Why You Should Be Reading Books On Your Phone If You’re Not Already

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I remember thinking the same thing you probably are when someone suggested it to me too.

There’s no way I’m reading a book on my iPhone. That’s insane.

Somehow, my brain instantly categorized this preposterous notion as on par with fishing for King Salmon with a toothpick and dental floss.

Not happening.

And what was my main reason against it?

That’s too much to read on so small a screen.

Somehow, I saw my brain melting as it tried to cope with all the text. There’s just no way to stay focused over that long a period. Is there?

That’s about the time that reality set in, and I asked myself just how much do I read on my iPhone in a day anyway? The truth—as you might imagine—is that I read on it a whole heck of a lot. And chances are, you probably do too.

I read blog posts, weather alerts, headlines, news articles and product reviews. I read text messages, emails, phone numbers and addresses. I read instructions, quotations and statistics. I read comments, tweets, status updates and pins. Not to mention, I wrote on it a ton (this post not withstanding).

Come to think of it, I hardly use my iPhone to call anyone. All I really do is read on it.

So if reading a book on my iPhone is technically feasible—which it is, given Amazon’s Kindle reader (which I much prefer over iBooks)—than I asked myself the second most obvious question: why on earth would I want to?

The answer to this one, of course, is simple.

Because it’s with me. Constantly.

I’m not sure how your perfect reading scenario looks, but mine goes something like this:

I’m sitting in an overstuffed leather chair beside a crackling fireplace in my massive library. I have my favorite pair of slippers on, my grandfather’s pipe, a warm sweater, and mahogany table with a Tiffany desk lamp warming the pages of my favorite tome with soft incandescent light. I’m like my own personal PBS special.

And how often does this happen?

Uh. Never.

Why? Because I can hardly remember the last time I had twenty uninterrupted minutes all to myself. It’s not because I don’t want it, or think it’s important; but with the beautiful family I have, as well as the amazing church, businesses and relationships I live to foster, such “ease” is not apart of the season I’m in. And honestly, nor should it be.

And yet there is still the quite-necessary requirement that I must read in order to better myself and those who’ll be touched by my life.

Why read on your phone? While you may not have the perfect time frame or the perfect environment, you do have the perfect convenience. And that’s your phone.

It’s always with you, always remembers where you left off, and is always full of your favorite books. Sure, there’s no trumping your hardcover library collection, but that’s not the point. Your phone is your instant-access entry point into the pros that you never have to leave on the proverbial shelf.

As a result, you’ll read more. If you’re always waiting for the perfect scenario, then you’ll keep putting off reading those books you know you should be reading “when the time is right.” Guess what? If you’re really a doer, the cold hard truth is that the time is never going to be right, what with those long rainy nights curled up in the bay window with your cat. But there is time while you sit there getting your oil changed, while you’re in the waiting room, on the walk back to your office, while you wait for your lunch appointment to show up, when you’re standing at the bus stop, elevator, subway, flight, carriage ride.

Wait, strike that. You should never read during a carriage ride.

The point is, reading on your phone can finally kill the procrastinator in you once and for all. (It’s even a great device to write on).

So go on. Download a book and give it a try. Yes, the first few swipes on that tiny screen may frustrate you or even infuriate you. But chances are, once you get past the physiological aversions to it, reading on your phone may just become your next overstuffed leather chair.

ch:

PS :: If you need a book to start with, my book The Sky Riders is only $0.99 on Kindle right now.

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(While not exactly my description above, I randomly found this image on Pinterest after published my post).

The Shadow Lamp

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Most people who read my novels or who frequent my blog know my affinity for the legendary Stephen R. Lawhead, whose works are truly—legendary.

Thank you, Jack Black.

So when the opportunity arose to review The Shadow Lamp, the fourth offering in his Bright Empires series, I simply had to opt in to the CSFF Blog Tour for the month of November. Plus, who can resist another hard copy edition to complete one’s collection?

