Archives For Jen Pollock Michel


Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)


Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home

Jen Pollock Michel

Read an interview with the author… 


Continue Reading…


Simple Lessons from Small Talk


Why young mothers should read Amy Julia Becker’s newest book

by Jen Pollock Michel


Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most
Amy Julia Becker
Paperback: Zondervan, 2014

She kept a list. She wrote reminders. Something to ask. A story to tell. An opinion to solicit. My friend’s list was our only real hope for sustaining thought in the sitcom quality of life during the years when our children were young. We suffered the constancy of commercial breaks: to change a diaper, to zip up a jacket, to retrieve Buzz Lightyear who’d been mercilessly thrown into the toilet. To think that our friendship survived the bleary-eyed years of that episodic sanity, when we were cycling and recycling through the states of pregnancy and nursing and potty-training is a testament to the great mercy of God.


I’ve almost forgotten how harried those days actually were. My friend’s list of conversational prompts remind me, however, that it was once an Olympic feat to finish a sentence, much less see to the cohesion and conclusion of a conversation. I can take for granted the long stretches of quiet I now have to myself to write and study in the middle of the day when the children (all five of them!) are off to school. I even make uninterrupted phone calls.

Continue Reading…


Rich in Gospel and Grit

A Review of

Teach Us To Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith
Jen Pollock Michel

Paperback: IVP Books, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

Reviewed by Bronwyn Lea


Once, I was hijacked by a bishop.


I was in London at a conference, and the bishop of my church at home was hosting a reception one evening for South African expats. One of his purposes was to raise awareness and funds for our small denominational seminary, where I was a student at the time, and so I agreed to an interview.


I was prepared for a plain sailing interview about the bible college. I was blindsided by the direction he took: asking detailed, personal questions about the personal trauma which had derailed me while I was a law student, and set me on a path of question-asking.


I cornered him afterwards, furious and exposed: “If I had known you would ask me those questions, I would not have done the interview,” I fumed. He was gentle and clear: “I know. That’s why I didn’t tell you. I’m preparing you for ministry, my girl.”


I left the conference hopelessly tangled. Why was I in seminary, anyway? I didn’t want to be in vocational ministry: I wanted to be in the work place! But was that what God wanted? I felt sure it wasn’t what I wanted, but then why did I also feel a sense of satisfaction that my words had made a difference that night? And was it sinful to feel a sense of accomplishment at the same time as feeling sideswiped?

Continue Reading…


Jen Pollock MichelIn 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.

We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.

This week’s post in the series is by Jen Pollock Michel.

Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ #5 (Last Week) – Amy Frykholm ]

Jen Pollock Michel is a writer, speaker, and mother of five. She is a member of Redbud Writers Guild and writes regularly for Christianity Today’s Her.Menuetics. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript called Found Wanting: At the Intersection of Faith and Desire. Jen earned her B.A. in French from Wheaton College and her M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her family and blogs at You can follow Jen on twitter @jenpmichel.

Continue Reading…