Urbana Onward — great books about world missions (and more!) 20% OFF

I would hope that most readers
of BookNotes have heard of Urbana, the spectacularly largeurbana 12.jpg student mission conference
put on by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship every three years.  We have never been there — Jubilee in
Pittsburgh is the big student conference we help with each year — but there is little doubt
that there is no single event that has over time created so much good in the world.  From inspiring students to go into missionary church planting or to
work in relief and development, from encouraging campus leaders and missionaries alike to grapple with big questions around racism, sexism and nationalism to encouraging students to think about their chosen careers as
potent for global mission, much good work as come from this big event. It started in 1946 and since then hundreds of thousands of young adults have
made new or re-commitments to Christian faith, to radical discipleship and to global
concern. Such generative impact, as far as I know, is simply unparalleled. 

It seems to me that Urbana
represents much of what is best about the evangelical tradition.  I

Urbana-Speakers-09.jpg am sure they don’t get everything right and
I’m sure there are speakers (there are hundreds of workshops!) with whom I
might disagree (and with whom you would disagree.)  But from their remarkable
prayer meetings, their multi-ethnic sensitivities in worship and programming,
and their energetic and wholistic vision of Christ’s work in the world, we can
all be glad that besides actually catapulting many into global service, the event’s ethos and literally world-class speakers have generated very good discussions that reverberate back at
IV chapters on campuses and mission agencies all over the world.  

F1cor.jpgollowing the important missiological principles of the Lausanne Movement and consultations, the gospel vision of Urbana is wholistic and multi-faceted. (See the important and wonderful collection of papers and sermons from the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, happily published by IVP earlier this year.  It is called Christ Our Reconciler: Gospel, Church, World  edited by Julia E. M. Cameron;  $18.00.) 

Urbana has inspired stunning
amounts of humanitarian work in the developing world and all sorts of justice advocacy and creation care initiatives in the name of Jesus.  Mainline churches who emphasize social action leading to economic transformation and conservative churches who emphasize evangelism
and church planting leading to spiritual growth both can take notice how Urbana brings together word and
deed, witness and work, prayer and public justice.  It is a world missions conference but they
have this missional vision of the reign of God that allows them to see the significance
of thinking wisely about culture, nurturing the Christian mind, discussing questions of vocation and calling in the marketplace, and affirming
all manner of creative, indigenous efforts for global mission.

One of the best publishers, we
often say, is InterVarsity Press and astute readers will know when an Urbana
conference is coming up — in those years, IVP releases several good books in the late fall about global concern,
world mission, and resources they will feature at the big conference.  Beth and I spend a lot of our time setting up
(and tearing down) book displays at gatherings and conferences but we cannot
imagine the work going into the big Urbana book display.  (It isn’t as, ahem, diverse as a Hearts &
Minds display might be — they are a singular publisher, after all, not a shop
that stocks hundreds of different publishers.) 
But we’ve heard about their work, admire their on-site bookstore and the guy who stands up and does exciting
book plugs, Greg Jao, is legendary. I sometimes joke that I want to be like him
someday.  Maybe Greg and I should have a “book
announcement” showdown.  Ha.  (More on Greg and his new book, below!)

Anyway, you should rejoice with
us — and ponder, if you are in Christian leadership — that IVCF and IVP so believe
in reading, encourage the practice and discipline of book buying as part of
discipleship, and help the Christian community have access to such an array of
thoughtful, well-written, and culturally-relevant books rooted in historic
orthodox faith. Some conservatives have criticized them for occasionally pushing envelopes in how to faithfully live out the
implications of the gospel in our globalized world, but is to their credit.  No publisher balanced evangelical clarity and edgy contemporary application as well as and as
consistently as IVP and we are glad for their good work that culminates in the big
bookselling push at their Urbana conference.

NEW IVP MISSION-RELATED BOOKS  –  20% OFF

Here are a few of the recent IVP
books that came out over the last months, a tell-tale sign that it was nearly
Urbana missions conference time.  Since
you most likely did not attend this massive event, why not pick up a couple of
books, maybe donate them to your church library, and recommit yourself in the
upcoming months to recall the Great Commission and the excitement of faith
nurturing with not just a Christian worldview, but a Christian view of the
whole wide world.  Reading about world
missions, I am sure, can only help deepen our discipleship and make us more
effective as God’s servants wherever we find ourselves.

(Our next BookNotes blog post in a day or so will describe some other mission-related books from other publishers, who have also offered some fantastic, important resources. ) 

We are happy to stock these books and offer
them to you now at a 20% discount.

W1 what j.jpghat
Jesus Started: Joining the Movement Changing the World
  Steve Addison (IVP) $15.00  I don’t think I can recommend a better book –
good for beginners or those more advanced – that documents, explores, teases
out and calls us to enact the New Testament basis for mission.  It looks specifically (and with exciting insight) at Jesus’ own methodology.  Many authors have surveyed the sending of the 12, the Great Commission strategy and such, but this brings vibrant insights, coupled with great stories.  Endorsements on the back include good ones by Alan Hirsch (Addision is from Australia), Neil Cole, J.R. Woodward. Addison and his wife lead MOVE, a mission agency devoted to training and deploying workers who become the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities.  He wrote the previous, and also recommended, Movements That Changed the World: Five Keys to Spreading the Gospel (IVP.)

Wwestern christians in g m.pngestern Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church? Paul Borthwick (IVP) $15.00  We live in a religiously different world than even a few decades ago — we know this.  Many of us have read Philip Jenkins, for instance, or Soong-Chan Rah.  As it says on the back cover of this interesting new work, “There are now more Christians in China than in all of Europe, more Pentecostals in Brazil than in the US, and more Anglicans in Kenya than in the UK, Canada and the US combined. Countries that were once destinations for Western missionaries are now sending their own missionaries to North America.”  Wow, this is fascinating stuff.

Paul Borthwick is one of the best mission educators of which we know. He knows what he’s talking about, and has been tireless in traveling and interpreting all sorts of missionary endeavors, all over the planet.  Whenever asked for a good, intro mission book, we start with his small How to Be a World-Class Christian (IVP.)  And everybody should read his Six Dangerous Questions to Transform Your View of the World (IVP.)  Borthwick’s vast experience all over the globe has placed him in a good position to think through this question. Most of us, and certainly most serious mission groups, know enough to be against paternalism or building unhealthy dependency; most everybody resists neo-colonialism as best they can.  For the most part, long gone are the days caricatured in books like The Poisonwood Bible.  But what is the best role of North American missionaries, and how might sending churches be more involved in building collaboration and reciprocity in the global support?  There has been much written about this (for decades, actually, starting with important work by the World Council of Churches a half a century ago, for instance, and, in the evangelical world, in the pioneering work of the Lausanne documents.)  This new book, though, is up to date and exceptionally insightful, making it a must read for serious thinkers in missions. As one Kenyan pastor writes, “It is encouraging to see a number of Western mission agencies building multicultural teams that are a reflection of the face of what God is doing in the Christian scene today. This book turns our gaze to this direction and I heartily recommend it.”  Or, as the International Director of the respected Langham Partnership, Chris J.H. Wright puts it, “One of the best and most helpful books on the global realities of world missions…”

Mmaking all things new moore.pngaking All Things New: God’s Dream for Global Justice  R. York Moore (IVP) $15.00  I so respect this author and enjoy his passionate preaching, storytelling, and writing.  I like him for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because he relentlessly brings together the verbal proclamation of the gospel — he has the gift of evangelism alongside his gift of gab — with serious, systemic and engaged awareness of the need to fight social injustices.  There are very moving stories here, amazing stuff
about his advocacy resisting slavery and sexual trafficking issues, for instance.  As I explained in a longer review I did when the book first came out (over at Comment magazine) this is, actually, a study of the book of Revelation.  Yes, York reminds us that knowing how the story ends — being clear about God’s dream of restoring the world he so loves — helps us remain focused and hopeful.  This is a very moving book by a tireless
activist and evangelist.  Very, very highly
recommended. 

York was one of the keynote, plenary speakers at Urbana three years ago, which indicates the caliber of communicator he is, and the integrity of his work.  You can watch a portion a talk he gave, here, hearing how he came to faith, and came to learn that justice is an integral part of the gospel.  Watch more of an evangelistic sermon, including a very clear, if creative, altar call, here.  Notice how he starts talking about a book he read as a kid and his passion to help people come to Christ in that huge auditorium!)

Sshort-term-mission-ethnography-christian-travel-narrative-experience-brian-m-howell-paperback-cover-art.jpghort-Term
Mission: An Ethnography of Christian Travel Narrative and Experience
Brian M.
Howell (IVP Academic) $20.00  Howell is a
professor of anthropology  at Wheaton
College and here has done something that has been just crying out to be done –
a serious, but wonderfully written, exciting and illuminating account of what
happens when people go on short term mission trips.  The opening pages hooked me with a notable
story, highlighting the numbers of (and impact upon) churched kids who have
traveled and served all over the world (in contrast to their secular counterparts
who are often insular and unaware of global geography.) Going on a short trip
can be “religious tourism” and can be counter-productive for the host countries
and for those going.  Howell does not
avoid these very important questions, and his balanced critique is
important.  But the e heart of this book
is the emphasis on the narratives, and how, therefore, to prepare well and
unpack these life-changing experiences. 
Team leader?  Missions
coordinator?  Supporter of those
going?  Regular short-termer?  You need to read this. As Jenell Williams
Paris  (an anthropologist who teaches at Messiah College) says, “Short-Term
Mission
is an essential resource…Howell is an expert guide, offering the wisdom
of a devout Christian, the education of an anthropologist, and the experience
of a short term missionary.”  This is
research-based, but, like most ethnography writers, includes fabulous stories
and great advice for applying his findings.

TThis-Ordinary-Adventure-Cover1.jpghis
Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down without Settling
  Christine Jeske & Adam Jeske (IVP)
$15.00  I raved about this when it
arrived early this fall, and it was maybe the first IVP book that reminded me
that this was an upcoming Urbana year. 
What does a young person do when she wants to make a difference in the
world?  What does a young couple do when
they feel called to world missions?  And,
how do they do that globe-trotting activist stuff when they also want to settle
down, maybe have kids, get a degree, care about their own local place?  Can one “think globally and act locally” but
also (this is my dumb interpretation of their fascinating and upbeat book) do
the opposite, as well – that is, can one act globally but think locally?  Can we settle down without losing our passion
for justice?  How can we make a home and
still be willing to go and do whatever God inspires us to do?  I bet you know people of any age who struggle
with this, and I bet you know missionaries, or missionary wanna-bees, who would
so love reading these touching stories of global action, world concern, and –
amidst doing community development in Latin America, China, and Africa –
finding a home “in the land of malls and manicured lawns.”  Can God show up in the “ruts and routines” of
dicing celery at home, just as God was so powerful present as they worked in micro-financing,
or rode motorcycles across Africa?  Is
there something adventuresome in the ordinary? 
Can we settle down, but not settle? 
Buy a few of these and share them widely.  Somebody you know needs to be reminded of
this, finding peace with staying home. And somebody you know needs permission
to take off.

Sstrangers.jpgtrangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission  J.D. Payne (IVP) $15.00  There are other good books that study immigration and the needed policy discussions for those interested in public justice.  IVP did our favorite, in fact (Welcoming the Stranger.)  This, though, is a bit different, studying the whole phenomenon of migration, God seeming to orchestrate new opportunities, Kingdom expansion, new people groupings and ways to reach new unreached subculture.  This looks at students on the move, refugees on the move and a bit of history of all that.  Yes, it offers guidelines for reaching “strangers next door” and it offers up-to-the-minute updates on unreached people groups in North America (and other parts of the West.) Payne calls for a “diaspora missiology” making this a new angle on outreach and missionary thinking.

Ggo and do everts.jpgo and Do: Becoming a Missional Christian  Don Everts (IVP) $15.00  I have shown this to many groups I’ve talked with this fall and reviewed it previously and I remain enthusiastic.  It illustrates a great insight — we must combine who we are and what we do, character and obedience, so to speak.  The first four chapters are beautifully written and I thought very, very compelling, as Everts explains (with tender stories of his own funky life) who we are called to be.  How do we see, feel, think?  Do we share God’s own view of the world?  How can we be spiritually formed in ways that shape us to be those kind of people?  And, then, the second half, explores in very inspiring prose, just where we are to share God’s love (in word and deed.)  He works with concentric circles, noting that we must remind ourselves and our families of the gospel, and then move out into our most obvious relations, our church, our neighborhood, and, yes, the larger world of global realities. There is a very moving chapter about urban ministry (although for those of us who don’t live in big cities, he is clear that we apply our outreach to the hurting and needy wherever they are found; surely rural and small town America has great poverty and there are, as we know, very tough stuff even in the most affluent of suburbs.)  Anyway, this is a great book, outlining who we are as people who announce good news and where we do this work, in various spheres and locales.  Very nicely arranged and very, very moving.  Again, I like that it includes world misisons, but it frames that by the preceding call to daily discipleship, ordinary outreach and service in ordinary ways and places.  Right on.

