; and the “Structure Tool” to name but three.

Over 100 of our readers have enjoyed the first book - what a recommendation! The second book looks at the Old Testament by using these same tools and recently a third title has been added to the series namely Dig Deeper in to the Gospels.

Dig Deeper by Nigel Beynon & Andrew Sach available for loan in braille, DAISY & USB

Dig Even Deeper by Andrew Sach & Richard Alldritt available for loan in braille, Giant Print, DAISY & USB

Dig Deeper into the Gospels by Andrew Sach & Tim Hirons coming soon in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB

All three titles can be purchased for £9.99 each in braille, giant print & DAISY.

The Bible Speaks Today

The Bible Speaks Today is a world renowned Bible Commentary series, of which Torch has transcribed 20 titles. For those of our readers who enjoy Bible study with the help of first class scholarly insights, The Message Of: titles are unbeatable and now there is one for every book of the Bible.

BST: the final commentary

(Source: Evangelicals Now October 2015)

For over 40 years, the volumes in IVP’s The Bible Speaks Today (BST) series have sought to help Christians better understand the Bible and how it should impact their lives.

The Message of Joshua by David G. Firth, is no exception. Published in September, Firth’s commentary constitutes the final book of the Bible to be expounded, seeing this renowned series - which began in 1968 with John Stott’s Only One Way on Galatians - finally reach its completion. Alec Moyter takes time to reflect on his decades spent as series editor for The Bible Speaks Today: Old Testament series as he speaks to Elizabeth Neep of IVP.

EN: Alec, congratulations on the completion of The Bible Speaks Today series! Please tell our readers a little about how and when your involvement in the BST series first began?

AM: Well, in 1974, IVP first published my exposition of the prophet Amos, under the title The Day of the Lion. If you study the cover design carefully you will find the words “The Voice of the Old Testament” in it. This was my idea, and Ronald Inchley - then the IVP supremo - went along with the idea of an Old Testament series under that title in parallel to what John Stott was doing for the New Testament under the The Bible Speaks Today name. What happened next I can’t remember! It must have been John’s initiative but my Amos book became the first contribution to the The Bible Speaks Today: Old Testament and The Voice of the Old Testament bit the dust!

EN: And then you went on to act as series editor for the entire series!

AM: I did! But my editorial procedures lacked the outstanding Stottian ability to get things done, and the Old Testament series has taken regrettably much longer to reach completion an the New. But the end has been hugely worth the wait, and the last four volumes to appear (Ralph Davis on Daniel, Chris Wright on Jeremiah and Lamentations; and David Firth on Joshua) are in every way a crown and climax to gladden my editor’s heart!

EN: Are there any highlights that stand out from your time spent editing the series?

AM: It has been a rich 40 years since Amos appeared! I fear contributors must have frequently despaired over an editor so interfering. To such I can only say count yourselves lucky it was me and not John Stott, for having contributed two volumes to the New Testament Series I know something of the eagle-eyed ways of that beloved man!

Looking back, I find that my main task was helping our contributors to catch the BST vision. I would not ask anyone to “preach” on paper, but I ensured that the values of the preached word be brought into the written word - a major part of the series’ function is to make clear what this particular Word of God is saying today.

EN: Can you pick any favourites from the 33 BST OT commentaries now produced?

AM: No series ever succeeds in being totally top level. Inevitably some contributions are near misses, some are bull’s eyes - I have no intention of engaging in the invidious task of offering you a list! But I can say this: no volume in BST/OT has failed, on publication, to bring me letters of appreciation. Every author, every next book, has contributed to the enrichment of readers, and the glory of the Word of God. What editor could ask for more?

*******

Transcribing these titles represents a huge commitment of resources and we are very grateful to some extraordinarily gifted volunteer transcribers.

We hope you will take this opportunity to explore one or more books of the Bible in depth. It will certainly enhance your Bible reading experience as you take advantage of the work and thought of some of the best theologians of the last four decades.

