Looking For Christmas Gifts?


I’m a big fan of giving books as Christmas gifts, and children’s books are the best. The thing is, they offer hours of pleasure for years to come. And for little kids, they are fun when they get the gift because they can look at the pictures right away, and they are fun every night they ask for the new book as their bedtime story.

I thought I’d mention the picture books by Hannah C. Hall as great gifts for the little ones in your life—kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews, neighbors. You name it, I think these books are some of the best.

Of course, Hannah is best known for her God Bless Books. They are seasonal or tied to a familiar activity. So now the book that’s most popular is God Bless Our Christmas. But the newest in the series is God Bless Our Family (pictured above).

Perhaps her best, though, is one not in that series. It’s called Would a Worm Go on a Walk? Here’s the description of that one:

“Would a worm go on a walk, if you could lead him down the street?
Would he wear his tiny tennies, if he had two worm-sized feet?”

So begins this humorous and imaginative picture book that introduces children to the idea that animals are uniquely created by a loving and wise God. Would a Worm Go on a Walk?, with its colorful, comical illustrations, is a fresh, fun way to teach young children that God created all things very good. He gave all the animals, and children, too, wonderful qualities and unique strengths. Children will giggle over the ridiculous scenarios presented, and they will come away with the knowledge that we all are loved and special. Ages 4-7.

I don’t think you can go wrong buying one of Hannah’s books this Christmas. And the cool thing is, the adults will likely get as much enjoyment as the kids.

Published in: on December 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm  Comments Off on Looking For Christmas Gifts?  
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Christy Award Finalists


ReadingThe Christy Award finalists were announced today. I know that awards like this can easily leave out some of the best books—they might be independently published or the publisher chose not to invest in submitting a particular novel. All kinds of reasons.

Still, there’s no doubt these books deserve to go on a list of novels readers should consider buying. I mean, first an agent chose to represent the author, then an acquisitions editor took the manuscript to the publishing board, they decided to publish it, a substantive and a copy editor each worked with the author on it, then Christy judges chose it to be included with the other finalists. That’s a lot of people in the writing profession who believed in these books.

So why not consider adding them to your to be read list? I mean, this is the end of April, which means May is just around the corner. And we all know what follows May: SUMMER!!

You need good books during the summer to take with you on that vacation or to read when all your friends are away on vacation.

With all that in mind, here is the list of finalists:

CONTEMPORARY

Farewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord (RiverNorth, an imprint of Moody Publishing)
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate (Tyndale House Publishers)

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Multnomah)
Firewall by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)
Undetected by Dee Henderson (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

CONTEMPORARY SERIES

The Amish Blacksmith by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner (Harvest House Publishers)
Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney (Abingdon Press)
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

FIRST NOVEL

Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton (RiverNorth, an imprint of Moody Publishing)
For Such a Time by Kate Breslin (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
House of Living Stones by Kate Schuermann (Concordia Publishing House)

HISTORICAL

The Advocate by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking)
The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Tyndale House Publishers)

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (WaterBook Multnomah)
With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

SUSPENSE

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins (Abingdon Press)
A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson, a division of Harper Collins Christian Publishing)
Sky Zone by Creston Mapes (David C Cook)

VISIONARY [Also known as speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, fairy tale, futuristic, etc.]

Once Beyond a Time by Ann Tatlock (Heritage Beacon Fiction)
Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes (Enclave Publishing)

YOUNG ADULT

Failstate: Nemesis by John W. Otte (Enclave Publishing)
This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof (Independently Published)
Storm Siren by Mary Weber (Thomas Nelson, a division of Harper Collins Christian Publishing)

Published in: on April 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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The 2013 Carol Award Winners


Daystar-CoverOne of the best things about book contests is that readers get an idea which books they should add to their to-read lists. The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) instituted a “best book” award some years back which morphed into the Carol Award a few years ago, named after a long time editor with Bethany House, I believe.

ACFW had its start as American Christian Romance Writers, and there’s still a residual emphasis on the romance end of things, though they tout themselves as the primer conference for the broad spectrum of Christian fiction.

Apparently between 500 and 600 writers, agents, and editors congregated for the conference in Indianapolis this year. At the banquet held Sunday, the award winners were announced. Here are the finalists in each category, with the winners noted.