DDiscovering-the-Mission-of-God-21.jpgiscovering the Mission of God: Best Missional Practices for the 21st Century edited by Mike Barnett & Robin Martin (IVP) $35.00  Oh yeah, this is a hefty one, and worth every penny if you want to be informed about the very latest ideas in effective missionary work.  There are scholars and practitioners here, following the mission of God from the Bible and church history, and then the cutting edge best practices of our new era.  This includes rare contributions from John Piper, Chris Wright, Ed Stetzer, Scott Moreau, Jerry Rankin, and many, many others.  640 pages.  Editor Barneett is the dean of the College of Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University, an excellent place from which he is able to gather the best stories of the best thinkers of our time.


Mmissional_god.jpgissional God, Missional Church: Hope for Re-evangelizing the West  Ross Hasting (IVP Academic) $20.00  Oh my, this is a masterpiece of scholarly, Biblical study to resource the missional vision.  J.I. Packer calls it a “tour de force.”  This follows well in the legacy of Leslie Newbigin’s Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Eerdmans),  fits well with a personal favorite by Michael Goheen & Craig Bartholomew, A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story (Baker) and on the heels of the spectacular Biblical overview, Mission of God by Chris Wright (IVP.)  Still, some are saying that there is nothing quite like it, changing the conversation, advancing our understanding, and deepening our insight and hope. Important for anyone who cares about the health and fidelity of our local congregations.  Wow.

URBANA
ONWARD

Wow, I’ve
been wanting for weeks to tell you about these six booklets – especially a few of
them, and really, really especially one of them.  I’ll come clean and admit it: I not only have
an endorsement on one of them, but our bookstore is even described and
commended in it.  I’m in a book!  We’re in a footnote, too!  Oh, man, this is soooooo cooooool.  Okay. 
Settle down.  Let me explain.

IVP has
created these six small books – staple bound booklets, not unlike their famous
LifeGuide Bible studies in shape and size – to sell inexpensively at Urbana, with the hopes that they will help students take the
message home, so to speak, take next steps, practically learn about and live
into the vision of Urbana.  A few of
these are quite specific to moving towards world missions and would be
excellent for any church library or para-church group that encourages global
awareness and endeavors to equip folks to enter calling of world missions.  Several – as we will see —are not
specifically about missions and would be useful for nearly anyone.  We’ll describe the mission-themed ones first
(and really, really recommend them) and then will pull out the stops and rave
about the few that are more general and should have wide appeal.  Can you guess in which Hearts & Minds
makes its cameo appearance? Come on people, this is exciting!

Each of
these booklets includes questions for personal reflection or, better, for group
discussion.

Ppgc.pngartnering
with the Global Church
  Nikki
Toyhama-Szeto & Femi Adeleye (IVP) $4.00 Ms. Toyama-Szato is program
director for the Urbana Conference and helped develop programs for Cape Town
2010 Lausanne Congress — so she knows this stuff well.  You may know her
as a contributor to a book about Asian American women of faith, More Than Serving Tea.
Mr. Adeley is an African, the associate general secretary for partnership and
collaboration for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES.) He has seen this sort of concern from the perspective of the global church.  This powerful study reminds us that you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) go it
alone.  It is a wonderful message for
all of us.  If you know anybody on a mission committee or who helps make decisions about how mission activity is done, this is a great little reminder of very, very important ideals.

Sswm.pngpiritual
Warfare in Mission
  Mary Anne & Jack
Voelkel (IVP) $4.00  The Voelkel’s have
worked in Latin America for years, and have done campus ministry (in Medellin,
Columbia) which is to say they are smart and experienced.  They have been “missionaries-in-residence” at Urbana for years — hosting “ask the missionary” discussion sessions — and are very well-respected; if anybody can
tackle this vexing matter, in brevity and balance, it is them.  Again, this is oriented towards those in global
missions, but it might be good for any of us, eh?  You know that famous Luther line that the devil is glad if we think about him too much and if we don’t think about him at all.   

Ppusuing god's call onward.jpgursuing
God’s Cal
l 
Tom Lin (IVP) $4.00 You know
how much we appreciate resources that hold up the vision of vocation, that help
folks discern their calling in life, and helps readers to frame their passions and occupations
in terms of the theology of call.  This
does that, but, mostly, it is a tool to help those perhaps inspired to go
into the mission field to discern that calling.  As Lin said in his opening address at Urbana (ahh, the wonders of technology, that we can know this already), “Surrender your plans and let God surprise you. God’s invitation extends further than we can every imagine. Don’t limit God.”  His evaluation of how this all works, his contrasting hearing God’s
call with the other calls coming from our culture, is profound.  He is honest and realistic, but holds out the big
vision.  He quotes the famous missionary
C.T. Studd, who wrote, “I’m not afraid of failure; I’m afraid of succeeding at
things that don’t matter.”  Add this to other books on vocation, calling, and discerning God’s will. 

Tmission of w.pnghe
Mission of Worship
  Sandra Van
Opstal  (IVP) $4.00  Okay, this is interesting:  what Christian person doesn’t want worship to
be more faithful and meaningful?  What
church leader doesn’t want an inexpensive and brief resource to kindle passion
and warmth for the work of worship?  Yes,
we were made for more, and communal worship services allow us to have a special
glimpse of the majesty and grandeur of God. 
But it also paints a picture of God’s purposes for the world, so this
book is, in fact, an essay on and invitation to missional worship.  Sandra leads the Urbana worship team (and
serves on the national leadership team for InterVarsity’s Latino ministry,
LaFe.)   We know God’s heart breaks in a world of
injustice and we know that proper worship of the Triune God can have transforming
impact, motivating us to care and act.  This booklet explains the
relationship between worship and mission and is very useful. 

Ddeepening soul of j.pngeepening
the Soul for Justice
  Bethany H. Hoang
(IVP) $4.00  Oh my, how I wish there was
a small study like this when I was younger. 
There are several small group Bible study guides on social justice, now,
but this one is very, very special.  For
starters, Bethany is a hero to many of us, a young woman who has taken up work
with the International Justice Mission, the pioneering and premier organization
doing legal reform and dramatic activism against sexual trafficking.  She has done extraordinary, tireless work
promoting IJM’s work on campuses and in churches all over the country, and now directs
the IJM Institute for Biblical Justice. 
Here, she powerfully, if briefly, tells of their daily fight against
injustice, highlighting especially how prayer is central to their important campaigns, and how we
can all be more deeply involved as good citizens, in justice ministries, with a
wholistic view of neighborly service in God’s hurting world — all rooted in the spiritual disciplines to undergird such activism. I love this little
book, so appreciate its tone and wisdom, and commend it to you with enthusiasm.  The questions are interesting and upbeat, too; the
Biblical study solid, and the invitation to involvement gracious and good.  Three big cheers for this great resource that
should be widely used.  Kudos to IVP and “Urbana
Onward” for adding this to their series.

Yonward - ymm.jpgour
Mind’s Mission
  Greg Jao (IVP) $4.00  Did I tell you how much I admire and
appreciate Greg Jao?  He’s the book guy
at Urbana, and I am his lesser counterpart in many gigs we do – standing up in
front of crowds doing infomercials for books. 
Greg would surely say that this is not as easy as it looks, and we both
take this very seriously.  Why?  Because, as former Urbana hero, the late,
great John Stott put it in a mid-70s book Your Mind Matters (IVP.)  Greg believes that for all of us,
missionaries or not, students or not, reading is important because developing
the “Christian mind” is important.  I don’t
have to explain it all to Hearts & Minds friends, but this spells out the
transforming vision of a uniquely Christian worldview, the radical and even
subversive implications of distinctively Biblically-informed thinking, as well
as any small book we know.  Offering this
post-Urbana book is a stroke of genius for several reasons, one of which is
that, inspiring as the conference may be, most participants simply will not
take up vocations as missionaries.  Most will go back to daily tasks, ordinary
jobs, and will have to navigate fidelity within the often hostile secular
classroom or workplace.  It is our “mind’s
mission” to think well, to think faithfully, so we might “see” and live into
our complicated lives as Kingdom people, where-ever we are, in whatever career.

As one bookseller
(okay, that would be me) says on the back,

Greg
Jao is legendary as a lover of students and a lover of books.  For Christ’s glory, he has long encouraged
students to read widely, to think deeply, to hone their minds so that they might
understand God’s Word and world and serve well. 
He’s also a wonderful writer, and now, in this great little book, he has
given us exactly what every student needs: a quick and easy-to-read guide that
makes the case for a missional mind, ‘thinking Christianly’ and honoring Christ
as King in every career and calling, across every zone of life. 

You can
be glad that Greg isn’t quite as breathy or wordy as I am, but that back-cover
endorsement is more than sincere.  I
think I’m right about it, too — every student needs a small book like this.  Call it a prequel to the still useful Your
Mind Matters
(IVP), a feisty companion to the short booklet What is the Christian
Worldview?
by Philip Ryken (P&R) and an excellent warm-up for the vital Outrageous Idea of
Academic Faithfulness
by Don Opitz and Derek Melleby (Baker.)  If you
know any college students (or bright high school students wanting to relate
faith and learning) send ’em one of these. 
In fact, send them two, and tell them to share one with a Christian pal
or Godly prof.  Our intellectual
engagement matters to God and it matters to our personal growth and it matters
to our neighbors, who need, now more than ever, thoughtful, insightful, solid
insight about the world.  This little
book really does the job well, and we cannot think of a better introduction to
the topic. (Greg brings Urbana-esque
concerns to the topic, too, asking about creational structures, ethnicity and
justice and all sorts of interesting implications of an authentically Biblical
worldview and the renewed mind commended in Romans 12:1-2, for instance.  I am so glad for this!  You really should read it.)

Kudos
to IVP for releasing these great little books, for their wisdom in knowing that
people need to process information in this manner, that we need handles to take
next steps and think through the implications of missional living for all of
life.   From multi-ethnic friendship to missional
worship, from social justice to using our minds well, these themes illustrate
the vibrant and healthy views promoted at Urbana, and are examples of what God
is saying to the people of God.   Buy these little books and share them.  Spread the news, spread the
conversation.

Thanks for helping us
promote these sorts of great tools for advancing the healing of the world to
the glory of Christ, the incarnate King.

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333
                                                            read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

Last, last minute, lots of fun, DIY Gift Certicate. You make it, you give it. Simple.

MAKE YOUR OWN HEARTS & MINDS GIFT CERTIFICATE
Abook wrapped in brown.jpgs do most real stores, we enjoy selling and sending out gift certificates.  You may call them “gift cards” but ours aren’t plastic,  but nicely printed certificates; old school.  Some customers really enjoy giving them and they are the perfect solution for gifts large or small.  We make them for any amount you’d like, and can send them out anywhere.

But here is what is fun — this time of year we invite a little homemade DIY action.  Why not get crafty, use your imagination, open up that aesthetic dimension of life, and prettify something as a way to share some H&M joy?  You can make your own gift certificate and we will honor it.

Yep, you can make your own gift card, for any amount, drawing it up in any way you’d like.  Give them to your loved ones, and voila, they can be ordering whatever they like, whenever they like.

Here is how it works.  On the secure order form page at our website, just type in that you arpaper trail.jpge making your own gift card and tell us the dollar amount you want it to be for.  We will send to you the cc receipt (or a bill, if you’d rather) to your address for your records.  We will also reply promptly via email (as we always do) and give you a little gift certificate number that you can write on the card somewhere, just for everybody’s records.  If you tell us to whom you are giving it, that would be helpful for our files, too.  We won’t correspond with them, but having a name would be good.  That way, if they lose it — heaven forbid, since it will be a work of art — we can still honor it.  This is so easy, and if you’d rather do it over the phone, that is simple, too.  Just call the shop at 717.246.3333.

Mhandmade christmas.jpgaking and giving your own gift certificate is one last way for you to say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, or to commemorate any of the Twelve Days of Christmas, including (our family favorite)  Epiphany.  The Persian astrologers brought gifts to Jesus on that day, so you could put Epiphany art on it.  Smart thinking, eh?  Or use it for a Christmas eve stocking stuffer or along with a thank you to someone who has blessed you this year.

Speaking of gift-giving, you all are a great gift to us.  Beth and I and our staff thank you for caring about books, for supporting a real store, and for allowing us to inform you about books we think you’ll like, all through the year.  We enjoy our on-line friends and appreciate those who follow along, sharing in our efforts.  You are part of this story and we are grateful, daily.  At this glorious holiday time, though, we are especially aware of how we wouldn’t be here if it were not for you, our friends and customers.  Merry, merry Christmas.

love.jpg

BookNotes

order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want to order

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313
    717-246-333
3

    read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Geeks — Great Ideas for Passionate Learners

These days, to be
considered a geek is a real compliment – one who is passionate,
book geek.jpg knowledgeable,
super-into a topic or sub-culture, smart. Okay, maybe they are even goofy about it. 

