Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Kneeling Christian

by An Unknown Christian,
Zondervan, 1970

It took me a while to read through this book, largely because of the style of writing. First published as a Zondervan paperback in 1945, this may have been written as early as sometime in the 1930s. Therefore, the language is quite different from how we would speak today.

That being said, the book is rich in content for the Christian who wants to advance his or her prayer life. Topics included describe what prayer is, who can pray, how to pray, and what hinders prayer. There is much to encourage the reader, and to convict him as well. It is clear that the author "gets" prayer and desires that we should get it, too.

I highly recommend The Kneeling Christian to you. It may be hard to find, but it will be worth it as it will change your understanding of prayer and stir up a desire in you for a more effective prayer life. I would like to go through it again sometime this year, but first I have to let my husband read it as he has been intrigued by what I have shared from it with him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Knit Together

Discover God's Pattern for Your Life
by Debbie Macomber
FaithWords, 2007

Popular and prolific fiction author, Debbie Macomber, presents her first work of nonfiction. Here she puts forth twelve things that we were created for, including success, relationships, gratitude, and worship. Debbie talks openly about her faith and how it shapes her life, and uses real-life experiences to support her thesis. Occasionally a concept from knitting, a craft Debbie passionately pursues, will illustrate a point.

I found this book full of practical wisdom that I can apply to my own life. While the copy I read was borrowed from my local library, I intend to purchase my own so that I can highlight key ideas and make notes in the margins. It's a great book to purchase as a gift for the new high school or college graduate or for fans of the author.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Complaint-Free World (Audio Book)

How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted
by Will Bowen
Random House Audio Book, 2007

I don't normally listen to audio books, especially nonfiction ones that might require a great deal of focus in order to retain and apply the information contained in them, but I thought I'd give it a try after reading that author Debbie Macomber frequently listens to motivational CDs. Since I spend a fair amount of time with folks who complain, gossip, and criticize, this title seemed a natural choice. Oh, and I probably complain, gossip, and criticize more than I should, too.

In A Complaint Free World, Bowen explains the problem with complaining, gossiping and criticizing, and shares a 21 day plan for reducing these negative habits. He also explains the benefits gained by living a life free of these. As a result of listening to this CD, my daughter, husband, and I are all trying to achieve 21 consecutive days complaint free to see how this might transform our home and our experience of the world.

While I found the author's soft voice somewhat annoying as I listened (I suppose that's a complaint!), and reject his New Age theology, there is definitely something to be said for his thesis. When the Bible says, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:7-9), it in effect advises us not to complain!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Business of Writing for Children

by Aaron Shepard
Shepard Publications, 2000

"An award-winning author's tips on how to write, sell, and promote your children's books."

This book basically does what it promises, and covers the basics of all of the above, with the added bonus of addressing folktales and scripting.

I'd like to add this to my personal bookshelf, though I think it could benefit from a revision/update, seeing as it was published almost 10 years ago.

(And yes, I'm still reading The Kneeling Christian. I completed this book first partly because it was on interlibrary loan.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reading List 2009

I read quite a few books in 2008, as a quick perusal of this blog will attest. I even managed to read 8 out of 12 of the books I had on my "must read" list. This year, I will create a similar list, but with a plan. Each month, I will read one title from the set below before I read anything else. Come January next year, I'll be able to report 100% success instead of 75. Seventy-five is okay, but let's face it, 100 is better.

January - The Kneeling Christian (Anonymous) - since one of my goals this year is to pray more, I thought this little book, written before 1930, and considered a classic work on the subject, would be helpful. It is reputed to point the way toward communion with God and all the life-changing benefits that derive from it.

February - Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time (Valerie Bertinelli) - one of my physical goals for this year is to lose a few more pounds (last year I lost 6.8), and it's always nice to read about someone else who's been successful. I used to love the show One Day at a Time and could never figure out why Bertinelli married Eddie Van Halen, so I figure this will kill a few birds with one stone.

March - Captivating: Unveiling the Secrets of a Woman's Heart (John and Staci Eldredge) - in 2007 I read John Eldredge's Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul, and found it fascinating. I am sure that this companion book will be equally so.

April - Dewey: the Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World (Vicki Myron) - in this bad news world, I am always up for a feel-good story, especially one that involves libraries!

May - There is a God: How the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind (Antony Flew) - actually, I've never heard of him, but this sounds like a fascinating story. It's encouraging to hear that the same God who worked in the lives of people like Noah, Abraham, Peter and Paul, is still at work today. (This book is on order in my library, so if it hasn't arrived by May, there may be some adjusting of the reading schedule)

June - Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and finding my true voice (Maureen McCormick) - another celebrity biography that should prove very interesting for those of us who grew up watching The Brady Bunch.

July - The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus (Bruxy Cavey) - my husband's sister and her husband have been attending Cavey's church for a little while now, and I'm curious to learn more about what makes this teacher tick.

August - Prisoner of Birth (Jeffrey Archer) - I've enjoyed most of the books this author has written, so look forward to reading this recent title.

September - Heaven is Real: Lessons on Earthly Joy from the man who spent 90 minutes in heaven (Don Piper) - I read 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True story of Life and Death, but it left me wanting more. I'm hoping this follow-up book will get more into the nitty gritty.

October - Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions: You Can Learn to Control Your Thought Life (Caroline Leaf) - my son undergoes educational therapy, so my husband and I have been reading more books on the brain. This one was suggested by the founding therapist of the clinic K attends.

November - Grace is Enough: Our Madness to Miracles Story (Willie Aames and Maylo Upton-Aames) - yet another celebrity biography. Willie Aames played one of the children in the series Eight is Enough, and was a lead actor on Charles in Charge. This book tells the story of his addiction and recovery, and how he found Christ. He went on to create the Bibleman character, who is very popular with my son.

December - Kneeknock Rise (Natalie Babbitt) - I couldn't conclude the year without a mystery on my "must read" list, so here's a Newbery Honor Book written for children, by the author of one of my favourite children's books, Tuck Everlasting.