Category [I have no idea what this encompasses, but it would seem to be romance, based on the publishers, and somewhat shorter than most novels but longer than a novella, based on the note about length at the ACFW site]
Seaside Reunion by Irene Hannon (Love Inspired * Editor: Melissa Endlich)
A Horseman’s Hope by Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
Winner Lost Legacy by Dana Mentink (Love Inspired * Editor: Emily Rodmell)

Contemporary
You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Sarah Mason)
Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)
Winner Heart Echoes by Sally John (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Stephanie Broene,/Kathy Olson)

Debut Novel
Proof by Jordyn Redwood (Kregel * Editor: Dawn Anderson)
A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh (Guideposts Books * Editors: Beth Adams/Rachel Meisel/Lindsay Guzzardo)
Winner Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)

Historical
At Every Turn by Anne Mateer (Bethany House * Editor: Charlene Patterson)
The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)
Winner Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)

Historical Romance
To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander (Zondervan * Editor: Sue Brower)
Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House * Editor: Karen Schurrer)
Winner A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller (Revell * Editor: Vicki Crumpton)

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Downfall by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan * Editors: David Lambert/Sue Brower/Ellen Tarver)
Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing * Editor: Karen Ball)
Winner The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez)

Novella
You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/JoAnne Simmons)
Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson (Barbour Publishing * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
Winner A Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Natalie Hanemann)

Romance
The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson * Editors: Natalie Hanemann/L. B. Norton)
An Uncommon Grace by Serena B. Miller (Howard * Editor: Holly Halverson)
Winner Saving Gideon by Amy Lillard (B&H Publishing * Editors: Julie Gwinn/Julie Carobini)

Romantic Suspense
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Ami McConnell)
Saving Hope by Margaret Daley (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)
Winner When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)

Speculative
Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Judge by R. J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
Winner Daystar by Kathy Tyers (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)

Young Adult
Prophet by R.J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
The New Recruit by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Winner Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley (Zondervan * Editor: Jacque Alberta)

Of course the greatest drawback to the Carol Awards is that only members of the organization may enter their works. That means a lot of good books were not under consideration.

Be that as it may, of the books from ACFW members, these would seem to be the top of the line. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Hope you find something in this list to enjoy.

Published in: on September 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm  Comments Off on The 2013 Carol Award Winners  
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Fantasy Friday – More Good Books


Some visitors here at A Christian Worldview Of Fiction may have noticed that I don’t write as many “for writer” posts as I once did. I haven’t mentioned it often, but I have a second blog.

I realized recently I need to make this clear. I was conversing with another blogger who I thought had abandoned the blog I’d subscribed to. Turns out she’d just started a new one where she was talking about different things. I would have happily followed her to her new blog, but I didn’t know about it. Horrors, I thought, I’ve done the same thing! 😮

So now it’s out. Once a week (usually Saturday) I post writing tips over at Rewrite, Reword, Rework, my editing blog.

Fantasy stays here, though. Fantasy is for us all, writers, readers, thinkers. It’s just the best genre! (But I might be a tad partial in that assessment 😉 ).

At any rate, I thought it was timely to put up a Fantasy Friday post because there’s a lot happening in fantasy/speculative fiction land.

First, AMG Publishers/Living Inc has several books out or coming out.

Scott Appleton may be a new author to you, but he’s about to release his second book this summer. He created a small press and published his first novel in the Sword Of The Dragon series, Swords Of The Six. The book sold well, and now AMG has picked up the entire series. The first title is already available.

Also new to the AMG family is D. Barkley Briggs who first published The Book of Names, first in the Legends of Karac Tor, with NavPress. When the company decided to end its fiction line, the rest of the series was homeless. Until now. The first book re-released last month and the second, Corus the Champion, is due out in two weeks!

In addition AMG is continuing the series of fan favorites — C. S. Lakin, whose second book in The Gates Of Heaven series, Map Across Time, released in March, and Bryan Davis who returns to the world of Billy and Bonnie Bannister in the Children Of The Bard series. Book one is due out this summer.

For the middle grade/YA crowd, in January the Miller Brothers and Warner Press released book three of the Codebearers Series, Hunter Brown and the Eye of Ends.

WaterBrook Press has a key adult fantasy release. Jeffrey Overstreet‘s conclusion of the Auralia’s Thread series, The Ale Boy’s Feast hit bookshelves last month and happily the CSFF Blog Tour will feature it in May.