The Bible Speaks Today is the series title. The book titles all begin with The Message of:

1 Peter by Edmund P Clowney in braille

1 Timothy & Titus by John Stott in braille

2 Corinthians by Paul Barnett in braille

2 Timothy by John Stott in braille

Acts by John Stott in braille

Daniel by Ronald S Wallace on DAISY & USB

Deuteronomy by Raymond Brown in braille

Ephesians by John Stott on DAISY & USB

Genesis 1-11 by David Atkinson in braille, DAISY & USB

Hebrews by Raymond Brown in braille

James by Alec J Motyer in braille

Jeremiah by Derek Kidner in braille

John by Bruce Milne in braille

Luke by Michael Wilcock in braille

Malachi by Peter Adam in braille, DAISY & USB

Mark by Donald English in DAISY & USB

Nehemiah by Raymond A Brown on DAISY & USB

Philippians by Alec J Motyer in braille

Proverbs by David Atkinson in braille

Psalms 1-72 by Michael Wilcock in braille

Psalms 73-150 by Michael Wilcock in braille

Thessalonians by John Stott in DAISY & USB

All of the above mentioned Message of titles are available to borrow from the Torch Library but can also be purchased in the medium in which they have been transcribed, with the exception of USB.

Do contact the Librarians with your requests on 01858 438266 or email library@torchtrust.org

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Journeying With

Can you give the gift of time?

Sight loss can be life-changing. With time, and good support, everyone can adjust to change.

Yet only 1 in 5 people diagnosed with sight loss have someone to support them.

We want to change that.

Journeying With brings church volunteers alongside those who are facing life with sight loss. Your gift of time and a listening ear could be just the help that someone needs.

Journeying With is a Christian befriending service to support people through the tough early days of life with sight loss.

Trained church volunteers give a few hours each week, over six months, to offer a friendly listening ear to help someone adjust. If you would like to know more about becoming a Journeying With volunteer, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact Rose Heaney on 01858 438260 or email roseh@torchtrust.org

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On Your Coffee Table

- And in your prayers?

Torch News - A Prayer Resource

Do you receive the Torch News? We know that many of you do but surprisingly a huge proportion of Reading for All readers don’t take this free magazine which is written specifically to inform our supporters of all the great things going on at Torch. You may say, “Well I’m not really a supporter, I’m more of a client - I borrow books from the library, or I like to holiday at Torch HRC or I belong to a TorchTalk group.” However, I’m sure you pray for whatever resources Torch supplies you with - right? Well that makes you a prayer supporter!

Torch is built on prayer, we “can do nothing apart from God” but “we can do all things through him who strengthens us”.

We really value your prayers and want to take this opportunity to ask all our Reading for All readers to pray even more. Torch News is the very best way to inform your prayers. In each quarterly edition you will read encouraging stories about some of the people Torch are helping; you will find out about our latest projects; learn what some of our volunteers are up to. There are articles about the Regional work, Journeying With, Torch HRC Holiday Centre as well as our International work.

And you can be a part of this entire great journey of faith, just by praying with and for us.

Torch News is available FREE in all media - large print 17pt; 20pt; 25pt; 30pt; audio CD; braille; email and full colour print.

Contact Client Services on 01858 438260 or email at info@torchtrust.org to receive your free copy.

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Hot off the Press

A selection of titles newly transcribed.

But first ...

“It’s not just a book, it’s a possibility ...”

by Nick Page (Source: Together July-August 2015)

It was some years ago when I first realised that maybe my book-buying habits had got slightly out of control. During one of her regular de-cluttering campaigns, my wife persuaded (i.e. ordered) me to donate some books to a charity second-hand book sale.

I am a man under authority, so reluctantly, I did so. But, sneakily, I also offered to help set the sale up. Which meant that, even though I had to lose a box of books, I would get first pick of anything else in the sale. And, indeed, I did see a book which I thought looked interesting. So I bought it and carried it home.

It was only when I opened it, I realised that something strange had happened. Because the book had my name in it. I had repurchased one of my own, donated books! Not only had I forgotten donating it, I had no recollection of having previously owned it at all!

So, yes, you could say that I have too many books.

But why is this? Why, even though I already have more books in my house than I will ever be able to read, do I still accumulate them? I don’t buy as many as I used to, but nevertheless, I find it hard to pass a bookshop - and generally impossible to pass a second-hand bookshop - without at least having a glance inside and emerging with a book. Or two. Or five!

In my defence, there are a number of reasons behind my addiction. First, it’s part of my job. I read because I write. Indeed, my advice to would-be writers is always, read. Read lots. And read widely, not just within your own field. So I’m always coming across books that I think might be useful.

