Books and Beverages https://booksandbeverages.org Books and Beverages | Because Stories Matters | Thu, 08 Jun 2017 14:01:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 59775838 August Inklings Series Read | An Anthology: 365 Readings by George MacDonald https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/08/august-inklings-series-read-anthology-365-readings-george-macdonald/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/08/august-inklings-series-read-anthology-365-readings-george-macdonald/#comments Thu, 08 Jun 2017 05:45:17 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9182 (The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the […]

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Inklings_Sketch(A)

(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

George MacDonald had a profound influence on many of the Inklings and since I’ve never read anything of his, I thought it was time to remedy that. Have you read any of his writings? Looking forward to the introduction!

An Anthology: 365 Readings by George MacDonald (C.S. Lewis Editor)

C. S. Lewis said everything he wrote was influenced by George MacDonald. According to Lewis, there is “hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continuously close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.” Writing a preface and selecting MacDonald’s most poignant passages, Lewis introduces us to these extraordinary treasures. Ranging from “Inexorable Love” to “The Torment of Death,” these words will instruct and uplift.

Where to buy: Amazon | | CBD.com


Taking a look at George MacDonald for August’s Inklings read! Join us! #Inklings
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Discussion date: August 17, 2017

You can find all of the previous discussions here! Please feel free to join in any of them. You can never talk to much about Tolkien or Lewis!

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Book Spotlight: The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/06/book-spotlight-road-paradise-karen-barnett/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/06/book-spotlight-road-paradise-karen-barnett/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 05:30:24 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9177 (If you’re wondering about Book Spotlights, these are what I do for some of books I get to work on! You can find them all here) Karen Barnett’s newest series kicks off today with The Road to Paradise! I became a fan of Karen’s with Mistaken (I’m a sucker for the Prohibition era), so what […]

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(If you’re wondering about Book Spotlights, these are what I do for some of books I get to work on! You can find them all here)

Karen Barnett’s newest series kicks off today with The Road to Paradise! I became a fan of Karen’s with Mistaken (I’m a sucker for the Prohibition era), so what a joy it was to find out that she was publishing with WaterBrook as soon as I came on board! This is perfect for fans of inspirational fiction (and of course nature). It made me want to visit Mt. Rainier – hopefully one day soon!

ABOUT THE BOOK

An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainer National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow.

But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.

When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?

Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”


Book Spotlight: @KarenMBarnett’s THE ROAD TO PARADISE #historicalfiction
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Barnett is an award winning author of four novels who draws on her firsthand experience as a naturalist, former park ranger, and outdoor educator to transport readers to America’s national parks.. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children.

Connect with the Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | CBD | Goodreads

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Love Letters From God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Hearts by Glenys Nellist | Book Review + Giveaway https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/05/love-letters-god-bible-stories-girls-hearts-glenys-nellist-book-review/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/05/love-letters-god-bible-stories-girls-hearts-glenys-nellist-book-review/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 05:33:01 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9161 I love reading with children, especially my nieces (and of course my nephew, but he’s only one, so not as into it :). I really enjoyed what Glenys Nellist did with her first of this series, Love Letters From God and jumped at the chance to share about the one geared towards girls. In this […]

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I love reading with children, especially my nieces (and of course my nephew, but he’s only one, so not as into it :). I really enjoyed what Glenys Nellist did with her first of this series, Love Letters From God and jumped at the chance to share about the one geared towards girls.

In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Hannah, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.

What a great book addition to have for the young girls in your life! I love what each section provides. There’s the story of a woman from the bible and the lessons we learn from them (from Eve to Rahab to Miriam to the poor widow to Mary Magdalene). There’s a short verse, that if they are old enough, is perfect to memorize.


A great book for the young girls in your life. Encourage them in their faith!
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Each also concludes with a “letter from God” that is full of encouragement and space to personalize the letters. Finally, there’s also space at the end for your little girl to write her own love letter to God. So sweet!

What are some books you love reading with your children/nieces/nephews/grandchildren?

(Thank you to the author and Zonderkidz for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD | Goodreads

Guess what!? Zonderkidz is giving away a copy away. Enter below for your chance to win!