Such single-minded experts are sometimes hard
to buy gifts for.

So here ya go, some
last minute suggestions for books for geeks.  Our store has a lot of what some might think a bit unusual; we curate the selection with passionate lovers of various topics in mind, in fact.  So here are some rather rare titles, mostly quite new, that are good for geeks. 
Or anybody who enjoys a certain topic, or wants to.

Being well-rounded is a virtue, of course, and in older days it wasn’t just the geeks who were called “well read.”  So maybe
these would make great gifts for anybody who is a life long learner, alive to the
joys of non-fiction, attentive to books, attentive to the world. 

We don’t have tall stacks of most of christmas-package1.jpgthese,
so get ’em while you can.  20% off, while
supplies last.

If you order today, we think we can get them to you before Christmas.  USPS’s Priority Mail is much less expensive (for smaller orders, at least)  than UPS and quicker to most places as well, so we can pull it off.  All of these are on sale — and may help you stuff those geeky, hard to fill stockings.  Enjoy. 

We gift wrap for free, too.  Just let us know.

So, here ya go.  Last minute just-in-time ideas for the uber-passionate, hard-to-buy-for.  Affectionately called geeks.  Who, naturally, love books.  

FOR A SCIENCE GEEK
Science in 100 Key Breakthroughs  Paul Parsons  (Firefly Books) $29.95  This is a way cool publisher that does fine popular science books with tons of color, quality paper,great photography — perfect for the lay person who wants to know a lot, enjoys science, and, in this case, learning about discoveries that made a difference.  Something new will be learned, and it will be fun.  Guaranteed.

Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything  Gerald Rau (IVP Academic) $18.00  This just arrived and the geeky guys debating intelligent design and such are going to love knowing about this!  Rau has his PhD from Cornell and was previously a professor at Wheaton, and at Trinity Christian College in Palo Heights.  This is very profound, trying to expose the underlying assumptions and philosophical strains underneath the major models of origins.  It has been called “calm and reasoned” and looks absolutely unparalleled.  Except in a parallel universes. Sorry, that was beyond geeky, that was dorky. 

FOR A MATH GEEK
Mathematics in Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective edited by Russell Howell & W. James Bradley (Eerdmans) $36.50  I’ve made it clear that most of us are geeky about something, and there is no shame in being passionate about some aspect of God’s good creation.  Too bad that many math-lovers have this reputation of also being a bit odd.  They aren’t.  Well, maybe some are.  If you know anybody who is really, really into the philosophy and theology of mathematics, this Christian disucssion will blow them away.  Man, this is nerdy.  Thanks be to God.

FOR A MEDICAL GEEK
God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine Victoria Sweet (Riverhead) $27.95 This is an extraordinary book, the memoir of an exceptional woman, a beautiful writer, who tells us of rare faith-based hospital for the poor, Laguna Honda, perhaps the last of its kind.  As the state authorities plan to close it down, Sweet is working on a PhD on the healing practices of the medieval mystic, Hildegaard of Bingen, come to reconsider industrialized, business-oriented health care, realizing that medicine can be a holy vocation.   As one reviewer writes, “Sweet embodies the traits of a persevering and compassionate doctor, while conveying he wisdom of a philosopher, and the instincts of a storyteller.”

FOR A THEOLOGY GEEK
Theological Trading Cards  Developed by Norman Jeune (Zondervan) $24.99  I’ll admit it, I thought up this geek thing mostly so I could tell you about this, the ultimate geek gift, the coolest, weirdest, greatest, surprise gift item of the year. One theologically geeky, widely read, regular customer of ours — whose name I will not reveal — nearly peed his pants laughing when he first saw these.  Then he got all solemn and maybe misty-eyed.  Medieval mystics, modern Germans, ancient heretics? There are over 300 cards in this boxed set, and they are grouped in teams, groupings that mostly seem to make sense.  The back of the card contains good info, their time period, their most significant writings, and their significance. The picture on the front is almost as cool as a baseball card — no, I’m not going to lie, they aren’t quite.  Unless you are a theology geek; for them, this is way cooler.

FOR A HISTORY GEEK
Short Night of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis  Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin) $28.00  Egan is a remarkable and respected historian and a truly engaging writer (he won the coveted National Book Award for his stunning book on the dust bowl, The Worst Hard Time, and another for a riveting book of an infamous 1910 wildfire, The Big Burn.) In this new book he studies the life and times – and important work – of the legendary photographer who took the most iconic photos (and over 10,000 audio recordings) of aging leaders of American Indians.  Edward Curtis was a charismatic leader, what one called “the Annie Leibovitz of his time,” and was friends with presidents, vaudeville stars and leading thinkers of the late 1920s.  He was backed by Teddy Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan but, more importantly, befriended some of the most amazing tribal leaders our nation has known. The photos are hauntingly beautiful, as is the very thorough book.  A must for anyone interested in Indians or our conception of the American West.”

FOR A CHRIST & CULTURE GEEK
Incarnational Humanism: A Philosophy of Culture for the Church in the World Jens Zimmermann (IVP Academic) $30.00  Any book that has common good and incarnation on the back has got to be of interest, and this new “strategic initiative” is thoroughly evangelical, deeply thoughtful, and offers a robust, thick, substantive theology of culture.  He is learned, he is insightful, and he’s all about forging a renaissance of Christian humanism, grounded in a righteous sense of our common humanity and the possibilities of theologically-informed cultural flourishing.  His ruminations on what it means to be human, and why the incarnation mattes are brilliant. Very, very impressive.

FOR A BIBLE GEEK
And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament  Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) $30.00  I’ve reviewed this before, and once again want to suggest it for anyone who likes good sermons, serious study of the Scriptures, or great theological writing.  Reverend Rutledge is a renowned Episcopalian priest in New York city – called “one of America’s finest preachers” by Patrick Miller.  Andy Crouch called the book “magnificent.” A big paperback, it includes dozens of eloquent sermons — 421 pages.

The Bible Study Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to an Essential Practice  Lindsay Olesberg (IVP) $18.00 This new book is just fabulous, offering oodles of fresh ways to approach the text, to do good study, to lead Bible studies.  It offers, too, the first major treatment of the legendary “manuscript” study that Inter Varsity chapter camps use, walking people section by section, through a careful writing out and close reading of Mark.  Wow.

FOR A CURIOUS/SKEPTICAL/CHARISMATIC/CHURCH HISTORY GEEK
Miraculous: A Fascinating History of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles Kevin Belmonte (Thomas Nelson) $24.99  Belmonte is a fabulous writer, one who should be better known in our circles.  Decades
ago he wrote what was surely the definitive book on Wilberforce.  He has an English degree and a couple of MAs in history.  This is a tremendously written and tremendously interesting study of miracles.  “For thousands of years,” he writes, “the hope of heaven has called to people through miracles.  When we stop to consider their stories, God’s voice calls to us as well.”  There is a moving, eternal sort of quality to this study, with moments of deliverance, mercy, glory.  Episode by episode, Belmonte gives us historical background, fascinating people, and solid reporting of wonder.  Wonder-full.

FOR A TEACHER GEEK
What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World  Taylor Mali (Putnam) $19.95  Most teachers are pretty proud of what they do, but a couple are over-the-top geeky, with special pins and sweaters and neckties announcing their profession.  If they aren’t like that, they will be after they read this!  A few years ago, spoken word/poetry slam artist (and public school teacher) Mr. Taylor Mali had a youtube video that went viral – it was a fast-paced and hard-hitting recollection of a dinner party question, responding to a mocking question about the salary of teachers.  “What do I make?” Ooo, does he let it fly as he tells of the things he makes students do, and it is inspiring!  That piece is the opening chapter in this fine collection of short essays. This compact hardback offers more of his insight, in wonderfully written prose,  powerful manifestos about quality teaching and vibrant, meaningful education..  Any teacher you know will thank you for this upbeat reminder of their high calling.

FOR A HIPSTER GEEK
The Road Trip That Changed the World  Mark Sayers (Moody) $14.99  Well, it isn’t just the eccentric hipsters who are influenced by the bohemian vision of Jack Kerouac and his legendary novel On the Road, and I wouldn’t trust many Christian writers to examine his influence, for better or worse, than this important Aussie author.  (Saylor wrote the excellent The Trouble with Paris on consumerism and The Vertical Self, about what happens to our sense of self in a materialistic age.) If your friends or kids love Kerouac, or are talking about the movie, they will love this fair, discerning look at this common desire to be part of something meaningful and big, but not be bound by it. Saint Jack K fans are going to dig that you’ve offered them this.

FOR A MISSIONS GEEK
Christ Our Reconciler: Gospel – Church – World  edited by Julia Cameron (IVP) $18.00 With opening greetings from Billy Graham and John Stott the Third international Congress on World Evangelization began a year ago, and we are so grateful that the plenary  talks and reports are published here.  With powerful talks and papers from world-renown evangelical leaders, there was much on the agenda – the shifts in the postmodern world, globalization, the demand for social justice, questions of the role of women, and, of course, the much-discussed matter of the role of nationals and non-Westerners in global missions.  There are thrilling and important chapters here by Tim Keller, Chris Wright, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Os Guinness, Lindsay Brown, Becky Pippert, John Piper, Ajith Fernando and many from throughout the world, names you may not know, from Egypt to Singapore, Nigeria, Rwanda.  Wonderful.

FOR A BONHOEFFER GEEK                                                                                       Meditating on the Word  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, translated and edited by David McI. Gracie (Cowley Publications) $17.95  You know there are many who have come to appreciate the famed German martyr, especially due to the popularity of Eric Metaxas’ riveting biography.  I suspect if they are all geeky about Bonny, they know his Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.  Maybe they don’t know this, a rich, wise, good study of the need to reflect deeply on the Word of God.  More than half of the book is a handful of Bonhoeffer sermons on the Psalms, including his famous one on Psalm 119

FOR A  GENERALIST,  CHRISTIAN THINKER GEEK
Life, God, and Other Small Topics  edited by Eric Metaxas (Penguin) $17.00  Some of our readers are just geeks for good, thoughtful, Christian insights – apologetics, worldview, cultural engagement, writers who make a case that God matters, that society can be reformed, that truth can shape our thinking and our living.  Metaxas hosts such speakers in his New York forum “Socrates in the City” and he here offers in a handsome paperback (with his own clever introduction to each world-class scholar) pieces by speakers he had there.  You’ll read the likes of Sir John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath,  Jean Bethke Elshtain, Dr. Francis Collins, N.T Wright and more.  These conversations are splendid, and somebody on your shopping list will love listening in.

FOR AN APOLOGETICS GEEK
The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails Randal Rauser (IVP) $16.00  Look.  You don’t have to get it.  This is about how to build bridges with our wacky culture, how to discuss with atheists, how to witness to Christ in ways that are reasonable and yet not beholden to simplistic rationalism. This is philosophy and evangelism and the quest for truth through earnest dialogue, told in a narrative style that will appeal to anyone who likes to engage in this sort of debate.  This is not your fathers “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” though.  It offers a good long look into a long, caffeinated conversation where Rauser talks with Sheridan, the atheist (who knows the work of Dawkins, Dennet and Hitchens.)

FOR A SPORTS GEEK
Men of Sunday: How Faith Guides the Players, Coaches and Wives of the NFL Chris Eichelberger  (Nelson) $15.99  One doesn’t have to be a super sports geek to want to know about the faith of players, and even casual fans will get a kick of of learning about these good testimonials which are often quite uplifting.  It is always interesting to see how those who are so very good at their game come to realize that they, too, need God.  Inspiring.

The Long Snapper  Jeffrey Marx (HarperOne) $15.99 We have often touted Marx’s wonderful book Season of Life where he tells the story of a former Baltimore Colt, Joe Ehrmann.  This one is just as good, now out in paperback, telling the inspirational story of Brian Kinchen, who was a thirty-eight-year-old husband, father of four, and seventh-grade Bible teacher whose professional football career had been over for three years when the New England Patriots called to invite him back on the field. Marx is an award-winning Sports Illustrated writer, and the subtitle of this tells it all: “A Second Chance, A Super Bowl, A Lesson for Life.”

FOR A MOMMY/DADDY GEEK
99 Ways to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children&
nbsp; Kathleen Long Bostrom (WJK) $14.95  We have a strong section of serious, wonderful, helpful books on marriage, parenting, family life, from baby care to parenting during the teen years.  Some are so great, but they are either a bit big, or maybe so instructional that they don’t quite feel like a very romantic gift.  So, here is the thing that will bless anybody who’s super-into being a mom or dad.  (Or, who aren’t, really, and may need that extra bit of non-judgmental encouragement.)  A bright cover, nice green ink through-out, a short lesson, a short verse and a very (very) good “to be continued” idea at the end of each facing page. Really nice, gentle, kind, upbeat.  A great gift for parenting aficionados and beginners alike.

