08 August 2013

This is a story

Well our latest title was the subject of a very fiery debate at the group last night, which means we obviously picked an interesting title.  "The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ" by Phillip Pullman was the subject of our discussion last night.

The synopsis of the book from Amazon UK "This is a story. In this ingenious and spell-binding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resonate long after the final page is turned. For, above all, this book is about how stories become stories."

You can find out more about the author from his website however a short introduction "I was born in Norwich in 1946, and educated in England, Zimbabwe, and Australia, before my family settled in North Wales. I received my secondary education at the excellent Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech, and then went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English, though I never learned to read it very well...My views on education are eccentric and unimportant, however. My only real claim to anyone's attention lies in my writing. I've published nearly twenty books, mostly of the sort that are read by children, though I'm happy to say that the natural audience for my work seems to be a mixed one - mixed in age, that is, though the more mixed in every other way as well, the better."

The debate last night wasn't exactly on the topic of religion but how you approach the book, the story, and with what pre-conceived ideas.  The back cover tells us to approach it with no previous knowledge of the gospels however without that the story itself is lost with no plot, no description and you care little for the characters.  However those that did have an understanding of the gospels took a great deal away from it and said it made them think about the whole aspect of Christianity.  It seemed to be to the group a softly softly approach from the author to make us think about organised religion, specifically Christianity, and our beliefs and where they come from.  So for some in the group it worked well and for others it fell apart but definitely made for an interesting debate.  Their was a great debate as to who was the "angle" that came to Christ, was it indeed an angel, a Roman spy, the devil...what are your thoughts?

Our next read is from a competition won through The Reading Agency: Reading Groups for Everyone called 'The Gravity of Birds' by Tracy Guzeman 

I have to say I'm already half way through and although I don't feel its a page turner I'm enjoying it like I enjoy a box of chocolates and currently scoffing the toffee one :)

This will be discussed at our next meeting Wednesday 4th September at 7pm at Builth Wells Library, High St, Builth Wells.

See you then!

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