Lady Chatterley’s Lover

A controversial reading choice perhaps, but a book that is far more than its infamous descriptions of sex, and one that is extremely well written. By comparison, I had to force myself to read page 2 of Fifty Shades of Grey before giving up, it was so badly written.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a novel by English author D. H. Lawrence that was first published privately in 1928 in Italy and in 1929 in France. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books, which won the case and quickly sold three million copies. Source

The edition I read (above) had one section missing that is particularly explicit, but I only found out because I was occasionally reading from a different Kindle edition. It doesn’t really contribute much to the book, and it’s not for the easily offended.

Arguably, not his best novel, but a classic of modern literature nevertheless.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.

Books Read in 2021

Particle Physics (Ben Still)

A Response to Grace (Stephen Poxon)

Thesaurus of the Senses (Linda Hart)

Ghost Stories (Henry James)

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (D. H. Lawrence)

The People’s Songs (Stuart Maconie)

15 Days of Prayer with Saint Francis of Assisi (Thaddée Matura)

Love Sonnets of Shakespeare

Arcadia (Tom Stoppard)

Matters of Life and Death (Philip M. Stuckey)

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.

This post is a work in progress which will be updated during 2021.

“Listen to the silence…”

Radio, live transmission
Radio, live transmission.

Listen to the silence, let it ring on
Eyes, dark grey lenses frightened of the sun
We would have a fine time living in the night
Left to blind destruction
Waiting for our sight

And we would go on as though nothing was wrong
And hide from these days we remained all alone
Staying in the same place, just staying out the time
Touching from a distance
Further all the time

Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio

Well I could call out when the going gets tough
The things that we’ve learnt are no longer enough
No language, just sound, that’s all we need know, to synchronise
love to the beat of the show

And we could dance

Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, to the radio.

Disorder (Ian Curtis)

Disorder is the opening track of the debut album Unknown Pleasures (1979) by Joy Division. The song sets the tone for this post-punk masterpiece, with perceptive and raw lyrics by singer Ian Curtis.

I’ve started reading the book So This is Permanence, an anthology of the intensely personal writings of one of the most enigmatic and influential songwriters and performers of the second half of the twentieth century.

The image is of his original notes for the opening song, with the lyrics below.

I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand
Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?
These sensations barely interest me for another day
I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away

It’s getting faster, moving faster now, it’s getting out of hand
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it’s a no man’s land
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now
I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow

What means to you, what means to me, and we will meet again
I’m watching you, I’m watching her, I’ll take no pity from your friends
Who is right, who can tell, and who gives a damn right now
Until the spirit new sensation takes hold, then you know
Until the spirit new sensation takes hold, then you know
Until the spirit new sensation takes hold, then you know
I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling
I’ve got the spirit, but lose the feeling
Feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling.

Become aware of Him (Harry Read)

For my Sunday devotional today, I share some words of Salvation Army Officer Harry Read that he previously shared on Facebook.

Many years ago when I was preparing the script for the Cadet’s Commissioning at The Royal Albert Hall in London, I had the feeling that a special kind of song was needed. More than once I’d started writing the verses but the inspiration wasn’t flowing. However it slowly dawned on me that the song was closer to hand than I had imagined because the Lord – It had to be, the Lord – was leading me to John, our son. Through conversation and observation I was aware of the larger issues of life that John was facing. It seemed obvious to me to me that, through him, the theme of the song was clear but that wasn’t the time to reveal its source.

The verses were written and with his consummate skill the then Captain Robert Redhead wrote the music. The Cadets sang it wonderfully well, possibly because they too related to the theme of the song and, quite quickly, the song became part of our International music ministry.

Quite some time later, when John and his lovely wife, Anne, were married and Cadets at the International Training College, I shared with them the source of the song. Obviously they were moved and, in the family since then, we have always called the song, ‘John’s Song’.