FOR A GREEN ECO-GEEK
Making Peace With the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation  Norman Wirzba & Fred Bahson (IVP) $15.00 You know we have dozens and dozens of excellent books about creation care, ecology, taking care of the land, humane views of animals and the like.  For any Christian, at least, rooting these significant concerns in a foundational, basic vision of God’s call for us to be agents of reconciliation, even with the creation itself, is essential.  This book ought to be on the shelf of anyone with even mild interests in the fate of the Earth, and is a must for those for whom going green is more than a fashion choice.  Excellent.

FOR A POSTMODERN, CULTURAL STUDIES GEEK
Changing Signs of Truth: A Christian Introduction to the Semiotics of Communication  Crystal L. Downing (IVP Academic) $24.00  I will be awarding this one of the “Books of the Year” awards soon, so you might as well get it now.  Semiotics?  If you have to ask you aren’t a cultural-studies geek, but maybe you should pay attention anyway.  Surely you know somebody who watches Mad Men, or is intrigued by Antonio Gramesci or follows discussions about (de)construction. Or they want to consider the deep ethics of, say, evangelism.  Or maybe they like Ms Downing’s fine film reviews in Books & Culture.  This wild book has rave endorsements by everyone from Calvin College communications professor Quentin Schultze to evangelical uber-thinker Mark Noll. It is geeky as all get out. Deconstruct that!  Then order this book, asap.

FOR A LITURGY GEEK
Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar 2013 ($15.95) It may have been our friend Christine Sine who pointed us to these, but we were happy to pay a bit extra to get them here from Canada.  Each month includes contemporary full color art (including a famous metal piece by Sandra Bowden, a very moving Lenten piece by Tim Steward, and one by the talented Jan Richardson.  There are 12 full sized pieces, and lots of liturgical comment, the lectionary readings for the Revised Common Lectionary, and some highlighted information about key holy seasons and days. This is not a well known item, and would make a neat gift for somebody wanting to pay attention to the church year, but also who appreciates original religiously-themed contemporary art.

  
FOR A REFORMED THEOLOGY GEEK
The Great Work of Providence: Jonathan Edwards for Life Today Rachel S. Stahle (Cascade) $24.00  Oh, my, how geeky can Reformed types be?  Very.  And there are so many different sorts, from global Barthians to English Puritans, from the new, young and restless Reformed to the neo-Calvinist Dutch Kuyperians, and all sorts of Presbyterians.  Everybody esteems Edwards, though, truly one of the most profound thinkers in American history.  Ms. Stahle has given us here a fine introduction, an overview that anyone could enjoy — geeky, Reformed, or not — one that offers helpful insights about church, faith, and life, for today.  You learn a bit about Edwards, examine some of his work, and apply the truths of the Great Awakening to ordinary congregations, today.  Rachel graduated from Gordon Conwell, and is ordained in the PC(USA) and is, I might add, a long-standing friend of the store, from right here in Dallastown.  This book will get any theological geek all fired up.

FOR A SPIRITUALITY GEEK
Honest to God Prayer: Spirituality as Awareness, Empowerment, Relinquishment and Paradox  Kent Ira Groff (Skylight Paths) $16.99  You know the type, who get all geeky about labyrinths and centering prayer and go off to monastic retreats,  talking about Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen and Joyce Rupp, and are always busy gently discerning stuff, in silence, no doubt.   Kent studied under Tilden Edwards, founded Oasis Ministries, and has published many books and has been a pioneer in the last 30+ years doing this work.  This rumination on spiritual openness offers practical guidance into 26 prayer practices, and is sure to please the well initiated, as well as serving as a helpful guide for ecumenical beginners.

FOR A LATE ’60s HIPPIE GEEK
Lost Sheep: Aspen’s Counterculture in the 1970’s: A Memoir  Kurt Brown (Condundrum) $14.99  When a literary-type buddy of mine bought the Colorado-based indie publishing house, this is one of the first books he told me about.  Everybody knows the late 60s really blossomed in the early 70s, and this memoir begins with a road trip and hitchhiker ending up in the hippy-dippy town of Aspen. They stay.  It becomes quite the bohemian center with fun times, lots of bars, poetry readings, alternative energy, and people like Hunter Thompson and Steve Martin and Jack Nicholson making early appearances.  It becomes a bohemian center,  Brown starts a lit mag, and Aspen eventually ends up a yuppie haven, now a commercial destination for millionaires and well-heeled wannabes.  How did this happen? Aspen’s own transformation, as seen through the eyes of one who stayed, mirrors much of the shift of the culture at large.  Some of you hitch-hiked around in the late ’60s.  Some of you want to know what happened in this iconic town of “Rocky Mountain Highs.”  Not so far out, just a fine, honest story, well told.

FOR A FOODIE GEEK
The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God edited by Leslie Leyland Fields (Wipf & Stock) $30.00  Sounds like a contradiction in terms, since most foodies are cool and sublime, well-fashioned and quite articulate.  But, oh my, get them started and it’s all kind of chatter about recipes and preferences and things they know about ingredients and cooking styles and strategies and gear.  Well, let’s keep them grounded by doing the whole “Christian perspective” thing —  exploring a deep spiritual basis for food and eating. This is the very best collection of essays I have ever read about this topic, and although I named it a book of the year two years ago, it is still the best surprise under the tree for anybody who cares about this topic.  Geek or not, everybody eats, and most of us have to cook a bit.  Some do it as a major part of their calling. This book is a precious, important, great gift.

FOR A WENDELL BERRY GEEK
It All Turns on Affection: The Jefferson Lectures & Other Essays  Wendell Berry (Counterpoint) $14.95  If you have any Berry fans who are nearly geeks, you know it: they won’t quite citing Jayber Crow and want to grow into an elderly woman like Hannah Coulter, and they realize that abuse of the Earth is imp
licated in all manner of other social problems.  They talk about “a sense of place” and, well, you know.  Berry fans were gaga when it was announced that he was giving the prestigious Jefferson Lecture earlier this year.  Most haven’t quite heard yet that is has been released in this handsome small paperback.  True Berry geeks know about  A Place in Time: Twenty Short Stories of the Port William Membership (Counterpoint; $26.00.)  Give a Berry book to a Berry lover and you will respect you for life.

FOR A COMMUNITY LIVING GEEK
The Intentional Christian Community Handbook: For Idealists, Hypcrites, and Wannabe Disciples of Jesus  David Janzen (Paraclete Press) $19.99  Been there, done that.  I’m a geek, who still talks about “community” as if it is nearly a commune, some intentional living, neo-monastic household.  And, yes, there are idealists out there who are sharing lives in new (not so new) ways.  Janzen helped form “New Creation Fellowship” in Kansas and eventually moved to Reba Place.  Don’t worry if you don’t know those names — your geeky friend who lives in or wants to live in a community will get it.  They’ve read Life Together.  They’ve waded through Vanier.  Now, they need this.  The best.  They will be amazed.  Forward by Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

 
FOR A HOMILETICS GEEK
Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons Richard Cox (IVP) $16.00  Talk about a geeky book — this guy has a PhD and a DMin, is a professional psychologist, teaches at Duke Medical School, and is an ordained PC(USA) preacher himself. With endorsements from a few serious homiletics authors, this looks like just the best, truly surprising new book for those who keep up on preaching scholarship. As the title suggests, it looks at preaching taking into consideration what we now know from the latest research into neuroscience. This is a “unique blend of theology, medicine, and psychology.”  Purposeful preaching, he explains, can actually produce new neural pathways.  And who doesn’t want new neural pathways?  Somebody out there is going to be amazed, and really dig this!  Your welcome.

FOR A YOUTH MINISTRY GEEK
Taking Theology to Youth Ministry  Andrew Root (Zondervan) $12.99  I know somebody who has a tattoo that looks almost like the cover of this book, but that is neither here nor there.  You know those youth ministry guys and gals who are gonzo for their work, going to conferences and all about the kids?  May their tribe increase.  This will help.  What a fine, short manifesto of why theology is important for kids, and for the way youth min is done. There are three other slim hardbacks in this series, too.  Important.

Dodgeball Theology: A Youth Worker’s Guide to Exploring Play and Imagination Blair Spindle (Barefoot Ministries) $14.99  We stock almost everything Barefoot does these days but when I saw this title, I knew I had to have it.  And I’m not even on the youth min geek squad.   You just know that there is somebody you know you will just scream with delight when they see this.  It is, by the way, very well done, asking how serious ministry needs an appropriate theology of playfulness.  Sure we must balance the sacred and the silly, but is there is a way to combine them with integrity?  This is a seriously fun book about serious fun.  Imagine!

FOR A POP CULTURE GEEK
Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective  Ted Turnau (P&R) $19.9  You know the type.  And they are right — we are called to find God in popular culture, to learn to be wise “in but not of” the world,  and to at least build bridges with our surrounding culture. Of course we must exercise considerable discernment about what is helpful and good and what isn’t, in the music, movies, games, and trends of our entertainment and in our common language as a society. There are plenty of books about movies, music and sports and digital culture, but few with such a comprehensive, theologically attuned perspective. Our friend Denis Haack (Ransom Fellowship) says “Turnau recognizes the vitality of popular culture and knows that because God ha;s spoken in Scripture we have a plumb line by which to uncover the idolatries that seek to seduce us away from the truth.”  There is more than this, though — jazzman Bill Edgar, in facts, calls it “a tour de force.”  If you know anybody into this whole field, they need this book.

FOR A POPULAR MUSIC GEEK
Personal Jesus: How Popular Music Shapes Our Souls  Clive Marsh & Vaughan Roberts (Baker Academic) $29.99 Okay, rock and roll fans, I’m gonna shoot straight.  This isn’t for everyone.  It is heavy, academic, brilliant, and takes the discourse about faith and music theory to a new, significant level. Marsh has a philosophy degree from Oxford and Roberts is a vicar.  He is a scholar of religion and contemporary culture, and is, I gather, quite the geek.  Brand new.

FOR A CLASSICAL MUSIC GEEK
Reinventing Bach  Paul Elie (Farrar, Straus Giroux) $30.00  This is surely one of the best nonfiction books of the year, by the author of the widely respected study of four Catholic writers, The Life You Save May Be Your Own.  It is a big book and, as one reviewer noted, is “intelligent, wide-ranging.” It “brings Bach’s eternal music into conjunction with the forces of history.”  Yet, great music changes… as the title implies, it is about this change — “how one composer precipitated two revolutions in music and technology.”

The First Four Notes: Beethoven’s Fifth and the Human Imagination Matthew Guerrieri (Knopf) $26.95  This handsome book, with a medieval German-looking font, and deckled edges, is sure to delight serious book lovers.  But more so, it will cause classical music lovers to get all geeky.  Ba-ba-ba-baaaaam! Ba-ba-ba-baaaaaaam.  Yep. If you know anybody who loves the Fifth, this will thrill them.  As musicologist Alex Ross says “A bit like Beethoven himself, Guerrieri find a cosmos in four notes.”

FOR A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE STUDENT GEEK
Philosophy: A Student Guide  David K. Naugle (Crossway) $11.99  I don’t mean that this is a gift for a mal-adjusted kid, the socially awkward one that needs some relational intelligence.  No, I mean the kid who is all about relating faith to learning, wanting to honor God even in her classroom and papers, who has read Making College Count and The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness — maybe more than once.  They go to Jubilee, maybe, and they are all about being a Christian college student, not just a college student who happens to believe in God.  Well, if they are all about “thinking Christianly” they need this little book, and they will be glad you helped them ramp up their good intentions.  This is a gem, a wonderfully written and sorely needed intro to why young scholars should think well about philosophy.  Truth be told, we all need this, even though it is called “a student’s guide.”  I’m sure you know somebody who can use it!!  Professor Naugle, by the way, is a dear friend, a good, good man, and a fine teacher at Dallas Baptist University.  Funny, he’s so well-rounded and pleasan
t that he doesn’t even come across as a geek himself, although — come on, he’s a philosophy professor.

FOR A WRITER GEEK

Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer  compiled by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney (Eerdmans) $16.00  Most writers are geeks.  They sit at the coffee shop for hours.  They love the line by one famous writer who said he spent all morning putting a word in, and all afternoon taking it out.  Poets, memoirsts, the gal working on her novel, the scholar, the preacher.  You and me — we need God’s blessing for insight, stamina, wisdom, that we would exercise our wordy gifts well.  These are truly wonderful prayers, gathered from a wide theological spectrum of Christian thinkers and prayer books, offering words of wisdom and guidance.  Endorsements from the pack are from fine writers such as Walter Wangerin, Scott Cairns, Lillian Daniel, and John Wilson, of Books & Culture.  This is a very fine book.

reindeer-led-christmas-lights.jpg

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333
                                                            read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

 

 

Qu4rtets: artwork by Mako Fujimura, Bruce Herman, and others, inspired by T. S. Eliot

We want to tell you about
one new book, happily and a bit urgently – we are one of the very few bookstores in the country to
stock this and we couldn’t be more confident that it will be an exceptional
gift for some of our friends and fans. This is very new, and we just got our shipment a few days ago. You ought to consider ordering it right away – it is a beautifully designed art book, a brilliant idea, precious and good for anyone. What a find!

Qu4rtets  $35.00 
paperback, 102 pages

YQU4RTETS.jpegou surely know the famous poem by T.S. Eliot called “Four Quartets“, a very important work in
the canon of American poetry, by one of the important voices of faith in the
modern world.  In this new coffee-table sized,
paperback gift book, a handful of contemporary artists and critics ruminate on the
Eliot piece and offer art, words, and music inspired by and in response to
this epic work.  Is this a great idea, or
what?  Why didn’t somebody think of this
sooner?  We had heard that this was in the works — it was encouraged by CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) and IAM (International Arts Movement) and the Fujimura Institute, and we are thrilled it is finally out. Kudos to those who offered patronage, Walter & Darlene Hansen, Stephen & Denise Adams, Howard & Roberta Ahmanson and John & Jean Kingston, amongst others. 

Renowned Japanese-American
artist Makoto Fujimura and Gordon College professor1mako.jpg and painter Bruce
Herman each contribute stunning original work for this book and classical musician
Christopher Theofanidis offers a new musical composition, about which he
writes. These pieces alone make this a
one of a kind example of contemporary, profoundly Christian, illuminating art, illustrating ways in which evangelicals, especially, have deepened their
commitments to cultural engagement in recent decades.  And it is so very interesting. There is a middle section, too,
where the glossyBruceHerman2.jpg paper folds out into a larger spread-sheet, showing the progression
of a few key pieces.  As you might guess, there are golds and yellows and hues of transcendence, developed by these stunning art workers. Qu4rtets is a project and artifact in which to rejoice, and with which to sit, to gaze and ponder.

Added to the vivid,
abstract and imaginative art and ruminations on it by the artists and composer, there1theo.jpg is an
astute and glorious introduction by Image magazine editor, Gregory Wolfe.  Wolfe is always worth reading and even with the economy of words demanded by a preface, he offers much, here.

Further, there are three very significant essays (also enhanced with lovely type and smaller
art pieces throughout.)  Matthew Milliner, James
McCullough, and Jeremy Begbie are the authors who add their critical
reflections, celebrating and exploring not only the original work of Elliot
but of these recent works done in response to him.  What
a joy to see them reflecting on Eliot and Herman, Eliot and Mako.  What a
grand, collaborative effort this all is and what a grand gift that results.  Qu4rtets is simply magnificent.

Here is a description of the project from their own website:

Four Quartets is relevant to our own cultural moment because of its
powerful testimony to the grace and vision of the Gospel message in a
multicultural milieu. In Eliot’s vision all hinges upon the “still
point” where the human experience of time evokes wonder, fear and
longing for continuance and redemption, and where Christ’s presence is
the pivotal point for the entire Creation. Herman and Fujimura have made
a substantive response in painting, not so much illustrating Eliot’s
work or making direct allusion to passages in the poem as attempting to
find, in Eliot’s words, the “objective correlative,” between the poet’s
themes and their own works. Christopher Theofanidis has produced a
compelling score that evokes the brooding and brilliant light of Eliot’s
poem. In effect, the painters and composer are collaborating in
intentional dialogue with the poem, revealing the staying power of its
genius and its self-declared reliance on the Christian literary and
theological tradition. 

TJeremyBegbie4.jpghese seven contributors are true culture-makers, indeed, they are culture leaders, and to
have this handsome example of their work is a gift to behold, and it is a contribution from which we can learn. Of course we recommend it to the bookish and literate, the culturally engaged, those with a love for poetry and paint, for criticism and culture. But also for those who ought to know a bit about the contemporary world in which we live, the influences and impact of the art of our time, the joys and the sorrows, exposed by Mr. Eliot and by the faithful artists who use their imagination and insight to underscore and extrapolate.                                                                              1tsspring_lrg.jpg

The attractive paperback book was
designed to accompany a touring show of this work which will appear throughout
2013 starting at Baylor University (where it on display currently), moving to Duke University, Yale University, and Gordon
College.  One could hardly
imagine a better idea for a book and we are truly thrilled to end the year on
this high note of book recommending.  Buy
this now, maybe one for your own use, and one for a gift.  Kudos to all involved. We thank them for allowing us the privilege of stocking it, and we thank you for supporting our work as a bookseller who finds these sorts of treasures, and passes the invitation on to you.  All if this makes us very glad — glad for artists, for special independent book projects, for willing authors, and generous patrons, book buyers, of course, supporters.  Thanks for reading BookNotes, for caring about this kind of thing, for allowing us to tell you about new books.  

                  from Qu4rtets “Spring/Earth/Childhood” (Bruce Herman)


BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
QU4RTETS

20% off
regularly $35.00
our sale price $28.00
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want to order

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333
                                                            read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

 

Fabulous books for young readers — on sale! And some fine children’s music.

We hope you enjoyed our
last list of colorful children’s books. 
We love picture books, and stock a lot of different sorts.  Here, though, is a list of some for older readers –
some for older elementary/middle school ages and some for YA, teenaged
students.  So many good ones! 

By the way, if you order
soon, we can most likely still have them delivered to you by Christmas, without
additional cost.   And then don’t miss the CDs we mention, rare finds, great stocking stuffers.  Ho, ho, ho.

These first two entries, by the
way, could have been shown with the previous list as they, too, are colorful
and quite visual, with a fabulous blending of words and images.

Alice’s Adventure in
Wonderland
Lewis Carroll illustrated by Yayoi Kusama (Penguin)

aliceinwonderland_kusama2.jpg $35.00  I have rarely seen a book design that offers
such a fresh and vivid look for an old familiar story!  Kusama is a renowned modern Japanese designer
and here offers her signature dots (and dots and dots) and hipster
graphics, catapulting this wild Victorian tale into the contemporary
world. This is a solid, square size,
heavier pages, and tons of brightness.  Check out some of the artwork, here. 

Taction b.gifhe Action Bible Doug Mauss
& Sergio Cariello (Cook) $26.99 There have been other attempts at comic
book and graphic novel versions of the Bible (including one in the hip Manga
style) but none have pulled it off as well this one has.  For those who are attracted to this cartoon
format (dare I say, often, young boys, from 6 to 16) this is a truly tremendous gift, colorfully re-telling 215 stories.  Sergio Cariello is a master of the genre, very renowned; it
is large, hardback, with typical comic blocks – perfectly done. 

It also comes in a paperback 52 week The Action Bible Devotional version ($17.99) and a
less hefty hardback, The Action Bible New Testament ($16.99.)  Way cool.

And, while we’re at it, we just got in the graphic novel version of Therev.jpg Book of Revelation as illustrated by the master of creepy graphic art, Chris Koelle. The translation of the text is by Fr. Mark Arey and Fr. Philemon Sevastiades, with adaptation by Matt Dorff. (You can read about these Greek Orthodox scholars who did the translation a bit here.)  Published in high quality paperback, the art is both black and white and sometimes bright, fiery color; kudos to the publisher Zondervan ($19.99.) Visual editions of this apokalypsis are not uncommon, as they’ve been done by Michelangelo, Hieronymus Bosch, Durer, Blake.  So this is a great idea, powerful, exciting, rendered from the orginal Greek in edgy comic style, perfect for those who may not typically be interested in Bible reading.  Know any heavy metal kids?  Awesome, dudes.rev guys.jpg

 

Wwhat comes from the stars.jpghat Comes From the
Stars
  Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books)
$16.99 You probably know our fondness for the work of this author (for instance,
his Newberry Award Winning Lizzie Bright or the wonderful, funny, rich
Wednesday Wars or its sequel, All Right for Now.)  In this new one a sixth
grade boy whose family is in considerable turmoil finds a necklace in his
school lunchbox.  It has been hurled from
another world, which has terrible consequences, his own town now implicated in
the battle for the cosmos.  Besides fighting this evil plot, there is a more realistic question below the surface: can a
troubled family re-define itself? Can a child lead the way?  This is classic fantasy literature (with a
map and helpful glossary of the epic-sounding names and places.)  Schmidt is a much-loved English professor at
Calvin College in Grand Rapids and is a remarkably prolific author, good at so many genres.  A great
book not only for fans of Mr. Schmidt but for anyone who likes YA fantasy.

 

T1mysterious-benedict-society-0316003956-l_5462.jpghe Mysterious Benedict
Society
  Trenton Lee Stewart (Little
Brown) $6.99  This came out in hardcover
a few years ago and became a sensation for middle school readers, and others
who love suspenseful fantasy stories.  It is smart and clever.
The main character sees an odd ad in the paper (“Are you a gifted child
looking for special opportunities?”) and soon joins dozens of other children who have
signed up for mysterious mind-bending tests. What is going on here?  This would appeal to those who
like Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl, or even Harry Potter — it is a guaranteed
page-turner, laden with interesting lessons about life,  big questions about ethics and things that
matter.

 

Thalf.gifheGuardian-by-Heather-Burch2.jpg Halflings and Guardian  Heather Burch (Zondervan) $14.99 each  Youth paranormal fantasy (think Twilight)
is so popular these days, many parents are looking for books that will appeal to those taken with that style but written within some Christian context.  These two stand
out, the first two in a series called The Halflings. (The third is to be released in Spring of 2013.)  They are nearly addicting, says USA Today and
Publishers Weekly assured us that kids will “gobble up and seek more.”  The mysterious tag line for the second one reads: “They chose to
protect her but forgot to guard their hearts.”  Guardian is the new one, book two; the first is simply called Halflings.  They involve, angels, sort of… check out their cool fan ‘zine here.

right where.jpgRight Where I Belong
Krista McGee (Nelson) $9.99  Okay,
romance fans, put that tongue in your cheek and get ready for a campy, feisty,
very Christian teen romance story.  I’ll
admit this isn’t quite my style, but there are young ladies who need a fun
reminder that dating is a part of life that needs to be explored with care and
faithfulness to spiritual principles. 
Natalia is the main character here, whose father just divorced his third
wife, and she finds herself cynical and in culture shock in a new school in a
new place.  She has given up on love but,
yep, there’s an adorable pastor’s son and, well, you know.  Sweet and edifying; one reviewer said it is about finding one’s place in the world.

Kkatelyn.jpgatelyn’s Affection  Kirsten L. Klassen (Herald Press) $11.99  This is several years old, but recently
re-issued by the excellent Mennonite publishing house, and I recommend it here
as perhaps a more serious read on the same topic – teen romance – than the rather
formulaic one listed above.  In this
story, Katelyn’s boyfriend moves away to college and she finds herself in a
relationship with an outgoing, non-Mennonite classmate. It raises the big
question of friendship, dating between those of different faith traditions, and
this complicated problem of having two special relationships at the same time.
There is some joy and some intensity to the plot    it
is a strong story, about this particular slice of teenage life. That her anabaptist faith tradition is unique and distinctive gives this a texture and interest unlike many typical teen romance stores, even of the Christian variety.

 

Ttheory of e.jpghe Theory of
Everything
  J.J., Johnson (Peachtree)
$16.95  It may be a stretch to call this
postmodern, but it is certainly a cleverly construed story with Venn diagrams
and charts and all manner of self-aware (ironic?) sidebars and smart-mouthing
from the lovable protagonist.  Sarah can’t
“move on” after her best friend Jamie died in a freak accident, even though some people tell her she should.  She wrestles with guilt, she questions the very
meaning of life.  Her grades are plummeting
and “her normal voice seems to have been replaced with a snark box.”  This isn’t from a Christian perspective, but
it honors the way one comes to understand the threads that connect us all, the
benefit of giving people a chance, and the power of love.   This is a bit edgy, very interesting, a fine bit of writing and some doodles.  Yay.

Ww.jpgonder  R.J. Palacio (Knopf) $15.99  I raved about this moving story when it arrived last
summer, and we wish our customers would get behind it, sharing this
one-of-a-kind middle school age novel with book clubs, young readers, teachers… 
It deals with a heavy subject with wit and joy — a boy with a terrible
facial deformity decides to show himself unashamedly in public school. As the famous youth novelist Patricia Reilly Giff puts it, Wonder is “a
beautifully told story about heartache, love, and the value of human life.  One comes away from it wanting to be a better
person.”  It is rare that a youth novel
has the array of endorsements from so many prestigious novelists and writers, all
raving. From adult writers like Julia Alvarez and Nicholas Sparks to Newberry
winners, all agree.  As Rebecca Stead
says of it, “Full of heart, full of truth, Wonder is a book about seeing the beauty
that’s all around us.  I dare you not to
fall in love with Augie Pullman.” 

