Whether interested in religious history or prayer, heaven or the Holy Land, readers will find in these four books a wealth of information and personal stories to enrich their own spiritual journeys.
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers is a book for just about anyone who has felt compelled, at one point or another, to raise her eyes to the heavens and murmur some words to a Higher Power. Never one to get caught up in religious specifics, Anne Lamott offers a variety of hilarious titles by which her friends have referred to God, such as “Howard,” “Mother” and “H.P.” She celebrates the divine, and poetically explains why we frail humans are in such desperate need of it. Of the three essential prayers, help seems to be the one closest to Lamott’s heart. Fans of her previous books such as Bird by Bird will again enjoy candid conversation from a writer who feels like a friend.
While Lamott’s book may be characterized as a book about faith for doubters, Heaven Changes Everything by Todd and Sonja Burpo is a book about faith for believers—and a follow-up to the best-selling Heaven Is for Real, which related the story of their four-year-old son’s visit to heaven. Here the Burpos share more about Colton’s miraculous experience and what it’s been like for their family since making it public. Organized into 40 short, devotional-style readings that open with a quote from Colton and close with an action point, it is sure to please readers eager for the next chapter in the Burpos’ story.
In What Would Jesus Read?, Joe Amaral takes readers through the Scripture in the way Jesus might have read it: in short portions that combine a selection from the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Bible) and the prophets (a number of Old Testament books). Each week, Amaral assigns a portion of the Bible and offers daily insights on the reading. These insights are very brief, conversational and theologically non-denominational. As a Christian who lives in Israel and guides tour groups through the Holy Land, Amaral is in a unique position to help American readers understand the perspective of the Middle East and the traditions of the ancient Jewish world.
For readers interested in learning more about the world of Jesus, In the Footsteps of Jesus is another good place to begin. Published by National Geographic, this full-color and visually impressive book offers a more scholarly perspective on the world Jesus walked through and how we experience it today. The scope of the book—which combines political history, anthropological context, biography and an exploration of the contemporary Holy Land—is truly ambitious. Illustrations include photographs of artifacts, paintings, pull-out quotations and richly detailed maps. This worthy book could be read alongside the Gospels or could stand alone as a historical work.Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
The very popular Lamott (Bird by Bird) claims here that prayer boils down to the three exclamations of the title--it seems like a reductive claim, but Lamott, an unusually hip, demotic, urbane kind of Christian, is a naturally expansive and chatty writer. These blog-like reflections exhibit the author's usual fluency and charm. VERDICT A worthy successor to her prior works, this brief book will delight Lamott's regular readers, and likely draw new readers to her writing and to the ideas behind prayer.[Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Lamott lovers get an extra treat this year even though the popular writer has already birthed a memoir about grandparenting (Some Assembly Required). Her newest will be a stocking stuffer for fans. It's small and very focused on God, who is clearly brought forward from his (or her) usual background presence in Lamott's writings. Equal parts 12 Step meeting in the church basement and walks on the beach, it's a prayer manual for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading prayer manuals. As such it may surprise, a bit, some of Lamott's most secular readers. But it takes a very familiar voice in a newish direction, and may attract younger readers whose religious preference is more offbeat than orthodox. It reads like it needed longer gestation or one more rewrite to go from casual-casual to casual-polished, but anybody who gets it as a holiday gift will likely just say, "Thanks. Wow." (Nov. 13)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC