Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Coming Soon from Katie Ganshert

Author Katie Ganshert has a new book coming soon. If you're a fan, or interested in exploring exciting new authors, take a gander at the spectacular pre-release package below.

And stay tuned here for more news about Life After.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve – Mother Teresa (ed. By Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC)

©2016 Image, New York

On the occasion of her canonization in the Catholic Church, this collection of sayings, instructions, and speech excerpts from the late founder of the Order of Missionaries of Charity is both inspiring and challenging. The volume was designed and released to coincide with her canonization.

Few people would deny the inspiration that Mother Teresa was (and is) to people of faith, even some of us who are not Catholic. The collection of her wisdom and her instruction to the Order is a beaming snapshot of who this revered nun was. Included with the collection are sisters’ recollections of Mother Teresa in not only her teaching but in her living out of that teaching personally.

I must say that tackling this book is a mammoth task because it is a collection rather than a memoir. It is not a biography, but at the same time it is. Collected here are teachings that amount to the things by which this saintly woman would want to be remembered. The lessons that she taught are collected and edited into categories that explain the demonstrative faith that made her the leader that she was and allow people of faith to remember her for the saint that she is. The editor begins with sayings, instruction, and memories on the teaching “Feed the Hungry” and includes chapters on visiting the sick and imprisoned and bearing wrongs patiently.

I would not advise reading the book like an essay or even a textbook. However, it is an excellent reference to keep handy when needing an example of living faith in real time, which is what Mother Teresa did and encouraged others to do.

My recommendation of this book is for those who would like to see more into the life and work of this newly canonized saint, for those who are looking for some inspiring examples of faith in daily living, and for those who want to know more about what one who is the hands and feet of Jesus Christ looks like. I do not recommend this volume for those looking for an escape, a little light reading, or even a pat on the spiritual back for being good. Because of the limited audience appeal of this book and the heavy content within I rate this book at an even 3 reading glasses (for the faith community, it’s a 4.5, and for the Roman Catholic readers out there, I’d raise it up to a 5 and proclaim it required reading).

—Benjamin Potter January 11, 2017

[This book was provided free of charge by the publisher for purposes of this review. The opinions are my own.]

NIV Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition

©2015 Zondervan, Grand Rapids

This is the first opportunity that I have had to review a new edition of a Bible. While I will not be reviewing the text of the Scripture, I would like to make a few observations about this special edition of the NIV Translation.

I personally like the New International Version for reading and preaching because of its smooth flow of the English language. I was disappointed a few years ago when publishers re-vamped the text with a version that was a bit more politically savvy than the original NIV. That being said, I would like to turn my attention to the characteristics that make this edition unique among Bibles.

This particular edition is designed with two goals in mind: (1) to appeal to an audience of girls in the pre-teen years and throughout the teenage years, and (2) to provide journaling space so that readers can “make this beautiful book [their] own.”

Aesthetically, the vibrant colors of the cover with pastels and pinks would seem to appeal to a number of girls in the target age group. The cover itself is sturdy cardboard that should last for several years and abide daily use since the Bible is designed to be a tool worthwhile for a girl’s daily devotion time. And it comes equipped with an attached silk place marker as well as a handy elastic strap to keep the book closed when not in use.

The text of the scripture is printed on about 2/3 of the page leaving ample space for notes, ideas, and responses that grab the heart of the reader while they are engaging with the Bible. The other third of the page is lined to aid in the reader’s response. I asked my 15- and 10-year-old daughters to examine the Bible and give me their thoughts, after all they are both in the target group for this edition. Both of them were impressed by the journaling margins designed into the book suggesting that this would make the Bible a good tool to use in daily devotions.

One drawback with the journaling design in my opinion is the paper used for the pages. While the publisher did not use the delicate onion-skin paper that is found in many gift Bibles and high-end, leather-bound editions, the paper is relatively thin to be used for the purpose of note-taking and high-lighting. I fear a great deal of bleed-through might occur for readers with a heavy writing hand like myself. I will grant that the weight of the paper is good to keep the volume from having to be divided into two or three books in order to include the entire text of the Scriptures.

One other exception that my older daughter noted as a disappointment was the lack of study helps such as a short, general concordance and maps, although there is a “Weights & Measures” conversion chart included in the rear end papers.

Overall this is a useful, attractive copy of the Bible that would be a fine gift Bible for the pre-teen or teenaged girl in your life. I give it four out of five reading glasses.

—Benjamin Potter January 11, 2017

[This book was provided free of charge by the publisher for purposes of this review. The opinions are my own.]

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