Blessings for the Evening: Finding Peace in God’s Presence
As Christmas approaches, Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson is at the top of my gift list. It is good for any individual who could use a dose of peace or a reminder of God’s presence. Blessings is a beautiful book that combines breathtaking photography, passages of scripture, and brief meditations. The combination works to bring a feeling of serenity to the reader. Though the title and the text clearly recommend that the book be used at night, it would be a welcome respite any time a person needs a soul break. The thoughtful devotions that accompany each scripture passage are calming, empowering, and worship inspiring. I received an e-copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. I will purchase a permanent copy. Highly recommended.
Thanksgiving, by Ellen Cooney, tells the story of the Morley family through 350 years, told through the eyes of various women in the family lineage. I found the book to be carefully researched and full of interesting details that flow from one generation to another, such as a pair of eyeglasses that are dropped along a creek bed and found many years later. Numerous historical events are noted, and this backdrop of American history in the lives of one ordinary family is appealing.
This is a story of a family, rather than an individual, which made the book feel plot-less to me. Such a book is difficult for me to stay with. Some characters were easy to connect with; others did not make leave an impression. Most of her characters were well developed despite the fact that each one had a starring role for only a chapter or two. Some chapters were lovely; others caused me to set the book aside for a while as I read something else. I am sure the story would resonate better if it could be read straight through.
Cooney’s style is usually sparse and elegant, but, as mentioned above, this book was uneven in my opinion.
I received a copy of Thanksgiving through NetGalley in exchange for this review.
Stopping Words That Hurt: Positive Words in a World Gone Negative, written by Dr. Michael D. Sedler, examines that origins, methods and consequences of hurtful language.
Dr. Sedler begins by emphasizing the power of words, especially negative comments and gossip. He encourages the reader to contemplate how hurtful and destructive even casual comments can be. The impact on the speaker, listener, and absent victim is explored and explained in detail. Injury or contamination occurs to all parties. Dr. Sedler does a good job pointing out that even if I don’t listen to or participate in gossip, I cannot help but be impacted by the statements I hear. Dr. Sedler encourages listeners of gossip to do more than ignore or not contribute to the conversation, but to actively defend the absent party and steer all participants into a more positive conversational direction.
The problems Dr. Sedler describes and the strategies he suggests are universal, but non-Christians may be put off by the Christian language that is used in his writing. Dr. Sedler uses many personal anecdotes and Bible stories to support his work. I felt that the book was a little long, but ultimately I recommend it as a good reminder of the importance of positive communication.
(I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a sincere review)