Archive for the Reading

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Is proofreading a sin?

Today is National Proofreading Day.

I’m a pretty good proofreader, though I’m not sure that’s good. I get way too much pleasure in discovering other people’s imperfections.

But maybe that’s my problem, because here are just two examples of what happens when there’s no proofreader.

burpless or burp less


First, here’s the bottle of capsules I would  buy because it’s least expensive. But really! I don’t want to just burp less. I want to be burpless.


Second, lest we think that’s no big deal, Mr. Adrian Monk warns of the corrupting, irreversible generational affect:

“I’ve never understood why Bill is short for William,” interjected Stottlemeyer. “Where does the B come from?”
“Why is Bob short for Robert,” I said. “Where does that B come from?”
“Misspellings that went uncorrected and, as a result, went on to contaminate the entire English language,” Monk said. “Let that be a warning to us all on the importance of proofreading.”

Today is National Proofreading Day. Proofreaders, keep your hearts pure and minimize your glee as you wield your slashing red pens. Readers, go find a proofreader to hug.

(And if you discover any errors in this post, keep it to yourself. I dish it out better than I take it.)


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Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Latecomer to Narnia

c s lewis

2 October 2013: The audio of my presentation is available online now.


Last weekend Desiring God held its 2013  National Conference–The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis. Friday afternoon was filled with 10-minute Small Talks. I used my slot to think out loud about my introduction to Narnia and the effect in my life.


I’m the oldest of 10 children. Of course, in a household that size, there were plenty of responsibilities for all of us kids. Any one of us standing still with empty hands was a target for the dreaded, “Oh, you’re not doing anything. . .” followed by something to do.

Fortunately for me, it was understood that homework was a priority. That became my retreat—not mainly for doing homework which I finished quickly, but for reading. My fat, boring history book was a cover—literally—for the library book of the day, and the skirt of my chair was the screen to hide my contraband pleasure shoved hurriedly under the chair when I heard parental footsteps headed my way.

From the time I could read, I did. I can still tell you most of my favorite books from the library shelf at the back of each grade’s classroom in our country grammar school—The Little Girl with Seven Names . . . Little Lord Fauntleroy . . . Caddie Woodlawn—stories I could sit down and enjoy again today. They must have been good books, because as Lewis said,

A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

But no Narnia. I hadn’t heard of C. S. Lewis or Narnia. God was saving me from Narnia. The hour had not yet come. I think that at that time, I would have gulped down each Narnia story at one sitting and then raced on to something new.

Then came the day in 1965 when Narnia’s hour was drawing nigh. I stood on one side of a door, and waved goodbye to my parents and brothers and sisters. Then I turned and walked through that open portal and disappeared from their sight and was transported—not quite instantly—from the Atlanta airport to O’Hare—my first ever flight.

There in college, I entered a world I had never known—a story I had never lived. Almost all the characters were close to my age. Once in a while, I heard my parents’ distant voices calling into my fantasy world, mediated faintly through an invisible agent whose magic incantation was “number please” (no dial phones yet in my small hometown and phone numbers of just 3 or 4 digits). They were far away.

But in my every day story? I wrote the plot. Yes, there were class schedules and professors, but I chose when, where, how, and whether to obey. I was free.

My problem, though I didn’t realize it, was that I didn’t know who I was in this new story and what role I played. I didn’t know what character I was.

I fell without much thought—and certainly no effort—into being Peter Pan. I reveled in this life. Fun. Friends. Freedom. No responsibility. My motto was “I don’t want to grow up.” I thought that was cute.

So, for example, if the night is sweltering and there’s cool water spraying up right there in the center of the campus lawn, why not dance with friends in the fountain—until the oldest college trustee hobbles up and ends it furiously, “What are you? A bunch of existentialists?”

