How does a book make the Heartlands list?
Well, the main limiting factor is that Alex Joyner has to read it during the year. It’s been another good year of reading, though I didn’t make it to quite as many books published in 2019. Hence, one of the quirks of this list–2019 books get some extra weight in the assessment, but I also consider books from previous years. Other criteria:
—Excellent writing. Good stories, good prose, good poetry. You won’t get there on the ideas alone.
—A strong sense of place.
—Books that highlight the broad themes of the Heartlands site. This began as a place to explore what’s happening in America, particularly focusing on life and ministry in rural areas. In light of the Great Divide, we now talk about that as “knowing the country whole.” A book that helps illuminate the country as it is or could be is going to get a leg up in this.
–I liked it, even if it didn’t meet any of these criteria. There have to be some perks to making your own list.
So without further ado, let me introduce #10 on the list. (We’ll be rolling out the rest of the list between now and the end of the year.)
I just reviewed her first poetry collection, Leviathan With a Hook, this week, but it was Kimberly Johnson’s 2014 collection, Uncommon Prayer, that makes the Best Reads. Johnson writes with passion and a deep love of nature and the land. She has a great ear for the music of words and she writes with a strong Christian influence that never tries to collapse the mystery into cliche. I said it before, I’ll say it again, she’s one of our greatest living poets.
Just click on the title above for my full review of the book.