REVIEW: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

fantastic flying booksFormat:  Hardback
Genre:  Children’s Fiction
ISBN:  978-1442457027
Published:  2012

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Back of the Book Blurb:

Morris Lessmore loved words.
He loved stories.
He loved books.
But every story has its upsets.

Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.
But the power of story will save the day.

My Thoughts:

I got this on a recommendation from a friend, and I LOVED it. What a lovely way to illustrate a lifelong love of reading, not only with a story (that I confess made me a little teary), but also through the beautiful illustrations. I also appreciated the whimsical (but not flippant) way that the author deals with Morris Lessmore’s death, and how we immediately return to the library and see not only the legacy that he left (his story), but how it will live on as more children, through his book and others, discover the magic of reading for themselves.

GoThereFor.com | Busting a book buying myth

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There’s a dangerous myth I keep hearing amongst Christians. And the place I hear it most is when I’m standing at a conference bookstall trying to interest people in Matthias Media’s books and resources.

It’s the myth that we really ought to finish reading all the books on our bookshelves before we buy more.

Such a sentiment seems almost godly and prudent.And I suppose in some ways it could be viewed that way.

But—and with the caveat that you need to bear in mind that I work in marketing for a book publishing company—I want to suggest it’s nonsense. Here are three reasons why:

(1) It’s not all about you!

Of course, one of the main reasons to buy a book is to benefit you. But it’s not the only reason. Books can help other people too, right?

So you see a good book at a good price. Broaden your purchase criteria. Don’t just think “Would I like to read this book?”. Ask yourself “Would this book help anyone I know?” or even “Would this be a good book to have on my shelf in case it would be helpful to someone including me in the future?”

Bookshelves shouldn’t just be an archive of our past reading. They should be a rich resource stockpile for future ministry. Including multiple copies of some books that we know we will give away or lend frequently.

(2) It’s not about finishing.

I also want to defend the practice of starting books and not finishing them.

Of course authors want you to read their whole book. But if their work is not compelling, and you’re not getting a lot out of reading it, give up! Cut your losses. Honestly, you haven’t invested that much cash in the book—probably less than the average starter or main course at your local Chinese restaurant where you might also wisely decide not to finish what you pay for. Personally, I find it hard to persevere with a book when I find the argument of the first part weak. So I confess to having quite a few books with a bookmark placed about one-third of the way through. But that’s okay. That’s not a reason to give up on books. It’s a reason to try a different one.

(3) Impulse buy ≠ bad.

For many of us who like books, when we stand looking at a shiny new title, with its alluring cover that seductively calls out to us “buy me! read me!”, it is very tempting. And tempting equals bad, right? Well, no. Not necessarily.

By all means, take your time to look carefully beyond the cover because you can’t judge a book… yada yada. Read the chapter titles; flick through and get a feel for what the author’s big idea and trajectory is; check if the writing is engaging; think about the reputation of the author and publisher; if you’re really desperate, you might even read the ‘celebrity pastor’ endorsements.

In other words, don’t ‘impulse buy’ without checking out whether this book seems like a good investment. But on the other hand, the book is there in front of you. It looks helpful. It’s a reasonable price. If you don’t buy it now are you ever likely to buy it and add it to your “resource stockpile for future ministry”?

So, there you have it, bibliophiles: your very own DIY rationalization starter kit.

You’re welcome.

Author: Ian Carmichael

via GoThereFor.com | Busting a book buying myth.

10 Best Books of the Year (So Far…)

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

10 Best Books of the Year (So Far…)

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – definitely my favorite of the year!  I have always been drawn to WWII, and specifically Holocaust, literature.  There is something sadly riveting about it, and I am always struck, even with novels, by the lengths of depravity that human beings are capable of reaching.  Zusak has written a book that will, in my opinion, be a staple in the literary canon, as it is certainly a worthy representative of quality literature in general, and of 20th century fiction in particular.

2.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers – I am amazed at the fact that McCullers produced this when she was only 23 years old.  She clearly had wisdom beyond her years, and deeply understood the nature of loneliness.  This is an excellent book…dark and sad certainly,  and McCullers has the ability to draw you in and make you feel like more than just an observer.