There are many things I could say about this fourth installment, ranging from delectable intrigue and subterfuge, to prolific scifi plotting that plays to Lawhead’s historical (rather than futuristic) strengths. But the item I felt like emphasizing is perhaps something more subtle, like the aftertaste of a fine food or beverage, rather than the more noticeable palette presentation (which you can find from full reviews). Namely, Lawhead’s attention to generational legacy.

The older I get, the more I tend to appreciate the legacy of my forefathers. Who they were, what they did, and how where I am today is a direct result of decisions they made. Similarly, I cherish the few heirlooms that I possess, like a leather WWII pouch from my grandfather that bear his initials (which he made himself), or my great-grandfather’s single shot bolt-action Winchester .22 from 1899. Rather than the “quickly obsolete” nature of the digital age that I exist in, these seemingly archaic items link me to people who directly effect me today, but most of whom I never knew.

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This breathtakingly beautiful video on Vimeo speaks to these very themes, and is a fitting tribute to our Veterans today. [Warning: prepare to cry].

The ability that Lawhead has to tell a story that spans hundreds of years (in part, due to his ley lines plot device) is really marvelous. Many authors who try this tend to bog the reader down in endless lineages that fail to leverage any true value for the story. But Lawhead manages to keep the information and the relationships relevant, while still stirring up “ancient longings” that woo the reader into feeling like they’re a part of the history, not just an exterior observer. I think this is one if the reasons I so love Lawhead’s writing, because the divine melancholy of his histories hold me to the stories long after the book is closed.

How we live today effects those who live tomorrow. Or better said, in a world where ley lines connect centuries in a matter of moments, how we live today effects those who live in ten minutes.

So live in such a way that your grandchildren would be proud. And measure your possessions; keep them few, and imagine your grandchildren savoring them. Everything else can go.

Check out Lawhead on Facebook. Then check out what some of the other CSFF reviewers are saying on Al Gore’s interwebs, listed below.

Happy reading!

ch:

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•••

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

•••

First read what my good friend Nathan Reimer has to say, then check out:

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

TSR Fan Art

This permanent page is dedicated to all the amazing artists out there who love Aria-Prime as much as I do. These are their works, representational of their dreams of the far-off world above the cloud-floor.

If you’re an artist and have an image you’d like to submit, please email it to me here. There is no guarantee your art will be posted, there is no financial compensation for your submission if it is posted, and you maintain 100% copyright of your work, giving me the rights to publish it here on this page.

Fly or die,

ch:

1 Banth by Caleb B

Work At Being Creative


I love Christians who make me think. Granted, I love secular thinkers too. But Christians have the unique attribute that they are connected with the Holy Spirit Himself. Or at least, they should be. And as such, they should be producing the most brilliant stuff.

In the last few years, I’ve been absolutely stunned by the sheer amount of creative, quality work that churches and their respective designers are outputting. From print colateral to stage sets to record albums to events to novels, the creative expertise is growing exponentially. It’s astounding. Inspiring. And deeply encouraging. And I believe it reflects tremendously on the Creator. He’s smiling.

One of those Creative, Christ-followers I so appreciate is Stephen Brewster. I’m a lurker on his site. But every now and then I just have to add my voice to his comments section. I did so yesterday.

Adding a comment can be as simple as, “Nice.” Or, “Word up.”

But most times, leaving comments should be, “Ah ha! That’s what I’ve been trying to say but didn’t know how to say it!” or, “Dude, not only that, but this too…”

It could also be considered blog-bombing. Which I kinda’ guess my comment was on his recent post, Get Your Reps. It was on working the muscle of our creativity. In it he quoted Linus Pauling:

The best way to get a good idea is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.