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(Void where prohibited by law. U.S. residents only)

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The Divide by Jolina Petersheim | Book Review https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/01/divide-jolina-petersheim-book-review/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/01/divide-jolina-petersheim-book-review/#comments Thu, 01 Jun 2017 05:02:15 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9158 When I read Jolina Petersheim’s The Alliance, I was so impressed at the idea and execution of such a creative storyline and since then I have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion and I was not disappointed. In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community […]

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When I read Jolina Petersheim’s The Alliance, I was so impressed at the idea and execution of such a creative storyline and since then I have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion and I was not disappointed.

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

One of the things that impressed me most about this second installment was how realistic Petersheim developed the story. Her story is full of what real people would have struggled with, decisions that would have been made, plans that might not have turned out and the bad that would have come along with it.


Another novel you won’t be able to put down from @Jolina_Joy! #TheDivide
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I recommend reading The Alliance first, as you’ll appreciate the story more. I thought the continued character development worked well and I really enjoyed getting more back story, especially with Moses. It’s a book that ended well (and not perfectly wrapped up), but I’m not going to lie, I would love to see a glimpse of more.

If you enjoy dystopian/apocalyptic stories , this is a different one to check out. If you aren’t too sure what you think about dystopian, this one is just real enough to give it a shot.

Which dystopian novel should I read next?

(Thank you to the author and Tyndale for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD | Goodreads

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10 Books For Your Summer Reading https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/30/10-books-summer-reading/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/30/10-books-summer-reading/#comments Tue, 30 May 2017 05:30:17 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9149 It’s almost Summer time!! I’m not sure how I’ll handle summer weather that isn’t the same temperature as the surface of the sun, but I think I’ll manage. I moved mid-August last year and I had to wear a light sweater at night. I still don’t compute that one, but looking forward to zero chance […]

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It’s almost Summer time!! I’m not sure how I’ll handle summer weather that isn’t the same temperature as the surface of the sun, but I think I’ll manage. I moved mid-August last year and I had to wear a light sweater at night. I still don’t compute that one, but looking forward to zero chance of snow as well (It snowed on May 18th, which is a no for me).

With summer comes lots of reading time! Whether 4th of July by the pool, summer vacations, or finding that extra time we don’t normally have – I’m all about the summer reading lists. I tend to have a pile 5 times the size I know I’ll be able to read, but no matter! I like to dream big. So I put together a list for y’all who are looking for some more books to snag. I decided to stick with books all released in the past few-ish years (Sorry Tollers and Jack, but you know how much I love you).

Maybe next year, I’ll plan ahead and have a list of all new releases, but let’s not be hasty Internet. Also, if you’re wondering why I chose 10, I have no idea. It’s the first number that popped in my head. #Professional

1. Redwall by Brian Jacques. I bought this about 4 years ago. As with many books, I was right on top of getting to it. Anyway, this is for those who have a soft spot for stories like Secret of The NIMH, An American Tail (#FievelLove) and other such animal fantastical stories. An entertaining read and if you enjoy it, there’s about 574,875,439 in the series.

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m simply going to say it’s a page turner. Also please tell me your thoughts when you finish. That’s pretty much the only reason I’m adding this book, I need more people to discuss this with! That and it’s a great pick for fans of thrillers. (Heads up, there’s language)

3. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner. If you enjoy time slip novels, definitely add this to your list. The time period she focuses on, is one that I always find fascinating. If you’ve never read a time slip, then here’s a great place to start!

4. Life After by Katie Ganshert. I promise I’m not just saying this since we published it. It’s truly a beautiful story. Truly Katie’s best.

5. The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim. A different take on dystopian that I thought worked really well. Not at all what I was expecting, but enjoyed it quite a bit. Later this week will be my review of the story’s conclusion, The Divide.


10 Books For Your Summer Reading List
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6. Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge. Inspired by one of the all time greats and plus it takes place in one of my favorite cities in the Universe, so of course I have to include it.

7. Blur by Steven James. What’s a summer read without a thriller or two? I’ll be reading the third (and final) in the series this summer as well. Don’t read it in the dark by yourself though…

8. A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander. She’s one of my go to for inspirational historical reads. I have yet to be disappointed with her stories!

9. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. Judge away, but y’all…I loved this book. It’s by the same author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so if you enjoyed that, this might be one for you.

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s The Hunger Games to the third power and it takes place on Mars. It captured my attention and I hope to finish the series this summer as well.

What are some of the books on your summer reading list?

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Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson | Book Review https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/25/catching-wind-melanie-dobson-book-review/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/25/catching-wind-melanie-dobson-book-review/#comments Thu, 25 May 2017 05:28:10 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9144 “Better that one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling…if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all.” Robert McAfee Brown in the Preface to Night by Elie Wiesel What happened to Brigitte Berthold? That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old […]

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“Better that one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling…if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all.”
Robert McAfee Brown in the Preface to Night by Elie Wiesel

What happened to Brigitte Berthold?

That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.

Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons―and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough―the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.

I’ll start by saying I really enjoyed a majority of this novel. I was completely intrigued by the history. From the two children, to the people they encountered during the war years. While the story wasn’t based specifically on people who really lived, it was based on people like them. I enjoyed the journalist angle as well, like this quote:

“In her mind, journalism was a science that educated society about both past and present in hopes of bettering it, keeping people accountable for their actions and informing them about the past so they wouldn’t repeat mistakes.”


WWII, modern day search and mystery in this new release!
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It was the last quarter-ish of the novel that wasn’t my favorite. While Dobson did an excellent job being honest about the messy (people’s choices, betrayals, etc), it was toward the end that the story lost some of its authenticity. Without revealing any of the plot, there were some pieces I didn’t think fit with the previous tone of the story and some bits felt rushed.

While it didn’t finish as strong as I was hoping, I still enjoyed all the bits of history and if you enjoy interesting WWII history, this might be one for you.

What’s the last WWII novel you read?

(Thank you to Tyndale for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD | Goodreads

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A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd | Book Review https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/23/stranger-fellsworth-sarah-e-ladd-book-review/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/23/stranger-fellsworth-sarah-e-ladd-book-review/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 05:54:54 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9140 It’s always a pleasure to experience historical England and Sarah E. Ladd continues to claim a spot as one of the top inspirational authors with each new book. Her latest has plenty of mystery, second chances and making courageous decisions. In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her […]

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It’s always a pleasure to experience historical England and Sarah E. Ladd continues to claim a spot as one of the top inspirational authors with each new book. Her latest has plenty of mystery, second chances and making courageous decisions.

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

It’s no surprise I’m a fan of strong female leads. What I particularly enjoyed, is that Annabelle grew into that role. She was brave and continued to take steps that weren’t often done then. I also appreciated the character growth of Owen. Each were dealt some hard hands, but they grew from them and were better people because of it.


If you enjoy historical novels set in England, be sure to check out @SarahLaddAuthor!
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While there were some plot pieces a few readers might pick up early on, I enjoyed seeing it all play out. I find the history intriguing as always (who knew that poaching was such a major issue?) and overall enjoyed the novel. If you enjoyed Ladd’s previous novels, you’ll be sure to enjoy this one.

What’s on your summer reading list? Any English novels make the list?

(Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD | Goodreads

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From the Library of C.S. Lewis by James Stuart Bell | Inklings Series Discussion https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/18/library-c-s-lewis-james-stuart-bell-inklings-series-discussion/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/18/library-c-s-lewis-james-stuart-bell-inklings-series-discussion/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 19:18:26 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9133 (The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the […]

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Inklings_Sketch(b)

(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

Welcome! I hope y’all had a chance to page through some of this collection of wisdom and from the voices of those who influenced Lewis. I’m not sure quite where this discussion will go (SO MANY OPTIONS), but whether or not you had a chance to snag this book, I think you’ll enjoy reading bits of the men and women represented. A.K.A. All the quotes.

As the introduction mentioned, “To truly understand Lewis and his works we need to get behind his role as Christian apologist to his interest in philosophy and literature, in reason and romanticism. Lewis was not a one-dimensional reader. His eclectic tastes ranged over a wide variety of genres and time periods. He was a fan of science fiction and fantasy writers as well as Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Augustine. In Lewis’s world, myth and allegory mix with precise logic in philosophical debate. Scholars continue to explore how these influences fit together, but there is no magic formula; Lewis was a complex figure who didn’t quite fit the trends of his own generation and is able to speak to the needs of each succeeding one.” I think we could benefit from reading as vastly as Lewis did as well!

