The folks who know me best know I have a love of books. One that has me counting my books as some of my most prized possessions. I have my favorites that I’ve had for many years, and I have books whose release dates are circled on my calendar. I have books on my Kindle (sometimes that’s just how it has to be), but mostly I love the no kidding hold it in my hands books. I worked in our library all four years of high school, so the smell of books brings me great joy and yes, I’ve been guilty of book sniffing.
I blame this love of books on my parents and my Aunt who took me to my first Old Book Sale.
The characters of the books become close friends and their stories intertwine with mine. The authors of my favorite fiction and non-fiction books become my friends in real life, and I love celebrating the births of their new creations.
So imagine my joy to be chosen to be on the launch team for not one, but THREE books during the past couple of weeks.
You mean I need to make reading a higher priority than I normally do? Because after all, I have an obligation to help these writers with their launch. In a timely fashion.
Sigh. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
I sure am glad it’s me.
I want to share with you about these books and then a special surprise at the end, if you have time to stick with me on this post. If you have some reading to get to, I understand (bookmark me and come back to this later), but y’all, those dirty dishes can wait. You need to know about all of these books. You are going to want them ALL in your library.
(You do have a library, don’t you? If you don’t, I can respect that, but please go to your public library and ask them to get these books for you, okay? I want you to get to know them too.)
The first book is a lovely full color book by Roma Downey. Yes, that Roma Downey from “Touched by an Angel.” She was also in one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Borrowed Hearts,” with Eric McCormack, but that’s a story for another time. I was sent the e-book version of this book, A Box of Butterflies, but I will be ordering a hard copy as soon as it is released in March. It’s beautiful. The pages are gorgeous to view, and there are lovely and meaningful quotes all through it. But the most beautiful parts are the glimpses into Ms. Downey’s life and the way her kind spirit shines through it. Her friendship with Della Reese (who wrote the Foreword) is one of love and respect and compassion. I could identify so much with the stories of her missing her parents, as this is part of my story too. This book will lift your spirit and touch your heart. I highly recommend this for you, and it is perfect as a gift book for those near and dear as well.
The second book I just received, so I haven’t been able to read it yet, but I KNOW it’s what I need to hear from the title and the stories I’ve read about the author and her book. Kate Bowler’s book, Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved, is a funny, frank, dark, and wise book that tells the story of this Divinity school professor and young mother’s diagnosis of stage IV colon cancer and how the prospect of her own mortality has changed the way she thinks and lives–for the better. I saw on Twitter where someone was saying that every minister needs to read this book, especially the Appendix–I and II. Never being one to skip to the end of a book, I admit that this morning I flipped to see what was in those appendices. And yes, not only do all ministers need to read them and post them on their wall and carry them in their wallets and purses, but we all do. I’m going to start the book when I finish writing this, but *spoiler alert* Appendix I is “Absolutely Never Say This To People Experiencing Terrible Times: A Short List.” Appendix II is “Give This A Go: See How It Works: A Short List.” The book is worth buying just for these pages. And that’s without reading her raw and honest story, which I know will only offer more wisdom and insight on how to love each other through hard times. I saw this quote from Kate Bowler on Twitter, and YES YES YES:
“The basic thing is not all pain has to be explained. I wish people would just, take a breath, notice the person in front of them, and realize that it’s probably a hard day and maybe they just want to talk about “The Bachelor.” It’s a good season.”
Whether or not you’re a Bachelor fan (no judgment here, my friends), we can do better by each other. Not all pain has to be explained. THANK YOU, KATE BOWLER.
The third book—oh my, my soul is dancing—is When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner. Y’all. It’s a children’s book, the second children’s book by the author of When God Made You. When I applied to be on his launch team, I had no idea I’d actually be chosen (but as Mama always said, If you don’t ask, you won’t know), so when I got the email welcoming me on the team, I was THRILLED. When the actual book came in the bubble wrapped envelope, I was no lie like one of my children on Christmas morning. Or maybe more like Miss Sophie when she finds a chip on the floor and doesn’t want to share. I tucked myself up on my spot on the couch, tenderly opened the envelope and pulled out the treasured book.
And it is a treasure.
If you have a child, are a child, know a child, were ever a child…..you need this book. The words are lyrical, dancing across the pages just as the illustrations (fantastic job by David Catrow) do. I join in with the children in the book, listening to the words that assure me I am a part of the Plan, of the Light, and I am loved.
Right now—RUN, DON’T WALK, PEOPLE—you can pre-order When God Made Light, which is being released next Tuesday (yay!) and get your very own copy of When God Made You for FREE. (Click on FREE for the link as to how to make that happen.) It’s the ultimate buy one, get one, and y’all know how I love a bargain! I already have both books, and I’ll be taking advantage of this special deal, because when it comes to your favorite books, you can never have too many copies. Mama and Daddy taught me that. This is a book for you to have and to share with all the people you hold dear. If you want me to show you my copy and you’ll be on one of my Out and Abouts over the next few weeks, let me know and I’ll bring it along. But you will want your own copy, I can assure you of you that. And when you get your copy, please promise me you will all sit around taking turns reading it to each other–because you all need to hear this message.
Here are two more books *BONUS TIME* I want to share with you. First, one of our local stars and her sweet Mama have written a book and while I don’t have a copy yet (it’s a huge seller and constantly on backorder, but YAY that’s a great thing), I know this young woman and her mother, and they are the best kind of people. Their hearts are so big, I don’t know how they keep them in. The way they love others is an inspiration to all who know them. I Want to Make a Difference by Kelsey Anastasia Norris and Carol Norris is a beautiful story of love and giving and overcoming odds. I can’t wait to have my very own copy, and y’all I’m hoping to get it signed because I am a huge Kelsey fan.
Finally, this past Tuesday, A Cup of Love anthology was released on Amazon as an eBook. I am honored that Ms. Barbara Barth once again asked me to be a part of this. My story, “Love at the Laundromat,” is included along with stories by some of my favorite authors. (I’ll just be over here fangirling, don’t mind me.) It’s the story of when my Mama met my Daddy for the first time, and I’m so glad it worked out because my Mama was full of spunk, y’all. I think they would be okay with me sharing their story and even more so because the proceeds from the sale of this eBook go to First Book, a program that puts books in the hands of young children who might not otherwise have them. That’s what they were all about–books and children. So this honor is extra special for me to have my story included. If you are looking for the perfect card for someone you hold dear this Valentine’s Day or any day at all, consider sending them A Cup of Love. It’s cheaper than most cards and will last far longer.
I hope you will find a book or few in these titles that will entertain you, lift your spirits, make you laugh, and bring you joy. It’s still good reading weather around here (okay, yes, it’s always good reading weather to me), so I hope you will treat yourself or find one of these treasures at your library and spend some time tanning your soul with a good book.
Love and happy reading to all.