Reading For All

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

2016 Issue 1

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 February 2016 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 ...

There are a lot of books produced for Lent - all broadly trying to get us to do the same thing - pray!

“So” says Jesus, “when you pray, shut the door.”

“OK, it is shut. What now?”

“Shut the door.”

“No prayer tips or techniques, Jesus?”

“Just shut the door.”

“No workshops on finding stillness, on posture, on breathing? Or a seminar on work/life balance, perhaps?”

“Just shut the door.”

This excerpt from our Lent book Dust & Glory is worth lingering over, meditating upon, praying about.

There are some news items from the Fellowship Groups, Journeying With, Torch Holidays and the Reflections Radio Show.

John Ortberg in his book All the Places to Go ... How Will You Know also takes the theme of listening to God followed by action.

In Hot off the Press Michele Morrison suggests “Six ways to change your thinking” and we follow this with some outstanding titles which we hope will inspire you to pray and meditate.

And for your Bedside Table we take a look at some good Christian Fiction titles from prayerfully inspired authors.

Happy Reading! Blessed Praying! Lydia Tebbutt, Editor

Quote of the Quarter

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library”

Jorges Luis Borges

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Resource News

New Lent Resource

Dust and Glory by David Runcorn published by Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF)

(Source: Backcover)

Lent is one of the three 40-day “seasons” in the Church's year, besides Advent and the period from Easter to Pentecost. The name itself, Lent, derives from an ancient word meaning “spring” or “long”, referring to the time of year when days are beginning to lengthen and the world is turning from winter cold and dark to the warmth and promise of spring. During this time, the Church calls us to a special period of prayer, self-examination and teaching - and this book has been written to accompany you through that period, a time of turning from winter to spring, from death to life. Dust and Glory ranges across the whole business of living and believing, where the questions are as important as the answers, and may call us to deep heart-searching. The goal is always to draw us to authentic faith; a way of living and believing that is real and vulnerable, strong in knowing its limits, rooted in joy and wonder, blessed with the healing and merciful presence of God. Such faith acknowledges both the dust of our mortality and the glory that keeps breaking in with unexpected life, hope and new beginnings.

Available to borrow in braille, DAISY, USB & giant print and to purchase price £7.99

New Outreach Freebie!

The Mystery of the Resurrection

- Our TV Sleuths examine the evidence by Rev Malcolm Lorimer published by Christian Publishing Outreach (CPO)

Who’s your favourite TV detective? Morse & Lewis, Silent Witness, Frost or Miss Marple? Perhaps you like Rebus, Jonathan Creek, New Tricks or the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes?

Rev Malcolm Lorimer has written a great Give-Away for Easter in which he asks how each of these well known detectives would “investigate” the Resurrection.

It is available in braille, giant print and audio CD for you to give away free.

New Devotional Resource

from the Northumbria Community

“We are a dispersed Christian Community scattered across the world yet united in our commitment to a daily rhythm of prayer and a common Rule of Life in saying Yes to Availability to God and others and Yes to intentional Vulnerability before God and others.”

This is how the Northumbria Community introduce themselves on their website. The Community has just published its second book “Celtic Daily Prayer Book 2 Farther Up and Farther In” and republished its first book “Celtic Daily Prayer Book 1 The Journey Begins”. They are both very extensive prayer and worship resources and therefore beyond Torch’s capacity to transcribe in their entirety. However, if you like Celtic style prayers you might like to know that Torch has transcribed, at the request of the Community, the A Daily Office which consists of the liturgy for Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer and a set of 31 daily meditations from sources that are important to the Community's foundation and ethos. Also the Northumbria Community Complines - “an ideal way to end the day” and the most recent addition the Northumbria Community Meditations from Book 2.

All are available in braille & giant print priced at £3.00, £3.50 & £2.50 respectively.

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Torch Fellowship Group News

(Source: “Good News!” Dec 2015)

Facilitating community

During 2015 the Bristol North-West group started a new initiative from their Torch Group, which is termed, “Tea and Cakes”.

Several of the ladies in the Torch Group were extremely lonely. They telephone each other outside of their regular Torch meeting but are unable to travel to meet up. It occurred to David Murray, the Group’s Leader, that he could take people to each other’s homes.

