(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami. Murakami is a huge favourite of mine, and I really enjoyed this. I don’t think it’s his best – there are some ends that feel too loose to me – but the final third, especially when Tsukuru starts travelling – is really beautiful.
The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. I decided to spend a weekend re-reading this, just to see if having watched a few months of baseball altered the way it read, and just because I wanted to. It’s still wonderful and beautiful, and I still love it, and all having watched some baseball means is that I can visualise the plays. Which is nice.
Seconds, by Bryan Lee O’Malley. O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series is one of my favourite things of recent years, so I was really looking forward to this. O’Malley did a really great Conversation and Q&A at the British Library (and then signed my book and drew a little mushroom, and was generally lovely, big yays), and Seconds is (a) really beautifully drawn, and (b) really great – smart, and funny, and touching, and a really good depiction of a 29-year old young woman trying to make the next stage of her life happen.
(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
The Guardians of the Galaxy. Yeeee-ah. Let’s all dance to 80s music shall we? This was absolutely as super-fun as it looked like it was going to be, the only thing I’ve really enjoyed Bradley Cooper in, and VIN DIESEL IS GROOT. Dear George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg, this mood is what you should have been aiming for with Indiana Jones 4, and what you should aim for with future Star Wars film.
The Crucible at the Old Vic, which was just incredibly powerful, and I’m so glad I managed to get it together in time to get a ticket.
Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the BBC Proms, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. Listening to John Eliot Gardiner talk about is one of the most fascinating things you can do (I really really want to read his biography of Bach). Listening to John Eliot Gardiner conduct is just one of the best things you can do for your soul. This was beautiful.
Nadia Bolz-Weber and Sara Miles talking about Cranky Beautiful Faith and the City of God at the St Paul’s Cathedral Forum. I like my theology done like jazz, and these ladies are like the Charlie Parkers of doing that. I really needed this.
(3) Things which I wrote that I’m fond of…
Of Cliff Edges and Imaginings – on Brueggemann’s Prophetic Imagination and the hope of the church dealing with sexuality better in the future.
In Which Radical Readings of Romans are a leetle bit scary – some reflections on law and faithfulness in Romans.
Comfort Reading – some recommendations of things to read if you just wanna put your feet up and unwind.
(4) Most Distracting Thing on the Internet.
The San Francisco Giants – who come to me via the internet and are therefore the most distracting thing on the internet. This thing where they play baseball every damn day plays merry havoc with the emotions, even before you add in Tim Lincecum. It’s a rollercoastering yo-yo of potential angst, with potentially more angst to follow. How do you do it, baseball fans?
(5) In the pile for September
The Bone-Clocks, the new David Mitchell, shortly to be winging its way to my grubby hands.
The Brothers K – taking this one on holiday with me at the start of the month.
Gone Girl – which I want to read before the film gets released. I was completely disinterested before seeing the trailer, which really made me want to see the film – so, reading it first.
Post-Christian by Christian Piatt, and Cranky, Beautiful Faith by Nadia Bolz-Weber.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, which I’m half-way through right now