Sson.jpgon  Lois Lowry 
(Houghton Mifflin) $17.99  You
most likely know of the powerful, controversial, and essential youth Newberry
winner, The Giver.  The sequel was also
highly regarded, called Gathering Blue and then there was The Messenger.  Here is the long-awaited and thrilling
conclusion to the quartet, although one could read it as a stand-alone, or without the middle two. It only comes in hardback, and it is nice that HM
released uniform hardbacks of all four. The Giver in hardback would make a special gift, no?  These are extraordinary
(dark) fantasies by one of the great writers of our time.  By the way, Son centers around Claire, birth mother of baby Gabriel, whom Jonas
risked his life to try to save at the end of The Giver. Some have wondered if it is a bit autobiographical, since Ms Lowry herself lost a son in an Air Force accident.  Serious, sad, and ultimately redemptive…

 

TL.L. jpghLL 2.jpge Enchanted Attic:
Saving Moby Dick
and The Enchanted Attic: Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame
L.L. Samson (Zonderkidz) $7.99 each  These are
short, clever, mystery/fantasy novels for younger readers that use a very
clever device (think, maybe, The Indian in the Cupboard.) In the first, yep, you guessed it, bookworm
siblings Linus and Ophelia enter the world of Quasimodo; in the next one, they come
face to face with Captain Ahab, realizing he is crazier then they
realized.  These fun reads give new
meaning to “bringing the story to life.”  What fun.  Look for a third in January 2013 where the kid’s attic takes them to the swashbuckling in Dumas’ The Three MusketeersBy the way, this is the Lisa
Sampson who has penned excellent adult novels and the edgy and very useful book
with her husband Will, Justice in the ‘Burbs. 
Yay.

Llysbeth.jpgysbeth: A Tale of the
Dutch
H. Rider Haggard (Christian
Liberty Press) $13.99  Historical fiction
is important to some readers, and we stock many stories from many eras. Here is one that should be considered a classic (first written in 1900 in Holland.)  It is a great way to learn about an aspect
of church history of which many simply are unaware. This author — the writer of
the truly classic King’s Solomon’s Mines — dedicates the book to the memory of
William the Silent, the leader of the struggle for Dutch independence (from the
Spanish in the sixteenth century.) 
The protagonist is a brave Reformed girl facing the perils and
persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition, facing episodes momentous and tender.  Recently abridged a bit and newly translated for
modern readers.

KIDS MUSIC
Coal Train RailroadCoal Train Swings and Rain for Roots

We are especially eager to tell you about some very, very cool children’s music, little indieCoalTrainRailroad.jpg projects that we happen to stock on behalf of acquaintances of ours.  Coal Train Railroad and Coal Train Swings are two very nifty CDs made by Katy Bowser and Chris Donohue.  (These are a bargain at just $10.00 each and with our 20% off discount, you should get ’em both.) As the playful Coal Train moniker implies, this is a nod to the famous jazzman, John Coltrane.  So, yep, this a righteous way to introduce little ones to real jazz — and it is fun, upbeat, informative, and just tons of fun.  If you want to check it out,coal train swings.jpg first, visit www.coaltrainrailroad.com and sample the fun. 

rain-for-roots.jpegYou may find it interesting that Katy has also sung on the lovely, profoundly moving Indelible Grace recordings (old hymns put to new, cool neo-folksie tunes.)

And, she is one of the four gals who recently released what is our favorite young children’s album in quite a while — it is called Rain for Roots: Big Stories for Little Ones, with lyrics by Sally Lloyd Jones. The fou4 gals.jpgr very talented mommy singers who comprise RfR are the aforementioned Ms Bowser, Sandra McCracken, Ellie Holcomb, and Flo Paris.  The album was produced by Sandra and engineered by Sandra and her husband, Derek Webb. The whole delightful project is described and shown in action at www.RainForRoots.com.  If you like what you hear, and know any young children, or know any Sunday school or preschool teachers who need some light-hearted, down-home, lyrically reliable tunes, do send the order our way.  It sells for $12.99 before our 20% discount, so we offer it at $10.39.

These Bible songs allow the gospel to shine through.  They do not moralize about the characters (“be brave”) or merely play off the drama of the tales, but always point us, as the best reading of the texts should, to God’s redemptive work as His Kingdom comes in Christ.  Sally is renowned for offering this “historic-redemptive” approach in her lovely early readers Bible storybook, The Jesus Storybook Bible (Zondervan; $16.99.)  Her somewhat similar rhyming story Bible (which comes in a cover that feels and looks like soft lamb’s wool) is for even younger ones and is called the Baby’s Hug-a-Bible (HarperFestival; $15.99,) It is the volume that inspired Rain for Roots to put Sally’s work to lyrics.  It is a perfect supplement to the cool, folksy kids album, truly offering “big stories for little ones.”   

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333
                                                            read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

10 great, recent, colorful children’s picture books — on sale!

M1mmbg.jpge and Momma and Big John  Mara Rockliff, illustrated by William Low (Candlewick Press) $16.99  We talk a lot here at BookNotes about the theological notion of calling, that we are all invited by God to step into a holy vocation, where our deepest gifts and passions and guided into work that matters.  This is a tremendously useful book that is stunningly beautiful to gently raise conversations about work with young children.  As a young child the author herself watched stone cutters working in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine — the “Big John” of the story — so this tale of a craftsperson working to build the New York cathedral is spot on.  Momma comes home from work tired and sore, explaining to her son that she works on just one stone.  As it says on the flyleaf, “This touching story, inspired by one of the first women in the United States to learn the traditional craft of stonecutting, lovingly shows how having pride in one’s work, and ones momma, comes with great grace and dignity…As Momma tells John, “Building a cethedral isn’t just a job, it’s an art.”” William Low is an award-winning illustrator and painter himself.  It is so nice to see the warmth of the cathedral, and the details of the interesting tools. 

T1thoughts.jpghoughts to Make Your Heart Sing  Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jago (ZonderKidz) $16.99  This handy-sized hardback is in many ways a companion devotional to her extraordinary, amazingly good children’s Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible (ZonderKidz; $16.99 in hardback, $27.99 in a deluxe tan leather edition.)  Jago’s clever artwork is more mature, here, very creative and striking — perhaps less playful, giving these wonderful meditations a bit more weight.  These are substantive devotionals, still for elementary children, and we could hardly find a better young child’s collection of short pieces that this.  As Sally plainly says in the first line of her brief note to young readers, “These thoughts are to remind you of things that are true.”  Tim Keller’s foreword assures us that these one or two page devotions are “saturated with an understanding of the gospel.”  What fun!  What solid insight!  What great art!  One of the best books of it’s kind we’ve ever seen!  Maybe you should get it for adults you know, too.

M1mimi.JPGimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It  Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Kids Can Press) $18.95  We care all of the books in the wonderful DitizenKid collection (If The World Were a Village, One Well, One Hen, The Good Garden and others.)  We think they are fabulous; great ways to teach kids about the world and it’s diversity and beauty and great needs.  Who doesn’t wish children could grow up with a more charitable global vision, and as good citizens?  These are so well done, and this new one is as good as any in the set.  You don’t think a gift about basic health card sounds that thrilling?  Trust me, it is a sweet story, informative, and interesting, with great and playful artwork.  As Richard Sterns (The Hole in Our Gospel) the President of World Vision, writes of it, “Mimi’s Village is an engaging story with two simple, yet profound messages…First, basic things like clean water, hand-washing, and protection for mosquitoes have the power to save millions of lives for children around the world…The second message is equally important — every child, no matter where he or she lives, can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.”  Highly recommended.

I1itsamitzvah.jpgt’s a…It’s a…It’s a Mitzvah  Liz Suneby & Diane Heiman, illustrations by Laurel Molk (Jewish Lights) $18.99  Do you know the charming inter-faith books by Sandy Sasso?  This is the same publisher, the same sort of upbeat and at time uproarious tone as hers.  Inspired by “The Mitzvah Project” this tells of these goofy mice who don’t quite get what it means to do faith-based good deeds for others.  Yep, it’s a mitzvah when you do that.  A simple, delightful read-aloud to help children learn to be nice, to play well, to do good.  There is this rich moral vocabulary within Judaism, but anybody can enjoy this story with playful dialogue to illustate welcoming new friends, forgiving mistakes, respecting elders, sharing food, and the like.

113-painters-children-should-know.jpg3 Painters Children Should Know  (Prestel) $14.95  We carry other books in this series of museum-quality art-related books for kids, and they are all very well done, with vibrant reproductions of great art.  Wow.  In this case, the text focuses in upon (and the artwork illustrates) the work and lives of mostly well known artists such as Bosch, Titian, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Dali.  There are some lesser known artists as well and this explains not only who they are but why they are important.  These artists painting styles were as varied as the times in which they lives.  A nice glossary and timeline helps make this both enjoyable and very educational.

Ssaint-francis-of-assisi.jpgaint Francis of Assisi Demi (Wisdom Tales) $19.95  A decade or two ago, Demi was all the rage, an extra-special artist who did detailed illustrations, cartoon-like but made glorious with the use of bright golds and reds. Her titles have sold over half a million copies and many have received fabulous awards and honors.  This is not her first religious book, but it is surely one of the crowning achievements of her prestigious career — it is just a splendid edition.  There is so much detail in the medieval pictures (the cover does not do it justice) and there is a nearly iconic look to much of it (the Byzantine halo over Francis for instance.)  The text, too, is not overly simple, so this isn’t for the very young — perhaps best for ages 7 or 8 and up. (There is one scene of the crusades that shows much blood being splattered.)  It is very informative about this crazy follower of Jesus and his many good efforts to be faithful to Christ. The final scene does show the odd story of his body being seen being lifted up into sky towards paradise, and such hagiography may present a good opportunity to talk about truth and legend in historical books.  This is vivid, beautiful, moving, and very highly recommended.

S11 seed by seed.jpgeed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman  Esme Raji Co
dell, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow) $16.99  I knew from the moment I saw this that this would be one of our favorite picture books of the year!  We adore this book.  It has brightly colorful artwork, done in fairly traditional oil paintings, except a few pages that seem embroidered on cloth and one that looks like a map.  It is creative, but not wild or zany.  Also wonderful about this is how it teaches the five principles left by Mr. Chapman (born in 1774 in Massachusetts.) It explains “Use what you have,” “Share what you have,” “Respect nature,” “Try to make peace where there is war,” and “You can reach your destination by taking small steps.”  It is very interesting and helpful to contrast the fast-paced and noisy world of today with Chapman’s desire for simplicity, a more sustainable relationship with creation, and his own slower pace of life.   The artwork is nice, the sentiments good.  I don’t care for the last line, which you may want to talk about with your child (but what else are good books for, after all?) It reads “His sweet spirit lives on in the apples we eat and in the seeds we plant to make our country and our world a better place.”   I’m not sure what it means to say his spirit lives on in the apples — poetically, this may be so.  Taken literally, it verges on pantheism.  So, as always, be prepared for curious questions and good conversations.   And don’t be surprised if you child wants to plant some seeds or grows up to be a peacemaker.  We can hope!

W1whose.jpghose Butt?  Stan Tekiela (Adventure Publications) $14.95  I have a bookseller friend who told me he can’t keep this book in stock.  Maybe our customers are more genteel, but, you know, this could be just the ticket for some little guy who doesn’t find himself attracted to many kid’s books.  Yep, it includes close up photographs of the rear ends of a dozen or so animals.   Each facing spread has on the left a description of something notable about this particular animal butt, with the next page showing the close up, with the question “Whose Butt Is This?” Then, turn the page, and see a full (frontal) shot of the hen, bear, pheasant, deer or skunk (etc.) and a nicely informative bit of further information about them.  The author is a legitamate naturalist and wildlife photographer.  Butts are funny so this will help you “get to the bottom” of animals in a way that is both giggle-worthy and educational.

sky-of-afghanistan.jpghe Sky of Afghanistan  Ana A. de Eulate, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer (Cuento De Luz) $15.95  Our country has been at war with Afghanistan for a long, long, time, and yet many of us do not know much about their intriguing land. (Or, our children might just think of their people as all bad, Muslim terrorists, etc.)  Perhaps we may recall from the moving novel The Kite Runner that they are renown for flying kites.  Ahhh, the sky, there, is apparently so lovely. As this little Afghan girl, so nicely hand drawn, says “the sky can be full of kites, I think, but also full of dreams. My dream flies high, high up towards the stars.”  This author has wonder international medals for children’s stories and a year ago Ms Wimmer won a Gold Medal for Best Illustrator for The Word Collector.  Very artful, nicely designed with the soft hues of wooden pencil —  a song for peace.

