The redemptive quality of a story

Flannery O'Connor

In her essay “The Grotesque in Southern Fiction,” Flannery O’Connor writes that readers desire and even need something uplifting in the books that they read.“There is something in us,” she says, “as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.”At Thomas Nelson, where I work, we strive to publish stories that are in some sense redemptive. It’s a priority at the acquisitions and editor … [Read more...]

3 ways to nourish your mind

Nourishing Your Mind

In our present time and culture it is easy to undernourish our minds. So many of our pursuits involve entertaining but generally unenlightening pastimes. It's the mental equivalent of high-calorie, low-nutrition food.But our intellects are meant for more than french fries, and ultimately such fare is unsatisfying. Here are three things I've found helpful in nourishing the mind. 1. Challenge yourself with books Reading is one of the most effective ways to begin. Start with the books … [Read more...]

The books you come back to

The books you come back to

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about books you come back to, books you re-read, books that become as familiar as old jeans. For him it was Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. You could hear the joy in his voice as he talked. He said I should read it and offered to buy the copy from me if I didn't like it -- sort of a money-back guarantee. … [Read more...]

Something my father gave me

By ginnerobot, Flickr

I have always loved books, an affection encouraged from my earliest years by my father. Our house was full of books, too many really. Books everywhere. Mom had her favorites and Dad his, mostly concerning theology, politics, and economics.My father was a Libertarian Party organizer when my parents first married, and the home shelves bulged with Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Leonard Read, Faustino Ballvé, Wilhelm Röpke, and Albert Jay Nock. As … [Read more...]

What Godin gets wrong

Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s announcement about abandoning traditional publishing ruffled a lot of plumage this week, for good reason. Publishing is navigating through disruptions and difficulties that make industry players fearful about the future. Amid all the news about layoffs and reorganizations, stores up for sale, declining sales, etc., Godin’s savvy and insightful business advice has pointed the way to safety and success for many. Now this. … [Read more...]

What goes into a man

What Goes Into a Man

It’s no small mercy that one of the most elevated human undertakings can occur during one of the most humbling. Yes, I’m talking about reading on the john.Stop blushing. You know you do it. Everyone does. I only wonder if we’re maximizing the experience. … [Read more...]

Impact of the King James Bible

King James Bible

Novelist John Updike once called the King James Bible “our language’s lone masterpiece produced by committee.” He said that in a New Yorker review of Robert Alter’s translation of the Pentateuch—The Five Books of Moses.Well, Alter now has a new book about the King James Bible and its influence on the style of six American novelists: Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, Marilynne Robinson, and Cormac McCarthy. It’s called Pen of Iron, a title taken from Jeremiah 1 … [Read more...]


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