Francis Schaeffer had been on campus one of the first weeks of my freshman year. The main thing I took away from his daily chapel messages was that he was the first person I’d seen in real life wearing knickers, and that when other people would have said pseudo-intellectualism (if they even used that word), he said suede-o-intellectualism. I had pretty much no idea what he was talking about, except that existentialism—whatever that was—was not good. I didn’t realize until later that Peter Pan could be the poster boy for existentialism.

(By the way, if you want to know one of the big differences between me and my husband, here’s a good place to mention it. I hadn’t met Johnny yet, but he probably really dug what Dr. Schaeffer was saying.)

But what I dig—then and now—is stories. Stories speak to me. My mind stays with me when I’m hearing a good story. I learn so much from stories—about God, life, people, places, relationships.

And now Narnia’s hour was upon me. At Wheaton, the sainted name of C S Lewis hovered in the air. People spoke casually about Narnia as if that was where they’d vacationed last summer.

If this were fiction, I’d tell you about the earth-shaking moment when I turned the first page of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Truth is, I don’t remember actual reading the Narnia books. What I do remember vividly are particular moments in the stories and what happened to me and in me afterward.

Just recently, I was chatting with one of our 8-year-old grandsons about the difference between adults acting like children in a good way—childlikeness—or in a stupid way—childishness.

For me, the most memorable moment in Lewis is a picture of that difference. Here’s the setting: Aslan humiliated, slaughtered. . . Susan and Lucy grief-stricken at the impossible. But then:

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane. . . stood Aslan himself.

The awesome, mighty, living Aslan invites them to climb up high onto his back. And here’s my quote:

It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.

There it is: childlikeness at its best. A romp like a child, yes. Playing like a child, yes. Playing as with a kitten like a child, yes.  A lion as playful and soft as a kitten, but at the same time a kitten as perilous as a thunderstorm—“Of course he’s not safe, but he’s good.”

I wasn’t changed overnight, but I began to trade Peter Pan for Lucy. I understood Lucy, and she was the kind of person I wanted to be—With all the best traits of a child—brave, loyal, curious, truthful.

But not perfect, and so Lewis’s Lucy made me look at myself through clearer eyes. In Prince Caspian, when she sees Aslan, but the other children don’t, when she can’t persuade them to go toward Aslan, I say, “NO! Lucy! Don’t follow them. Go to Aslan!” And yet, I wonder, What would I have done?

Narnia was one of God’s good tools, turning me from childishness toward the desire to be childlike.  The kind of child that can enter the kingdom of heaven.

That led me toward imagination. Imagination is childlike and Narnia opened my heart’s eyes to imagination—not make-believe, but imagination. My second favorite Lewis scene is Narnia’s creation in The Magician’s Nephew. It’s a long and glorious chapter. Here’s just one small part:

A voice had begun to sing. . . . Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. . . . It was beyond comparison, the most beautiful sound [Digory] had ever heard.

Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. . . . The blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. . . . The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. . . . You would have felt quite certain . . . that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.

Sometime after reading that, I walked along a Wheaton street one dusky evening. Peering through the twilight into the next block, I saw a regal collie—one of my favorite kinds of dogs. As I came closer, the collie melted back to what it really was—a pile of golden autumn leaves.

Ashes to ashes. But in between is life. Leaves to leaves. But in between, my imagination was wakened to see a glorious Narnian creature. I could hear more and see more.

The last most memorable scene in my top-3 came when I traveled to Perelandra, the planet that hadn’t yet experienced sin. Ransom is wandering alone through an Eden-like forest of unimaginably luscious fruit.

As he let the empty [fruit] fall from his hand and was about to pluck a second one, it came into his head that he was now neither hungry nor thirsty. . . . What desire would turn from so much deliciousness? But for whatever cause, it appeared to him better not to taste again. Perhaps the experience had been so complete that repetition would be a vulgarity—like asking to hear the same symphony twice in a day.

Why do I remember this passage? I don’t know. Maybe because the thought was so foreign—not to take a second helping of a glorious taste? Maybe because I was grasped by the idea of something so perfect?