Jesus knows your way,
The road your feet now tread;
Jesus knows your way,
The steps that lie ahead.
Far past the distant view
With dangers ever new,
He knows your way
And walks that way with you.

Chorus:
Become aware of Him,
For he is ever near;
Speak out your prayer to Him
For He will ever hear.
Stretch out your hand to Him,
He’s ever by your side;
Leave all you’ve planned to Him
And let Him guide.

Jesus knows your heart,
Those depths of hidden fire,
Jesus knows your heart,
Those heights of pure desire,
His love can scan and tell
The forces that rebel,
He knows your heart
And longs within to dwell.

Jesus knows your life
The man whom time has made;
Jesus knows your life
With all its light and shade,
Knows what you ought to be,
Sees your great destiny;
He knows your life
And offers Calvary.

Ephesians 3: 16, 17a
“…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”.

Language of the Soul, my latest book of prayer poetry is available in every country in paperback or Kindle.

Order your copy here:
http://www.bit.ly/Prayer-Read
http://www.bit.ly/prayer-readUSA

And Heart Talk, my first book of prayer poetry, is now also available on Kindle here:

https://tinyurl.com/Heart-Talk-Read
https://tinyurl.com/Heart-Talk-ReadUSA

Love Sonnets of Shakespeare

I love Shakespeare’s sonnets and post them regularly on this site, they are listed on this page or you can use the search box.

Naomi recently bought me this little book containing a selection of his sonnets, and I’ve just finished reading it.

I guess Shakespeare is best known for his plays, but it’s likely that his sonnets were what earned him the admiration of his contemporaries. Writing plays was the way to pay the bills, sonnets were the way to gain literary prestige. They were shared privately to impress, and were only later collected and published.

This book is an excellent anthology, with each sonnet presented on two facing pages, a lovely edition to have lying around to easily dip into.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.

15 Days with Francis of Assisi

I’ve just finished this helpful devotional book, and I’d like to share it with you.

One of a series, 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Francis of Assisi aims to lead you (over fifteen prayer periods) to a place where prayer is possible. But, if you already have a regular experience and practice of prayer, to lead you to a deeper place, a more intimate relationship with the Lord.

The following prayer and reflective questions (which end each chapter of exposition) will give you a taste of the book:

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no one is worthy to praise your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to your creatures.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

How do ecological issues such as global warming, famine, air quality and nuclear detonations affect the quality of your spiritual life and the survival of our planet? Is it easier to find God in the beauty and harmony of creation than it is in the suffering and struggles of our dark nights? In the sufferings of the poor, the dying, the hungry? As you ponder the beauty of creation, what does this mean for your spiritual life? “Beauty will save the world” (Dostoevsky), what does this mean for you? Of all the elements (earth, air, fire, water) which is the one to which you most relate? Is death a sister or a friend for you?

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.

To be, or not to be (Hamlet)

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Ghost Stories (Henry James)

It’s rare for me not to finish a book, but I simply couldn’t connect with these stories. The main story in this book is a classic, the plot of many dramas, but it did nothing for me. Too many words, and a meandering narrative seemingly getting nowhere. It might be me, but I can only respond as I feel.

I bought the Kindle edition of this book because Naomi and I had recently watched The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix, which is based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The drama was truly scary, the book not at all.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.

Thesaurus of the Senses

This book by Linda Hart is a reference book rather than one to read from start to finish. Having ‘read’ it (introduction and chapter preambles) it’ll be a valuable tool for my writing.

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between a lightning bug and lightning, Mark Twain once wrote. Throughout history, the timely use of the apt word has held enormous sway, in literature, speeches, and texts. How is it that some words hold such power? One thing we know: great words often engage the senses.

Thesaurus of the Senses expands your possibilities to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell to describe the world around you. It collects some of the best English sensory words in one place to enliven your writing and help you build persuasive description. It’s an indispensable tool for writers, poets, bloggers, editors, storytellers, students, teachers, communicators, and word lovers alike – anyone wanting to add more spark to his or her writing. Source

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.