Books

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Posted 7/25/14 at 9:03 AM | Tim Challies

New & Notable Books (Late July)

Book cover for Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, some have risen to the top.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Second Edition) by Donald Whitney. Whitney’s book was the first I read on the spiritual disciplines and one that was very helpful in my life. I’m very glad to see it (finally!) in a second edition. The publisher says, “Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to become more like Christ and grow in character and maturity. Now updated and revised to equip a new generation of readers, this anniversary edition features in-depth discussions on each of the key disciplines.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon) FULL POST

Posted 7/24/14 at 12:08 PM | Book Stop

Today Show Airs Sanitized Version of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Trailer

Book cover of Fifty Shades of Grey

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

A shortened version of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trailer that leaves out the partial nudity, whip and bondage of the full-length version was featured on NBC’s morning show Thursday morning.

Though the Today Show trailer stopped short of its racier full-length conclusion, the sneak peek showed in full detail the sexy yet one-sided and admittedly non-romantic nature of the main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s relationship.

"Fifty Shades" actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan made a guest appearance on the Today Show couch to introduce the trailer. Dakota said of filming the movie’s love scenes, “It’s not like a romantic situation.” She summed “It’s more like a task.”

Read more.

Posted 7/24/14 at 10:44 AM | Audra Jennings

Author Susan May Warren Unites Readers and Foodies in Giveaway

To celebrate her new release, award-winning author Susan May Warren is hosting a contest every foodie will love! When I Fall in Love (Tyndale House Publishers / June 20, 2014 / ISBN 978-1414378435 / $14.99) is the third installment in Warren’s Christiansen Family series and is filled with a sense of adventure — and lots of good food.

From July 24 – August 10, Warren’s readers have the chance to win a KitchenAid mixer by entering the Hawaiian Chef Showdown, hosted on www.susanmaywarren.com. Readers can enter by creating or selecting a recipe using one of the main ingredients mentioned in the book, then pinning the recipe to Pinterest, and sharing it via other social media sites, including their blog. The grand prize winner will receive a KitchenAid mixer and all three books in the Christiansen Family series.

Food bloggers Jackie Brown from Mom on a Mission and Melissa Ringstaff from A Virtuous Woman will be creating custom recipes inspired by the book and giving away some treats of their own. More information about their contributions, as well as more details about the contest, will be available on the book’s website, whenifallinlove.susanmaywarren.com, when the contest launches on July 24. The Hawaiian Chef Showdown is being held in conjunction with the When I Fall in Love blog tour being coordinated by Litfuse Publicity Group.

The recipe contest is tied to the main storyline of When I Fall in Love. In the book, Grace Christiansen finds herself snatched from her everyday routines when her family surprises her with a trip to a cooking retreat in Hawaii. There she meets hockey player Max Sharpe, who’s trying to escape the pressures of his career for a few weeks. As the romance — and the oven — heat up in the kitchen, Grace and Max both will have to learn to step out of their expectations to find the right recipe for true love.

Susan May Warren says cooking has played a role in her own love story. “My husband is a fantastic cook. I’m more of an ‘open the fridge and see what I can create’ kind of gal,” she admits. “We could drive each other crazy — but we create great food and enjoy sitting around with our family, laughing, telling stories and feasting on life. In a similar way, Max and Grace’s story shows us we can be a winning team if we’re willing to embrace the current ingredients before us and enjoy the mess we make together.”

Readers can keep up with Susan May Warren at her website www.susanmaywarren.com and the Hawaiian Chef Showdown at whenifallinlove.susanmaywarren.com. Warren is also active on Facebook (SusanMayWarrenFiction) and Twitter (@susanmaywarren).

About the Christiansen Family series:

Set on the north shore of Minnesota, the series features the Christiansens, a family readers can identify with as they try to figure out how faith meets real life.

In Take a Chance on Me . . . (the 2014 Christy Award winner for Contemporary Series)

Darek Christiansen, heir to the historic Evergreen Lake Resort is angry since the loss of his wife. After a charity auction connects him with assistant county attorney, Ivy Madison, Darek begins to believe there might be love again in his future, but he’ll have to overcome his painful past – and Ivy’s secret connection to his wife’s death.

In It had to Be You . . .

Eden Christiansen’s job as handler for her NHL rookie brother, Owen, leaves her little time to focus on her own career. If only team enforcer, Jace, would mentor the young man. When Owen’s carelessness leads to an injury, Eden and Jace are thrown together and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

In When I Fall in Love . . .

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in the Aloha State, she is pulled away from her predictable life and thrown headfirst into the path of hockey player, Max Sharpe, and the romantic adventure of a lifetime.

Coming in February: Always On My Mind

About Susan May Warren:

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike.

She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. Warren now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing and being involved in their local church.

Warren holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God's amazing grace in our lives.

Readers can keep up with Susan May Warren at her website www.susanmaywarren.com and blog www.susanmaywarren.com/scribbles-blog/. She is also active on Facebook (SusanMayWarrenFiction) and Twitter (@susanmaywarren).

Posted 7/23/14 at 1:19 PM | Book Stop |

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Christian Comedian Chonda Pierce's Husband Suffers Fatal Stroke; The Queen of Clean Tweets her Spouse 'is Home'

(Photo: Facebook)

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

Tuesday evening Chonda Pierce, the entertainer also known as the “Queen of Clean,” announced her husband’s death on Facebook and Twitter posting a picture of her husband along with the words “David is home.” The announcement followed a near month-long battle following a sudden stroke.

