Reading for All

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

2016 Issue 2

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...

By the time you receive this issue of Reading for All, the Queen will be 90 years young - Happy Birthday your Majesty! She is revered, respected and admired the world over for her commitment and faithful service. But she gives all the credit to God's faithfulness to her. You can read more about her faith in a superb little book entitled The Servant Queen and the King she serves.

Serving people new to the sight loss journey, Sarah Brookman tells us about our new Journeying With By Phone.

And on a recent visit to Hinckley TFG, I was served with a really lovely tea, an essential part any Torch Group meeting.

David Rhodes who has written a great new fiction book, Finding Mr Goldman, talks about using his writing talent to serve God.

We start a brand new feature – ‘A word of prayer', where we hope to inspire your prayers, introduce you to new prayers and books on prayer.

In ‘Hot off the press' you'll read about why Nick Page thinks ideas are dangerous and we offer you some of our best book ideas.

One of our best magazine ideas - Premier Christianity, is featured in ‘On your coffee table'; and for ‘Your bedside table' there are some great biography ideas.

Happy Reading! Lydia Tebbutt, Editor

Quote of the Quarter:

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Back to Contents

Resource news

The Servant Queen and the King She Serves

(Produced by LICC, The Bible Society, & HOPE)

The country and Commonwealth is celebrating her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday. From her actual birthday on 21 April through to the official birthday celebrations from 10-12 June 2016, people will be organising and participating in a wide range of events and activities. It's an amazing opportunity for churches to bring communities together to say thank you: to God for a faithful life well lived, and to the Queen for her unstinting service.

"The Servant Queen and the King she serves uses the Queen's own words to draw out the central role of her Christian faith and the Bible. It is designed to be a gift from you and your church to people in your workplace, networks and community. It's a conversation starter." (Source: The Bible Society website Mar'16)

Torch has transcribed this beautiful publication in braille, large print (17pt, 20pt, 25pt, 30pt) & audio CD and we're making a free gift of the accessible versions to anyone blind or partially sighted reading this issue of

The ideal book for Book Groups!

(Source: Mark Greene Executive Director of LICC & Co-author of The Servant Queen)

There were 6 people in our book group - 5 women and me.

It seemed like a pretty good deal. I was single and so were they, though none of them were Christians - to begin with. Of course as we talked, joked, discussed, debated and disagreed about the issues raised by the plots and the characters, we learned a lot about each other and grew in friendship and understanding. And, inevitably, there were gospel perspectives to offer - there almost always are.

Amazingly, within two years, two of them became followers of Jesus.

Yet I don't recall any dramatic "God conversations" - I just knew that many of them were on a journey towards faith and I hoped that my friendship would have a part to play. I was hoping and praying that they would see and hear something of God's deep love for them - not in forced conversion-centred conversations but in the natural ebb and flow of our shared lives and stories. And it's clear that God was at work.

So that's where this little book comes in - in to your book club, or workplace, or parent-and-toddler group, or pub quiz team, or business breakfast, or aerobics class ... I hope it will be of help as you too seek to offer them something of God's love. It's not there to be wielded like a crowbar from some evangelistic tool box, but rather as a simple way to open up conversations about the important stuff of life and allow you to deepen a relationship with someone you would love to know Jesus for themselves.

Maybe the conversations will begin with one of the beautiful images that capture something so very tender in the Queen's interactions with many of the people she meets. That's certainly something that has touched me as I've worked on the project. Or perhaps it will be a more personal memory evoked for someone who remembers watching her coronation - as my own dad recalled the event it triggered a conversation about his national service. Or maybe someone will be surprised, impressed, by the quiet fearlessness of the Queen's openness about faith despite being a public figure in an increasingly secular society.

Whatever it is, the book demonstrates just how closely the Queen's story is connected to Christ's story, which connects to our own story of coming to Christ and trying to follow him. And that in turn can open up space for others to talk about their own story and their own beliefs.

So wherever you find yourself over the coming months, as the Queen's various birthday celebrations unfold, I pray that God will show you opportunities to deepen your relationships and share something of her story, his story, your story and other people's stories - both with the book and without it - to his glory.

Grace and peace to you.