And that’s a good place to end—with perfection—where God means to take his people. He uses many means to get us there. And for me, Lewis’s fiction has been pictures, tastes, experiences that are shadows of what is to come.


The DG National Conference main sessions all are available free online in a choice of video or audio only.

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Friday, June 21st, 2013

Escape through your kids’ escape literature

girl readingIt’s that season. Summertime. School holidays. Children. Boredom.

You’re planning to travel . . . or wishing you could. And some days, you’re thinking how nice it would be if you could send your children on a trip somewhere.

You’ve heard of escape literature. Well, I’ve just discovered some of that genre for your kids. If they curl up in their favorite reading nooks and escape with some of these books, it might be as good as your own escape.

Or maybe they’ll discover a destination you’re actually planning to visit and can read about what to expect.



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Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Hidden art in a hayfield


The long walk to the mailbox yesterday evening was pointless if letters  The Hidden Art of Homemakingwere the only goal. But it was far from fruitless from Edith Schaeffer’s outlook of taking pleasure in the everyday beauty around you.

Almost hidden in the hayfield were a couple of stalks of bright orange butterfly weed in the neighborhood of lots of delicate fleabane. At least, I think that’s what those wildflowers are called. Tell me if I’m wrong.

Whatever they’re called, they brighten our breakfast table.

There’s lots more about our new place where we’re living this year at my travel blog–Tell Me When to Pack.

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Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Advice from Louisa May’s uncle

This advice from a father to his son away at university in the late 1800s is a worthy challenge to us all.

I hear indirectly that you’ve been called on to deliver an address or lecture or speech of some sort. Let us know all about it. The more thoughts you express, the more you will have, and there is no exercise of the mind that is so quickening and strengthening to all our mental faculties as carefully ranging and clearly expressing our thoughts on any subject worth thinking about.

I hope you, too, will take pains to acquire an excellent locution. Do learn to read well and speak well. Accustom yourself to speak extempore in common Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Motherconversation. Cultivate the habit of saying exactly what you mean to say, of using clear and appropriate language, and of finishing your sentences. A slovenly, slipshod style in conversation will be very likely to insinuate itself into one’s extempore speeches.

Samuel Joseph May, brother of Abigail May Alcott.

Taken from Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother, by Eve LaPlante

I’d say this boils down to:

  • Say what you mean;
  • Mean what you say;
  • Say it so it can be understood;
  • Say it well (complete sentences and all).

Have you received or given any similar or very different advice?



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Monday, December 31st, 2012

Kindle Fire or Kindle Paperwhite?

Our anniversary and my birthday are less than a week apart, with Christmas in between. Sometimes that means one larger gift that covers all the occasions. I guess I wasn’t very subtle about what was on my wish list this year for Christiversaday–a replacement for the Kindle I couldn’t find when I returned home from a trip a while back.

I’d played around a few minutes with a friend’s Kindle Fire 7Kindle Fire and was impressed by the colors and apps. So that’s what I was crossing my fingers for. And that’s what my husband blessed me with on our anniversary. We enjoyed getting acquainted with it together.

Though the apps and games would be fun, my main use of a Kindle is for reading. So my heart sank when I realized that reading on the Kindle Fire is missing the same 2 important features that are lacking on the Kindle app for various devices (iphone, android, iPad, PC, Mac, Blackberry,Windows Phone 7)  –features that were a normal part of my earlier Kindle experience:

  • Unbroken continuation of a highlight from one page to the next.
  • The ability to organize my books into Collections.

Highlighting. On my earlier Kindle, to continue a highlight to the next page, I just kept the cursor moving to the bottom corner of the screen and the page automatically turned and the highlight continued. By contrast, when I’m highlighting in the Kindle app on my phone or on an iPad, I can’t drag the highlight beyond the bottom of the screen. That means if the passage continues on the next page, I have to start a new highlight on the next page. So when I go later to my notes and highlights, I find it saved as if it were two highlights rather than as one passage. That’s the way the Kindle Fire does it too.