 

B1birds.pngirds of a Feather  Pittau & Gervais (Chronicle Books) $24.99  This clever duo did the extraordinary large-sized lift-the-flap book of animals Out of Sight a few years ago and this is their brand new one, and it is amazing!  As I gently turned the thick pages, and slowly peeked under the very creative flaps and slides, I could hardly contain my joy — what a creative work this is!  Like its predecessor, it is nearly 16″ x 12″ (almost like a coffee table book) and the colorful surprises that await under the flaps will delight over and over.  There are birds and beaks and feathers and eggs (oooh, wait ’til you see the speckled Robin eggs!)  More than handsome and more than educational, this is thrilling.  What a very special gift to celebrate the glories of this aspect of God’s good creation.

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY BOOK MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333
                                                            read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

Books about L’Engle, Lewis, Louisa May Alcott (who all shared a birthday.) And the new book by Karen Swallow Prior – Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Because such a good number of friends commented on a facebook post I did a week ago, I wanted to share the link here.  On Thursday, the 29th of November, I heard on PBS a truly lovely edition (aren’t they all?) of Writers Almanac with Garrison Keillor.  What was so very interesting was that that day — who knew? — was the birthday of Madeline L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, and Louisa May Alcott.  You can enjoy the brief reflection and be glad for such great authors, each important in their own way.  Isn’t it a shame that there are some “Christian” books stores that do not carry these three?  (Yes, there are religious bookstores that don’t stock Lewis, even!)

And so, inspired by that broadcast, here are some great gift ideas for book lovers.

L
11.jpgistening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices  edited by Leonard S. Marcus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) $28.00 sale price $22.00
Marcus has written other great books about children’s books and the legacy of children’s publishing (Show Me a Story and so many more) making him a perfect author to compile this wonderful set of vivid recollections.  Divided into five categories — Writer, Matriarch, Mentor, Friend, Icon — these interviews reveal great intellectual, spiritual, and artistic insight, as well as tender, biographical details.  Lovely anecdotes are shared, curious examples of the texture of her life, making this nearly a biography (in a scattered, time-traveling sort of way.)  The opening section “On The Making” describes her many influences and early career.

There are great interviews with family and friends.  Spirituality writer and Episcopal priest Alan Jones writes of her as his mother-in-law, Luci Shaw tells of their abiding friendship and roommate Barbara Braver describes some wonderful stories) but the book is more than just sentimental remembrances.  It gets at her role, her significance — in people’s lives, in the artistic world of New York, within her family, within her church and, of course, within the important world of literature, both children’s and adult, within the general market and within religious publishing.  Madeleine L’Engle really did leave a mark; even those who approach fantasy literature a bit differently, like Jane Yolen, who has a fabulous chapter, describe this well.  So many of us who have read her set of four memoirs, her Biblical reflections, her adult and children’s fiction, her poetry,, her work about the nature of books and stories (The Rock That Is Higher is a favorite!) feel as if we know her. As Margaret Edson (the author of Wit) notes, “Through we never met, Madeleine L’Engle has been a close friend for years — for decades. Her story is presented here in recollections of fifty comrades, and I gladly pull up a chair to listen in.”

Wrinkle in Time Graphic Novel adapted by Hope Larson (FSG) $19.99 Sale Price $15.99wrinkle graphic.jpg
I am not qualified to review it, but we are nonetheless really jazzed about a brand new release — the long awaited graphic novel edition of A Wrinkle in Time!  It is a heavy hardback, years in the making, and just out. (You may have known, or heard in the Writer’s Almanac piece, that the original book was turned down by 26 publishing houses; some said they didn’t approve of a girl being the main character in a science fiction story, or that it was too deep for YA readers. Ha.)  This new version in this new format has already garnered some prestigious awards and has been received great reviews.  (The prestigious Kirkus Review says “This is an adaption done right.”) The 1962 Newberry Award-winning classic has been adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson who is known in the world of young adult comics and graphic novels;  one of the best. 

If you aren’t sure you want to order it, check out her webpage. What a fresh way to follow the journey of Meg and Charles Wallace, to find Meg’s dad, to see the tesseracts, to meet Who, Whatsit and Which. And maybe save the universe.

MMereXian.jpgere Christians: Inspiring Stores of Encounters with C.S. Lewis  edited by Mary Anne Phemister & Andrew Lazo (Baker) $14.99 Sale Price $11.99  We usually keep in stock nearly every book in print by C.S. Lewis.  And nearly every book about him.  This rare one is a sleeper, a book I love, and we have a few left (offered on sale, while supplies last.)  It is a very interesting and very inspiring (and remarkably informative) set of testimonials of folks who came to appreciate the work of this particular Inkling.   Some chapters are new, some are excerpted from previous books.  Some are rather short, and less so.  You can read it straight through, or dip in as you like.

(By the way, there are many great books about Lewis and several good biographies.  Here is a tremendous 10-minute video presentation by Alister McGrath telling why his rigorously researched book, to be released in 2013, offers some new material and some new insights. Filmed in the living room of Lewis’ home at the Kilns, it is well worth watching.  Of course, we’ll have the book when it releases in March.)

Included in Mere Christians are the testimonials of some well known people of faith whose lives were transformed by reading Lewis, who helped bring them to faith; what wondrous chapters these are! (For instance, Charles Colson, Francis Collins, Anne Rice, Lyle Dorsett.)

And there are others whose faith and writing and lives were significantly deepened as they read Lewis — there are great pieces here by  Philip Yancey, singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis, pastor Elton Trueblood, novelist and woman’s comedic speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs.  It is wonderful to hear how books influenced people we admire, and this reminds us all of the power of words, and the power of Lewis’ words, especially.

And, significantly, there are included many of the best scholars in the Lewis guild, so to speak –they are mostly all here.  What a great collection of short pieces by Paul Ford, Don King, Joseph Pearce, Colin Duriez (who also talks, interestingly, about Hans Rookmaaker and Herman Dooyeweerd),  David Downing, Jerry Root, Wayne Martindale, Thomas Howard, Michael Ward, Earl Palmer, and more.  

And there were his friends — from Joy Davidman to Merre Gresham to Clyde Kilby to Walter Hooper.  The foreword by Walter Hooper starts off this collection of pieces begins like this:

Shortly after C.S. Lewis died, his friend Dr. Austin Farrer said to me, “You were fortunate that the man whose writings you admired so much was as likable as his books.  It might not, you know, have worked out that way. Suppose you had been an admirer of the books of Evelyn Waugh and met him!  Waugh, as everyone knew, was a man of colossal rudeness.

Austin Farrer’s comment came to mind as I read over this fascinating book and discovered how many lives — including my own — have been enormously and permanently changed by C.S. Lewis. While reading the essays, I wondered if the l
ives of the authors would have changed as much if they had met Lewis. Would a meeting with Lewis have made any difference to what they got from his books?

Hooper continues, citing a Lewis passage from The Personal Heresy in which he explains that a book is like “a part of spectacles.”  Such a few reminds us of the power of books, the role of words and ideas and, in this case, gladly, the integrity of the writer of these words, coming to us in children’s fiction and apologetics, in literary criticism and Bible study.  Thank goodness for Lewis’ body of work.  Enjoy this collection of those who can say, alluding to Lewis’ own phrases, that reading him lead to ” A Life Mended By a Velveted Paws” and “An Imagination Strangely Warmed” or an experience “Like Waking Up.”  Three cheers for these stories, and may they point us to, as Don King puts it “a writer we can read for the rest of our lives.”

L1lw.jpgittle Women  Louisa May Alcott (Penguin Classics) $22.00 Sale Price $17.60  Every now and then, publishers do a new edition of a classic, or a set of classics.  A new visual design is often central, since the book isn’t changed. Recently, Penguin introduced a few new editions in this contemporary series, including Les Miserable, Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist, Wuthering Heights and Little Woman.  Each are sans dust jacket, and have hardback art that is at once modernly hip and yet truly classic, with a look conjuring up the repeated patterns of older flyleafs.  There are ribbon markers, and a sturdy feel in the hand.  Do you know why there are scissors on this one? 

Check out the two dozen or so classics with splendid packaging created by acclaimed designer Coralie Bickford-Smith, here.  We can get any of these, naturally, so do let us know if you want to order any.  Pretty neat, eh?

??

Bbooked-cover.jpgooked: Literature in the Soul of Me  Karen Swallow Prior (T.S. Poetry Press) $15.00  Sale Price $12.00  I have linked to this a time or two on facebook and twitter, and wish time permitted a major review, as it surely deserves it.  Prior has given us here a memoir, a well-written account of portions of her life, her girlhood and coming of age, her time in college and her career in literature, but she does so in a collection of book reviews.  Yes, she has most wonderfully combined the art of storytelling with the art of telling about stories.  Each chapter reflects on her life and timed, shares episodes of her life, anecdotes and ruminations on the development of her interior life as well, but grounds the telling in a parallel description of why a certain book made such an impact on her.  The title says it all.

I have read other such volumes, and a few have moments of sheer glory, but may not hold up as a memoir, or may not really tell much about the book or author.  This does both well. It really is a unique approach and we love it.  You will too.

For instance, the spectacular first chapter — about the rather wide berth her parents gave herkaren-swallow-prior-head-shot1.jpg in allowing her to read widely — is called “Books Promiscuously Read: John Milton’s Areopagitica” and it is fabulously set over and against helicopter parents at the Christian college at which she teaches who seem to not want their young adults to read anything disturbing.  I cried reading “The Life-Giving Power of Words” which is nearly a sermon on the virtues of (yes!) Charlotte’s Web.   She has a really moving chapter hinting at Gerard Manley Hopkins (“God of the Awkward, the Freckled, the Strange”) which is powerful — I wish this piece could be read by high school youngsters everywhere!  She reviews, or, better, tells about her own reading of Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Madame Bovary and more.  Her discovery of Great Expectations is in a chapter called “The Magic of Story.” A chapter on “the poetry of doubt” is called “Welcoming Wonder.”

I love the title, the cover is beautifully subtle, and the author apparently has her hands full teaching young adults to love books as she does. More power to her.  I think this lovely paperback will help us all — remind us or our lives and remind us of others.  And call us to great literature, fiction, poetry, essays.  Booked is great gift for those who perhaps don’t read classic literature as widely as they might and a great gift for those who do.   As always, T.S. Poetry Press gives us rich and rewarding books, quietly released in indie fashion.  It is very good.
        

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY BOOK MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333
                                                            read@heartsandmindsbooks.com

MORE 2012 ADVENT RESOURCES — on sale, 30% off

I hope you enjoyed the links we offered last time, giving you a chance to review some previous1_advent.jpg Advent and Christmas devotional suggestions. Some of the books from other years are fabulous.

And then we listed some great new ones, on sale now (while supplies last, at least) for Advent of 2012.  

I also wanted to tell you about these, good for those looking for some inter-generational curriculum, DVDs or devotional resources that would work really well in classes, groups, home studies and the like.  Besides the ones we listed a few days ago, consider these spiffy sets, offered at an extra deep discounted price, while supplies last.

Tjourney-walking-road-bethlehem-adam-hamilton-hardcover-cover-art.jpghe Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem  Adam Hamilton (Abingdon)  Hamilton is a really popular author, and for good reason.  He is a great communicator, a popularizer, a respected United Methodist pastor who is appreciated by those in progressive denominations and by those who are more evangelical.  He doesn’t offer easy answers, but his teaching is exciting and inspiring — nothing too mystical or obscure or controversial.  He doesn’t shy away from big questions and the social and political implications of the gospel, but he doesn’t major on that.  His work is balanced and faithful, I think.  In this book and/or DVD, we travel with Hamilton from Nazareth to Bethlehem with live footage from the Holy Land.  He uses historical information, archeological findings, and adds his own personal reflections from his many years in a growing, diverse parish.  In many ways, this is a prequel to his very popular 24 Hours That Changed the World (to be used during Lent and up to Easter and the soon to be released The Walk, which will be on discipleship, following the life of Jesus.)  John Ortberg writes that The Journey “may be the greatest Christmas present of the year.  Adam thoughtfully, movingly, walks us through what really happened when God touched this planet. The richness of the full story will touch your life as well.”

Watch a small bit of it, here.


 
Here are the various options. Regular prices are shown; we deduct 30% off.

The Journey  hardback book (5 chapters)                    $17.99
The Journey DVD (5 sessions + bonus session)          $39.99
The Journey: Season of Reflections  (28 readings)   $9.99
The Journey Youth Edition  (5 sessions)                     $8.99
The Journey Children’s Edition (5 sessions)              $16.99

A1a different kind.jpg Different King of Christmas: Living and Giving Like Jesus  Mike Slaughter (Abingdon)  Slaughter is also a very popular United Methodist pastor, perhaps a bit more youthful and edgy than Hamilton.  His church (Ginghamsburg UMC in Ohio) is known for its creative worship, its contemporary vibe, and its big commitments to social justice and global mission.  As have many “seeker” churches of the previous decade, this faith community has matured a lot over the years and is doing extraordinary, wholistic Kingdom work.  In a region hard hit by the bad economy, Slaughter is both sensitive to and honest about our lifestyles.  In this — not too different in perspective from the great Advent Conspiracy project — he has five short chapters (Alan Hirsch called them “punchy”)  on cutting through the hype of the holidays that leave us exhausted and broke at the end of the year.  This is radical, missional stuff, and we are pleased it is packaged and communicated in such an accessible style. 