Other new resource titles

Torch has also recently transcribed the following titles and made them available for you to purchase.

From the Lifebuilder series Christian Disciplines in braille and large print price £4.00 and The Twelve Disciples in braille also price £4.00.

Adding another title to The Pilgrim series is The Eucharist (6 Grow Stage) making this the 4th title that Torch has made available in braille and variable large print sizes, price £5.99. Do let us know if you would like any of the other 8 titles in this series transcribed.

Another accessible hymn book

You may remember that Torch transcribed Singing The Faith, the Methodist hymn book. Following on that success, the Salvation Army asked us to transcribe their new hymn book - The Song Book of the Salvation Army. This is now available in 13 braille volumes priced £13.95. A much smaller book, (but with a much longer title!) The Salvation Army Adult and Family Ministries Song Book is also now available in one braille volume price £2.49.

Spring Harvest book

Game Changers by Gavin & Anne Calver is the book to buy if you missed Spring Harvest this year.

Have you ever wanted to change the world? Authors Gavin and Anne Calver examine our culture and consider where we stand as the Church within it. Drawing on the narrative of Moses, they show how we can be "game changers". The book is presented in five provoking sections:

1. Encounter: like Moses at the burning bush, we must make time to encounter God.

2. Engage: like Moses with Pharaoh we must engage with our communities and the issues at hand.

3. Ensemble: we the body of Christ, and everyone plays a vital part. Like Hur, Aaron, Moses and Joshua we will minister most effectively when we do it together.

4. Equip: how do we hear and respond to what the Lord is doing; listen, see and respond to what the Spirit is saying, and be equipped to go with others, to make a difference.

5. Empower: like Moses and Joshua we need to pass on the vision and empower the next generation; who knows, we may never see what we dream of in our generation alone.

God is very much at work in the world; he is doing new and different things by the power of his Spirit. The question is: do we want to join him? If so, it's time to become "game changers".

Available in braille and variable large print sizes, price £7.99

Journeying With - by phone!

By Sarah Brookman

We are pleased to announce that Torch Trust's telephone befriending service, Journeying With by Phone, is now up and running.

Our first trained Christian volunteers have been matched with clients and offer a friendly supportive telephone call once a week, for a period of 6 months, to clients who are adjusting to the trauma of sight loss. They are a ‘listening ear' and provide invaluable emotional and practical support at a time of crisis. We know that emotionally, sight loss can bring a sense of isolation and exclusion, while practically speaking the list of difficulties is endless. Some describe the trauma of sight loss as being similar to bereavement. Volunteer befrienders are able to journey alongside and offer the gift of encouragement and support on a regular basis so that, whatever they are facing, they don't do it alone.

Here's what Judith had to say about the benefit of telephone befriending...

Until I had received the first phone call, I didn't realise how much I needed it. It's good to talk to someone right outside my own situation...giving me emotional support, or whatever you want to call it, really helped. I had a need to process what was happening to me in my life.

For more information on Journeying With by Phone contact Client Services on 01858 438260

Reflections Radio Show

Shows on the latest audio CD include:

CBM

Formerly the Christian Blind Mission, they tell us all about their work offering practical, sustainable support to the world's poorest communities.

Hind Sisters

Tucked away in a quiet corner of England, this Christian home offering supported living to older ladies is a true sanctuary - and its residents have stories to share!

Reflections of Marilyn part 2

A personal episode from Marilyn as she shares some of her own spiritual thoughts and reflections.

A Vision for the USA

Blind pastor Tim Snyder tells us all about his exciting new ministry in South Carolina.

Torch holidays

All Torch Holidays are fully inclusive - covering all meals and beverages, outings and activities. Here are a few to whet your appetite. To read our full list of holidays you can visit our website torchtrust.org, and click on "Holidays and Retreats" in the sidebar. Alternatively you can call 01273 832282 or email holidays@torchtrust.org

May 10-13 - Moving Forward

To encourage, equip, and enable you on the next step of your sight loss journey. £220

June 27-02 July - Adventure Week

Our holiday for those who want to start getting more active. £450

6-13 July - A Sip of Summer

Come and join us for some summer fun. £560

12-17 September - Walking the Way

An active week walking up to 10 miles a day. £420

Torch Groups

There are around a hundred Torch Fellowship Groups, who typically meet once a month and, like the Hinckley TFG, they usually have a very good tea!

