March Miscellany 2018

In March, I had the chance of receiving a published book to read from 10ofthose and writing a review for the upcoming Christian conference/holiday, Word Alive. That was so exciting! It somehow reminds me of those photographer YouTubers receiving newly released camera equipment to try out and the beauty YouTubers receiving newly launched cosmetic products. Anyway, the book has been read. It didn’t even have a chance to sit on the piles and get a “group photo” taken. A book review is on the way; hopefully a comparison one like this one I did not long ago.

Top left: Beginning of 2018. Top right: End of January. Bottom left: End of February. Bottom right: End of March.

I noticed that it has been three months since the beginning of the year. The Christian book pile has gone taller and shorter a couple of times. But the non-Christian book pile has not been touched at all. I will try to correct that in April.

An exciting new book I started this month is Timothy Keller’s Preaching. I think one major reason for giving up on John Piper’s Reading the Bible Supernaturally is that I really wanted to make a start on Preaching. For those who think I’m a bit mad reading not only Christian books but also Christian books about preaching, I’m just trying to learn new skills. If you live in a new country, you would learn a new language, wouldn’t you? For those who are slightly alarmed at my purpose of reading a book on preaching (being a female in a conservative church), let me assure you, this book is mainly about how to communicate our faith, rather than how to be a preacher. I felt like I knew Keller’s teaching enough when I ordered the book that this had to be the case, and I’m certainly not disappointed.

One big reading project this month is a series of Chinese crime novels, translated as Psychological Criminals, or Guilt of Mind. It’s a new literary genre for me. I’m really glad I got to know this type of literature through one of the best authors in China. It’s like when I read Chinese Sci-Fi for the first time, I had the series of The Three-Body Problem (see my review here), which is also one of the best in China. I like the stories in Psychological Criminals not only because of the crime and detective elements, but also the bigger issues behind the crimes. For example, Light of the City talks about if a person has the right to judge another guilty and condemn him to death; A Place of Education (my translation) discusses free will and behaviour based on Skinner’s experimental analysis of behaviour. The English translation is not available for all of them yet. I recommend the series if you can read Chinese! However, I wouldn’t have them as bedtime reading. It’s too gripping to stop and it’s a bit too gruesome. You might have nightmares.

JOURNEY #06 is progressing, but very slowly.

There were some exciting cycling experiences this month. Thanks to the constant snow and icy conditions, one Sunday after church we had to take our bikes on the metro to go home. Yes, bikes have been allowed on the metro during certain hours in Newcastle since last year.

Mobike has been in Newcastle for a few months now. But it came to my business park this month and I tried it for the first time. It was love at first ride! (Photo on the right.) Obviously, it’s not designed for long rides on hilly terrain. But it reduces my 20-minute sweaty walk into a pleasant 10-minute cruise. Mobike has made a home in many cities in the UK. I recommend you have a go if you are not too short. That’s one of the few complaints I heard. Although the wheels are pretty small, the bikes have proven to be too high (for my petite Asian friends) even when the seat is adjusted to the lowest point. But if you’re very tall and the bike makes you look like a monkey in a circus, I have some good news. Bigger bikes are being sailed across the sea from China and will meet the users in the UK sometime this year (according to Mobike staff)!

The British Summer Time also started. I managed to hang washing to dry in the backyard for the first time so far this year. Just as I thought it was getting warmer after all, the temperature dropped again. It has been raining non-stop during Easter and snow piled in Northumberland once again!

But! But! Nothing will damp my excitement about going to Word Alive, the annual Christian conference that gathers thousands of young and old from all over the UK. I heard there are 900 kids! A group of twenty of us will be travelling across the country in a few vehicles this Saturday towards North Wales from Newcastle. Just to give you a clue of my excitement level – I started packing on Monday! Watch this space for upcoming stories about Word Alive!





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