Second, well, books are just such wonderful things, aren’t they? I love the physicality of books. I love the smell and the feel of them. And, as drugs go, they are relatively cheap. A paperback book generally costs a little over two pints of beer. (Although, let’s be clear, this is not an either/or. I generally buy both!)

But the main reason why I accumulate books - and why I will keep accumulating them - is because books are not just books. They are containers of hope. At the basic level there is the simple hope of being entertained by the story, or of learning something new. But there is also a deeper hope - of transformation and change.

I have read some books this year - even at my gnarly old age - which have profoundly changed me as a person and which have transformed the way I act, how I pray and how I look at the world.

And the amazing thing is that, even after all the books I have read in my life, I am still coming across undiscovered gems. There is always another great book around the corner, a new writer to discover, new thoughts to seize upon.

This is one of the reasons why a bad book is such a disappointment. It’s because it has let us down: it has not changed us, not in the tiniest way.

The power of words is why humans have such a profound relationship with writing. And, perhaps, one of the reasons why Jesus is referred to as the Word. Because words can change your life.

The covers of a book contain more than a collection of words on paper: they hold between them the possibility of joy, of wonder, of wisdom and even change.

Joy, Wonder, Wisdom and Change

Taking my cue from Nick Page’s article, here are four new titles recently added to the library and which will hopefully dispense some of these transforming gifts.

Joy ... The Tea Lover’s Devotional by Emilie Barnes

(Source: Amazon - Cindy August 2015)

I got this book as a gift. It's one devotional book that I look forward to reading every day. Maybe it's because I love afternoon tea. The daily devotional really speaks to my heart as it talks about issues that women face. I love the poems related to tea at the end of each day's devotional. There are also lots of afternoon tea recipes included between chapters. I highly recommend this book. I plan to buy copies of this book to give away at a tea party to my friends.

Available for loan only in giant print, DAISY & USB

Wonder ... A Rushing Mighty Wind by Angus Buchan

(Source: Goodreads - Kimberly Nov 2014)

This is a “handbook” describing one man’s encounter with the Holy Spirit during a revival meeting. He describes the miraculous manifestation that he, and the others in attendance, experienced in great detail. There is supportive documentation from other people. The book then goes on to guide the reader in how to better live a life in God and how to recognize when God and the Holy Spirit send you signs through your experiences. I like the references he uses with nature - what better way to explain God’s workings than through His extraordinary natural wonders and creations. I also liked the Bible references that are used throughout the book as they help to centre his thoughts and give me something to research further if I want. This would be a great book to read in a book club or Sunday school class as it would generate some in depth discussions. The book builds on the initial experience by using testimonies from others as well as parallel experiences. There are chapters on other revivals and their experiences that show the Holy Spirit at work through others. You never know when you might encounter such an experience yourself.

Available for loan on DAISY & USB and to purchase price £7.19

Wisdom ... The Wisdom House by Rob Parsons

(Source: Woman Alive excerpt from “On the Sofa” author interview May 2015)

The sub-title to the book is “Because you don’t always have to learn the hard way.” In the book I imagine my five grandchildren coming into my study one at a time, not as the little ones they are now, but as the adults they will become. We get the chance to talk as we sit in the two armchairs in front of the fire. Perhaps these conversations take place when somebody had broken their hearts, or when they are going for their first job or buying their first home. Maybe they happen after they have been betrayed by friends or when they need help to piece back together a dream somebody had trodden over. Our talks are based on some lessons I have learned, but most are lessons I have heard from those far wiser than me.

Available for loan on DAISY & USB and to purchase on DAISY price £7.99

Change ... The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

(Source: Amazon – Anne Feb 2015)

The author uses rain in this book to convey the hidden emotions of Colom and his mother - all the way through the book landscape and weather are used imaginatively to display what people are thinking and feeling.

Colom is a teenage boy who has a friend who has committed suicide. His mother's investigations show that both boys have made a pact to end their lives before their sixteenth birthdays. Fiona takes Colom out of his home environment and away from his father, who has quite rigid views on child development in his role as the pastor of a church specialising in teaching about families - Fiona also feels that he is too devoted to the church and not enough to her and their son.

Colom and Fiona go to rural France where they become part of the local community and seek counselling for Colom. This therapy brings up hidden issues from the past which need to come out into the open and be addressed before healing can start. The family's journey from brokenness to wholeness is not straightforward and is challenging to all its participants.