“Follow After Agape”
God’s Love

George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons: “As it was love that first created humanity, so even human love, in proportion to its divinity, will go on creating the beautiful for its own outpouring. There is nothing eternal but that which loves and can be loved, and love is ever climbing towards the consummation when such shall be the universe, imperishable, divine.”

(Scottish Congregationalist pastor, novelist, myth maker, and poet, MacDonald had a profound influence on C. S. Lewis. Lewis said that MacDonald’s Phantastes “baptized my imagination.”)

“You Have Transfixed My Heart”
Our Love of God

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux’s On Loving God: “At first, man loves himself for his own sake. That is the flesh, which can appreciate nothing beyond itself. Next, he perceives that he cannot exist by himself, and so begins by faith to seek after God, and to love Him as something necessary to his own welfare. That is the second degree, to love God, not for God’s sake, but selfishly. But when he has learned to worship God and to seek Him aright, meditating on God, reading God’s Word, praying and obeying His commandments, he comes gradually to know who God is, and finds Him altogether lovely. So, having tasted and seen how gracious the Lord is (Psalm 34:8), he advances to the third degree, when he loves God, not merely as his benefactor but as God. Surely this is the longest state for the one who is growing in God. As to the fourth degree, I know not whether it would be possible to make further progress in this life to that fourth degree and perfect condition wherein man loves himself solely for God’s sake.”

(Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)—Mystic, monastic reformer, and influential figure in the twelfth-century church, Saint Bernard founded the Cistercian Monastery at Clairvaux.)

“How Dearly You Have Paid for Me”
The Life and Sacrifice of Christ

Andrew Murray’s Abide in Christ: “Let us hear what the Savior says of the joy of abiding in Him. He promises us His own joy: “My joy.”

(Andrew Murray (1828–1917)—Evangelical and leader in the South African Dutch Reformed Church, Andrew Murray was educated in Scotland and Holland. He served several pastorates and was six times the moderator of the Reformed Church.)


Who were the thinkers, theologians and writers who influenced @CSLewis’ spirituality?
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“Fatherly and Forgiving Goodness”
Grace and Redemption

Walter Hilton’s The Scale of Perfection: “Happy is the soul that is ever nourished by the experience of love when He is present, and is upheld by desire of HIm when He is absent. He is wise and well instructed in the love of God who keeps himself temperately and reverently in His presence, who contemplates Him lovingly without careless levity, and is patient at ease in His absence without harmful despair and sore bitterness.”

(Walter Hilton (d. 1396) – Hilton was an English mystic and hermit and became the Augustinian Canon of Thurgarton in Nottinghamshire)

“Divine Influence”
Living a Devout Life

Christina Rossetti’s The Poetical Works:

“Sorrow of saints is sorrow of a day,
Gladness of saints is gladness evermore:
Send on your hope, send on your will before,

To chant God’s praise along the narrow way. Stir up His praises if the flesh would sway, Exalt His praises if the world press sore,

Peal out His praises if black Satan roar A hundred thousand lies to say them nay. Devil and Death and Hades, three-fold cord

Not quickly broken, front you to your face; Front thou them with a face of tenfold flint: Shout for the battle, David! never stint. Body or breath or blood, but, proof in grace,

Die for your Lord, as once for you your Lord.”

(Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)—Sister of the Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti was a notable Victorian poet.)

“Worthy to Receive More”
Humility

Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ: “Always set yourself in the lowest place and you will be given the highest; for the highest cannot exist without the lowest. The Saints who are highest in God’s sight are the least in their own; and the more glorious they are, the more humble they are in heart, full of truth and heavenly joy and not desirous of vainglory.

Being grounded and confirmed in God, they can in no way be proud. They who ascribe to God whatever good they have received do not seek glory from one another, but only that glory which is from God; and the desire of their hearts is that God be praised in Himself and in all His Saints, and to this end they always tend.

