Monday, December 5, 2016

Books I’m Not Recommending for Christmas, Part 1

So it’s that time again – time to not recommend books for Christmas. I have this thing about imposing my book choices on people, so I get around it by not recommending books I really enjoyed during this past year.

And it was a good year, perhaps a great year, for reading. This week I cover mysteries and suspense, fiction, faith, writing, and art. Next week I’ll cover history and biography, general non-fiction, and poetry.

For all the listings, the links direct you to my reviews or articles at this blog or Tweetspeak Poetry.

Mystery and Suspense

Two Judge Dee Mysteries by Robert Van Gulik.

The Chessmen by Peter May.

Burke’s Gamble by William Brown.

Murder and Other Acts of Literature, edited by Michele Slung.

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell.

As the Crow Flies by Damien Boyd.

A Question of Inheritance by Elizabeth Edmondson.


East of Coker and Invective by Andy Owen.

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey.

Romey’s Place by James Calvin Schaap.

A Whole Lot by Bradley Wind.

In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman.

The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss.

Ember Falls by S.D. Smith.


The Word in the Wilderness by Malcolm Guite.

Chicken Scratch by Kelly Chripczuk.


Christian Writer’s Guide by Mary Harwell Sayler.


Photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Images. Used with permission.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A remnant

After 1 Samuel 24

A small piece of cloth
a remnant, a tiny piece
that will not matter
to the whole
a tiny piece cut
in a place of hiding
in a place of refuge
and last resort

The whole robe was at risk
yet only a small piece taken
as a sign
as a promise
as the hope for reconciliation.

Photograph by Kevin Phillips via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday Good Reads

A study of mainline churches was undertaken in Canada to determine what made some churches grow in membership while so many more have been declining. Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition has the story, and the answers may be surprising.

Perhaps it’s the election, perhaps it’s just coincidence, but some really good poetry is being written right now. I’ve included four below – but there are so many more.

Louise Gallagher remembers her mother, Jerry Barrett thinks the skylight is falling, Eric Geiger on why routines are so vital for leaders and creators, and more.


Seeing Seamlessly – Dr. Steven Garber and The Spiritual Gift of Creating Beauty – Beccas Hermes -- both at The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, & Culture.

12 Brilliant New Study Bibles Coming OutThis Year – Stephen Altrogge at The Blazing Center.

Are We Playing Church? – Becky Hastings at Altarwork.

The Skylight is Falling, the Skylight is Falling – Jerry Barrett at Gerald the Writer.

Hillsong & God - Cameron Buhttel and Jeremiah Johnson at Grace to You.


On My Late Grandmother Still Receiving Mail – J.P. Celia at First Things.

Witness removed – Barbara Mackenzie at Signed…BKM.

Lovesong – Aaron Belz.

Key to the Kingdom – Ted Mathys via Academy of American Poets.

Advent Haiku and A Psalm for POTUS – Tim Good at Pics, Poems, and Ponderings.

Life and Culture

The memory of my mother – Louise Gallagher at Dare boldly.


One by One – Music by Paul Cardall, Words by David Bednar

Painting: Interior with Artist’s Daughter, oil on canvas (1935-36) by Vanessa Bell.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Touching the robe

After 1 Samuel 24

I touch the robe
I cut a small piece
my knife sharp and poised
in the shadows,
capable of more
far more
yet I stop with only
the small piece of cloth
to demonstrate both
the possibility
and the obedience.

Photograph by Maliz Ong via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.