This is a novel about hidden secrets which cause havoc in ordinary lives. It is also about friendship and faith as well as examining what makes a strong family. It is a fascinating story and raises lots of interesting issues as well as creating an atmosphere with the descriptive writing. It is surprisingly compelling - would make a good book club read.

Available for loan on DAISY & USB & to buy on DAISY £7.99

PS: Lydia also read this book - in 2 days! “I just couldn’t put it down.”

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In Your Quiet Time

Every Day with Jesus from CWR

The November/December edition is entitled Bright Morning Star.

Is Jesus important in your life, or is He all-important? So often we turn to God as a last resort. We are so used to accepting the difficulties of daily living that we push through in our own strength, thinking that is enough.

In this issue, Selwyn Hughes reminds us that we can turn to Jesus, unfailingly, every time. When we do, we realise that Jesus is without equal and is the only One able to meet our needs. We then begin to find peace and resolution from the storms we struggle with and fully discern the promises of Jesus, our Bright Morning Star.

Available in Daisy CD or USB

Scripture Union's Daily Bread

The December/January edition is subtitled Apples of Gold and begins by looking at some of Solomon’s Proverbs with the advice, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge.”

The next section after that deals with the book of Revelation; the section starts with a quote from Mark Twain, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do understand.”

Available in Daisy CD or USB

The Upper Room

This unique publication has a worldwide readership of 3 million with over 70 different editions in 40 languages. Torch produces this in giant print.

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General Literary News

“Amazon records UK sales of £5.3bn for 2014”

(Source: Together Sept-October 2015)

Amazon’s UK website sales rose by 14% to £5.3bn last year, but the company only booked £680m of revenue through its UK accounts, reports The Bookseller.

At the same time, Amazon paid just £11.9m in tax to UK authorities, while receiving more government grants totalling £1.8m last year. According to accounts filed in the US, net sales for the UK website were £5.3bn ($8.3bn) to the year ending December 2014, up from £4.49bn ($7.3bn) the year before.

However, the e-commerce giant’s UK financial accounts, filed at Companies House, show Amazon’s UK turnover was just under £680m in the year to 31st December 2014, up from just under £450m the year before. The UK accounts show operating profit at the company rose 95% to £35.6m in 2014, up from £18.2m the year before.

Bedtime stories - “it's better if dad reads them”

(Source: The Telegraph 28th September 2015)

Children benefit more from their father reading them bedtime stories than their mother, new research has revealed.

Questions posed by men when reading to children were found to have sparked “imaginative discussions” in the study at Harvard University in the US.

Researchers said it was therefore better for children’s language development because they tend to be challenged more.

After a year of being read to by parents to determine the effect on infants’ language, girls in particular were found to have benefitted more when read to by a male.

Elisabeth Duursma, who conducted the research, said: “The impact is huge, particularly if dads start reading to kids under the age of two. Reading is seen as a female activity and kids seem to be more tuned in when their dad reads to them - it’s special.”

She found that men and women approach the task differently, with women more likely to ask factual questions, such as, “How many apples do you see?” and men favouring more abstract questions, the Daily Mail reports.

“Dads were more likely to say something like, ‘Oh look, a ladder. Do you remember when I had that ladder in my truck?’” Dr Duursma said.

“That is great for children’s language development because they have to use their brains more. It’s more cognitively challenging.”

Justin Coulson, a parenting expert, added that reading to children expands their vocabulary.

“We help them to feel safe and this can have a profound effect on their capacity for learning,” he added.

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Gadgets & Gizmos & Apps

Here’s a new website and app for you to check out:

Excerpt from advertisement:

“Free.bible is a web page, one of the very first to use the all-new top-level domain recently announced by YouVersion partner American Bible Society: .bible. Just as “.com” is for commercial business, “.edu” is for educational institutions, and “.gov” is for government agencies, “.bible is dedicated to becoming a trusted online source for all things Bible.”

Sheila Armstrong has checked this website and found it to be accessible as is the app for iPhone. Perhaps someone with an android phone would like to tell Reading for All whether the app is accessible on these devices too?

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Some Seasonal Words

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” - From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” - John 1:14

“Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.” - Lenore Hershey

“May your longest list this Christmas be the one that counts your blessings.” - Unknown author

“The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.” - from Little Women by Louisa M Alcott

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it white.” - Bing Crosby

“The Son of God became man to enable men to become sons of God.” - from Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” - from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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