Archives For VOLUME 5

Most Popular Posts of 2012!

December 30, 2012


Thanks to all our readers, who have made 2012 another wonderful year!

Here are the posts that you have made the most popular ones of 2012!

Before we get to the list, be sure that you are subscribed to one of our FREE email digests.
Not only is this the best way to see all the posts on our site, we are also presently offering two incentives once you are  subscribed:

Enter our Christmas giveaway to win a Kindle Fire and other prizes…

–  Enter our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway every day for the next week to win some of the best books of the year.

Our Most Popular Posts of 2012
(Counting down to the most popular…)

Most Popular Posts of 2012

10)  Feature Review: Justin Lee – Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

9)  Feature Review: John Alexander – Being Church: Reflections on How to Live as the People of God

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0385343752″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”223″ alt=”Kurt Vonnegut – Letters”]A Candid Self-Disclosure

A Feature Review of

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

Dan Wakefield, ed.

Hardback: Delacorte Press, 2012
Buy now: [ [easyazon-link asin=”0385343752″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ] [ [easyazon-link asin=”B0080Z5K16″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Reviewed by Larry Shallenberger.


[ Read an excerpt of this book ]


Mark Twain was consumed with concerns about his reputation and legacy to the point that when he sat down to write his autobiography he ordered the estate to keep the document sealed for one hundred years. [easyazon-link asin=”0520267192″ locale=”us”]The work was finally published in 2010[/easyazon-link]. Twain’s reminiscences were so rambling and anecdotal that one was left with the impression that Twain’s fear of being truly known submarined the project, despite the century-long moratorium of being judged by history. The mantle of being America’s satirist passed from Twain to novelist Kurt Vonnegut, but gratefully, the posthumous collection of Vonnegut’s correspondence is more generous in its revelations about his relationships, struggles and wit.


Letters was compiled and edited by Vonnegut’s longtime friend, Dan Wakefield, who was also a son of Indianapolis and a novelist. Wakefield organized Vonnegut’s type-written correspondence by decades and opened section with brief historic and biographical notes which provide quite helpful to those less versed in the particulars of Vonnegut’s life.


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[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0984779027″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”226″ alt=”Zach Hoag – Nothing But the Blood”]A Tract for our Times

A Review of

Nothing But The Blood: The Gospel According To Dexter

Zach Hoag

Paperback: Gray Matter Press, 2012
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0984779027″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]

Reviewed by David Nash


If you do not know Dexter Morgan, then perhaps you should meet him. Dexter inhabits Showtime on Sunday night television, where he has lived for the past six years. Dexter is a forensic blood splatter analyst who works for the fictitious Miami-Metro Police Department; in his spare time, he is a serial killer who preys on other murderers who have escaped the justice system.


Zach Hoag introduces Dexter as the representative of “Every Person” in the early 21st century in the United States. If the 1950’s and the 1960’s were the “Age of Anxiety” as defined and described by Paul Tillich and Rollo May, then the early decades of this century could be the “The Age of Brokenness” with Dexter as the Representative Person for our age. The human cycle of desire and bloodshed is primitive in its genesis, and it afflicts us still.


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The Wake Up CallThe Wake Up Call –
27 December 2012

Like the smell of strong coffee wafting down the hall, we offer a few book-related thoughts and stories to jumpstart your day…

*** Receive an email with The Wake Up Call (and daily ERB posts) in your inbox each morning! Sign up for The Daily Book Morsel



We currently have two contests running, be sure to enter both!


1) Our Christmas Giveaway (Grand Prize: Kindle Fire)

2) Our 12 Days of Christmas Book Giveaway
(Win some of the best books of the year! Each day the prize collection gets one book bigger)


Today is the birthday of author Sarah Vowell (b. 1969).
Read our review of her recent book Unfamiliar Fishes
*** [easyazon-link keywords=”Sarah Vowell” locale=”us”]Books by Sarah Vowell[/easyazon-link]


“When our Lord says, we must be converted and become as little children, I suppose he means also, that we must be sensible of our weakness, comparatively speaking, as a little child.” – George Whitefield, Methodist preacher, born on this day 1714.
*** [easyazon-link keywords=”george whitefield biography” locale=”us”]Books About George Whitefield[/easyazon-link]


Book News:


Thanks be to God for this new day, may it be full of beauty and grace!

The Wake Up Call image via WikiMedia Commons


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We’re celebrating the twelve days of Christmas between today and Epiphany Sunday (January 6th) by giving away copies of some of the year’s best books (78 books to be given away total)!!!

Here’s how the giveaway will work:


Each day we’ll add a new book and draw a winner who will win a copy of that day’s book PLUS, copies of all the previous days’ books! (So, the grand prize winner on the final day will win twelve books, one from each of the days!!!)


We will only draw the winner for each day from entries on that day, so you are only eligible to win on days that you share the link to the contest and post a new entry.


To Enter:

1) You must be subscribed to one of our FREE email digests (either daily or weekly).


2) Post the following message on your blog, Facebook Page, or on Twitter:


I just entered the huge 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS book giveaway from @ERBks! You can too:


3) Leave a comment below noting which email list you are subscribed to and a link to your post for #2 (Leaving a comment is essential as we will draw the giveaway winners from among the comments left.)


After you have entered once, you only need to complete steps two and three for subsequent entries. (You must share the contest link each time you enter!)


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0830834575″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″ alt=”Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway”]

Day #1:
26 December 2012

Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation.

Norman Wirzba / Fred Bahnson
IVP Books.

Reviewed in our Eastertide 2012 print issue.

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0985295325″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”104″]

Day #2:
27 December 2012

Doug Worgul

Burnside Books.

