Read a helpful Christian book lately? Listened to a CD or watched a DVD you’d like to recommend? Write a short review giving the title, author and publisher. Explain who the book/ CD/ DVD is for and why you found it helpful then send your review to the Church Office.

We have a small book-stall on some Sunday mornings – talk to Kate Dilloway if you would like to know more or about books in audio format.

Dementia: Frank and Linda’s Story

by Louise Morse

Published by Monarch Books and Pilgrim Homes

Reviewed by Kate Dilloway

“Is this book for you?” asks the Introduction to Dementia, to which the reply is “If you are part of the human race and living on planet earth, then the answer is yes.  Not just because no man is an island as John Donne wrote, but because the hard statistics show that in a very short time every family on earth will be affected, one way or another, by dementia.”

Dementia: Frank and Linda’s Story is not an ordinary biography, although Frank and Linda are real people and their journey through the stages from the diagnosis of dementia until Frank’s death, is the thread that runs through the book.  It focuses on the three important aspects of dementia care – living, helping, and spiritual support.  Built on the foundational Christian belief in the sanctity and meaning of life, the book is filled with pointers and information that can help the carer and those working with elderly clients.

In this book we discover

  • that not all memory loss is dementia;
  • how to deal with a diagnosis of dementia;
  • what seemingly irrational behaviour might mean;
  • how to treat dementia sufferers with respect;
  • how to make visiting and giving spiritual support meaningful both to the visitor and the dementia sufferer.

Christians can become “hung up” over the issue of Care Homes, but Louise Morse has a chapter on what to look for in choosing a Care Home when the going gets too tough for the carer.  Carers can become so exhausted looking after dementia sufferers that their own lives and health are at risk and so no carer should feel guilt that more full-time professional help is needed.  Her chapter ends with “A good care home is a place where people are cherished.”

I found this a very readable book even though each chapter was filled with lots of information as well as the more personal stories of dementia.  However, the Points to Ponder summary at the end of each chapter is a useful aide memoire and at the back of the book is a list of organisations from whom help and advice can be obtained.

Had I not had to style this book for transcription into braille for Torch, then I might not have thought to read it but I am so glad to have discovered it!


How to Pray

by John Pritchard (published by SPCK)

Reviewed by Kate Dilloway

The blurb on the back cover says:

Many of us are aware of our spiritual nature, and we have a real desire and need to talk to God. Prayer, however, seems a difficult thing to do. While talking to our friends comes easily, we often think that talking to God does not.

I first read this book when I reviewed it for possible transcription into the library for Torch (an organisation which produces Christian literature into audio, braille and giant print for the visually impaired*). I said that “it’s fortunate that you only sent me a printed out copy of this book otherwise I might have been tempted not to return it! The book is excellent and a real joy to read. I would like to have spent much more time on it, since I think it is a study book and not one to be rushed through. I shall certainly be buying my own copy!” – which I did!

There are many books about prayer but this, as its subtitle suggests, is a practical handbook and starts from the very basics of prayer. It is also very realistic and the author recognises that we are not all going to be perfect pray-ers.

Again, the blurb says:

John Pritchard makes a wealth of useful suggestions about:

  • How to pray
  • When to pray
  • How to pray with the Bible
  • How to pray with the imagination
  • How to pray with others
  • How to pray when the going gets tough

It is in such a readable style with lots of short sections, which include things to try, questions to think about, and different ways of praying to consider. The book covers the whole spectrum of prayer and is suitable particularly for new Christians. However, that is not to say that mature Christians would not learn a great deal from it.

Although John Pritchard is Bishop of Oxford, there is nothing academic or “head-in-the-clouds” about his approach. I loved the cartoons too and especially a couple sitting having a picnic as a bull charges towards them with the caption “there was a brief discussion on whether to pray or run”.

John Pritchard’s’ best advice at the end is of the book is – persevere, persevere, persevere.

* If you are registered blind, then this book is available in suitable media from Torch.