One important aspect of this is that they arrange it all themselves. In practice, he telephones one lady to tell her when he is free, and she then makes the arrangements. On the day he transports the passengers, leaves them to have tea, cakes and no doubt a good natter then picks them up afterwards.

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Journeying With

(Source: “Good News!” Nov 2015)

Janet Eardley, Torch’s Area Presence Developer for the South West, has held workshops about sight loss at three Archdeacons’ Training Days in Wells, Wellington and Bath. The workshops were well received by the clergy and lay Readers attending, including requests for further information and training. We hope that this will encourage greater inclusion for people with sight loss in the churches which were represented.

If you would like more information on volunteering for our Journeying With scheme, please contact Client Services.

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Torch Holidays

Do you know someone new to sight loss? Could they benefit from coming on a Moving Forward break?

The most important aspect of the Moving Forward programme is the gift of time. Even though it’s just 48 hours, there is time to listen, time to assist, time to explain, time to advise, time to share, time to learn, time to reflect.

There will be opportunity to:

Share your story with the team in a safe and confidential environment;

Get advice on everyday living - how, for example, to pay bills or write shopping lists, or do any one of scores of tasks using the most appropriate aids and gadgets including new technologies;

Discover what mobility aids are available to help you get about; learn good guiding techniques for you and your guide; find out about guide dog ownership;

Think through the many services and benefits available for people with sight loss; discuss hobby and leisure ideas.

Together, the team will be looking at many ways to help you get the very best out of life. There’ll be encouragement to try something new. And, if you’d find it helpful, there will also be time for spiritual guidance and prayer.

Moving Forward Dates for 2016

18-21 March

10-13 May

23-26 September

11-14 November

Price £220.00 fully inclusive

To book call Torch Holiday & Retreat Centre on 01273 832282

Leaflets available

If you would like more information to pass on to a friend or even to place in an opticians or eye clinic, GPs surgery, local blind club etc. then please contact Client Services on 01858 438260 or email mailto:info@torchtrust.org

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Journey - Torch’s thought for the week

This download of around 4 minutes offers spiritual reflection with a light touch. Scripted by blind or partially sighted people, or those intimately associated or working with them, Journey is often topical or rooted in everyday life, sometimes humorous or thought-provoking, always warm and lively. Produced with talking newspapers in mind, it’s free to use by audio magazines, blind clubs and associations - the only proviso being that the pieces must be used in full and not edited in any way. The current Journey is available on the homepage of our website, where you can stream or download it.

Do you have a 3 minute insight into a piece of scripture? Could you write to a specific brief? If so contact Grace on 01858 438263 or email mailto:graced@torchtrust.org

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Reflections Radio Show

Did you enjoy the one hour special Reflections Christmas Show?

If you missed it or would just like to hear it again - you can - it’s available on a CD.

Also available is the monthly Reflections CD which includes the following programmes first aired in December:

Chris Sumner and his journey of sight loss

Bill Skipworth - concert pianist

Anne Halsey and The Baldwin Boat Trust

Carol McAllister from Kettering TFG on Pointless

The Jubilee Sailing Trust

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

See back cover for details of how to listen to Reflections live on the radio.

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Author Interview:

John Ortberg

(Source: Together Magazine Excerpt Mar-Apr 2015)

“From walking on water to opening the right doors”

John Ortberg is probably best known in the UK for his best-selling book with the intriguing title If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat (Zondervan, 2001). Many books later Ortberg has written another book with an intriguing title All the Places to Go ... How Will you Know?, published by Tyndale.

The book’s title is a play on the title of a Dr Seuss book All the Places You’ll Go (Random House) and although the wisdom of Dr Seuss permeates the book, Ortberg’s inspiration was a college professor named Gerald Hawthorne. In many ways it’s a self-awareness book and Ortberg brings his background as a psychologist and theologian to good use here.

The book looks at the sort of doors (opportunities) God places before us every day and how to recognise them. Ortberg not only gives encouragement to readers to take that first step through the door (a bit like stepping out of the boat) but also to recognise that some doors are not of God and need to stay closed. John recently spoke to Together’s Editor, Clem Jackson about the book.

CJ: Can you tell me a little about the book and how it came to be written?

