Monday, December 7, 2015

Would you rather unpack book boxes or unpack cases?

Last Friday and Saturday, members or our local writers' group manned a table at a local bazaar, where we sold Writers' Mill Journals and other books written by or contributed to by members of the group.


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Then on the Sunday, December 6th, I was honored to be one of the authors at the Oregon Historical Society Holiday Cheer event. (Look who I'm sitting next to - Eric Kimmel, author of Simon and the Bear and other great Hanukkah picture books, and more!).  
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There were even Dickensian singers to entertain us all, and offer the promise of Christmasses white instead of blue.  

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But now it's all done, and the unsold books need to be repackaged and buried under the bed, ready for next time. Meanwhile two new black suitcases have appeared on top of the bed, waiting to be unpacked. They belong to my mum, who has just arrived for her annual Christmas visit. Which is my way of apologizing in advance if I get even more behind with book reviews because... well, there are so many book conversations going on between me and my Mum instead. And other conversations. And baking of Christmas cakes and steaming of puddings and rolling out of gluten free pastry for the mince pies, and shopping, and...

But I have read some books. Honestly. And I've written some reviews. So here's my latest batch.


Since I was sitting right next to Eric Kimmel yesterday, I guess I should start with some children's books. So.. first is Merry Christmouse by Tess Votto illustrated by Vicki Rushing. It's a fun story told from human and mouse points of view, with the added attraction of bright illustrations drawn from human and mouse points of view. Plus there's all the excitement of trying to survive the onset of Christmas. I'd recommend a lively easy-drinking two-star coffee with this one.

Next is Let’s Make Crepes by Mae Segeti & Nic Monty, where boys and girls work together with Mom and Dad in the kitchen. It's all very convincing, sweet and fun, though I wished I'd seen the mathematician use his skill in measuring perhaps, or the swordfighter in stirring the batter. Ah well; that's just me. It's a fun book to read with a mild crisp one-star cup of coffee and a group of helpful kids.

And then, Oliver and Jumpy 31-33 by Werner Stejskal continues a familiar series with an enterprising cat and his kangaroo friend. The different illustration styles in each story are intriguing and nicely suited to the tales. Enjoy with some light bright two-star coffee.

For slightly older, or more serious minded children, Saint Anthony the Great by John Chryssavgis & Marilyn Rouvelas illustrated by Isabelle Brent is an intriguing historical story with some nicely woven lessons for the reader. The pictures really make this book, giving depth to the text and inviting questions and answers. But for me the best bit is the explanation of demons light nightmares (like monsters in the closet) being just the result of a wild imagination. Enjoy with one with some elegant complex four-star coffee.

While I'm thinking of saints, perhaps this is a good place to add my review of Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. This one's definitely NOT for the kids, or for adults allergic to the occasional swear word or alternative lifestyle, but it's probably the most Christian book I've read in quite a while, filled with thought-provoking humor, absorbing memories of events, and the wonderful liturgy of the church year perfectly applied to real life. I can't recommend it enough! Drink bold, dark, intense five-star coffee and enjoy Christ in the real world, and the real, liturgical church.

Time now to read some more and write more reviews. Then, maybe, I'll find time to write more books too. Did you know the first 11 books of Five-Minute Bibles Stories are now in print! If I finish book 12, I'll have my own personal book-a-month club!






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