Every One A Winner

The Booker Prize for Fiction, formerly known as the Booker–McConnell Prize(1969–2001) and the Man Booker Prize(2002–2019), is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. The winner of the Booker Prize is generally assured international renown and success; therefore, the prize is of great significance for the book trade. (Wikipedia.)

I recommend the rest of the article to you, especially the section entitled “Judging”. Take a look, too, at the list of winners. How many of them have you read, I wonder? 

One thing baffling me at the moment is the number of characters complaining that they have too much time on their hands: off work or unable to get out and about as usual, they haven’t a clue what to do. 

Well, I’ve been multitasking all morning, with at least three things on the go at any one time, and I’ve managed to listen to Peter Masters’ latest offering on SermonAudio as well. As always, Dr Masters was sound and sensible, as befits the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The Metropolitan Tabernacle? If by any chance you haven’t heard of it, you owe it to yourself to visit their website.

I went to the Tabernacle many years ago, to attend some sort of School of Theology, with a friend from church who knew a great deal more about the bible than I did. He said it would be good, and I’m sure it was - but I suspect that much of the teaching went over my head, since I have only a hazy idea of what was said. However, I have a clear recollection of where we stayed.

The cheapest option for accommodation was provided by kindly church members, in their own homes. Following the directions given, we found ourselves in an unassuming street, in an unassuming semi-detached, and in an unassuming front room that turned out to be our bedroom. Our beds were a couple of fleecy rugs upon which we unrolled our sleeping bags. But we were young men, then, and it didn’t matter much.

That evening we ate at the church, and it was dark by the time we got back to our accommodation. As we sat on our sleeping bags and chatted, our eyes were drawn to the bookcases on either side of the electric fire. My friend went over and examined the books, while I admired their neat and orderly appearance on the shelves - just the way I liked to display my own small collection of literature. 

But these were big books, expensive volumes, many of them published by Banner of Truth, and lots of them in luxurious leather bindings. I joined my friend. He was running his finger along the lines of books, admiring each and every volume, especially those of the Reformed persuasion. What godly folk these must be, he said. I suggested that we apply the Booker Winner Test, just to make sure. He’d never heard of it, but it’s easy to do and it’s useful if you have friends or colleagues who buy books because they read about them in The Guardian. 

Here’s how it works. Place the book on its spine on a flat surface, with your hands holding it closed. Slowly move your hands apart, and see where the book opens up. Booker Prize Winners always have many more pages falling to the right rather than to the left - a clear indication that a couple of chapters were quite enough... 

I took down a few Banner books, big ones, but I can’t remember their titles. Yes, they’d been opened, but very few of them had been read to the end. Then I tried Calvin’s “Institutes Of The Christian Religion” - a beautifully bound volume. It wouldn’t fall open at all! 

What would the Duchess have said? (See previous post.) Well, I have no intention of poking fun at those kind folk from the Metropolitan Tabernacle who were good enough to take us in. They had an admirable library, and I’m sure they profited from it, in the fullness of time. Rather, as I look just to the left of where I’m sitting right at this moment, I’m considering my own shortcomings. If I get up and take a quick photo, you’ll see what I mean.

There you are: three piles of books at my elbow, two-thirds Christian literature of one sort or another - and no more than three of them have been read from beginning to end! Dearie me! I must stop writing soon and finish today’s other tasks, and then perhaps I can begin to profit from the money I’ve spent on these works!

And, perhaps, if you find yourself in a similar situation, you too will now find the time to work your way through that devotional bedside book, that Christian biography, or that classic bible commentary that will so enrich your every day bible reading.

What, you’ve nothing to read right now? Why not get online to the Metropolitan Tabernacle’s excellent Bookshop? 

And then, well - everyone’s a winner!