The update elicited many sympathetic responses. Contemporary Christian singer/ songwriter Sheila Walsh tweeted. “Chonda I am so so sorry for your loss. Praying for you all XXX.” Twirl Author Patsy Clairmont expressed her condolences to the Pierce family on behalf her household. “Les and I send our love. We grieve with you. Such a loss,” she wrote on Twitter. FULL POST

Posted 7/23/14 at 9:04 AM | Ann Frailey

Sneak Preview – Georgios : Hidden Heritage

The real cover for Georgios is still in design, but here is a glimpse of an idea we are working with. And here is a sneak preview of the first chapter. More next week. Enjoy!

                                                               Georgios

Chapter One

The Island of Patmos

Circa Anno Domini 100

                                                              Chosen Exile FULL POST

Posted 7/22/14 at 9:29 AM | Tim Challies

Books I Loved Reading on Vacation

After almost two weeks of vacation, I am back in my own home in my own town. We had a great time and, as usual, some of my favorite times were spent reading. When I go on vacation, I tend to focus on light reading and books a little bit outside my normal reading diet. Here are the ones I liked best:

Book cover of On Writing Well

On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Considering the amount of my time I spend writing, I have invested far too little time in reading books on the craft of writing. Zinsser’s is brilliant, though you will have to be willing to overlook his left-leaning ideologies (It’s time to get over George W. Bush!). Now in it’s 30th anniversary edition, On Writing Well contains hundreds of helpful lessons on being a better writer. I plan to return to it regularly.

Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly & Master Evernote by S.J. Scott. I am a committed Evernote user and use it with near-religious fervor to organize and archive much of the information I encounter and wish to retain. To improve my use of Evernote I read two books and found them both helpful. Master Evernote is well worth the $2.99 investment; Evernote Essentials is a bit more of a stretch at $12.99 but still reasonable value. The books are helpfully contradictory at certain points (e.g. Tag everything and don’t rely on notebooks versus rely on notebooks and don’t tag everything) which shows the freedom each of us has to make Evernote conform to our preferences. Both books conclude with helpful tips and suggestions on how to use Evernote well. FULL POST

Posted 7/21/14 at 9:36 AM | Ann Frailey

Book Review Monday

A Stunningly Honest Look at Real Relationships

Passport by Christopher Blunt a great book that delves deep into intimate relationships between people – not just romantic relationships but the relationship between brothers & sisters, parents and children, friendships, and acquaintances. This is one of the most honest reflections of romantic love I have ever read. Mr. Blunt does an excellent job of sharing relationship struggles from a man’s point of view. Morality and sexuality, passion and love, all brought together under the guidance of the greatest relationship humanity has ever known – our relationship with the God who made us. Well done!

Imaginative with Crisp Details

Don’t You Forget About Me by Erin McCole-Cupp is very engaging and keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next. I am a world away from what the main character experienced but I found Mary Catherine and Staz’s relationship to be charming – more like what sisters ought to be and often aren’t. The characters over all are very honest. The details are clear and the plot line is quite plausible – though I sure hope no one ever finds themselves in such a terrifying situation. The issues and concerns regarding contraception and what happens to the human body specifically, and to our society in general when we use contraceptives as a way of life, are very real and handled carefully within an imaginative plot line. Great job! FULL POST

Posted 7/21/14 at 9:36 AM | Tim Challies

7 Different Ways to Read a Book

love of reading
Photo: Kate Ter Haar - Creative Commons

Reading is kind of like repairing a bicycle. Kind of. For too long now my bike has been semi-operational. It has one brake that just doesn’t want to behave and all my attempts to fix it have failed. Why? Well it turns out that I haven’t been using the right tool. To get the bike working I need to use the right tool. And when it comes to reading, well, you’ve got to use the right tool—you’ve got to know what kind of reading to do. Here are seven different kinds of reading.

Studying. Studying is reading at its best, I think, but reading that can and should be done with only the choicest books. Life is too short and there are simply too many books to invest a great deal of time in every one of them. And this is where so many readers go wrong—they spend too much time and invest too much effort in books that simply don’t deserve it. When you study a book, you labor over it, you read it with highlighter in hand, you flip back and forth, you try to learn absolutely everything the book offers. Only the smallest percentage of books are worthy of this level of investment, so choose carefully which books you study. (Suggestions: Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen or The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul) FULL POST

Posted 7/21/14 at 5:10 AM | Sylvie Simms

How Do Social Platforms Benefit Higher Education Institutions?

Over the past few years, the Internet has had a major impact on higher education. Now, instead of traditional face-to-face learning being the only educational option out there, students can opt to take classes online. Using social or engagement platforms to bring the campus to the student and engage the student by connecting them to other students and faculty outside of their virtual classroom, as well as with program directors and staff, can help boost retention and improve student outcomes. Check out this infographic for more about how social platforms benefit higher education.

http://www.enterprisehive.com/about-us/blog/how-do-social-platforms-benefit-higher-education-institutions

Posted 7/20/14 at 11:36 AM | Tim Challies |

1 comment

The Glory of Christ

Book cover for The Glory of Christ

In R.C. Sproul’s book The Glory of Christ, he focuses on the moments of great glory in the life of Christ—a life marked by so much that was inglorious and not at all befitting the King of Glory.

A crucial aspect of Jesus’ humiliation was the hiddenness of His glory. His identity was often concealed. We hear the protests from the wounded egos of famous people when they are not recognized. They complain, “Don’t you know who I am?” It is humiliating to them to go unrecognized. Because people do not recognize them, they feel treated beneath their dignity. If any human being was ever subjected to such repeated indignities during His life, it was Jesus. During His earthly ministry the ones who most often and most clearly recognized Him were the demons from hell.

Some time ago I read the book and wanted to share some of my favorite quotes:

Every human being longs for a savior of some type. We look for someone or something that will solve our problems, ease our pain, or grant the most elusive goal of all, happiness. From the pursuit of success in business to the discovery of a perfect mate or friend, we make our search. FULL POST

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