I read this with my daughter (aged 10) and my son (aged 13). We all enjoyed it a great deal. Lots of laugh out loud moments - which mostly revolved arI read this with my daughter (aged 10) and my son (aged 13). We all enjoyed it a great deal. Lots of laugh out loud moments - which mostly revolved around bodily functions!...more
As an introvert and a Christian, I found this book very affirming. It's more than just okay to be an introvert; it's the best way to be for those whomAs an introvert and a Christian, I found this book very affirming. It's more than just okay to be an introvert; it's the best way to be for those whom God created this way! We have myriad talents and gifts that we can use to love God and love others. There's a lot in this book aimed at introverted leaders, which those not in leadership might find a bit of a slog to get through, but if that's you, try reading it with an eye on the introverted pastors (and other leaders) that you know and it might give you an insight into their personalities and gifts. Extroverted leaders might also benefit from reading this book as it might open their eyes to the gifts and needs of the introverts in their congregations. There is a lot of advice on how to survive and thrive as an introvert in extroverted evangelical communities. There's also a fair bit of advice on how to make church more introvert-friendly. I'd say my one criticism would be that there's a bit of an over-emphasis on 'worship services' and not enough discussion on being 'church' outside of officially organised meetings. I'd have also liked to have seen more space given to exploring the role of contemplative communities....more
I had a bit of a job following some of Bob and Jim's conversations as this collection is written purely in dialogue, but on the whole I enjoyed theirI had a bit of a job following some of Bob and Jim's conversations as this collection is written purely in dialogue, but on the whole I enjoyed their tête-à-têtes and by the end I came to hold both men in affection....more
What would the world look like if care home workers were paid a decent wage? What would the world look like if teachers refused to play the work-till-What would the world look like if care home workers were paid a decent wage? What would the world look like if teachers refused to play the work-till-you-drop game? What would the world look like if every cog in the public services machine was given a place that fit and enough oil to keep it spinning? These are some of the questions to which Change the Ending offers answers.
In The Guardian, on this year’s National Flash-Fiction Day, writer and former local authority director Dawn Reeves launched a creative writing project. The aim of said project was to produce a flash-fiction collection about the future of local government written by the people who care about it, and at the start of October, the collection was launched and Dawn kindly sent me a free copy to review.
Many of the stories in this book resonated deeply with me. Instead of the usual narratives that tell us what’s wrong with the education system, local councils and communities, this book is full of dreams of a future in which workers aren’t bound by red tape, in which the vulnerable are given the help they need, and in which small acts of generosity, kindness and self-sacrifice have a positive impact on the lives of others. While not every story was to my taste in terms of style, the collection as a whole has left me hopeful and more respectful. If these dreamers are the people working in and running the public sector, the country might not be going to hell in a handcart after all.
The stories in this book seem to fall into two categories: those that give us a glimpse into the lives of individuals, and those that give us an overview of the system. For me, it was the former group that worked best. Most of these tales are snap-shots of the positive impact that a well-run and people-focused public sector can have on lives, and the effects of communities actually being communities. While there were some uplifting and encouraging stories in the second group, my ignorance of the inner-workings of public services was a bit of a barrier to my understanding the significance of what I was being told.
Of the 42 flash-fictions in the collection, my three favourites were Enough (the story of a secondary school teacher whose decision to look after herself has knock on effects for her students), Instagram Sam (the story of someone who decides to reap the benefits that paying taxes can bring) and The Interview (an ending far happier than it might otherwise have been).
I found this an engaging and inspiring collection. Congratulations to all who were involved in its creation! I hope these dreams spark conversations that really will lead to the ending being changed....more
In February this year, Ryan Thacker and Alex Gallagher, Creative Writing students at Edge Hill University, put out a call for stories of between 150 aIn February this year, Ryan Thacker and Alex Gallagher, Creative Writing students at Edge Hill University, put out a call for stories of between 150 and 500 words inspired by the themes of war, conflict and resolution, and this is the result – a collection of 17 flash-fictions and two poems that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and honour its fallen.
I bought this collection because it features two 1000words authors: Tim Stevenson and Stella Turner. Tim’s story, Mudflowers, is simply beautiful, a subtly-told moment between grandfather and grandchild, a memory and the making of a memory. Stella’s story, May Day, is a heart-wrenching instant in which we are shown the gap between generations, the innocence of childhood and the long-reaching effects of war. Bravo.
As you might imagine, the other pieces in this book range from stories about the effects of war on those left behind to stories about the effects of war on those who fought on the front lines. There are also tales of bravery and sacrifice, of suffering and regret, of longing and loss, of justice and injustice.
Yesterday, as I stood in our village square listening to the reading out of the names of local WWI servicemen who gave their lives for our freedom, it occurred to me that it’s stories like these that need to be told, so that those of us who are too young to remember these conflicts don’t forget the sacrifices that have been made for us.
The only thing that lets this collection down is the apparent lack of proofreading it’s been through. I don’t know what the paperback version is like, but in the ebook there are lots of distracting typos and errors that could have easily been rectified before publication. I think a collection like this deserves better....more
'Rapture and What Comes After' by Virginia Moffatt is a collection of 30 paired flash-fictions. The fi(I received a free copy of this book to review.)
'Rapture and What Comes After' by Virginia Moffatt is a collection of 30 paired flash-fictions. The first half of the book is comprised of 15 flashes chronicling the ever-hopeful beginnings of love: the rapture. The second half of the book is comprised of the other 15 flashes, the stories of what comes after. These tales are not lovey-dovey romances though; they are an honest look at love and its pitfalls, at the light and dark that can exist in even the most caring relationships.
I'm not sure if I approached this book in the intended way. Instead of reading Part One and then Part Two, I decided to read the flash-fictions in pairs. In other words, after reading Flash-Fiction One in Part One, I flicked forward to read Flash-Fiction One in Part Two. This worked for me as the first story in each pair was still fresh in my mind as I read the second. Some of the pairings are linked in an obvious and straightforward manner - they tell the tale of the same couple, although sometimes from a different person's point of view. Others are less obviously linked, and you have to read between the lines to see the connection. Regardless of how the pairs are connected though, they all work very well together. I enjoyed each story in itself, but I also enjoyed each pair, and the before-and-after conceit added to satisfaction I felt on finishing the book.
Of all the pairings, the most memorable for me was Red Shoes - The Moves You Make. I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'll just say that after reading The Moves You Make, my understanding of Red Shoes was completely flipped on its head.
On the whole, this is a well-written and well-conceived collection, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Virginia Moffat's work.