Tea and cakes feature at our Book Group meetings too!

Torch Book Groups are really easy to start up. You just need a Facilitator, an Assistant and somewhere to meet. The Torch Library supplies all your audio books and Client Services supports you as much or as little as you need. Ring today for your TBG Information Pack and start thinking who you will invite.

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Author interview

David Rhodes is a former journalist and parish priest. His extensive work among homeless people led to the innovative Retreats on the Streets. He blogs at www.turbulentbooks.co.uk and tweets @RhodesWriter.

(Source: Excerpt of SPCK (publisher) Interview with David Rhodes. YouTube April 2016)

SPCK: What's the story of Finding Mr Goldman about?

David: It's the story of the unexpected. Unexpected death and unexpected love. It's the story of an evil and wealthy man who dies and finds himself plunged into a nightmare in which his earthly life of violence and ruthless greed is laid bare before him. Accompanied by a very likeable tramp who bares a similarity to Jesus, he sets out on a quest to try to save his soul. But confronted by the shattering reality of hell, he begins to see that all is lost. And it's when he reaches a point of absolute despair that something quite amazing happens.

SPCK: Can you tell us why you wrote the book?

David: I wrote the book because it was unfinished business. I'd done something that I was ashamed of. Something which was really wrong. My first book was called Faith in Dark Places, and that book was about how the gospel was good news for the poor but it's also good news from among the poor. So the focus was on poverty. As I was writing that book I was thinking how much poverty was caused by the greed of the rich. So part way through that book, I inserted a little story which I'd thought up. Which was how a rich man dies and goes, not to heaven, but to the gates of heaven and he can't get in. He can't get in because he can't let go of his earthly possessions. And that's where I ended the story. And I left the rich man there, stranded for all eternity. I have to say I did derive a grim satisfaction from writing that. It was like taking revenge on the rich. Later on I thought, that's not right, vengeance is no part of love and you can't respond to injustice with hatred.

If vengeance has no part of love then vengeance has no part of God. So I began to wonder how God responds to absolute evil in the world. Is it by vengeance or is it by something else? That's why I wrote the Goldman story. Goldman actually gives us a clue in the story because at one point he says to the tramp, who's called Shepherd, "Inside every rich man there is a frightened child." And you begin to have an insight into one of the drivers of greed and violence in the world. Somehow it's a way of understanding how a God of love would react to what happens in the world which we call evil. I don't mean evil in a sort of academic, theoretical sense. I mean evil in the sense of stuff that damages the planet through climate change; stuff that damages people, especially people living in poverty. That's what the Goldman book really explores but in a dramatic and theoretically fictional way.

SPCK: Who is your favourite character?

David: My favourite character in the book ought to be Shepherd the tramp, because Shepherd is really the Jesus figure and I really like Shepherd because he really cares about Goldman and he teases him - Shepherd's got a wonderful wicked sense of humour, as I suspect Jesus has as well. But actually the character that I enjoyed writing the most is the cowardly window cleaner. Now you may say "what on earth is a cowardly window cleaner doing in a book like this?" and I'm not going to tell you, you'll have to read the book. But it would make a blindingly good Bible study!

SPCK: Who's your favourite author?

David: My favourite author is probably Charles Dickens, partly because he's such a brilliant writer. His stories are so wonderfully engaging, his characters are so rich, but also because of his absolute passion for justice and his utter outrage at the way the poor were treated in Victorian Britain. He had a huge impact on society so I would almost certainly say Charles Dickens. The "almost" bit comes in because I think there is someone even better favourite than that and that would be St Luke. I think Luke's gospel is the most astounding piece of writing. Thinking about what's in it - eg the parables of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan. If we didn't have Luke's gospel, I think our faith and our understanding of God and our understanding of Jesus would be hugely impoverished. You could probably say that about almost anything that's in the New Testament. But actually I think Luke really nails it about what Jesus was doing and why he was doing it.

SPCK: Of the books you've written which is the best?

