Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The one that (nearly) got away

I’ve just finished reading a fantastic book – and I nearly didn’t buy it!

A few months ago (April actually!) I wandered into a bookshop – just for a wee change. I spotted a book by a guy called David Adam. I’ve read several of his books of prayers in the Celtic tradition, and I return to them frequently. So I picked the book up, opened it and to my great disappointment it wasn’t a book of prayers. Without further thought I put it down again and left the shop empty-handed. In itself this was unusual for me.

(I find that bookshops and garden centres are the only places where I can understand the mind of a compulsive shopper – i.e. I rarely leave either without buying at least one book/ plant.)

Anyway I wandered around a bit, went to an art gallery (The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle – worth a visit, and they do some reasonably priced lunches) but then found myself drawn back to the bookshop and the David Adam book. I bought it without even thinking about it. I’m really glad that I did. It’s the best book that I’ve read this year (so far).

Of course, if I’d opened the book and read the preface to the introduction, I’d definitely have bought it. It’s a quotation from Clare of Assisi:

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance!
And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead itself through contemplation

It’s called ‘Mirror Images – Seeing ourselves in other people’. It’s a collection of stories drawn from David Adam’s pastoral work over many years. At times it’s touching, at other times it touches a raw nerve as the mirror is held against your face. The stories aren't all happy endings - real life isn't like that, and Adam is certainly dealing with real life. This is a book to reflect on (pun intended!). It is insightful, uplifting and encouraging. I’ll fill in more details over the next couple of days.

The moral of this tale? Don’t judge a book by its content!

By the way, today’s paperless Christmas entry is great (thanks THM!)

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