• #4–Hunting Magic Eels by Richard Beck–2021 Best Reads

    #4–Hunting Magic Eels by Richard Beck–2021 Best Reads

    No book was better at giving voice to things I was feeling about our contemporary landscape than Richard Beck’s Hunting Magic Eels. The title was catchy, referring to an ancient Welsh pilgrimage site that featured prophetic eels who could predict the prospects of your love life. But the whole book worked a kind of magic. […]

  • #5 — A Burning in My Bones by Winn Collier — 2021 Best Reads

    #5 — A Burning in My Bones by Winn Collier — 2021 Best Reads

    Winn Collier’s biography of Eugene Peterson, A Burning in My Bones, was easily one of my best reads of the year. Collier had access to the journals and papers of the pastor/writer who is best known as the translator of The Message version of the Bible. He also knew the man and brings an appreciative […]

  • #6–The Making of Biblical Womanhood–2021 Best Reads

    #6–The Making of Biblical Womanhood–2021 Best Reads

    The 6th book on our Top Ten list is Beth Allison Barr’s The Making of Biblical Womanhood. Barr got a lot of buzz for this book, making her perhaps the country’s most popular medieval historian. Barr also happens to be an evangelical Christian trying to help her branch of the Christian church move out of […]

  • #7–Braided Creek–2021 Best Reads

    #7–Braided Creek–2021 Best Reads

    If you’ve followed this Best Reads exercise before you know that a 2021 Best Read doesn’t have to have been a book published in 2021, although more recent books do get more weight in the discernment process. So far we’ve had three great 2021 books, but this one from 2003 had to make the list. […]

  • #8–Saint Agnostica–2021 Best Reads

    #8–Saint Agnostica–2021 Best Reads

    “My poetry got a lot better,” Anya Krugovoy Silver told Macon Magazine in 2010. “Nothing focuses your mind and helps you see clearly what’s important quite like cancer. It made me want to explore, even more, the beauty and divinity of the ordinary world.” The breast cancer diagnosis came in 2004 when she was in […]

  • #9–Across the Airless Wilds–2021 Best Reads

    Earl Swift is a great writer who likes to shine a spotlight on out of the way places like Tangier Island and, now, the moon. His history of the lunar rover program takes us back to a period that now seems like an anomaly…a time when confident engineers and competent bureaucrats built something amazing that […]

  • The Heartlands Best Reads of 2021 –#10 On Juneteenth

    The Heartlands Best Reads of 2021 –#10 On Juneteenth

    The end of the year is approaching quickly so it must be time for the Heartlands Best Reads list. It’s been a good year for reading, even with a move and shift in environment. This is the fifth year for this list. A quick reminder of the criteria for making this list: writing with a […]

  • The Light Along Braided Creek

    The Light Along Braided Creek

    Short poems can seem light, slight…a thrown-off thought, a casual aside. But leave the world of nursery rhymes and limericks and there are wonders to behold in a few well-chosen lines. That was my experience reading the collection of poems in Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. In the midst of a serious illness, U.S. […]

  • Home of the Brave (Church)

    Home of the Brave (Church)

    This review was published on the Englewood Review of Books website and is reprinted here with permission. It’s not easy to talk these days. Try having a social gathering over Zoom and see how quickly you tire. Maybe one voice dominates. Maybe you’re frustrated by not having the side conversation you’d like to have. Maybe […]

  • Over the Moon: Earl Swift’s Tale of Lunar Off-roading

    Over the Moon: Earl Swift’s Tale of Lunar Off-roading

    Who wouldn’t love the feeling of fishtailing through remote dunes in a brand new, state-of-the-art vehicle designed for off-road adventure? It took years of engineering and millions of dollars to provide the means, but when Dave Scott and Jim Irwin strapped themselves in for a test drive in the summer of ’71 they set off […]

  • Unmaking Biblical Womanhood

    Unmaking Biblical Womanhood

    Sometimes you have to go back to a 15th century woman to find your way to a 21st century church. At least that’s where Beth Allison Barr goes in trying to understand the sad history of patriarchy in the Christian Church. Which makes sense because Barr is both a medieval scholar and an evangelical Christian […]

  • Very Dusty, Windy, Mean – Lessons from the Dust Bowl

    Very Dusty, Windy, Mean – Lessons from the Dust Bowl

    “On those days when the wind stops blowing across the face of the southern plains, the land falls into a silence that scares people in the way that a big house can haunt after the lights go out and no one else is there.” An opening sentence like that sets up high expectations for a […]