David: My instinct is to say the first one - Faith in Dark Places; partly because it was the first and therefore it was really special. But also because it was about people I've met on the streets, people living in real poverty. It was exploring how the gospel is the good news for the poor but it's also good news from among the poor. Faith in Dark Places was about how we love our neighbour, even when our neighbour is someone really different to us.

When I came to write the Goldman book it is really about "how do we love our enemy" which is equally required of us by Jesus. It's very easy to demonise the rich. I realised that that's not the answer. There's a bit in Goldman where you realise how vulnerable he is. The thought occurred to me that we are never going to solve the problem of poverty until we figure out what's actually causing greed. What's the driver for injustice in the world? I think the Goldman book explores that and so in a way I think that is the best book. But it's not for me to say which book do I consider is the best book. It's which book really best serves God and that's what I'm interested in and that's why I write books.

Finding Mr Goldman is available to borrow from the Torch library in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB and to purchase price, £10.68 in all media with the exception of USB.

Faith in Dark Places is available from Amazon on Kindle price £9.48

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General literary news

Reading Well Books on Prescription

(Source: Excerpt Telegraph.co.uk October 2015)

The findings of the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme come ahead of a 2016 scheme aimed specifically at supporting young people with mental health problems, a growing issue in the UK.

The present adult's scheme, delivered in partnership between The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians, funded by the Arts Council and endorsed by Large Prints, has now reached around 445,000 people since it was launched in 2013.

The two-year evaluation report based on a survey of service users and released to mark World Mental Health Day, shows that book-based therapy has helped people struggling with common mental health conditions and dementia.

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A word of prayer

Featuring books, prayers and requests on and about prayer.

"Bible reading & prayer - foundational throughout the history of Torch"

By Gordon Temple

(Source: Adapted from 50 Steps Forward from Torch Trust)

At Torch House, each day starts with Bible reading and prayer, with everyone gathered in the conference room. Prayer is offered for staff, volunteers, and people with sight loss we have contact with throughout the UK and around the world, fellowship groups, publishing projects, events and holidays, Journeying With, financial needs. As it says in our Daily Prayer Guide produced for supporters: "Prayer connects us with our heavenly Father, with his insight, foresight and resources. Without it we hardly dare do anything in his service; with it we can do "all things" that are in line with his perfect will."

Because prayer is so important to Torch, we are starting this new regular feature to encourage, inform and request prayers. We start with a request for you to include the "Ratification of the Marrakech Treaty" in your prayers.

"Marrakech Treaty Ratification and Implementation Campaign"

(Source: excerpt WorldBlindUnion.org)

The Marrakesh treaty (official treaty name: the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities), was signed in Morocco on 28 June 2013. To date it has been ratified by 15 countries. Once the Treaty is ratified by 20 countries, it will come into force and allow for an increase of materials in accessible formats through cross-border sharing and the increased production of books in more countries. The push is on in 2016 to get countries around the world to ratify the treaty for it to come into force and speed up the availability of accessible books everywhere.

Praying for Others by Nick Fawcett

from Our Broken World available in braille, large print & DAISY price £3.00

"Whenever you responded to the least of your brothers and sisters, you responded to me."

Matthew 25:40

Hear my prayer for others
in the trials they face - fellow sisters, brothers:
grant to all your grace.

Heal the crushed and broken,
body, mind and soul -
let your word be spoken,
touch and make them whole.

Chide the rich and greedy,
Strengthen the oppressed,
Reach out to the needy,
comfort the distressed.

May the humble flourish,
may the poor be fed,
in your mercy nourish
all who crave for bread.

Bring to every nation
harmony once more,
reconciliation,
peace instead of war.

Hear my intercession,
make my life a prayer;
help me give expression
to your love and care.

Amen.

Join Torch for our annual Day of Prayer on Wednesday June 1st 2016

Each year we put aside our every-day work and the tools we use, such as computers, printers and telephones, and take up the work of prayer for a whole day.

We bring all our dreams and ideas as well as our cares and concerns to a God who has been so faithful to Torch over the last 50 plus years.

If you don't already receive the annual prayer letter, and would like to, call Client Services on 01858 438260

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Hot off the press

A Selection of titles newly transcribed.

