I love books.  Any kind of books…  including theology books.  But in general, I prefer real, paper books that I can put sticky notes in, flick through, and hold, rather than reading books on screens. So I was initially not sure I’d find digital access to a selection of SPCK and IVP books particularly helpful.  However, it was free and easy to set up, so I installed the app on my tablet, a mini iPad, and thought I’d take a look.   

John Wyatt - Dying WellAnd this is where I have surprised myself as I have already read four books from cover to cover, dipped into many more, and have a tantalising selection of books lined up in my library that I am looking forward to reading next. So what have I read, and why the change of heart?

The first book I read was John Wyatt’s Dying Well (IVP). I’d done an ethics essay on healthcare at the end of life, and John Wyatt had delivered one of our ethics lectures and mentioned that this book was in press. So I really wanted to read this when it came out, but not quite enough to want to buy it for an essay I’d already written. My bookshelves are also groaning under the weight of books, two deep in places, and I have already had to instigate a “one in, one out” policy on book acquisitions. So I decided to read it in the app. The interface was pleasant to read, my tablet is lighter to carry than a book, and it saved me having to make the painful decision of which book to delegate to the church fete to make room for a new one.

I then went on to read Rachel Newham’s Learning to Breathe (SPCK), Mark Meynell’s When Darkness seems my Closest Friend (IVP) and Jennifer Bute’s Dementia from the Inside (SPCK), partly in preparation for our pastoral care module, and partly as caring for those affected by mental health problems and dementia is something I am interested in. On that front, I’d recommend all three books. I may have bought one of them had they not been available via the app, but would not have been able to justify buying all three, either from a cost or a space point of view.

Paul R. House - DanielIn terms of books I’ve dipped into, I’ve used several of IVP’s scriptural commentaries for essays and for preparing sermons, such as Paul House’s Daniel and Howard Marshall’s Acts. I would never have been able to justify buying these, so being able to dip into them is fabulous. Although I only recently discovered the app’s ‘citation’ tool, this is also perfect for adding appropriate citations to essays.

Next on my reading list, as I prepare for my ordination this June, are Francis Dewar’s Called or Collared (SPCK) and Michael Ramsay’s The Christian Priest Today (SPCK).

So, I am now a digital book convert, at least via this app. It’s fantastic that it’s free for Anglican ordinands thanks to the Sons and Friends of the Clergy!

by Bryony Dean Franklin - Ordinand