3.  Animal Farm by George Orwell – A brilliantly written allegory that is a total and utter indictment of communism.  Everyone should read it.  EVERYONE!  I’m sort of aghast at myself for not having read it until now, and I am m-a-n-y years removed from school.

4.  The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – I thoroughly enjoyed this book…much more, in fact, than I thought I would.  Interestingly, in all my years of reading and through both B.A. and M.A. in English, I never heard the term “marriage plot.”  I read a number of the novels referenced by this book, but I do not recall ever discussing the marriage plot, and how it is a prevalent literary convention in Victorian literature.  Either I completely skirted any class that would have addressed it, or it wasn’t covered.  I’m leaning toward the latter.  At any rate, this is a worthy book, and while it is enjoyable on its own, it is better if you’ve read some Victorian lit.

5.  Philippians – easily one of my favorite books of the Bible.

I don’t actually think anything else qualifies as the best of the year so far, so five it is.

The 7 Books in my “Beach Bag” (aka My Summer Reading)

8eb9c-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

The 7 Books in my “Beach Bag” (aka My Summer Reading)

  1. once upon a time there was youOnce Upon a Time, There was You by Elizabeth Berg – I am currently listening to this, and enjoying it a lot.  Elizabeth Berg ebbs and flows in her writing, and this is one of her better ones. – FINISHED
  2. Ecclesiastes (ESV) – I’m reading my way through the Bible…not on a schedule, just reading through.  This is one of my summer selections.
  3. Isaiah (ESV) – Ditto #2.
  4. the know-it-allThe Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs – It has been languishing on my bookshelf for 2-3 years now, so it’s time, and I’m looking for something light and fun during dog days of summer.
  5. Extravagant Grace by Barbara R. Duguid – summer reading for my women’s Bible study group.
  6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – making my way slowly through this book.  Very interesting, but I come and go.  Still, it stays in the current summer rotation.
  7. my own miraculousMy Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson – an ebook original short by one of my favorite southern authors. – FINISHED

I don’t particularly plan ahead on what I’m reading, and the above list contains everything that I am either currently reading or is immediately on deck.  I’ll read more (I hope), but I have no idea what it will be, as I’m very much beholden to my literary mood of the moment.

Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors in My Reading Journey

 
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list  that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

These are my Top Ten…ok, Top Fifteen… “Gateway” Books/Authors (in somewhat random order):

  1. My Bible Friends – Etta B. Degering
  2. Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories – Arthur S. Maxwell
  3. The Ugly Duckling – Hans Christian Andersen
  4. A Girl Called Tommie, A Nurse Called Tommie, A Wife Called Tommie – Thelma G. Norman
  5. Little House in the Big Woods (Little House #1) – Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. My Sister Mike – Amelia Elizabeth Walden
  7. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
  8. Now – Merikay McLeod
  9. A Little Princess, The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgeson Burnett
  10. Unblessed – Berneice Lunday
  11. Unleashed – Leon Orr
  12. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  13. Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes
  14. Nancy Drew Mysteries – Carolyn Keene
  15. Biographies of everyone from George Washington & Thomas Jefferson to Paul Revere, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, George Washington Carver…you name it, I read it.

Amazing that a list like this does not include The Chronicles of Narnia, anything by Dr. Seuss, no Maurice Sendak, barely anything in the traditional canon of children’s literature.  I am thankful that The Witch of Blackbird Pond made it into my hands, as it was one of my few reading experiences outside the narrow sphere of denominational sanctioning (as a young adolescent, anyway), and it lit a spark.

A Bookish Bucket List – Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So, without further ado…My Bookish Bucket List!

  1. Read Les Miserables…one of these days, when my kiddos are grown.
  2. Finally read Anna Karenina.
  3. Finish The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor.
  4. Read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
  5. Read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis with my sons.  My first time through will be when I read them with my oldest son.
  6. Read everything by Willa Cather, Cormac McCarthy and Kent Haruf.
  7. Have over 300 classics on my finished list.  I’m currently at 186.
  8. Buy no new books for an entire year…including Kindle books.  Limit my reading during that year to my personal library and our local public libraries.  (I’ve tried this before and failed magnificently.)
  9. Get back to reviewing books on this blog.
  10. Own my own used (and loved) book store…perhaps with a reading nook complete with coffee and comfy chairs.