But first ...

Ideas. Get them before they're banned!

By Nick Page

(Source: Together magazine Jan/Feb 2016)

A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit the new Birmingham Central Library. It's a wonderful place. Millions of books, along with reading spaces, writing desks, places for events, art galleries, a café. It's a monument to our culture. (Naturally, they've now had to cut the opening hours and sack half the staff. So if you're going to visit, please do so soon, before the opening hours get cut to 15 minutes on every other Tuesday afternoon.)

My visit took place the day after the terrible violence in France. And it seemed to me that this kind of place was exactly the kind of thing that was under threat. Because the violence in Paris - not to mention Nigeria, Mali, Iraq etc. - is driven by ideology. It's a war against ideas.

There is a war raging against writing, against bloggers and poets and journalists and anyone who offers a different opinion. This war is happening not just in Iraq and Syria, where libraries are ransacked and books thrown into flames, but in India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, anywhere where people dare to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. Writing has power, you see. Writing is about ideas, and ideas are dangerous.

It's also happening here. Free speech seems less free than it used to be. People stand behind the strange idea that we have "a right not to be offended". Universities, of all places, are some of the worst offenders. Germaine Greer, of all people, was recently banned from speaking at a university because she had dared to emit some non-PC opinion. Students in America have been filmed shouting down Professors who try to defend the right to present an opposing point of view.

Christians can get very holier-than-thou about this, but we do it as well. Not long ago I was banned from speaking to a student Christian Union because I refused to sign their statement of faith. It wasn't the statement itself that was the problem, it was the principle. What are they scared of? Shouldn't students, of all people, be willing to hear from Christians who might have a different view? But no, apparently they are not students, but living, breathing offence magnets, who must be protected from infection by dangerous, middle-aged radicals.

As publishers, booksellers and writers, it is our job - our calling - to bring new ideas before our readers. Sometimes these ideas are genuinely new, mostly they are as old as the hills and only seem new because we have forgotten them. That's why we need to protect a broad range of publishers and writers within the Christian world. We need to hear the voices that are different to ours, to read the books that represent other positions.

It was Oliver Cromwell - a man not renowned as a champion of freedom, but who was surprisingly open to hearing other points of view - who once pleaded with some opponents, "Think it possible you may be mistaken". (He was writing to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland. Good luck with that, Ollie.)

We need to hear both voices of certainty and voices of doubt. It heartens me that the Bible includes Ecclesiastes, and vitriolic, angry Psalms and songs of lament. Those are real, uncomfortable voices. We do not want to hear them, but they must be attended to. And we need our opponents, those who think that Christianity is rubbish, or even hurtful. The great texts of the church fathers were written to counter such arguments.

Birmingham Library was opened in 2013 by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived a Taliban assassination attempt, and who now lives in the city. At the opening she said "Let us not forget that even one book, one pen, one teacher can change the world".

She was shot because she wanted to go to school, to study, to read, to learn.

Her enemies knew how dangerous that was. Because it might give her ideas.

The biography ideas

God and Churchill

by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley

God and Churchill tells the remarkable story of how one man, armed with belief in his divine destiny, embarked on a course to save Christian civilisation to which Adolf Hitler and the forces of evil stood opposed. It traces the personal, political and spiritual path of one of history's greatest leaders and offers hope for our own violent and troubled times.

Jonathan Sandys is the great-grandson of Churchill and Wallace Henley was the former White House aide to President Nixon.

Available for loan only from the Torch Library in DAISY or USB.

Mp3CD available to purchase from Amazon price £25.49 & Kindle £15.75

The Thomas the Tank Engine Man: Life of Reverend W Awdry

by Brian Sibley

(Source: Good Reads)

The enchanting biography of Reverend W Awdry, a devoted pastor and family man, who adored trains. He started to tell stories about Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, in order to entertain his son Christopher. Those stories have gone on to entertain generations of children around the world. A convinced pacifist, Awdry was thrown out of one curacy and denied another during the Second World War, because of his beliefs. He was a man of courage, who believed that you should live by certain rules. He built his imaginary world on the island of Sodor on these rules, and showed how those who transgressed them would always be "punished, but never scrapped", as he said. The Thomas the Tank Engine Man is a charming biography and a fascinating insight into the life of Reverend W Awdry

Available for loan only from the Torch Library in DAISY or USB or to purchase on DAISY CD price £14.29

The study ideas

The Tactile Heart

by Prof. John Hull

(Source: Review from Gordon Temple March 2015)

From the interplay of John's theological reflection with his life experience of sight loss unique insights emerge.