JO: The book came to be written because I was inspired many years ago by a fabulous hope-filled, humble college professor named Jerry Hawthorne. It also came about because I love adventure and making life count. And, because I like Dr. Seuss!

CJ: Open doors (and closed doors) is a key theme in the book. How do you define “Open-Door People and Closed-Door People?”

JO: Open door people are folks who regularly seek and seize opportunities to obey God and make their lives count for eternity. Closed door people are folks who tend to miss out on or resist God’s callings on their lives.

CJ: Can we be both?

JO: Yes, we’re all some place on the spectrum. The good news is we can all move in the direction of being open door people.

CJ: Most of us are unsure about which door(s) to go through in our lives. What does your book have to say to help us in this?

JO: This topic is one of the most important in the book. Uncertainty is an inevitable aspect of our life. Frequently, we’re more concerned about wanting certainty, God’s more concerned with forming our character. So the most important dynamic for us to ask for often is not detailed direction, it’s wisdom.

CJ: There’s a good deal of personal anecdote in the book so is it a book crafted out of experience and mistakes made?

JO: Yes, this is a book crafted out of experiences and mistakes. I make mistakes on a regular basis so fortunately that continually furnishes me with new material.

CJ: It’s a book about decision making and discerning God’s will for your life. Is getting it wrong a sign of failure then?

JO: Many times people don’t understand a critical dimension of God’s will for your life. The person that you’re becoming is more important to God than the circumstances that you inhabit. This means that God’s will for your life very often will be that you make a decision rather than God telling you what particular choice to make.

CJ: And does getting it right mean that everything in life will be “happy ever after?”

JO: Getting the decision right does make everything happy ever after - but only in fairy tales, and fortunately you and I don’t live in one of those. Many times in the Bible people who go through one of God’s open doors find that life is more challenging on the other side. But the good news is that’s also where God is.

CJ: What do you hope your readers will take away from reading the book?

JO: I hope readers will take away from this book the confidence that God places open doors for them every day. Even more I hope that people will learn how to go through those doors and increase the number of times they’re actually doing that in real life.

CJ: When did you write your first book and was this an “open door” for you or did you have to push it?

JO: I wrote my first book almost 20 years ago, and writing for me was very much a one step at a time journey filled with rejections in the beginning and smaller progress than what I would have wanted. And, I’m most grateful to have learned that way.

All The Places to Go ... How Will You Know?

Is Available to borrow from the Torch Library in DAISY or USB

More books by John Ortberg:

When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

Available to borrow in braille, DAISY & USB

God is Closer Than You Think

Available to borrow in braille, DAISY & USB

Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them

Available to borrow in braille, DAISY & USB and giant print

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat

Available to borrow in braille, DAISY & USB and giant print

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In Your Quiet Time

Daily Devotionals

Every Day with Jesus from CWR

The March/April edition is entitled “Straight from the Heart.”

Are you living in the fullness of life that Jesus came to give us?

As Christians, we are filled with joy when we recognise our part in His purpose. In this verse-by-verse exploration of the letter to the Philippians, written straight from Paul’s heart, Selwyn Hughes demonstrates how an understanding of God’s priorities can lead to a life overflowing with opportunity, adventure and joy.

Available in DAISY CD or USB

Scripture Union's Daily Bread

The February/March edition covers the topics ‘Strength and courage’ from Joshua, ‘The right to be angry’ from Nahum and Jonah, and ‘The last days?’ from Mark’s Gospel.

Available in DAISY CD, USB or braille

The Upper Room from BRF

- available in large print (17pt, 20pt, 25pt, or 30pt)

Ms C from Banbridge writes:

“Please find enclosed a subscription to cover the cost of ‘The Upper Room’ you kindly send me.”

“It’s much easier to absorb what I read when I don’t have to strain to see what I’m reading. Thank-you!

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On Your Coffee Table

... or at your computer, or on your phone?

I love having a magazine to read with my coffee, but these days it’s just as likely to be on a screen as in my hands. If you too like the electronic media, here are some of the ways you can keep up with what’s happening at Torch.

The Torch e-news

This periodical e-zine is sent out whenever we have some news to share. It could be the latest books, a TFG Roadshow, up coming holidays, new initiatives. All you have to do to receive it is let Client Services know your email address.