Finally, today is the day the next set of Marcher Lord Press books is available:

Christy Award winning author Jill Williamson’s From Darkness Won, book three of the Blood Of Kings series, Mitchell Bond’s Hero In Hiding, second in the Hero Complex Series; and well-known science fiction author Kathy Tyers’ re-release of Firebird, complete with newly created maps and annotations.

If all that wasn’t enough, popular YA author (The Door Within series, two stand-alone pirate fantasies, and co-author of The Berinfell Prophecies) Wayne Thomas Batson has new series with AMG. The first book in The Dark Sea Annals Series, The Sword in the Stars, came out last fall. Now there is a contest involving his completion of book two, The Errant King. It’s a dual of sorts, with his co-author Christopher Hooper.

There you have it. Lots of books to enjoy, now and in the days ahead.

Published in: on April 1, 2011 at 7:16 pm  Comments (8)  
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Fiction Not on the BBC List


I just published a note over at Facebook showing which of a (reportedly) BBC-selected 100 books I’ve read. Well, I thought, why did they choose book A by author such and such and not book B? And why did they list “Narnia” then add an individual title? Same with Shakespeare’s works.

Still, it’s just fun, and then I thought, I should make my own list. So here goes. In no special order:

An X indicates I’ve read the book (and since this is my list …. 😉 )

1. Til We Have Faces – C.S. Lewis X
2. The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck X
3. Out of the Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis X
4. Perelandra – C.S. Lewis X
5. That Hideous Strength – C.S. Lewis X
6. The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy X
7. Christy – Catherine Marshall X
8. The Black Stallion – Walter Farley X
9. Fathers and Sons – Ivan Turgenev X
10. Treasure Island – Robert Lewis Stevenson X

Total: 10

11. Lord Foul’s Bane – Stephen R. Donaldson X
12. The Illearth War – Stephen R. Donaldson X
13. The Power that Preserves – Stephen R. Donaldson X
14. The Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb X
15. The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander X
16. The Black Cauldron – Lloyd Alexander X
17. The Castle of Llyr – Lloyd Alexander X
18. Taran Wanderer – Lloyd Alexander X
19. The High King – Lloyd Alexander X
20. Magicin: Apprentice – Raymond E. Feist

Total: 9

21. Chocolate Beach – Julie Carobini X
22. Truffles by the Sea – Julie Carobini X
23. The Secret Life of Becky Miller – Sharon Hinck X
24. Renovating Becky Miller – Sharon Hinck X
25. A Promise to Remember – Kathryn Cushman X
26. Waiting for Daybreak – Kathryn Cushman X
27. The Feast of St. Bertie – Kathleen Popa X
28. To Dance in the Desert – Kathleen Popa X
29. Every Good and Perfect Gift – Sharon Sousa X
30. When the Shofar Blew – Francine Rivers X

Total: 10

31. Raising Dragons – Bryan Davis X
32. Isle of Swords – Wayne Thomas Batson X
33. The Year the Swallows Came Early – Kathryn Fitzmaurice X
34. Something Wicked – Alan Gratz X
35. Savvy – Ingrid Law X
36. The Bark of the Bog Owl – Jonathan Rogers X
37. The Book of Names – D. Barkley Briggs X
38. Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle – R. K. Mortenson X
39. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Andrew Peterson X
40. DragonFire – Donita Paul X

Total: 10

41. Winter Haven – Athol Dickson X
42. Heaven’s Wager – Ted Dekker X
43. The Hidden – Kathryn Mackel X
44. Scarlet – Stephen Lawhead X
45. Tuck – Stephen Lawhead X
46. Autumn Dreams – Gayle Roper X
47. Tiger Lily – Lisa Samson X
48. My Name is Russell Fink – Michael Snyder X
49. Forgiving Solomon Long – Chris Well X
50. Demon: A Memoir – Tosca Lee X

Total: 10

51. Gideon’s Dawn – Michale Warden X
52. The Restorer – Sharon Hinck X
53. Arena – Karen Hancock X
54. The Light of Eidon – Karen Hancock X
55. The Legend of the Firefish – George Bryan Polivka X
56. Blaggard’s Moon – George Bryan Polivka X
57. Auralia’s Colors – Jeffrey Overstreet X
58. Beyond Summerland – L. B. Graham X
59. Guardian of the Veil – Gregory Spencer X
60. Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow – Christoper and Allan Miller X