In this intimate book we accompany John on two parallel journeys - his transition from sighted to blind and the development of his theology. For me the confluence of the two is most significant in the epiphany he describes when reflecting upon the account of Jesus being blindfold and taunted in the run up to the crucifixion. In this moment the sighted Jesus becomes his, "blind brother".

Losing the faculty of sight is akin to a close family bereavement. It's a loss experience and when the sight loss is progressive, as it was for John, it has the particularly unkind feature of bringing multiple losses as the world the person inhabits shrinks. John refers to the different and smaller world that he inhabits and to which he has become acculturated and in which he has discovered a new beauty of a tactile kind.

With the deftness of his writing and the depth of his theological thinking John takes the reader into his world, and explores its scenery. This other world has given him a perspective on the sighted world which most inhabit without ever recognising it.

Available for loan from the Torch Library in braille and giant print or to purchase, price £25.00.

The devotional ideas

Weakness is the Way

by J.I. Packer

(Source: Alan Hill 2013 GoodBookReviews.org.uk)

This is a helpful series of meditations on verses drawn from 2 Corinthians. The aim of the book is to illustrate the truth of 2 Corinthians 12:10, "When I am weak then I am strong". He shows that the way of true spiritual strength is the humble way of consciously recognising that we are weak in spiritual things. It is only in Christ that we are strong.

The three main chapters apply this truth to three areas: the Christian's calling, the Christian's giving, the Christian's hoping.

Mr Packer writes in his usual clear, pastoral way. He especially draws on his own experience of getting older and physically weaker. Those who know they are weak will find encouragement here. Those who do not realise they are weak will come to see the deep spiritual truth of Paul's words. This book is well worth reading.

Available for loan from the Torch Library in braille, giant print, DAISY or USB or to purchase, price £8.00.

The fiction Ideas

The Broadmoor Legacy Trilogy

by Tracie Peterson with Judith Miller

(Source: Mary Bartholomew 2010 GoodBookReviews.org.uk)

The trilogy is made up of A Daughter's Inheritance focused around Fanny; An Unexpected Love about Sophie and A Surrendered Heart about Amanda.

Fanny, Sophie and Amanda three cousins, who are closer than many sisters, are growing up in the affluent family of "The Broadmoors" at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Now teenagers, they are used to everything that money can buy, but that does not protect them from the greed of Amanda's father, the oldest of three brothers, the fathers of the girls.

The stories are set in The Thousand Islands area where Lake Ontario empties into the St Lawrence River on the borders of Canada and the USA, the family's summer retreat and their town homes in Rochford, South Dakota.

Trouble over the will left by the patriarch of the family drives each of the stories which hold their own share of grief, joy, intrigue and love. These stories were my holiday reading this Eastertide and it was a delight to go from book to book without stopping. I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

The Broadmoor Legacy Trilogy made up of book 1, A Daughter's Inheritance, book 2, An Unexpected Love and book 3, A Surrendered Heart is available for loan from the Torch Library on DAISY CD or USB

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On your coffee table

Accessible Magazines

Premier Christianity

- a market leader in Christian magazines - now available every month in audio from the Torch Trust.

(Source: premierchristianity.com April'16)

If you want to know what's going on in the UK Church, read Premier Christianity. We believe in connecting Christians to each other. We all know we have tribal tendencies - we attend conferences to hear speakers we agree with, we read books by the same speakers and we mix less and less with people who think differently. We don't think it should be this way.

That's why we seek to engage the breadth of the Church in the UK and beyond; because we don't believe that any one ‘tribe' has the answer, and we have to keep talking to each other. To that end, you will find articles on theology, biblical interpretation, interviews, debates and changes and trends within the Church scene from a whole range of people.

