Archives For Nonfiction

 

The Story of a Man and his Obsession

 

A Feature Review of

The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare’s First Folio
Andrea Mays

Hardback: Simon and Schuster, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Anna Visser
 
In her prologue to The Millionaire and the Bard, author Andrea Mays says all that needs to be said about the book that is to follow: “This is a story of resurrection, of a magical book and two men, an American millionaire and an English playwright—the man who coveted the First Folio, and the man who composed it” (xvi). In this one, summative sentence, Mays reveals her awe and fascination with Shakespeare and his works, and she draws us into this tale of a man who revered Shakespeare even more than she does. The story that follows is, indeed, somehow magical—even to a reader who might not necessarily otherwise identify as a Shakespeare enthusiast.
 
Mays begins by explaining the history behind this magnificent book that would become the object of academic affection and collectors’ obsession—Shakespeare’s First Folio, a massive 900 page collection of 36 plays, collected and edited by two of Shakespeare’s contemporaries and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell.

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Failing to Get Out of the Way
 
A Feature Review of

Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, on Being a Christian

Bret Lott

Hardback: Crossway, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Katherine Willis Pershey
 
 
A few months ago, I swore off writing book reviews after a monumentally awkward encounter with an author whose book I had reviewed. In defense of this Author Who Shall Not Be Named, I walked right into it. I strongly encourage writers to refrain from cheerfully approaching authors whose books they have reviewed. Learn from my mistakes.

 

My disavowal of book reviewing didn’t take, obviously. I had already committed to reviewing a new title for a print publication, so I had to shake off my abject mortification and put on my big girl pants. Thankfully, I loved the book and didn’t have many negative criticisms to weave in to my otherwise glowing assessment. It was such a pleasant experience I decided I would revise my prohibition against book reviews. I simply wouldn’t review books I didn’t wholeheartedly love, thus saving me from future mortification and preserving the egos of authors whose books about which I could not, in good conscience, gush.

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s list of the 25 best books from the first half of 2014, here are 25 Books to Watch for in the Second Half of 2014.

 

Fiction | General Non-Fiction | Poetry | Christian Theology/Praxis

Fiction Books:

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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…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

> > > >
Next Book

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks
By August Turak

Read an excerpt from this book

 

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

New Book Releases - Week of 27 August 2012Our most anticipated new release this week is D.T. Max‘s new biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. The publisher has described this volume: “Since his untimely death by suicide at the age of forty-six in 2008, Wallace has become more than the quintessential writer for his time—he has become a symbol of sincerity and honesty in an inauthentic age.  In the end, as Max shows us, what is most interesting about Wallace is not just what he wrote but how he taught us all to live. Written with the cooperation of Wallace’s family and friends and with access to hundreds of his unpublished letters, manuscripts, and audio tapes, this portrait of an extraordinarily gifted writer is as fresh as news, as intimate as a love note, as painful as a goodbye.”

[ Read a brief excerpt of the book here… ]

Watch for our review in the near future!

Hardback, Viking.
Buy now [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

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An excerpt from Edward Abbey’s classic book:

 

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness.

Edward Abbey.

Paperback: Touchstone, 1990.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, the noted author’s most enduring nonfiction work, is an account of Abbey’s seasons as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah. Abbey reflects on the nature of the Colorado Plateau desert, on the condition of our remaining wilderness, and on the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world. He also recounts adventures with scorpions and snakes, obstinate tourists and entrenched bureaucrats, and, most powerful of all, with his own mortality.






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Anne Lamott - Some Assembly RequiredAn excerpt from Anne Lamott’s newest memoir

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of my Son’s First Son.

Anne Lamott.

Hardback: Riverhead Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

Watch for not one, but two reviews of this book in our next print issue!

Also watch a short video of Lamott talking about this book






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Marilynne Robinson is one of the keynote speakers at next week’s Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. We are very excited about her newest book, which was reviewed by David Johnson in our current print issue. We will be giving away a few copies of her book at our booth at the Festival, so if you are going to be there, stop by and enter to win a copy, or a number of other excellent new books. For those who are going to the festival (and those who are not), here is a taste of her excellent new book:

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Just got our review copy of this book in the mail today, and it looks like a lot of fun!

Watch for our review in the near future:

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea
and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists,
and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
.
Donovan Hohn.
Hardback: Viking, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon: Hardback ] [ Amazon: Kindle
]

 

“Write What You See.

A review of
The Pastor: A Memoir.
By Eugene Peterson.

Reviewed by Margaret D’Anieri.

[ Enter here to win one of five copies
of this book that we are giving away! ]

THE PASTOR- Eugene PetersonThe Pastor: A Memoir.
By Eugene Peterson.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2011.
Buy now:  [ ChristianBook.com ]

In an article titled “Books in Search of an Author,” Lillian Daniel wrote, “Pastors are always complaining about what they did not learn in seminary. The book I wish for is along these lines but is not about boiler repair, tuck-pointing and the exact measurements for an elevator that will hold a coffin. I wish I knew more about these things, but I do not want to read about them. As a pastor, I simply long to read more books by pastors about being a pastor.”[i] The search has found its author. Peterson himself notes an encounter with someone described to him as a “leading pastoral theologian”, author of eight “influential” books. Peterson later found out this man had been an associate pastor for one year; he looked in the index of all eight books and didn’t find a single reference to prayer.

This memoir is a reflection on the ingredients that have gone into Peterson’s formation as a pastor, the refining of his own call in a period of time he calls “the badlands”, and his understanding of pastoral identity in our day and age. Best known as the author of The Message, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible, Peterson grounds his vocation as writer and pastor in words from the book of Revelation:

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