The Torch Facebook Page

From your Facebook page, just search Torch Trust to see our daily posts and newsy items - don’t forget to “like” us

and we just love to get your “comments”. You can also search for REFLECTIONS from Torch Trust to find out who’s on the latest radio show.

Torch also has a Twitter feed. To access our “homepage” search for TorchTrust and “follow” us to keep up with what we’re up to!

Keeping up with other Christian events

When you’ve read all the news from Torch, Christian Today Digest is a good way of finding out what’s going on in the wider Christian world. This transcription comes from articles which have been published on their website and is available in audio CD; braille; e-mail; LP17, 20, 25, & 30.

Over 900 of you subscribe to this monthly magazine.

For further information contact Client Services 01858 438260 or email mailto:info@torchtrust.org

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Hot off the Press

A Selection of titles newly transcribed.

But first ...

“Six ways to change your thinking”

by Michele Morrison

(Source: Woman Alive excerpt January 2016)

De-clutter what’s there

A new year is often the time we think about de-cluttering some areas in our homes. But perhaps we need to de-clutter our minds as well, because nasty things like grudges and jealousy can clog righteous synaptic transmission - or the flow of good thoughts.

Filter what is coming in

Our minds are like giant radio receivers. The values of our culture are broadcast on all sorts of frequencies: through laws, friends, musical lyrics, movies, computer games, Twitter and Facebook “likes” and “favourites”. We need to filter what’s coming in.

So start to monitor your viewing/listening habits. Don’t be careless with what you expose your mind to. Just as you choose nutritional rather than junk food, so be wise in what you feed your mind with. Try to reduce the time you spend on a computer/tablet/smart phone, including social media. Don’t be controlled by others’ opinions or waste time on frivolous postings.

Try a negativity fast

Be alert to notice and reject habitual expressions, deep sighs, or gestures which betray an underlying sense of despair. And guard your thinking from gossip, criticism, envious or self-pitying attitudes. Take them captive and expel them immediately.

Meditate on Scripture

Just as meat takes on the flavours in which it is marinated, so do our minds. So read and, crucially, meditate on Scripture. If a word is going to impact your life, it needs to sink in and affect your thinking.

Dr Andrew Newberg (Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital in Philadelphia) has discovered that when we meditate, there is increased activity in the frontal lobes (an area of the brain involved with compassion and positive emotions) and changes in the thalamus, a part of the brain which helps us form relationships. Biblical meditation has a positive effect on your brain and consequently, on your actions and emotions.

Fill your mind with good things

Take encouragement from Philippians 4: “... Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”

Encourage others with good news stories. Take a walk and listen to God through nature or listen to praise music and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth, with others or alone.

Keep your mind active

It’s easy to become intellectually lazy. We can be seduced by celebrity mags, vacuous entertainments and empty articles. Not everything we read needs to be devotional, but it should stimulate good thinking. We need to keep our brains challenged and active if we are to transform our minds, and we need to persevere.

Why not join a book group, study the Bible with others and grapple with faith issues, or learn to articulate your faith in a way that is relevant to our culture?

To help you meditate:

The Torch Library is full of “noble, right, pure, lovely, admiral, excellent and praiseworthy” titles and our librarians are very happy to help you choose something. Here are a few of the newest titles, followed by some books promoting Christian meditation or with the author’s thoughts on their own meditations.

This first book is by one of our favourite authors, with a meditative theme: Love So Amazing by Pam Rhodes. The back cover synopsis:

Pam Rhodes is well known as the presenter of the world's number one religious television programme, “Songs of Praise”. Here she brings together her meditations on 40 of her favourite hymns, reflecting on the story behind them and their meaning. Each meditation concludes with a brief prayer.

Pam writes, “Hymns are prayers in our pockets, a spiritual first aid kit that has its home amongst our memories. Hymns speak to us and for us, heart to heart, soul to soul, connecting us in fellow feeling to the writer, whoever they were and whenever they wrote.”

The words of the great hymns aren't always cosy and comfortable. They nudge our conscience and scrape away at our complacency. They remind us of the true demands of the Christian life. They spur us on to react and respond. Most of all, they remind us of the Almighty God who created the heavens and earth in all their vastness and complexity, but who also created us to be unique and precious through His divine and amazing love.

Like the hymns it draws upon, Love So Amazing is sure to become a timeless classic that will be read time and again for hope, inspiration and life.