But the magazine is not just about the Christian bubble. We have to do everything we can to connect to the world around us. The magazine tackles issues which affect the whole of society, including politics, economics, international and current affairs. We also make sure we take a regular look at cultural trends - usually in music, books, films and TV programmes - looking for prevailing messages in our culture and how the Christian story can speak into them.

Finally, Premier Christianity is about helping you go deeper with God. The Christian life is not easy, but it is good. We want to help you through the difficult times and cheer you on in the good. We cover prayer, hearing from God, pastoral issues, spiritual disciplines...anything which we think might encourage your personal faith, and inspire you to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

Because at the end of the day, that's what we're all here to do.

A great team effort

One of our aims at Torch is to make accessible the Christian literature which most sighted Christians are reading. Premier Christianity is the most popular Christian magazine and therefore an obvious choice. But with an average of 80 print pages per month, this is no small undertaking. It takes a team of 7 people, managed by James Brookman, to produce what we think is a great accessible version of Premier Christianity.

Available in DAISY CD & USB

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General literary news

"Reading a book is best for empathy"

(Source: Excerpt theguardian.com Apr.2016)

In a new YouGov opinion poll commissioned by Amnesty International UK, parents were asked to select the pastime from a list of activities that they thought developed their child's empathy the most - and reading has reached the top spot. More than half of 964 parents polled (53%) thought reading a book helped their children put themselves in someone else's shoes, with just 12% saying TV and just 3% believing playing a computer game was the best way to develop empathy...

As books spotlight the psychology of the characters and often focus on complex relationships and situations, they can be a key element in teaching the unwritten rules of social communication and understanding emotions.

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In your quiet time

Daily devotionals

Every Day with Jesus from CWR

Available in DAISY CD or USB

The May/June edition is entitled The Presence of God.

Do you feel God's presence every day - not just theoretically, but in reality?

The Christian life is so much more than just following a set of rituals and traditions. In this issue, Selwyn Hughes shares how we can practise the presence of God and experience him more powerfully in our everyday lives. Each day he unpacks how God not only wants us to know about him but also to experience his presence and live in the fullness of life as he intended.

Scripture Union's Daily Bread

Available In DAISY CD, USB or braille

Daily Bread is the Bible reading guide that aims to help you hear from God as you read the Bible. If you've ever asked the question, ‘What possible relevance can this verse have for me today?' or ‘What difference does this passage make to my life?' then it could be for you...

The June/July edition covers the topics ‘Early Days' from the first 4 chapters of Acts, ‘Faith breaks through' from Joshua, and ‘Longing for Love' from Song of Songs.

The Upper Room from BRF

Available in large print (17pt, 20pt, 25pt & 30pt)

This worldwide devotional starts out with a scripture verse; then a comment or meditation, followed by a prayer and a "Thought for the Day". There are also 5 questions every week for individual and small groups.

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On your bedside table

A Selection of Biographies from the Torch library

A Prison of My Own

by Diane Nichols

A thrilling and moving true story of sin, crime, forgiveness and ultimately restoration that reads like a crime novel.

Available in braille, DAISY & USB

Finding Faith: Stories of Music and Life

by Nick Baines

Nick Baines inspires, exhilarates, and challenges in this wonderful and deeply personal book. Through reflecting on the popular songs that have made the greatest impact on his life, he tells the story of his own journey of faith.

Available in braille, DAISY & USB

God Doesn't Do Waste

by Dave Bookless

A book about an ordinary family who went green. A book about the messiness that each human being wades through in every area of life and about a God who can take all that seems most wasteful and useless and recycle it into something of infinite worth.

Available in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB

The Secret Life of a Fool

by Andrew Palau

He spent his growing-up years immersed in a selfish and self-centred life. In this book he recounts his years of rebellion & reckless living & the moment when the shame of his life collided with God's relentless grace changing everything.

Available in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB

Saved by Gracie

by Jan Dunlap

Saved by Gracie is a story of God's redeeming love revealed at the paws of a dog. Gracie taught Jan that life is for living, not dreading. She came to a new awareness of how a loving God provides healing through his own works of creation.

Available in braille, giant print, DAISY & USB

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