Collections. Some people keep only a few books at a time on their Kindles and store the rest in “the cloud” until they want them (I know that’s an accepted term and shouldn’t need quotation marks, but it sounds like a nebulous–pun intended–metaphor to me.). But I keep pretty much everything in my device. So I want a way to organize my books and not have to page through several hundred hoping to find the one I want. The Collection feature on my earlier Kindle let me create categories that are most useful to me–fiction, Christian living, China, biography, etc. That feature is not available in Kindle apps or in the Kindle Fire.

I had made the big mistake of assuming that every new Kindle product was an upgrade–keeping the great features and making them better. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It was too subtle for me that the Getting Acquainted with Kindle page was showing a Kindle Fire Family of devices and a Kindle E-reader Family. I thought Kindle meant Kindle.

Kindle Paperwhite, 6I returned the Kindle Fire and ordered instead a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader. Now that has what I wanted and more.

What I wanted:

  • Collections.
  • Highlighting that continues to next page.

And more:

  • Noticeably smaller size and lighter weight than the Kindle Fire and earlier Kindle e-readers.
  • Touch screen.
  • On-screen keyboard that pops up as needed.
  • Higher resolution (62% more pixels)
  • Adjustable built-in light that is not a backlight  (page down here for a more technical description).

When it comes to reading, the Kindle Fire is in competition with iPad, not with Kindle e-readers. If you want color and don’t care as much about the reading features, a Kindle Fire is probably what you want.

But if you’re like me and want the possibility of 1000 books in one 7.5-ounce device you can drop in your pocket, purse, or carry-on, go for a Kindle e-reader (Kindle E-reader Family on this page). My choice is the Kindle Paperwhite.


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Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Lots more books for boys (and girls too)

After my list of books for boys a few days ago, here are a few more I thought of:

The Wheel on the School   Treasure Island (Sterling Illustrated Classics) sKidnapped   The Call of the Wild, White Fang & To Build a Fire (Modern Library Classics)

The Swiss Family Robinson   J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Movie Tie-in): The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King   Cross and the Switchblade, The, 45th ann. ed.   The Swamp Fox of the Revolution (Sterling Point Books)

James Herriot, 3 Volumes Boxed Set Includes: Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe   Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century   The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 (Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus)


Then wow! Thank you so much for your many, many  suggestions. Let’s start with books actually written by a couple of you:


Tahosa TreasureBy Hannah McKay and her father, Jeff Roth

To be released in January — 1st in a series

All they wanted was a little adventure. What they got was the adventure of a lifetime.School is out for the summer and Jack, Ben, and Jeb can’t wait to go exploring. Packing their knapsacks and saddling their horses, the trio sets out. But when they stumble across a hidden cave, they also discover the remains of an old Spanish soldier. And a valuable treasure they never could have imagined! But soon they are being followed by a stranger who wants the treasure. In the chase, the brothers end up trapped in an underground river bed, fighting for their lives. They must find their way out before they perish like the Spanish soldier. The boys have trusted the Lord to help them in the past, but will they trust Him now? Join Jack, Ben, and Jeb as they fight for their lives and learn to trust God in Tahosa Treasure! (Amazon Description)

Rescue Me!: What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of FaithBy Bryce Morgan and Mitch Martin

Rescue Me! is a comic book that helps kids connect classic superhero themes with the amazing message of the Bible. This is not what some might think of as a Christian comic book! This is a classic comic book hero in a classic (family friendly) comic book story, interspersed with lessons connecting themes in the story to the timeless truths of the gospel. Kids of all ages won’t be able to put it down! (learn more at (Amazon description)


Here are a bunch you’ve told us about, many of which I haven’t read, but some of you like them and so I pass them on:


The Mad Scientists' Club Complete Collection by Bertrand R. Brinley published by Purple House Press (2010) [Paperback]   The Count of Monte Cristo   Where the Red Fern Grows   My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)

The Bronze Bow   The Sign of the Beaver   Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books)The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers

Ginger Pye (Young Classic)  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Classic Starts)   Hatchet


Each of the following image links represents either a series or one of several books by the same author:

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: Adventure Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree (The Wingfeather Saga)     The Bark Of The Bog Owl (The Wilderking Trilogy)   Kingdom's Hope (Kingdom, Book 2)   Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon   The Dragon and The Raven (Works of G. A. Henty)   Duncan's War (Crown and Covenant #1)   Guns of Thunder (Faith and Freedom)

Tournament Crisis (Chip Hilton Sports Series, Vol 14)   The Fall (Seventh Tower #1)   The Swamp Robber (Sugar Creek Gang, Book 1)   My Name Is America: The Journal Of Joshua Loper, A Black Cowboy

The Dry Divide   The Volcano of Doom (The Accidental Detectives Series #1)Wings of an Angel (Winds of Light Series) by Brouwer, Sigmund published by Chariot Victor Pub PaperbackThe Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books)

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman   The Worlds of Lois Lowry 3-Copy Boxed Set (The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue)The Overland Escape (An American Adventures Series, Book 1)

Now I’m picturing hundreds of boys hidden away in their secret reading nooks–the space between bed and wall, a loft corner, up a tree in clubhouse or on a wide branch, behind the sofa or garage . . . Too bad for you if you were hoping they’d take out the trash or dry the dishes.

Please keep those suggestions coming!


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Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Another Bible story audio

So sorry for my absent-mindedness. Here’s another Bible story audio that I fully intended to include in my original list. Thank you, Sarah, for the reminder.

The Big Picture Story Bible (Book with CD)

A few years ago, we gave The Big Picture Story Bible to all our sons’ families. I was wishing there was audio, and now there is.

The title is perfect. This is a Bible story book that focuses on the big picture, not just each individual story as a stand-alone. Trevin Wax says that if “you have long hoped for a book that teaches children the biblical story from Creation to New Creation – a book that anticipates Jesus in the Old Testament and makes his crucifixion and resurrection the proper climax of the New Testament – then this book is for you.” (Note: He links to the earlier edition that does not include CD).

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Sally Lloyd-Jones’ audio for kids

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His NameThank you, Amanda and Erin, for reminding me about The Jesus Storybook Bibleby Sally Lloyd-Jones (to link to the audio version go to the “format” box and choose “audio”). That’s one that I definitely was going to include on the list in my last post, but my brain turned off too soon. The reader you mention with the “charming British accent” is David Suchet.

If you’re not familiar with The Jesus Storybook Bible, here’s our son Barnabas’s review.


Thoughts to Make Your Heart SingOne of the great values of good children’s Bible-related audio is to help our children have “Bible Time,” as we called it in our family–a time alone with the Word–even before they’re able to read. Tim Keller recommends Sally’s newest book, for just that reason:  “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing may be the best, first introduction for children to have their own time with God.”

If you’re getting the audio (once again, the narrator is David Suchet) be sure to get the book too. With this book, as with The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally has partnered with Jago for the artwork which multiplies the appeal and impact of Sally’s word pictures. The one-page devotionals are rich in the truth of God’s love, faithfulness, forgiveness, salvation that draw a reader’s heart toward him–that make a reader’s heart sing.

Song of the Stars: A Christmas StorySong of the Stars is one Bible story–the one that the saints of the Old Testament were waiting for, the one that all creation awaited on tiptoe. Sally leaves a reader breathless with the joy as the bated breath of generations is exhaled in celebration at the birth of the Savior.




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Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Advent: What is it? And what shall I read?

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:10-12}

We are a people of promise. For centuries, God prepared people for the coming of his Son, our only hope for life. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made—that he would give a way to draw near to him.

Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before December 25, sometimes in the last weekend of November, sometimes on the first Sunday in December. This year, it begins this coming Sunday, December 2.

1 Peter 1:10-12 is a clear description of what we look back to during Advent. For four weeks, it’s as if we’re re-enacting, remembering the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus. That’s what advent means—coming. Even God’s men who foretold the grace that was to come didn’t know “what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating” (verse 11). They were waiting, but they didn’t know what God’s salvation would look like.

In fact, God revealed to them that they were not the ones who would see the sufferings and glory of God’s Christ. “They were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (verse 12). They were serving us. We Christians on this side of Jesus’ birth are a God-blessed, happy people because we know God’s plan. The ancient waiting is Treasuring God in Our Traditionsover. We have the greatest reason to celebrate.

(This was posted originally at the beginning of Advent 2011, and is taken from my book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions.)


Here are some sources of daily Advent readings you might want to check out for personal or family devotions.

Desiring God will offer a daily Scripture reading guide later this week.

Arrival: Preparing to Celebrate Christ’s Birth — Free download of Billy Graham’s advent devotional.

The Essential Journey to Bethlehem — Daily Advent Scripture readings from Scripture Union. You can download the free ebook or subscribe via email, RSS, FaceBook, Twitter, or email.

Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative


When I mentioned Behold the Lamb of God last year during Advent, Russ Ramsey responded with this description:

It has 25 chapters, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas day. I designed it that way so if folks wanted, they could use it as a 25 day Advent devotional. And I did write it for family devotional use. The chapters are short enough to read in about 10 minutes. It follows the story of the need for and the coming of Christ from Eden up through the Nativity story. You hit the New Testament somewhere around chapter 17.

May God bless you as you celebrate his advent, his coming.

Please tell us about Advent resources you’ve found helpful.


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Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Books for boys

I’ve had sons and grandsons for quite a few years, so it’s a long time that  I’ve been on the lookout for books that entice boys to read. In case some of you are running into the same challenge, here are a few possibilities, loosely in age order. Since I’m remembering some from my adult sons’ childhoods, I hope I might be introducing some of these to you for the first time.

To my thinking, one of the things that makes a good boys’ book is that I enjoy it too, reading  aloud with the children or quietly on my own. And of course, a lot of girls will like these books too.

Please comment with your thoughts about any of these books and with your recommendations of good books for boys.


Of course, top of the list is C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series.

Chronicles of Narnia Box Set


The Cooper Kids Adventure series, by Frank Peretti. There are quite a few more of these too.

The Door in the Dragon's Throat (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #1)   Escape from the Island of Aquarius (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #2)   The Tombs of Anak (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #3)   Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #4)


The Spirit Flyer Series, by John Bibee (There are 4 more books, but these are the ones we read aloud together when our boys were younger)

The Magic Bicycle (Spirit Flyer)   The Toy Campaign (Spirit Flyer)   The Only Game in Town (Spirit Flyer)   Bicycle Hills: How One Halloween Almost Got Out of Hand (Spirit Flyer)


The Archives of Anthropos series, by John White

The Tower of Geburah (Archives of Anthropos)  The Iron Sceptre (Archives of Anthropos)   The Sword Bearer (Archives of Anthropos)   Gaal the Conqueror (Archives of Anthropos)   Quest for the King (Archives of Anthropos)   The Dark Lord's Demise (The Archives of Anthropos)


The 100 Cupboards Trilogy, by N.D. Wilson

100 Cupboards (100 Cupboards, Bk 1)    Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards   The Chestnut King: Book 3 of the 100 Cupboards


The Dragon King Trilogy, by Stephen Lawhead

In the Hall of the Dragon King (The Dragon King Trilogy)   The Warlords of Nin (The Dragon King Trilogy)   The Sword and the Flame (The Dragon King Trilogy)

I haven’t read all the books written by Stephen Lawhead, but I’ve liked every one I’ve read, and most of them would be good choices for boys as well.