 

WORLD | How to read thoughtfully | Emily Whitten | March 22, 2014

Let me preface by saying that this brilliant article was originally published at World Magazine.  I am a subscriber to that magazine, and it is full of great articles, book reviews, movie reviews, and more.  If you like the following excerpt, and I hope you do, head on over to World Magazine to see what else they have to offer.  The subscription really is worth it.

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How to read thoughtfully

Books | The Bible and literary criticism

Posted March 22, 2014, 09:58 a.m.

Many intelligent, capable Christian authors and literature professors have sought to connect the Bible with the stories we read. But Christian literary criticism doesn’t seem to trickle down to the general Christian populace—except for criticism of one book, the Bible. That’s where crucial questions are asked: What authority does the author have? What about the reader? And how is God able to communicate to us?

As a book reviewer, among the many influential ideas I have borrowed from Biblical Criticism 101 is the idea of the Trinity. Communication within the Godhead Himself is described in this way: An author (God the Father) speaks, a Word (Jesus Christ) is spoken, and an interpreter (the Holy Spirit) then interprets that Word. As I have sought to apply this framework to the stories I review, I have come to see three links in the chain that must be counted: the author, the work itself, and the audience. From formalism to feminism, so many of the errors I have encountered in my reading tend to exalt one or two of those links to the exclusion of the rest.

The author

Christian circles hold widely the idea that a book exists first and foremost in the mind of its author. In that view, the author defines the meaning of a work. The author alone can unpack characters, setting, or what is meant by the entire story. Later cultures are often tempted to reinterpret the work in ways obviously contrary to the author’s intent (such as the search for phallic symbols in Jane Austen’s work). I can understand why it’s tempting to do so.

As Christians see liberal Bible scholars dethroning God from His place as final arbiter of what the Bible means, it’s easy to make a one-to-one transfer to human works of art. But if we believe that God, as author, has the final say over what the Bible means, then shouldn’t human authors—made in His image—have final ownership of their own writing?

Here are a few problems with that supposition. First, God is authoritative in defining His work and communication in a way human beings are not. Man does not create ex nihilo, but rather, we draw from the stories and music of language around us. We inherit many ideas, symbols, and meanings of which we often are not even aware. Conversely, God does not borrow from anyone in His creation of meaning. He sees His Word truly and exhaustively in a way that human authors simply cannot see their own work. So, while God does have ownership of His work, ultimately He—and not human authors—owns our work, too.

Because man is made in His image, I, as a reviewer, ought to consider how a human author interprets his work. Good authors are often very insightful about their writing. It takes a lot of time and effort to get as close to the subject matter as the original author. But because human authors are finite and often misinterpret their own work, Christian reviewers must still weigh the work itself. We must also consider how that work interacts with its audience, including reader groups, genres, and the history of literature. Ultimately, an author’s view of his or her own work is important, but not authoritative.

In practical terms, the temptation to focus too much on the author’s faith and interpretation of a work is a real and constant danger. If an author or publisher is Christian, many Christians believe the work is Christian and must therefore be given precedence over the work of non-Christian writers. This kind of thinking dominates much of the Christian publishing industry and leads to sites like FamilyFiction.com that promote only one kind of overtly Christian author.

Yet, consider the portrayal of grace in True Grit by two very worldly filmmakers, the Coen brothers. In my review from 2011, I tried to show why that movie is one of my favorites. It was not intended to be a Christian film, but it nevertheless clearly portrays Christ and His justice in profound ways.

Overexalting the author’s role in storytelling denies the imago Dei present in non-Christians. It denies the fact that God has gifted many non-Christians far more than the average Christian in writing skills. And if we only take an author’s word for it, we will miss some of the greatest feasts of truth and beauty that God has prepared in our generation.

The work

According to the Bible, a book exists not just in the mind of its author and readers, but—as the Word is united but also separate from the author and interpreter—on its own.

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This article is continued…  How to Read Thoughtfully at World Magazine.  This is a subscription magazine, and the rest of the article is available to subscribing members.  It really is worth it.