It’s a few years since I read My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrantte. The summer of 2016 to be precise. I wrote a little bit about it at the time. I hadn’t realised it had been made into a TV series until I saw a tweet about it before Christmas. (Twitter isn’t all bad – see my article below on why I do think the internet has become more boring though.)
I started watching the TV show, produced by HBO and available on Sky/NowTV, this week and it’s delightful. I’m only three episodes in but it wonderfully captures the feel of the book. It's a fabulous contrast to the high action, fast paced nature of so much television currently on our screens. Definitely not one to watch with half an eye on your smartphone. Put that down, settle in, get transported to 1950’s Italy, and enjoy!
In other news, as always – and on top of my own article below – there’s the usual mix of articles that have been grabbing my attention recently.
And finally, I’ve added a new section this week where I’ll capture thoughts, observations and reflections on the books I’m reading.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have stolen the joy out of using the internet.
Other articles I’ve been reading this week…
Does journalism have a future? | Jill Lepore, New Yorker
9 in 10 people can’t tell sponsored stuff from real news online | Kat McAlpine-Boston, Futurity
Everyone hates open offices. Here’s why they still exist | Katherine Schwab, Fast Company
Why your gut is responsible for your happiness | Tim Samuels, GQ
A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation | Jonathan Merritt
The fantasy of free speech | Anthony Julius, Times Literary Supplement
Thoughts, observations and reflections on the books I’m reading…
The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr
Having heard Richard Rohr, the Franciscan priest, talk about some of the themes of his book The Divine Dance ahead of its release some years back, I had high expectations of its arrival. It felt like it was going to be a significant book for me.
I ended up feeling a little disappointed when it came out though. I’d rushed to get a early copy shipped from America but reading it almost felt like a let down. It was…OK – nothing more, nothing less. It definitely didn’t live up to expectations.
I’ve been around long enough though to know that sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a book, it’s just the timing that’s wrong.
I’m pleased to report that, after reading it again this last week, this was proved correct. It’s amazing how the same words in a different season of life can go from borderline boring to life-transforming. And that’s how I feel this time around. Reading it as affected me. I was ready for it this time around.
I’m still a million miles from understanding the Trinity – what the book is about – but I feel like I’ve caught a whole new glimpse of this triune God that I have not appreciated before. That the very nature of God is a relationship, a relationship of love, has the power to change so much.
I wonder how different the typical view of God would be if there was an understanding of God as love, God as relationship – and not some angry divine bearded white male in the sky executing judgment over mankind?
The Shack by William P Young
Speaking of the Trinity, I ended up reading The Shack last Sunday. It’s been sat on my bookshelves for years but it never felt like the right time to read it. And it was reading The Divine Dance that tipped me off to reading it as Young wrote the foreword for Rohr’s book.
Although the novel is about many other things too, it is very much a book about the Trinity and, in particular, God as relationship and love. And the portrayal of the relationship – the divine dance, to use Rohr’s phrase – between Father, Son and Holy Spirit was delightful. I especially loved God the Father being portrayed as an African-American woman – truly brilliant. It’s worth a read for a fresh perspective on this Being we casually refer to as ‘God’.