Available on DAISY CD and USB and to purchase on DAISY CD price £9.99

Advert

A music CD of the hymns is also available.

Love So Amazing: 40 Recordings Of My Favourite Hymns

This audio CD is available from Amazon price £12.99

John Sentamu’s Hope Stories

Presented by John Sentamu

(Source Premier Christianity July 2015)

Ever since Paul described what happened to him on the road to Damascus, Christian testimony has had a powerful effect. In this book, John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has selected 20 stories of individuals known to him whose faith has made a massive difference to their lives and who have found hope where hope was lacking. Each section is prefaced by a relevant Bible passage and a comment from the archbishop, and then the person featured tells their own story.

I found it extremely moving to read tales of drug addicts, alcoholics and criminals who, through finding faith, have been able to turn their lives around. Some accounts are less dramatic but equally full of hope; they tell of moving on from serious illness or marriage difficulties, for example.

Each piece is short and can be read in a few minutes, making this an ideal book to dip in and out of, or to lend to someone who is not a keen reader but could be encouraged by the experiences of those featured. The archbishop’s comments that preface each account are always encouraging and challenging in themselves. Care has been taken to select a cross section of people from both genders and a range of backgrounds, and although the stories follow a similar format, I did not find them in any way repetitive.

Reading this book certainly had the effect of making me feel more hopeful, and grateful for the way God is working in so many lives today.

Available to borrow in braille & giant print and to purchase price £8.99 - DAISY and USB coming soon!

Have you read John Sentamu’s first book Faith Stories?

Available to borrow in braille, DAISY, USB & giant print and to purchase price £8.99 (USB for loan only)

Arthur’s Call

by Frances Young

(Source Premier Christianity excerpt Feb 2015)

Modern society places a high value on success, learning and competence. In many ways, our church communities do the same. So where do the profoundly disabled fit in; people whose bodies and minds are “broken”, who will not develop or progress at all? How do we perceive the value of such a life, let alone believe we can learn something from it?

This important book details a mother’s journey of faith from the moment she was told her baby was severely brain-damaged. Author Frances Young is a Methodist minister and former Edward Cadbury professor of theology at the University of Birmingham.

...The author writes: “it is now possible to describe the fundamental changes in my life as a move from struggling with the ‘why’ questions to grasping that I’ve had privileged access to the deepest truths of Christianity.”

Throughout the book, Arthur’s story is intertwined with Young’s spiritual journey. She describes her wilderness years of deep despair when Arthur’s condition challenged many easy answers to questions of faith but later shaped her whole theological approach, including her view of the cross and redemption.

There’s a total lack of sentimentality here; the insights and understanding Young reaches are rooted in painful realism. In that sense, it is sometimes uncomfortable to read. However, on the whole the book is engaging, with profound theology that is accessible to a lay person.

This is a deeply moving story - challenging but ultimately joyful - and one that will provide the reader with a new sense of identity in Christ.

Available to borrow in giant print, DAISY & USB. Coming soon in braille and to purchase (in all but USB) price £10.68

John Stott’s Right Hand:

The untold story of Frances Whitehead by Julia Cameron

(Source Christian Today.com excerpt Dec 2015)

The book offers rare glimpses into the ministry of John Stott from the other side of the podium, through the eyes of one who spent hours in devoted but unglamorous service hammering out speeches and books on a clunky typewriter, running errands, organising hectic schedules, and even sewing new curtains.

It was a life of service that went far beyond the call of duty, and as the other half of John's two-man team, it is little wonder he came to regard her affectionately as “Frances the Omnicompetent”.

But the book also reveals the warm humour in their relationship - Stott also liked to call Frances “Miss Doom” because of her pessimistic side.

Whitehead, now 89, was at All Souls on Sunday morning for the launch of the book. Asked what it was like working so closely with Uncle John for so many years, she answered with humour: “It was very busy. There was a lot of typing. John Stott wrote 50 books. I typed 50 books.”

Explaining why she wrote the book, Cameron said: “Frances was on the staff of the BBC, working for the redoubtable feminist producer Mary Treadgold, when Stott, out of the blue, asked her to become his secretary. Twenty-five years later they would be known around the world as ‘Uncle John’ and ‘Auntie Frances’.