Chiveis Trilogy, by Bryan M. Litfin. You might want to check out my review of audiobook edition of The Sword.

The Sword (Redesign): A Novel (Chiveis Trilogy)   The Gift: A Novel (Chiveis Trilogy)   The Kingdom: A Novel (Chiveis Trilogy)


The Pendragon Cycle, by Stephen Lawhead

Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1)   Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle , Book 2)  Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 3)   Pendragon (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 4)   Grail (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 5)

That’s off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more, but they’ll have to wait for another post.

Remember, please chime in with your suggestions.

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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

ADHD, audiobooks, and a review

For the month of July 2012 The Sword can be downloaded free from


Boredom is a major roadblock to my getting done what needs to be done, especially the repetitive, mindless tasks like clearing my desk. Don’t tell me. I already know that’s not supposed to be repetitive, but what can I say?

Enter audiobooks. My smartphone becomes a distraction–I mean that in a good way. Following a good story keeps my mind off the pain of boredom. So I hardly realize I’m completing a dreaded, long-procrastinated job.

And yes, it’s stories that keep me going. I seem to need print in front of me to follow a non-fiction line of thought. But a good story helps me escape–I mean that in a good way. So I jumped at the opportunity to download and review The Sword, by Bryan M. Litfin, from christianaudio.

Whenever I read an author who’s new to me, I start cautiously, not knowing what to expect. But when the writing is good, I soon slip out of the role of observer and into the story. That didn’t take long in The Sword, especially because Ray Porter, the narrator, is amazingly good with individual, different voices for each character. Each voice remains consistent throughout the book, and goes a long way in portraying the personality of each person in the story.

I’m stumped trying to name the type of literature, the genre. Fantasy? Sort of, but it’s “real” people in our own world. Science fiction? Sort of, but only in that it’s set hundreds of years in the future. There is no science or technology. Allegory? Not really.

So I’ll just call it historical fiction set in the distant future. The setting is several hundred years from now after a raging virus and the resulting anarchy and war have wiped out most of humanity and our arts, accomplishments, and Christianity. The descendants of the survivors live in a world similar perhaps to the world of the Roman Empire, in the sense that there is an island of civilization surrounded by unknown wilderness peopled by scattered “outsiders” comparable to the barbarians in the lands surrounding the Romans.

In the book’s setting and heroism and drama, I felt a little like I was hearing the Stephen Lawhead I used to read to our boys, like the books in the Dragon King Trilogy (which are also available for download from christianaudio: In the Hall of the Dragon King and The Warlords of Nin and The Sword and the Flame).

The heart of the story is the reactions to the Old Testament that’s been discovered. The ones who are drawn to it recognize that this scripture is the way to know the true God who had been lost to them. So as we read/listen, we see them piecing together who he is–creator, sustainer, savior–and trying to figure out what that means in their lives. They know there’s some great significance to the ancient cross symbol, but with only the Old Testament, it’s still a mystery to them.

It seemed to me that reading about the experiences of these new followers of the true God might be a way of understanding better some of the dilemmas and fears of Christians in the unwelcoming world of the synagogue and the Roman Empire.

One small stumbling block to me was the accounts of the gatherings of believers and seekers. I thought the tone, language, agenda and format sounded too much like one of our contemporary churches or home groups.

But that anachronism was well-overbalanced by the stark realism when Elijah’s challenge to Baal is reenacted in a face-off with the evil “god.” I hardly knew whether or not I wanted God to show up in a fiery blast. I don’t want to give it away, but I was left, like the characters, wondering what his purposes are. That’s a good story. A good story that leaves the protagonists with no choice but launching out across glaciers into the unknown.

The end — of The Sword, anyway.

So I’m ready for the next two–The Gift  (at christianaudio) and The Kingdom  (at christianaudio)






 This download was provided for review by


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