Total: 10

61. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot X
62. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy X
63. Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan X
64. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls X
65. The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings X
66. The Diamond of Darkhold – Jeanne DuPrau X
67. Eight Cousins – Louisa May Alcott X
68. Canterbury Tales – Chaucer X
69. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain X
70. Sir Gibbie – George MacDonald X

Total: 10

71. …And the Ladies of the Club – Helen Hooven Santmeyer X
72. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell X
73. Hawaii – James Michener X
74. Exodus – Leon Uris X
75. The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper X
76. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne X
77. The House of the Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne X
78. The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane X
79. The Octopus – Frank Norris X
80. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald X

Total: 10

I could go on, but I need to get something else done today besides making lists of books, as fun as this is. My total here is 79 of 80 (I had to throw in at least one from my to be read pile). You are welcome to play along. Leave a note and let me know how many of these you’ve read. 😀

Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Can Christian Fiction Show God?


Can Christian fiction show God? And by “show Him,” I mean, as He reveals Himself to be through the pages of Scripture. I know Christian fiction can show a health-and-wealth version of God: change your heart/accept Christ/profess your faith/resist temptation and God will give you a repentant husband/the man of your dreams/the desires of your heart/a happy marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, God does do amazing and wonderful and miraculous things. He surprises us with good and undeserved gifts, and He answers prayer in ways that surpass what we could ask or think. But that’s not all of who He is or what He does. It seems, too often Christian fiction implies that the sum total of God’s work and person is spelled out in His making a Christian’s life more comfortable or happy.

Why am I bringing this up? Recently in an email group I’m in with other writers, many took to task the Christian side of the book business. Then yesterday I heard the condemnatory statement again, this time from a pastor: I don’t read Christian fiction—it’s too shallow.

I immediately chimed in to say the industry has been and is changing. There are good novels written from a Christian worldview that show God as more than a benevolent overseer or an attentive grandfather or a check-the-list-twice Santa.

In thinking about what I wanted to say in this post, I checked back in the archives here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. Back in 2006 I did a series of posts about God related to fiction. Here’s a pertinent portion of the final article in the group:

it seems to me, showing God work in our stories should be pretty much like how we see Him work in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us. Some of those people miss what God does, close their ears to what He says. Others hear and ignore. Some question. Some step out in faith based on what they perceive God to tell them and … no earth-shattering events take place.

Not everyone is Job with the restored family and twice the wealth. Not everyone is Joseph, ultimately with the position of second in command to Pharaoh. Or of Esther, Daniel, or Noah. Some are Jonah at the end of the book, not the middle. Some are Stephen. Some are King Saul. Some are Moses, refused admission into the promised land. Some are David, refused the job of building the temple.

Regardless of what the people chose to do with what God asked of them, He comes through as righteous or good, as powerful or loving, as having a greater purpose, an overarching plan. He shows His character through the lives of the people with whom He has to do.

So are there novels out that show God in this way?

I promised this pastor a list of of books with depth. I have a few in mind, but if you have any to suggest, I’d love to hear your recommendations. Hopefully in the next few days, I’ll have a list started that I can post.

Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 11:48 am  Comments (8)  
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Recommended Christian Fiction – From Middle Grade to Adult


From time to time I get requests for a list of recommended Christian fiction. A couple years ago, I put together a Best of … [insert year] List, and I may again some time, but I found myself having to qualify the list, primarily because my reading is far from exhaustive. There are some genres I rarely touch, for instance. So it seems wiser to me to go with books I can recommend because I’ve read them. Some of these, if not all, I’ve reviewed, so I’ve linked to that post (either here or at Spec Faith) in case you’d like to read more.