“Stott, who died in 2011, was to say to one of his study assistants that he hoped he would die before Frances as he didn't know how he would cope without her. This book adds a measure of completion to the biographies on Stott himself.”

Available to borrow in DAISY or USB or to purchase in DAISY price £9.99

Books about meditation and books with meditations

Celebration Discipline

by Richard Foster - A profound and richly rewarding study of the classical disciplines of the spiritual life. A mine of spiritual wisdom, psychological insight, common sense and gentle humour. Includes a chapter on meditation. Available in braille, DAISY & USB and giant print and to purchase, with the exception of USB, price £6.00

Now Read This

by William Atkinson - Learn how to read, memorise, meditate, understand and apply the Scriptures, and so put your life on an unshakeable foundation that will enable you to grow in the power of the Holy Spirit. Available to borrow in DAISY & USB.

The Crown and the Fire

by Tom Wright - Instead of the seven words that Jesus spoke from the cross, Tom Wright invites you to consider seven words that people spoke to the cross - people like Mary and the Roman centurion who witnessed the crucifixion, and Pontius Pilate, who helped to instigate it. The result is a powerful sequence of meditations that will move you to reassess your own response to Jesus' death, his resurrection, and the continuing influence of his Spirit on those who follow him today. Available in braille, DAISY & USB and giant print and to purchase with the exception of USB, price £8.99

Twenty Questions Jesus Asked

by Elizabeth Rundle - “Have you never read?”, “Who do you say I am?”, “Why are you so afraid?” This book reflects on twenty questions Jesus asked and wonders, “What is he asking you?” Available on DAISY & USB and to purchase on DAISY, price £5.00

Stephen Cottrell

has written three small books with some Easter meditations.

The Things He Carried

The Things He Said

The Nail

These are all available in braille, DAISY & USB and giant print and to purchase, price £5.00 each (with the exception of USB).

Time for Reflection

by Ann Persson - Meditations to use throughout the year - It is not easy to switch from activity to stillness, from noise to silence, from achieving to letting go, from doing to being in the presence of God. This book of biblically rooted meditation provides accessible and practical routes to exploring prayer as that way of being in God's presence, letting the sediment of our lives settle so that we may have a true reflection of ourselves and of God within us.

Loosely based around the seasons of the church year and also drawing inspiration from the seasons of nature, the meditations range from short 'spaces by grace' to longer exercises that can form the basis of a personal quiet day or retreat. Available on DAISY & USB and to purchase on DAISY price £8.99

Paws for Reflection

by MR Wells - These meditations about canines and the people who adore them reveal how much our heavenly Father loves and cares for us every day.

You’ll laugh, smile, and perhaps become a bit misty-eyed. Available in braille, DAISY & USB and giant print for loan only.

There are many more meditative titles in the library so if you can’t see anything here to inspire you, give our Librarians a call on 01858 438266 or email library@torchtrust.org

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General Literary News

Libraries Lend Record Numbers of E-books and Audio-books in 2015

by Daniel Berkowitz

(Source Digital Book World excerpt Jan 2016)

2015 was a big year for libraries’ digital efforts, with a record number of readers borrowing e-books and digital audio-books.

Overdrive, the leading supplier of digital content to libraries and schools, reported that, in 2015, readers borrowed more than 169 million e-books. This marked a 24% increase over 2014. There was also a notable spike in audio-book usage, which saw a faster growth rate than e-book library borrowing.

Some other notable stats include:

• E-book circulation was 125 million (19% increase over 2014)

• Digital audio-book circulation was 43 million (36% growth over 2014)

• Streaming video circulation was up 83% over 2014

• 33 library systems circulated 1 million or more digital books in 2015

• Lending of digital magazines and newspapers grew significantly in 2015 (introduced in late 2014)

• Reader visits to OverDrive-powered library and school websites was 750 million (up 14% from 2014).

Authors could become an “endangered species” thanks to e-book deals

by Hannah Furness

(Source: The Telegraph 6th excerpt Jan 2016)

Professional writers could become an “endangered species” unless publishers start paying them properly for e-books, the Society of Authors has warned.

The SoA, which represents professional authors, said lovers of literature would soon be left with “less and less quality content”.

