i love to read.

i was challenged a couple of years ago by the idea of diversifying the voices that i invited to speak into my life. For me that related mostly to books as i don’t tend to find the time slash bandwidth to do much podcast listening, but it would apply to both.

Through more accident than intent i had grown up reading, for the most part, white middle-aged middle-to-upper-class christian white men. Which means that to a large extent my thinking has been challenged, shaped, encouraged to a large extent by the kind of thinking, experience, view point etc that is typical to people of that group – don’t get me wrong, there was still a lot of diversity of thought between the kind of people that i read. But i have now realised that unless i am listening to women and people of colour and older people and younger up-and-coming leaders and even people from other religions, that i might be missing out a whole lot.

So i began to be a lot more intentional about the people i read. In terms of blogs it has been quite easy as i have tended to follow women writers, more than men. i don’t follow many people regularly, but the four that stand out are Jamie the very Worst Missionary, Austin Channing, Sarah Bessey and Nate Pyle.

In terms of books i have largely been focusing on South African history, mostly from black writers, to try and counter-balance the biased apartheid-history i learnt in school and try to understand the bigger picture of where South Africa is at the moment. i have also read three books on the Palestine/Israel situation, as i realised i had no clue about that, that a good friend recommended…


If you click on any of the links it will take you to a review or extract from the book to give you a taste:

South Africa

I Write What I Like – Steve Biko

How Can Man Die Better – Robert Sobukwe

No Life Of My Own – Frank Chikane

Begging to Be Black – Antjie Krog

Out of the Black Shadows – Stephen Lungu [Zimbabwe]

On Israel/Palestine

Blood Brothers – Elias Chacour

The Lemon Tree – Sandy Tolan

A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation – Naim Ateek


The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

Jesus Feminist – Sarah Bessey

With Justice For All – John Perkins

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger – Ron Sider

Dishonourable Mention

Writing Black – Richard Rive: picked this up at the District 6 museum cos it looked quite good. Wasn’t.

For Whites Only – Charles Cilliers – tbV wisely picked this up for me cos it really did look like a book i would enjoy – didn’t.


Of course, an important books of 2015 list would not be complete without reminding you all that my self-published book, ‘i, church’ happened this year and if you haven’t got your hands on a copy yet, get hold of me and i can sort that out… and also my good friend Megan Furniss has the most delightful novel, titled ‘Green Margie and the Starlight’ which you can pick up here at a steal and which is well worth it. A simple and beautiful story with a stunning cast of characters you will want to know so much more about…

i think that’s about it so far – not bad for me for half a year, and am busy reading Writing Black by Richard Rive about his life in District Six and beyond so watch out for some words from there…

i would LOVE to have some more recommendations of the books that you have read this year that you felt were worth reading and especially some ideas on what to read next relating to South Africa past and present so please stop by the comments section and let me know your suggestions and why you think i should read them…