Middle Grade
Chuck Black – Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione
R. K. Mortenson – the Landon Snow series (Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum, … the Volucer’s Dragon)
Jonathan Rogers – The Wilderking Trilogy (The Bark of the Bog Owl)
Andrew Peterson – The Wingfeather Saga (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness)

Young Adult
Wayne Thomas Batson – The Door Within Trilogy; Isle of Swords
Bryan Davis – the Dragons in Our Midst series
Donita K. Paul – the DragonKeeper Chronicles (DragonKnight, DragonFire, DragonLight)

Adult
Fantasy
Karen Hancock – The Guardian King series (Return of the Guardian King)
Sharon Hinck – The Sword of Lyric series (The Restorer, The Restorer’s Son)
Stephen Lawhead – The King Raven series (Scarlet)
Tosca Lee – Demon: a Memoir
Kathryn Mackel – The Birthrighter series (Trackers)
Jeffrey Overstreet – Auralia’s Thread (Auralia’s Colors)
George Bryan Polivka – The Trophy Chase Trilogy (The Legend of the Firefish, The Hand That Bears the Sword, The Battle for Vast Dominion)

Science Fiction
Austin Boyd – The Mars Hills Classified trilogy (The Evidence, The Proof, The Return)
Sigmund Brouwer – Broken Angel
Chris Walley – The Lamb among the Stars series

Contemporary
Julie Carobini – Chocolate Beach
Kathryn Cushman – A Promise to Remember
Sharon Hinck – The Secret Life of Becky Miller; Renovating Becky Miller
Kathleen Popa – To Dance in the Desert
Sharon Souza – Every Good and Perfect Gift

Suspense
Brandilyn Collins – the Kanner Lake series (Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, Amber Morn)
Athol Dickson – Winter Haven
T. L. Hines – Waking Lazaras

Feel free to add your recommendations in the comments. 😀

Spring Reading Thing, 2008


Late, late, late to the party. But what a fun party it is! I’ve participated in Callapidder Days’ reading events twice before, and they give me permission to read. Understand, I do a lot of reading as part of the blog tours I’m involved with. And I do a little reading (not as much as I should) to help me improve as a writer. But sometimes … sometimes I like to read, just because.

But alas, the Spring Reading Thing is already well underway, having started back on March 20. At the time I was busy with All Things Mount Hermon, and didn’t think a thing about reading. Regardless, I plan to forge ahead, and will even add books to my list that I read during the first month of the Thing.

The only thing I’m missing out on by starting late is eligibility for a $10 Amazon gift certificate drawing. A perfect gift for a reading Thing, by the way.

Did I mention that there are also book give-aways involved? Yep. Check out the offerings. Most are for women since Callapidder Days might be considered something of a Mommy Blog. Good deal. If Mommys want to join in and read, I’m all for it. Still, I think it only fair to warn the good number of male visitors who stop by A Christian Worldview of Fiction, some of these book give-aways are definitely not for you! 😮

On to my list:

Amber Morn, Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan, 2008)
Assassin’s Apprentice, Robin Hobb (Bantam Books, 1995)
Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword, Eric Reinhold (Strang, 2008)
Symphony of Secrets, Sharon Hinck (Bethany, 2008)
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus, Giroux; 2004)
Any Bitter Thing, Monica Wood (Chronicle Books, 2005)
Beyond the Reflection’s Edge, Bryan Davis (Zondervan, 2008)
DragonLight, Donita Paul (WaterBrook, 2008)
Five books I am reading as a judge for a contest, hereafter to be referred to as contest book 1, contest book 2, contest book 3, contest book 4, and contest book 5. 😉

– – –

Well, aren’t those books published in oh-eight the cool ones! 😀

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 12:52 pm  Comments (3)  
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The End of Fall (into Reading)


Callapidder DaysAutumn came to a quiet close last week amid the flurry of pre-Christmas activity. I often like to take note of those singular events—the shortest day of the year, a blue moon, February 29, the Ides of March. But my interest in the end of autumn has to do with the close of the reading period set out for those of us participating in Katrina’s (Callapidder Days) Fall Into Reading event.

For the past three months, those of us participating have been reading books on our wish list. I came much closer to completing my selections than I did during a similar springtime activity. Here’s my final report:

Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook).
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead.
Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan).
The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin.
DragonFire by Donita Paul (WaterBrook).
Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour).
Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck (NavPress).
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.
A check mark indicates a completed read.

As you can see, I have two books on the list that I did not finish. The one, The Restorer’s Journey, doesn’t come out until February or so, but I have been receiving advance copies months ahead of the release date, so I put this one down hoping. It wasn’t to be.

The Dun Cow is unfinished for a very different reason. It’s a tiny book, and I’ve been reading it in bits and pieces for some months. Finally I decided a week or so ago that I should take some free time and finish it so I can check it off the list. I read twenty or so pages more, putting me at the half way point, and I just had to stop. People rave about this book, and I will do my best, since it is so short, to finish it, but I’m finding it hard.

I see some things that I’m guessing make people think this is such a good book, but frankly, so far, a hundred pages in, I find it depressing. Yes, there are small acts of kindness and some redemptive imagery, but animals (yes, a la Animal Farm, or Watership Down, the characters are all animals) die and mourn and conjure evil and steal and fear and brag and … love. Yes, there is some love, just not enough to make the other stuff worth dealing with, at least in anything but thimble-sized doses.

But what I really wanted to report on was the final book I did complete—Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. I see no reason to give a full review. Many have done so before me and undoubtedly have done a much better job than I am capable of. I will say that I thought the book was so good, I proceeded to get book seven the next day and devoured Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in less than a week, a real feat for a slow reader like me.

By book five of the Harry Potter series, I was immersed in the story world and relishing the experience. That continued on throughout the final two books. It was fun to read like that again.

The story was unpredictable (though I’d heard much about it already), suspenseful, intriguing, heart-warming, moving, and important. Yes, there was a strong redemptive theme running through it. That in and of itself makes the story important. But it’s also important because of what it means to reading and what it says about readers.

My guess is, the books will be studied for a long, long time. Look at the spate of non-fiction books that have already cropped up to challenge or explain or justify the series.

And if publishers were paying attention, it should also change how we perceive younger readers. No more is the little book a requirement for tweeners. Nor is a big book anathema for young adults.

Ideally the series will also serve as a model for Christians, since it is a great example of how to write redemptive themes for Anyone (not just for those who already believe in redemption).

I could say more, but this post is long enough as it is. Suffice it to say, Fall into Reading was a wonderful adventure that put me into books I enjoy, and I’m hoping there will be another similar Spring Thing in 2008.

Published in: on December 27, 2007 at 3:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Fall Into Reading


I’ve spent more time this weekend scouring the web to find out who won the ACFW Genesis and Book of the Year contests—the first because I have friends who finaled and the last because I was a judge.

So far, only partial results have been posted—ANYWHERE. It’s curious.

Since I’m a fantasy writer I will happily share results I found that include writers in my genre.

GENESIS

Sci Fi/Fantasy
First Place – Sally Apokedak
Second Place – Chris Mikesell
Third Place – Rebecca Grabill

YA
Third Place – Sally Apokedak

BOOK OF THE YEAR
General Fiction
First Place – Donita Paul (I’m pretty sure, but not a hundred precent)

Congratulations to all, y’all! 😀

– – –

I was planning on introducing Fantasy Challenge II today, but there is a more pressing something I need to draw to your attention.

As you might realize, Sunday marked the beginning of autumn, better known as fall. 😉

This fall’s events include Fall into Reading hosted by Katrina over at Calapidder Days. If you want to jump in and be eligible for the $10.00 Amazon gift certificate drawing, you’ll need to post no later than Wednesday.

Post what? you say. Why, your list of books you hope to read this fall.

So here are mine, in no particular order:

  • Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook). This is a fantasy I’m reading to see if we may wish to feature it on the CSFF Blog Tour. So far the reviews I’ve seen make it look like a viable candidate.
  • Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead. This is the November CSFF selection. I probably should read Hood first and will try if I get time.
  • Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan). I’m reading this one for the CFBA tour, but I also respect Brandilyn as a writer and want to learn from her.
  • The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin. I started this a looong time ago and got stalled. It’s a good book, so I do want to finish.
  • Then on my wish list—these are the books I want to read just because I think they’ll be fun to read. There are many, many more I would love to read. Practically though, it looks like fall will be tied up with editing and writing, so this is a short list:

  • DragonFire by Donita Paul (WaterBrook). The bookstore called me Saturday to let me know the copy I ordered is in. I hope to pick it up today.
  • Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour). Still some of the best covers for juvenile fiction.
  • Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck (NavPress). This depends on whether or not I can get my hands on an ARC. I hope so because I can hardly wait to read the third book.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.
  • Your turn. Make your list, then link to Fall into Reading and let’s get it on! 😉

    Published in: on September 24, 2007 at 12:17 pm  Comments (9)  
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