Read our review
Winner also gets copy of Day #1 book!

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0310293383″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]

Day #3:
28 December 2012

The Awakening of Hope.

Book/DVD set.
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove


Watch the Book Trailer

Winner gets Book/DVD
PLUS the books from Days 1-2

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0062003739″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”109″]Day #4:
29 December 2012

Christianity After Religion.

Diana Butler Bass

Read our review

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-3

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0830836535″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]

Day #5:
30 December 2012

Creating a Missional Culture.

J.R. Woodward
IVP Books.

Read an Excerpt

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-4

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1557259739″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]

Day #6:
31 December 2012

Rule of St. Benedict: A Contemporary Paraphrase.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Paraclete Press.

Watch the book trailer

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-5

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1612612377″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”105″]

Day #7:
1 January 2013

The Intentional Christian Community Handbook.
David Janzen

Paraclete Press.

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-6

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1595550232″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”105″]

Day #8:
2 January 2013

The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Bio of Flannery O’Connor.
Jonathan Rogers

Thomas Nelson.

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-7

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0830837876″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]
Day #9:
3 January 2013

This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling
Christine Jeske and Adam Jeske

IVP Books

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-8

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0801039088″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]
Day #10:
4 January 2013

The Space Between
Eric Jacobsen

Baker Academic

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-9

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”160899869X” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”110″]
Day #11:
5 January 2013

Being Church
John Alexander

Cascade Books

[ Read our review… ]

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-10

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1610974700″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”100″]
Day #12:
6 January 2013

Incorporation: A Novel
Will Willimon

Cascade Books

[ Read an excerpt… ]

Winner gets this book
PLUS the books from Days 1-11


Bookmark this page and be sure to enter this Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway on each day!!!


Here is our list of 2012’s Englewood Honor Books, the Best Books of the year for the life and flourishing of the Church.

This list originally appeared in our Advent 2012 print issue.

Our criterion both for selecting books to review and for honoring the year’s best books is to choose books that are “for the life and flourishing of the Church” – i.e., books that energize us to be the local community of God’s people that God has called us to be and that nurture our mission of following in the way of God’s reconciliation of all things (in all its broadness!).

Our Book of the Year:

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0802849857″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”333″ alt=”Englewood Honor Books 2012″]

“Every Christian should read this provocative book! Christine Pohl thoroughly delineates the interlocking relationships and dangerous deformities of practices that could deepen our communities but often destroy them. This volume is highly pertinent to our families, churches, even places of work. I highly recommend her wisdom for all of us to acquire disciplines of truth-telling, covenant-keeping, thankfulness, and communal love” – Marva Dawn

[ Read an excerpt ]

Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0547564651″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”223″ alt=”Paul Tough – How Children Suceed”]Love Makes for a Compelling Read

A Feature Review of

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough

Hardback: HMH Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0547564651″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]  [ [easyazon-link asin=”B0070ZLZ1G” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Reviewed by Joshua Neds-Fox.


With a subtitle like “Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character,” it’s hard not to think that How Children Succeed, Paul Tough’s second book, is being pitched to the politicized market of an election year. The contents, however, are hardly partisan; instead, Tough delivers a highly compassionate exploration of strategies to help impoverished children overcome the limitations of their circumstances. In many ways, this book is a natural followup to Tough’s previous title, “Whatever It Takes,” a profile of Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone, the ambitious project Tough first chronicled in the pages of the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Canada knew the devastating effects of poverty on personal potential, and he was no longer satisfied to save one in a hundred children from that fate. He wanted to save them all. [easyazon-link asin=”0547247966″ locale=”us”]Whatever It Takes[/easyazon-link] examined Canada’s Herculean effort to cast a net over a handful of city blocks in Harlem, a net so fine that no child in the target zone could possibly slip through. In engineering his project, Canada employed — and Tough explored — a grab bag of scientific and/or data-driven techniques to try to effect change in children.


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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”161097946X” locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”222″ alt=”Will Campbell – And the Criminals”]The Hard Work of Living in the Here and Now

A Review of

And the Criminals With Him: Essays in Honor of Will D. Campbell and All the Reconciled.

Will Campbell and Richard C. Goode, eds.

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”161097946X” locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]  [ [easyazon-link asin=”B0095J3TU0″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Reviewed by Chris Enstad


Will Campbell has been a Baptist preacher, campus pastor, and worked in the National Council of Churches during the height of the civil rights era.  His work in the field of reconciliation has earned him accolades and rebukes by liberal and conservative alike.  During the 60’s and 70’s Campbell’s work with the Committee of Southeran Churchmen confounded liberals who wished to damn racists to hell.  Campbell’s endearing message can be found in the now-closed journal Kattalegete, named for the Greek word for “Be Reconciled.”  In Scripture, Campbell discovered, Paul wrote to all sides of the Christian argument as though they were already reconciled to each other through Christ’s blood, the work had been done, now it was just up to us to realize it!

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Fire and Ice
Robert Frost

*** [easyazon-link keywords=”Robert Frost” locale=”us”]Books by Robert Frost[/easyazon-link] ***

A fitting poem for the Mayan Apocalypse…
See also, Frank Zappa’s retort

Robert FrostSome say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


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A new feature here at The Englewood Review of Books…

Quotable Wisdom as we remember those who were born or died on the dates of this past week…

(Follow through to the end, as there is a fitting quote for the Mayan Apocalypse from Frank Zappa!)

Monday December 17:

Rumi died on this day in 1273…
*** [easyazon-link keywords=”Rumi” locale=”us”]Books by Rumi[/easyazon-link]

Quotable Wisdom

LIKE and Share this quote on Facebook


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