not today

Having faced the horrors of the new non-dom tax laws and cleaned the downstairs storage space, I have imposed as ‘frivolous novels and films only’ rule for the rest of the day.

So why do I have this irrational urge to read theology??

I know I mustn’t. My mind needs to rest. A classic case of wanting what is forbidden, and reaching after the thing that will do us harm…

(oh dear. It’s getting bad. I heard myself think ‘but maybe if I read Barth, I would just get annoyed quickly and the need would pass.’ No. No. I mustn’t.)

10 thoughts on “not today”

  1. No, no!! Frivolity and rest, step away from the chunky books!

    (although when you’re suitably rested, I’ve been reading Catherine Keller’s Face of the Deep: A theology of becoming and it’s wonderful)

  2. I find Merrily Watkins to be a useful intermediary when I need a rest but can’t quite give up theological need. I also use Susan Howatch for the same wretched reason…oh what admissions. Alternatively Miss Marple is an essential resting view.

  3. Elizabeth, thanks for the recommendation. I don’ t know the book.

    Vicky, you’ve got it exactly. I’m half way through the only Howatch I haven’t read recently, and have run out of Merrily Watkins’ too. Catherine Fox is the other natural choice, of course. I do wish she would begin writing novels again.

    I read through all the Agatha Christies a few years back during a traumatic time… Then there’s Susan Hill. Anyone who understands this mental space, do join in. Who should I be reading after the next major festival when my brain needs the mildest of vaguely ecclesiastical stimuli?

  4. “The Birth of Venus”? – can’t remember author, have lent it to someone – set in Florence, Savaranola et al; “The Towers of Trebizond”; “The Corner that Held Them” by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

    Hadn’t thought of you as a fat-cat non-dom! šŸ˜‰

  5. I don’t know Susan Howatch or Merrily Watkins (am looking forward to making their acquaintance) but I think I know what you mean. Laurie King is my recent favorite for this purpose – The Bee Keeper’s Apprentice and it’s sequels chronicle the escapades of Sherlock Holme’s partner – who happens to be a woman, a feminist and a Jewish theologian in addition to being an amateur detective. They’re wonderful. There’s also Michelle Blake, whose detective heroine is also an Episcopal priest (The Tentmaker, The Book of Light, etc). But my all time favorite has to be PD James’ Death in Holy Orders. Although I’m not sure I could describe it as mild.

  6. Upon reflection it’s somewhat disturbing that all my recommendations are murder mysteries – but what can I say, they ARE restful, in their own way . . . .

  7. Fancy Elizabeth not knowing Susan Howatch. Now that does make me feel old. Elizabeth, the Howatch are ‘love tham or hate tham’ looks at the C of E across the 20th century. The Merrily Watkins mysteries are by Phil Rickman.

    As for fat-cat non-doms: the failure of the new law is that it hits all non-doms equally if there is any foreign income at all (like the interest on money my parents set aside for me, which is what enables me to fly home, print pew sheets, not claim half my expenses, heat the rectory, etc without worrying.). So, the horror is this: double taxation, and a shift of percentage band — which one advice site suggests automatically goes to 40%, but I am very much hoping that that was assuming ‘fat cat’. I made contact with the nice clergy tax-advisor yesterday.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Glasgow in hopes of finding a few Michelle Blakes to see me through my various tax returns…

  8. A couple more suggestions for the reading list:

    David James Duncan’s ‘The Brothers K’ and ‘The River Why’ or anything by Kathleen Norris. Sadly I’ve only seen both authors on Amazon, though the Glasgow Borders might have them (I’d be happy to lend you the Duncan books but all my Norris ones are out with friends already). If you want Susan Hill-type ghost stories, check out MR James if you haven’t already.

    Enjoy Glasgow!

  9. I have a sack full of earnest books I ought to be reading ( Catholic education in the Victorian ear, Trade Unionism ditto) and I yearn to pour a large gin and put on any one of a number of well loved fluffy DVDs.

    There is a sequel to The Bee Keeper’s Apprentice at the end of which the heroine and Holmes make a match of it….

  10. back from Glasgow. Many cups of coffee with a friend meant I never made it to the best book shops. So, no Michelle Blake. But I did find a new (to me) Phil Rickman. Hurrah.

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