Here is a brief into by Mike Slaughter.

 

Here’s the whole kit and caboodleRegular prices are shown; we will deduct 30% off.

Christmas Is Not Your Birthday  paperback book (5 chapters)                     $11.99
A Different Kind of Christmas DVD (5 sessions, with leaders guide.)           $39.99
A Different Kind of Christmas: Devotions for the Season (30 readings)     $7.99
A Different Kind of Christmas Youth Edition (5 sessions)                            $8.99
A Different Kind of Christmas Children’s Edition (5 sessions)                     $16.99

Aadvent preparing the way.jpgdvent 2012 Preparing the Way  Susan Mink & Nan Duerling (Abingdon) regularly priced at $8.99  Each year this publisher releases a small group Scripture study book, complete with a leaders guide in the back, based on the Revised Common Lectionary texts.   It has five sessions which bring together each week i the proper Old Testament readings, and the gospels.  In Year C, of course, the gospels offering in the lectionary are from Luke.

 

 

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ADVENT 2012 BOOKS and DVDs MENTIONED

30% off
offer good Advent 2012
while supplies last
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333

         read@heartsandmindsbooks.com 
 

Advent books for 2012 — 20% off

Selecting Advent devotionals for one’s personal devotions, or for small faith communities or to give as a special gift is always a lot of fun this time of year.  Many books that have come out in other years are among our very favorites, so we’d invite you to look back over these great lists from other years,  HERE (2011),  HERE (2010) and HERE (2009).  We wrote about The Advent Conspiracy book and DVD (and other resources about consumerism) HERE.  

There are such great resources are on these lists! See the lush and artful
God With Us, edited by Gregory WolfeGod-with-Us-9781557255419.jpg (Paraclete; $29.99) and the diverse, classic readings in Watch for the Light (Orbis; $16.00) which are our two best sellers in recent years. Check out my comments on the geographically contextualized reflections Songs in Waiting: A Celebration of Middle Eastern Canticles by Paul-Gordon Chandler (Morehouse; $20.00) and you really should know of my good Pittsburgh friend Dave Carver’s collection of Christmas Eve stories called I Will Hold My Candle and Other Stories for Christmas ($15.00.)  We have most of the others listed in stock, still, too, and if we have them, they will be offered at this year’s  20%I will hold my c.jpg 1 .pngBookNotes discount.

NEW
Here are some that are new this year.  We are pleased to suggest these sorts of resources and trust that you and yours are getting ready to make space for some intentional reading this time of year.  Get a mug of something hot. Light a candle. Get still.

Order now and we’ll ship these out promptly and, unless you are one of our friends overseas on in Alaska, you’ll have ’em in a few.  Happy Advent.  Happy reading.

We show the regular retail prices, but will deduct the 20% discount when you order.

Tthe-gospel-of-christmas.jpghe Gospel of Christmas: Reflections for Advent  Patty
Kirk (IVP) $15.00  I don’t know exactly why, but many folks buy and read short
stories this time of year.  Maybe because we long for fiction, but don’t
have time for big novels.  Maybe because we want the discipline of
inviting new worlds into being — we hunger for hope, and conjure it up in
stories.  There are seasonal classics, you know (O. Henry, Van Dyke, Dickens,
and the like.)  Well, add this one to the list. 

This may be the
best new Christmas book of 2012 — a collection of stories designed to
“help us get in touch with our muted hopes and fears and remind us that
they are met and given their resolution in the coming of Christ.”  All
our lives prepare us, she says, for this seasonal anticipation, and
these thoughtful, intimate stories really do allow for extraordinary
ruminations.  You want to slow down and ponder big stuff this year? You
want artfully told, easy to read, seriously entertaining fiction?  This
good book will be good news for you.  Our friend Margo Starbuck, herself
a gal who can turn a phrase, says “Patty Kirk can write. That she
writes about Advent is a gift to the rest of us. In her words you will
discover a blessedly new kind of Advent.”  Another fine writer notes
that, “like Christmas itself, The Gospel of Christmas is
filled with wonder and delight as well as longing and sorrow.”  Patty
Kirk, by the way, has written a memoir about her growing up in the
south, learning to cook (Starting from Scratch) and another called
Confessions of an Amateur Believer.  We’ve promoted them both, and were
thrilled when we heard she had an Advent resource coming for our reading
pleasure.   For what it is worth, there is a short half page
introduction to each story which allusively points us toward the point of each, which helps us see that these can be entered into devotionally and
perhaps in book clubs or Bible study groups for good conversation.  I think there would be
plenty to discuss, with friends or family, and they would work well being read out loud.  Very highly recommended

S1-singing.jpginging Mary’s Song: An Advent Message of Hope and Deliverance  John A. Stroman (Upper Room) $14.00  This is a handsome paperback, with some nice b/w artwork  — I really like the look and feel of Upper Room books!  This includes daily readings (and discussions questions, a prayer and exercise) for each day as well as a four week facilitators guide in the back for those that are gathering week by week to discuss it.  So it is a daily personal devotional and a good small group book. I wish space permitted me quoting even the brief introduction which highlights the radical implications of Mary’s famous lines from Luke 1 (and is very well done.)  Stroman is a teacher, writer and an United Methodist pastor who for 40 years taught in Ghana, West Africa.  He knows much about the world, its sufferings and joys, and has accumulated a lifetime of stories and hopes and dreams that are shared in this careful phrase by phrase rumination on the Magnificat.  This is surely one of the best new studies of the year, tender and deeply spiritual, but not backing away from the radical “upside down” Kingdom that calls us to makes room for the poor and the marginalized.  We would do well to ponder the social implications of the gospel, and Mary’s prayer is a good way into it all.  This is certainly a proper liturgical time to consider this, here, now, as we await the coming of Christ. 

S1-silence and.jpgilence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent  Enuma Okaro (Upper Room) $16.00  Again, there are some nice design touches here (with Ms Okaro’s scirbbled cursive writing out the chapter titles, not unlike on the cover of her wonderful memoir Reluctant Pilgrim.)  More significant is the contribution this makes to Advent literature: a very honest and gentle reflection on Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Their story is filled with deep sorrow and heartfelt longing and Okaro acknowledges that.  There are short readings here, one for each day of the season, but these could be pondered any time, inviting us to attend to “the wounds we endure and the blessings we receive; the grief we bear and the joys we are given.”  You know this is a tough time of year for many.  Maybe it is for you, too.  These poignant meditations help us process all that, inviting us to learn from these characters in the Bible that we often skip over.  I love this as she wisely guides us thought our own waiting, our own longing, our own need for community.  As Lauren Winner writes on the back cover, “How can we find silence and anticipation in the midst of all the shopping, all the Bing Crosby? In Silence, Enuma Okoro supplies a welcome answer.”  Prayerful read this, share it with others, and embrace your waiting, your hungering for God. 

Aant advent.jpgnticipate: An Advent Experience  (Beacon Hill Press) $9.99  They didn’t announce that this is about the “Jesse Tree” on the cover, perhaps because some faith traditions don’t know what that is.  We are fans of the JT  Advent custom, and we’ve wished for a good book about it using this idea of decorating a symbolic tree full of Older Testament symbols that point to Christ’s coming.  I have said it before, and I will say it again: Beacon Hill is doing remarkable work, with hip designs and solid, if a bit edgy content.  They are a publisher we respect, introducing us to a batch of young writers and missional activists.  Kudos to them.

 The tone of this new book is hands-on and full of graphic representations of key parts of the history of redemption; it is an upbeat invitation to experience and savor your anticipation of God’s coming by making these decorations each day.  This four week devotional is good for families or small groups or Bible studies or church classes.  It uses Old Testament prophecies to guide you as you learn to live into the story of God.  Through the practice of doing a Jesse Tree, you can experience the twenty-five Biblical symbols of Christmas as your own journey unfolds.  Very cool.

E
eawl.jpgxploring Advent with Luke: Four Questions for Spiritual Growth  Timothy Clayton (Ave Maria Press) $13.95  Alan Jones, the Episcopal Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, says this work is a true celebration — he calls it “a generous book” and that may give you a hint of its tone of open-hearted spirituality.  It is rather contemplative, following through the gospel of Luke, inviting a particular question each week: “Do I Dare Open Myself to God?”, “Is There Room in My Life for God?”, “Does God Really Want Me?”, and “Where is God Leading Me?”  I like the last chapter, to be used for the season of the Twelve Days of Christmas, called “Keeping the Story Alive.”  Draws on excellent Bible scholarship (Raymond Brown, Joel Green, etc.) and inspiring authors (Bonhoeffer) and poets (Donne, and others) making this truly a beautifully written guide designed for deeper, slow, consideration.

Cc is for.jpg Is For Christmas: The History, Personalities, and Meaning of Christ’s Birth David and Warren Wiersbe (Baker) $12.99  This is literally an A to Z Guide and I think it is fabulous.  Do you have need of unusual facts about holiday customs?  Do you have a program to do, a class to spice up, and story time that needs some details?  This is nearly devotional, more than a simple encyclopedia, and would be a fine book to have laying around the house — the bedside (or bathroom, dare I say?)  Read some at dinner each night, or dip in after you light your Advent candles… There are more than 200 pages here of fine Biblical and theological explication, on topics from Advent to Zechariah and plenty in between.  Most letters have maybe three or four entries; for instance, under I we get Immanuel, Incarnation, Inn, and Innocents; under G we find genealogy, gifts, glory, God, grace, greetings; S has Shepherds, Simeon, Songs, and Star.  Very informative and faith-enhancing.


P
prayers for advent and.jpgrayers for Advent and Christmas edited by David Mosser (Abingdon) $12.00  This is a recent entry in the “Just In Time!” series (we carry them all) for pastors and worship leaders.  This one obviously offers appropriate liturgical resources for planning prayer services, Sunday worship, or all sorts of worship experiences where prayers are used.  I read through some of these Invocations, Call to Worships, Prayers of Confession, Words of Assurance, Pastoral Prayers, Offering Prayers, and Benedictions, and — surprise! — some deeply moved me and helped in my own prayer life,
such as it is.  In other words, these are designed for corporate worship, but anybody could read them, pray them, use them.  There are resources here for the four Sundays of Advent, two services for Christmas Eve, one set of options for Christmas Day,  for a Sunday after Christmas, and for Epiphany.

225 days of a.jpg5 Days of Advent  Ken Boa with John Alan Turner (Zondervan) $2.99 This is one of these small, pocket-sized, inexpensive books that are fabulous to use, great to give away, nice to share any time this season.  Boa is the president of Reflections Ministries (we love his work, carry most of his many books) and think this is fantastic.  Each day it offers (in the NIV text) several Scripture passages, a short meditation and a robust prayer.  This is solid stuff, inviting us to focus on the person, work, and sacrifice of Jesus, seeing that this is central to the entire Biblical story.  Very nicely done.

Wwho is this.jpgho Is This Child? From Common Babe to King of Kings John Ortberg (Zondervan) $2.99  Again, this is a fantastic give-away, a perfect stocking stuffer, a lovely little pocket-sized set of two short essays.  The first is a short piece on Mary (“The Mother”) followed by a longer piece on Jesus (“The Child.”) This is excerpted from the fabulous recent hardback book by Ortberg, Who Is This Man? which, by the way, has been made into a DVD curriculum too, which we also stock.   We really respect Ortberg as a thinker, a pastor, and a communicator; this booklet is clear, engaging, drawing on the best sources (in this excerpt he cites Nic Woltersdorff on justice and Frederick Dale Bruner’s spectacular commentary on Matthew, just for instance.)  He tells great stories, offers a lovely introduction to Jesus in a way that modern folks can really appreciate.  This booklet is a great example of Ortberg’s very good work.

CD Cchristmas brass.jpghristmas in Brass  Gabriel V Brass Ensemble  (Gloria Dei Artes Foundation) $16.95  We love seasonal music for Advent and Christmas, and my own tastes are really (really!) diverse.  In the store we tend to play quieter, instrumental stuff (even though we stock all the CCM type vocal Christmas releases, many pop artists, the new Sufjan Stevens, and more.)  I figured this was a really nice one to mention, done with the Extol Handbell Choir, too, and David Chalmers, organist. These are mostly all religious songs, a few from Russian litanies or pieces like O Magnum Mysterium.   Many are familiar carols. The arrangements are just what I wanted, not too loud or showy.  Very, very nice.

BookNotes
SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY BOOK MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333

         read@heartsandmindsbooks.com