In an open letter to all publishers, they called on executives to treat authors more fairly, drawing up less punishing contracts and paying them more.

Research has already shown the median income of British authors is £11,000, which the society argues is far below the “level deemed necessary for a socially acceptable living standard”.

Ian Rankin [of The Rebus novels fame] has previously said it took him 14 years for him to make decent money from writing.

Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors, said: “Without serious contract reform the professional author will become an endangered species and publishers, as well as society at large, will be left with less and less quality content.

“Unless publishers treat their authors more equitably the decline in the number of full-time writers could have serious implications for the breadth and quality of content that drives the economic success and cultural reputation of our creative industries in the UK.”

In particular, the society calls on publishers to give authors “at least 50%” of revenue from their e-books, as apposed to a “mere” 25%.

It also implores them not to “discriminate” against writers who do not have powerful agents, giving them fewer “draconian provisions” that put them at a disadvantage.

Joanne Harris: 'authors whose books we enjoy have the same right to fair pay as the people who empty our bins. The letter is supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.

It follows a study conducted by Queen Mary, University of London, published in April last year which showed just one in ten authors can now afford to earn a living from writing alone.

This equated to a drop from 40% from just a decade ago.

The report highlighted a top-heavy market, with 5% of authors earning 42.3% of all income from professional writing, while those working in non-fiction and academia struggled.

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On Your Bedside Table

A Selection of Christian Fiction from the Torch Library

The Last Queen of Sheba

by Jill Frances Hudson

A vividly realised and beautifully crafted novel woven around the fabled meeting between Sheba and Solomon.

Available in DAISY & USB

The Archbishop: A Novel

by Michele Guinness

This clever book, often more a novelised autobiography of the fictional Archbishop than a novel, is an intense thriller that will keep you enthralled till the very last page.

Available in DAISY & USB

The Shepherd’s Song

by Duffey & Myers

Kate wonders if she's done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.” Her handwritten 23rd Psalm, makes its way back to its starting point, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures.

Available in braille, DAISY & USB and GP

The Fight

by Luke Wordley

Despite wowing ringside crowds, Sam's boxing success fails to bring him peace or happiness, while Jerry's inner struggles threaten the very core of his beliefs. Can Sam be saved from his rage? Or will Jerry's reawakened ambition tear them both apart?

Available in DAISY & USB

A Pennyworth of Peppermints

by Mary Weeks Milard

This delightful story captures a little of what life was like for families living through the Great War, and how faith in God can make a difference, whatever the circumstances.

Available in Braille, DAISY & USB and GP

The Boy Who Loved Rain

by Gerard Kelly

A wonderful, intelligent and searching novel about the toxic nature of secrets, and the possibility of starting again.

Available in DAISY & USB

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The 25 best-selling Christian authors in the UK

by Eddie Olliffe

Thanks to data supplied by CLC Wholesale UK, Together Magazine (Dec 2015) is able to exclusively reveal the Top 25 Best-selling Christian Authors in the UK Market.

The Top 25

Alphabetical by surname:

Francis Chan; Gary Chapman; Nicky Gumble; Timothy Keller; RT Kendall; Nicky & Sila; Lee; CS Lewis; Max Lucado; Jeff Lucas; Joyce Meyer; Beth Moore; Stormie Omartian; John Ortberg; Nick Page; Rob Parsons; David Pawson; Adrian Plass; Francine Rivers; Corrie Ten Boom; Nick Vujicic; Rick Warren; Rowan Williams ;Tom Wright; Philip Yancey; Sarah Young

[24 of which have books in the Torch Library!]

Other highlights

52% of authors are from the USA, 40% from the UK. The perception that the Christian book market is dominated by the USA does not appear to be borne out.

72% of authors are male, 24% are female with 4% of titles written by couples.

48% of authors write in the Inspirational genre, 32% in Teaching and Theology, 12% in Relationships and 8% in Christian Fiction.

Torch loan statistics

Of all the books borrowed in 2015 here is what you have been reading:

Braille loans by genre:

Study 21%; Spirituality 21%; Biography 46%; Fiction 12%

DAISY & USB loans by genre:

Study 15%; Spirituality 22%; Biography 45%; Fiction 18%

Giant Print loans by genre:

Study 22%; Spirituality 20%; Biography 45%; Fiction 13%

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