LOOKING FORWARDS

Dear Suse and Ella
I have retired from years of teaching Religious Studies and have always read a lot, but now I want to change the course of my thinking and get inspired for the last stage of my life,looking forwards not backwards.
Yours hopefully
Looking Forwards
Dear Forward-looking,
It's a great thing that you are planning the reading for your retirement so thoughtfully, and we imagine that as someone who has taught religious studies, you must have read a huge amount of spiritual work, perhaps largely non-fiction. We suggest that you now begin to read fictionalised accounts of religious experience, as many of the greatest novels are as profound and life-changing as the greatest spiritual texts. One of our favourite novels of this genre is RK Narayan's delightful The Guide, which describes the life of a man who starts his working life as a tourist guide at a railway station in the fictional Malgudi state where Narayan set most of his work, and graadually moves towards becoming a very different kind of guide. This is a book that asks as many questions as it gives answers, but it definitely fills the reader with optimism. We also urge you to read Nikos Kazantzakis The Last Temptation of Christ, which portrays Jesus' life as a man, including his 'last temptation' to get off the cross and become a married man, with children, embracing his humanity to the full. It's a profoundly religious book, but gives a whole new perspective on Christianity. On a very different note, David Eagleman's "Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives", is an excellent collection of meditations on what the afterlife might hold- witty, playful and wise, these stories will both amuse and provoke discussion and thought. We are having to restrain ourselves from giving you a huge list of books to encourage you over the next decades - come back for more when you have read these!
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - The Guide by R K Narayan
The Last Temptation of Christ by Nilkos Kazantzakis
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE