More about the books

The fiction

Two things, possibly more, are wrong with the world.

  1. The great majority of all the stories I enjoy—by word or picture—reflect our society’s mushiness about life, death, eternity, hope.
  2. Most of the stuff I see coming from a Christian perspective is a little too nailed down, a little too pre-packed, a little too buffed with certainty.

Enter Jesus, who told open-ended stories about massive themes (forgiveness, prayer, the overturning of injustice) and then walked off, leaving people free to explore further, talk amongst themselves, or go home.

I think we need a bit of that.

The books I love the most are:

  1. Driven by plot, character, wit and ideas.
  2. Hopeful and fun rather than depressed, nihilistic, pretentious, violent or pornographic.
  3. Usually about big issues, even if they anesthetize them with comedy.

Underlying it all is this idea:

Novels say something. They’re about something big. Beyond the fun is a passion to take part in a project:

  • Re-imagining the Christian faith in the cultural languages of the 21st century
  • And so helping to shape these same cultural languages.

Here’s a list I’m building of 99 books not to miss.

The non-fiction

Between 2009 and 2013 I had a strange period in my life when I nearly died three times, in three separate ways. I had my heart re-started numerous time. I spent two weeks in a coma and two more weeks hallucinating my way out of it. At least once the doctors told my wife to prepare for the worst.  I saw the critical or intensive care wards in three different hospitals.

Each crisis was followed by a lengthy convalescence, plenty of time to think.

At the end of the third and worst illness I started a project while on holiday which somehow grew into the non-fiction title More than Bananas.  I wanted to try to say something about how faith can sustain you through difficult times. The only way I can do that helpfully is to say how such faith as I have sustained me. More than bananas was possibly the most fun I ever had writing a book. It’s only little (100 pages), light, and if the initial feedback is to be believed, is being well received. It’s for sale on the internet bookshops, orderable from bricks-and-mortar outlets and buyable in bulk from this very site.