Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Book Review: The No.9 Bus To Utopia by David Bramwell


Singing plants, a spiritual caravan park. a community of Czech dominatrixes and time travel? David Bramwell got more than he bargained for when he went looking for a new way of life.

My review:
Like many of us at some point in our lives, David Bramwell decided that he needed something different from life. For him, this was a quest to find Utopia. But what did Utopia truly mean? This book chronicles to journey to his answer, and helps the reading formulate their own reply.
Each community that David visits in interesting in its own way. He describes every one with feeling and genuine interest, drawing the reader into considering their benefits and negative aspects. It piqued my inquisitive nature, occasionally making me feel as if I'd been let into some hidden world.
As David travels we ca begin to glimpse not just the physical journeys he made during the book, but also the mental and philosophical ones. With frankness, he describes how his out-look was changed and affected by each new experience. Its easy to sympathise (and sometimes laugh) with him.
Most of all this is a truly though-provoking yet easy to read book. I picked it up at the same time as another and yet was so gripped by it that I read the whole thing in less than two days. 
A great book for anyone who is, or has ever searched for Utopia. Or simply for those who like exploring different ways of living through other communities or closer at home.

Have you ever been on a quest to find Utopia?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos (a book review)


Imaginary Jesus is a hilarious, fast-paced, not-quite-fictional story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before. When Matt Mikalatos realizes that his longtime buddy in the robe and sandals isn’t the real Jesus at all, but an imaginary one, he embarks on a mission to find the real thing. On his wild ride through time, space, and Portland, Oregon, he encounters hundreds of other Imaginary Jesuses determined to stand in his way (like Legalistic Jesus, Perpetually Angry Jesus, and Magic 8 Ball Jesus). But Matt won’t stop until he finds the real Jesus—and finally gets an answer to the question that’s haunted him for years. Be warned: Imaginary Jesus may bring you face-to-face with an imposter in your own life.

My Review:

Don't be put off by the cover, the title or the blurb! It's much better than that!
Honestly, I almost didn't pick up this book. It's outlook, plot and pretext just seemed too extreme! However, something inside me said 'give it a go'. And I'm so glad I did! 

Imaginary Jesus really makes you think. Who is the real Jesus? How does he fit with the images we get of him from religious and secular society? How can we recognise him in our lives? The real skill of Matt Mikalatos is being able to present questions like these not only in a non-preachy manner, but in a light-hearted and humorous story. 

Never for one moment does this book stop being entertaining. Yes, it can verge on weird at times but keep reading and the reason will always be revealed. 

Pick this book up if you want a change from more serious Christian books, but don't want to hang up your brain cells completely. 
Recommended for Christians in their teens, twenties or simply young at heart.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

End climate change!

All over the world, more extreme and less predictable weather is having an impact on people’s ability to feed themselves. In 2012, poor harvests caused by droughts in Russia and the US set global grain
prices soaring, while an unusually wet UK summer pushed up vegetable prices in
our supermarkets. In sub-Saharan Africa, recurrent droughts have caused widespread hunger and wiped out the incomes and livelihoods of millions of farming communities. At the same time, rising sea levels due to warmer temperatures and melting ice are causing farmland to be contaminated by seawater in countries like Bangladesh. 
Meanwhile in Latin America, shrinking glaciers are posing a threat to water supplies and farming across the entire Andean region. Today, around 870 million people will go hungry – and climate
change is one of the reasons why.

Dealing with the effects of climate change in developing countries is vital, as it has a direct impact on food production. Developed countries have committed to deliver $100 billion by 2020 to help the developing world tackle and adapt to climate change, but meeting that target will be difficult. The UK Government must therefore take a lead in pushing for a global agreement on raising climate finances from new sources - in particular from a proposed tax on shipping fuels.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the livestock sector is currently “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. The FAO estimates that livestock production is responsible for up to 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organisations have estimated it could be as much as 51 per cent. World scientists on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 80 per cent by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Support the fragile!

You can support farmers in developing countries by buying fairtrade products!

Buying fairtrade means that farmers get a fair price for their crops, allowing them to feed their own families.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Food not fuel!

Companies are also increasingly growing crops for fuel rather than food. This madness is driving up food and petrol prices.
If we end the use of crops for fuel, we can stop millions going hungry.

As part of the ongoing re-negotiation of EU biofuel legislation, the UK should lobby so that no biofuels grown on land that could have been used to grow food should count towards the EU's 10% renewable energy in transport target. The land required to grow crops in order to meet this target has led to a rising number of large-scale land grabs and an increase in food prices.
The UK should lobby the EU to recognise in law the true extent of damaging carbon emissions caused by biofuel production, as well as the impact that biofuels have on food prices and land rights.

Support fuel from waste, rather than fuel from food. Think before you buy!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Give life-saving aid!

Enough Food For Everyone IF we give life-saving aid to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest families feed themselves

Life-saving aid enables us to save and change the lives of children like 7-month-old Saamatou (pictured below) from Burkina Faso, west Africa. Aid helped make sure that she was treated for malnutrition before she suffered lasting damage.

Hold you government accountable for their aid budget. Make sure they give what they have promised!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Help establish food security!

You can help by making sure that you don't waste food. 

 In the UK, we throw away 15 million tonnes of food every year, almost half which comes from our own homes. Think how much food there would be for the starving of the world if we loved those leftovers!