And then Stephen listed ways we can work the muscle of our creative mind. I was deeply inspired to share some of the things that have been working me over lately. And out of that exercise came another simple concept that I felt like sharing here:

I’m finding that many of my creative ideas can be logged into one of two categories: conscious and subliminal. The conscious ones are the ones I take notes on. “Do this for this next design project.” The subliminal ones are those which are “deep inside” but that I can’t truly articulate; but soon, and very soon, they’ll help apply just the right pressure on some unseen synapse that will take inspiration to manifestation.

I encourage you to follow Stephen on Twitter, especially if you’re a creative. And leave a comment on his post if this inspired you.

ch:

#tToU Release Date: 09.15.2012

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That’s right Elves of Berinfell! The Tide of Unmaking debut is nearly upon us, now just a few short days away. Sir Wayne and I shall be unveiling our latest creation this Thursday morning (as long as Lord Asp doesn’t find a way to put a wrinkle in our efforts), with the ebook versions following a few days behind (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, Droid, iPhone, etc). Price points will be $14.99 for the paperback, and $2.99 for the digital editions.

As a personal favor, we’re asking all our fans to purchase directly through our CreateSpace/Amazon store here. It’s the same price and great customer service for you, and a better rate for us.

Thank you for your faithfulness to this story, and your love of the series. You’re why we write.

ch:

Kindle: The Skeleton Project

When you work closely with someone, you sometimes take for granted that they have other ideas besides the ones you’re developing together.

Oh. Wayne Thomas Batson writes other incredible stuff besides The Berinfell Prophecies.

So I get this info in an email late last night:

If you’re a Wayne Thomas Batson reader, rejoice! Gone are the days of waiting a year for the next story. While working on several novels to hit the shelves later this year, Mr. Batson is releasing a whole array of new stories on Kindle (and then other formats).

The first release is The Skeleton Project, a quirky, scifi, mystery thriller with a wee bit of humor. The Skeleton Project is now live on Amazon for just $1.29!

I’m already a third of the way through this short story and loving it. If this is a sign of the sort of serial-storytelling that we can expect from Wayne in the future, bring it on. ch:

RISE OF THE DIBOR free today on Kindle

Been wanting to read RISE OF THE DIBOR but haven’t taken the leap? Then you can download it for free today on your Kindle-enabled device here.

Already have it? Please help me and re-Tweet or Facebook or Google+ or Instagram (pic?) it to your peeps:

RISE OF THE DIBOR is free today on Kindle! tinyurl.com/6r77dkm

Thanks readers!

ch:

Reinvention by Fire

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I’m more than halfway through Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs on audio CD. My mom gave it to me for Christmas and I’m just now getting to it.

I always had a lot of respect for Steve, but I had no idea just how diverse, full, liberal, adventurous, ironic, and trial-bound his life truly was. Which makes me respect him all the more.

I’m sure many of my observations will come out here over the next few weeks, from spiritual remarks to business principles to family life. But the thing that’s struck me the most – the thing that’s actually had me saying “Wow” out loud – was the manner in which Steve Jobs embraced moments of blatant defeat, both personally and corporately, and found ways to reinvent himself unto success.

Some by choice, others through what my father called “the great sieve of life,” Steve confronted personal demons that caused him to implode as a twenty- and thirty-something, and allowed him to flourish as a forty-something and beyond.

The interesting thing is that career-wise, Jobs was a multi-millionaire by age 25. But he was far from being a successful person in life. To live life well is a very different venture than running businesses in the black (though arguably related). The embodiment of our expectations, our dreams, our perceived gifting, and the way in which we treat people can make or break us as people.

In the 80′s, Jobs was ornery, prickly, polarizing, a know-it-all, pushy, and brilliant. But through being fired from his own company, building another company that hemorrhaged cash every year (Next), love lost, love gained, marriage, children both in and out of wedlock, and the success of Pixar, he was slightly less prickly, slightly less polarizing, thinking through the need for moral high-ground, patient, and still brilliant.

The very things that tried to destroy him were refining him to tackle the issues he was born to resolve. And he couldn’t face them until he was resolved. Until he was reinvented.

We tend to look at our own lives in the scope of today, this week, and next month. It’s not often we think about who we’ll be in twenty years and the things we’ll need to walk through in order to become the person that our environments need. Most of us – myself included – tend to look back and notice change. But what incredible foresight it is to see change that needs to take place ahead of us, and then embrace it.

I believe the root of such vision is divine in origin. It comes from a connection to the Holy Spirit who sees the end from the beginning.

I’ll save my limited thoughts on Steve’s spirituality for another day. Whether he had foresight, or simply was a product of the pressures that assailed him remains to be seen. But it’s apparent that he was able to accept many of the maturing influences that life threw him and grow.

Don’t put off your future fortunes by failing to miss the point of your present pressures. ch:

Berinfell Book III Title Announced

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Among many of the conversations Wayne and I needed to have over our weekend was settling upon a title for the third installment of The Berinfell Prophecies.

The discussion was held over a swim in the hotel pool. We’d both toyed with the idea of a few titles, the most prominent of which became a sort of code-name used in The Underground called Tearing the Veil. But in the end one stood out among all others.

The Tide of Unmaking (#ToU).

Book III is unique in that it has a very powerful “ticking time bomb” element that propels the story forward at break-neck speed. This, as one might guess, has taken center stage, and therefore merits a title in its honor.

One of the more exciting things we discussed was the fact that since we’re self-publishing this new book, our readers will be getting it in May (at least that’s the plan). If it was being published with our previous publisher (or any other legacy publisher), no one would see it for another 16 to 18 months – yet more evidence of why self-publishing is not only beneficial to authors but to their all-important fans.

So, what do you think the Tide of Unmaking is? Let the conjecture begin! ch:

YWAM (JEM) French Web Store is Live

The world is full of amazing people who work tirelessly and namelessly behind the scenes to promote the Gospel. I am privileged to have befriended many such people over the years, and count it an honor to serve along side them with many of their selfless – and often covert – exploits.

The French-speaking world was blessed yesterday when Youth With a Mission’s French counterpart, Jeunesse en Mission, launched their first-ever web store for the general public. It is full of amazing resources, including books, CDs, teaching materials, and sheet music, to both equip Christians and reach the unsaved.

Based in Yvderon, Switzerland, JEM works fervently to publish original works of Christian littérature and music, doing all the translation, printing, producing and promoting themselves. My hat’s off to Sylvain Freymond and his amazing team; heaven will speak of their exploits for eternity.

If you know anyone in the French-speaking world – Christian or not – please forward this link on to them. It is an invaluable resource and further proof that God gifted mankind with technology for the singular purpose of promoting the Kingdom; everything else is just an added blessing.

And of course you can order Le Ciel Touche La Terre (Heaven Meets Earth) on there as well. Enjoy! ch:

Local Schools and CiCi’s Pizza Play Host to National Authors

Local Schools and CiCi’s Pizza Play Host to National Authors

By Kristen Japowicz – Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WATERTOWN, NY – Young Adult Fiction authors Christopher & Allan Miller, as well as local author and entrepreneur Christopher Hopper, will be dining with fans of their nationally published book series for two nights at CiCi’s Pizza in the Stateway Plaza, Thursday December 8th and Friday December 9th from 6pm to close.

The evenings are a part of their publisher’s “Discover the Adventure of Reading and Writing Tour,” which includes appearances at local Jefferson County schools, including Indian River, Wiley, and South Jeff, as well as some live radio interviews.

“Visiting schools and meeting students who have read our books is one of the hidden treasures of being a writer,” says Spearhead Book’s co-founder Christopher Miller. “When you see the light go on in the student’s imagination, that’s the best feeling of all.”

“We wanted to take this experience beyond the class room, too,” says Hopper, speaking of the evening activities at his restaurant on Arsenal Street. “Hosting these nights at CiCi’s is a great way to connect with families and have fun.”

More than just pizza will be for sale at CiCi’s, too; the author’s books, including The Miller Brothers’ new Mech Mice series, Code Bearers series, and Hopper’s newly published trilogy, The White Lion Chronicles, will be available for purchase.

“I’m really stoked about this,” says CiCi’s General Manager Shane Marolf. “I think it’s going to leave a very positive impact with a lot of families.”

For more information on the tour itinerary visit www.christopherhopper.com/date or log on to www.spearheadbooks.com for more details.

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Purchase Christopher’s new trilogy here!

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ITINERARY:
December 8th
Spearhead Books’ Discover the Adventure of Reading and Writing Tour
-8:15am-8:30am on-air with Johnny Spezzano The Border
-9:00am-11:00am Wiley Middle School Workshops
-12:20pm-2:00pm Indian River Middle School Workshop
-5:00pm-6:00pm on-air with Glenn Curry AM 1240
-6:00pm-11:00pm CiCi’s Pizza “Dinner With The Authors”
December 9th
Spearhead Books’ Discover the Adventure of Reading and Writing Tour
-9:00am-12:00pm South Jefferson School Workshops
-6:00pm-11:00pm CiCi’s Pizza “Dinner With The Authors”

The Bone House

A CSFF BOOK REVIEW: I received a free ebook of The Bone House from the publisher for review through the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour. Yes, I would love to have the hardback edition (and will most likely buy it), but I’m doing 100% of my reading on my iPad these days.

If Lawhead writes it, I read it.

Why? I haven’t completely figured that out yet, at least form a technical standpoint. And trust me, I’m trying. As a writer, you’re always “reading to write,” and glean what you can form the masters. But my hunch is simply this: Because Steve takes me somewhere.

Another reason is that while the markets are focused on authors who’re writing in publishing’s flavor of the month, Steve comes out and writes in something altogether un-trendy. And hits a home run. So add to the mystic equation his allure of “the other” and perhaps I’m a few steps closer to defining why I appreciate Lawhead.

The Bone House – picking up where The Skin Map left off in the Bright Empires pentalogy – is a unique sell. Not high fantasy, not modern sci-fi, it’s better termed – as son Ross Lawhead deemed itScience Fantasy.

TBH (and TSM) reads more like classic literature than candy-written pop. Pacing is slower – and sometimes disjointed – and the main characters are not always the focus (or the point). Likewise, they’re surprisingly normal, which adds to the intrigue: what would I do in a situation where I’m flung across time and space simply because I walked a particular side-street in London at just the right meter?

Which adds to Lawhead’s great genius of answering my fundamental question as a creator: Is it plausible?

If I can’t see myself responding the way the characters are responding, I grow disconnected as a reader. And ultimately unconcerned – the worst possible state as a watcher. More fascinating is Lawhead’s ability to help me identify with both someone born in the 2oth century and someone born in the 16th century, all while having a conversation among themselves that makes perfect sense, due in part to the awkwardness of it all. Needless to say, a great deal of thought was put into character and historical development.

In TBH, ley-line travel is becoming more of a learned science – albeit fledgling – and the reader feels slightly more comfortable in the multiverse. I find Lawhead’s use of theoretical science of great value, much the way Michael Crichton implemented it (Timeline still being one of my all-time favorite novels).

And what Lawhead tome would be complete without some real life historical references, like famed multi-genius Thomas Young? Because the lines are greyed between what Lawhead has made up and what he’s incorporated from history, I always find myself saying, “Wait, this isn’t legit…is it?”

Definitely worth buying, reading, and pondering. But then again, I’m biased. ch:

TOUR PARTICIPANTS:
Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Jeff Chapman
Carol Bruce Collett
Karri Compton
D. G. D. Davidson
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Marzabeth
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

Waving Goodbye

Are you waving goodby to the publishing industry as we know it yet?

If you aren’t, just try flopping your hand around so you don’t look ignorant (but maybe slightly dysfunctional).

Last night I posted a progress report on my self-publishing journey thus far with CreateSpace. Writing it all out took longer than I thought it would; there’s a lot to putting a book out.

I should rephrase that.

The steps and skill sets need to execute the basic process of putting a book out are fairly simple; the time and cognitive energy needed to keep track of the slew of details is a lot of work.

Margins, headers, consistency, spell-check, where’d that extra indent come from?, did you remember the bleed?, wrong file type, someone found another typo?, what’s the cover art path again?

While we’ll never say goodbye to the need for hard work, it is time to say goodbye to legacy publishing. At least it has been for me.

In one of my comments to Nathan Reimer on yesterday’s comments section, I said:

“I felt a little euphoric clicking submit [on my manuscript upload]. Half fearful I’d missed something catastrophically minor; half peeing my pants that I was publishing a book all by myself without a major publisher holding my hand.”

And that’s the truth of it. As a self-published author, the buck starts and stops with you. You have the tools, and the choices to make it awesome, or to make it a failure. Whatever support staff the traditional publisher provided – dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s – that’s all gone. Bye bye. But so is your expense of parting with a huge portion of your profits to do so. If you felt it was worth it, bravo. I didn’t.

In another comment last night by my friend Christian Fahey, he said:

“I read an interview with Jeff Bezos [founder and CEO of Amazon.com] recently where he stated his vision–swallow this–is to make every literary work known to man available in any language (primarily in ebook). Such extraordinarily big thinking is one of the reasons he, and Amazon, are at the pinnacle of this colossal shift.”

It’s forward thinking like that that’s caused traditional publishers to become a meaningful but isolated relic of the last century.

If you’re still with a traditional press, I’m sure you have good reasons. But I feel a little sorry for you.

If you feel like you’re supposed to be writing a book that others should read but you’re not, I’m sure you have good reasons. But I feel a little sorry for you.

I’m about to re-release my first novel, make it available forever, and make six times the money I’d ever made before. All this while maintaining 100% creative control, and releasing it far sooner then the typical 16-18 month turnaround period of legacey publishers.

Did you hear that? It’s the sound of the self-publishing bus taking the traditional publishing industry to school. ch:

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What I’m Reading

I’ve always believed that leaders are readers. I also believe that it’s important to read because what I currently know isn’t enough. Plus, every leader that I admire in my life is constantly suggesting books for me to read, which tells me if I want to be like them, I need to know what they’re reading. Better still, I need to read what they’re reading.

For the record, I always have fiction and non-fiction on my bedside table (physical or iPad). I like to dream, imagine, and be taken on an adventure. Likewise, I serve and lead people in a very nonfictional world. Both platforms have immense value to me.

Two non-fiction books were recently given to me by two different influential church leaders.

Lasting Impressions by Mark Waltz has not only been a thought provoking journey of how we incorporate people into the environment of church-life, but how we view them as individuals.

A pair of quotes from Mark that have really affected me:

We extend grace when our acceptance comes without requirements.

We must meet people where they are, not where we wish they were.

By far the most refreshing book I’ve read all year is Why We Love The Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. While books like Divine Nobodies, Quitting Church, So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, and Frank Viola’s divisive Pagan Christianity - which, in my view, have only succeeded in splitting churches and emboldening already-disgruntled complainers who just needed confirmation why their complaining was “theologically sound” – DeYoung and Kluck urge readers to fall in love with the “betrothed of Christ” again, and renew their vigor for seeing her as beautiful like Jesus does.

Fiction-wise, I just finished The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. While there are handfuls of worldly-truth or witty anecdotes, I read it because I found her study on post-war adolescent behavior fascinating, and not that far emotionally from many of the situations I counsel young people through on a weekly basis. As a writer, it has a gripping premise, is a fantastic example of character development, and all three books are written in first-person, present tense. That deserves an award right there.

What are you reading? And why? ch:

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