Be grateful, therefore, for the least gift and you will be worthy to receive more.”

(Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380–1471)—Born at Kempin (thus the surname à Kempis) near Cologne, Germany,Thomas Hämmerlien entered the Augustinian monastery at Mount Saint Agnes, where he worked as a copyist and spiritual director. He was a mystic, and his Imitation of Christ is thought by many to be second only to the Bible in its spiritual influence on readers. It was highly valued by C. S. Lewis.)


Who were the thinkers, theologians and writers who influenced @CSLewis’ spirituality?
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“The Gleaming of Divine Brightness”
Heaven, Death, and Immortality

Henry Vaughan’s Sacred Poems: Peace

My Soul, there is a country Afar beyond the stars,

Where stands a winged Sentry All skillful in the wars.

There, above noise and danger,
Sweet peace sits, crown’d with smiles,

And One born in a manger Commands the beauteous files.

He is your gracious friend And (O my Soul awake!)

Did in pure love descend,
To die here for your sake.

If you can get but thither,
There grows the flower of peace,

The rose that cannot wither, Your fortress, and your ease.

Leave then your foolish ranges; For none can you secure, But One, who never changes,

Your God, your Life, your Cure.

(Henry Vaughan (1622–1695)—Soldier, physician, poet, and brother of the alchemist Thomas Vaughan, Henry Vaughan is considered one of the metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century.)

I thought it would be fitting to end with Tolkien’s letter (to Anne Barrett, Houghton Mifflin Co. 30 August 1964) from “Mutually Christ’s” section:

C. S. L. [Lewis] of course had some oddities and could sometimes be irritating. He was after all and remained an Irishman of Ulster. But he did nothing for effect; he was not a professional clown, but a natural one, when a clown at all. He was generous-minded, on guard against all prejudices, though a few were too deep-rooted in his native background to be observed by him. That his literary opinions were ever dictated by envy (as in the case of T. S. Eliot) is a grotesque calumny. After all it is possible to dislike Eliot with some intensity even if one has no aspirations to poetic laurels oneself.

Well of course I could say more, but I must draw the line. Still I wish it could be forbidden that after a great man is dead, little men should scribble over him, who have not and must know they have not sufficient knowledge of his life and character to give them any key to the truth. Lewis was not “cut to the quick” by his defeat in the election to the professorship of poetry: he knew quite well the cause. I remember that we had assembled soon after in our accustomed tavern and found C. S. L. sitting there, looking (and since he was no actor at all probably feeling) much at ease. “Fill up!” he said, “and stop looking so glum. The only distressing thing about this affair is that my friends seem to be upset.”

I hope you have been inspired reading from so many voices! While there aren’t many discussion points, I would love to hear some that stood out to you!

The post From the Library of C.S. Lewis by James Stuart Bell | Inklings Series Discussion appeared first on Books and Beverages.

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June Inklings Series Read | The Oxford Inklings by Colin Duriez https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/17/june-inklings-series-read-oxford-inklings-colin-duriez/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/17/june-inklings-series-read-oxford-inklings-colin-duriez/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 13:16:30 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9129 (The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the […]

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(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

I hope y’all had a blast during Inklings Week! I had a lot of fun and am already looking forward to 2018! Meet up in England? 🙂 It seems like it’s been a minute since we’ve read a biography on our boys, so that brings me to this little gem I’ve had on my shelf for a while!

The Oxford Inklings: Their Lives, Writings, Ideas, and Influence by Colin Duriez

The Inklings were an influential group, along the lines of the Lake Poets or the Bloomsbury Group. Acclaimed author Colin Duriez explores their lives, their writings, their ideas, and, crucially, the influence they had on each other. Examining the clear purpose behind the group while celebrating its diversity and lack of formality, Duriez explains how this eclectic group of friends, without formal membership, agenda, and minutes, could have a program that shaped the publication and ideas of the leading participants. The Inklings met weekly for many years in Oxford, to discuss and read their writings—conversation was as important to them as writing—and so the city of Oxford, and its pubs where conversations were borne out, feature, as does the Christian faith of the defining members, which influenced them greatly. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were at the group’s center, but who else was involved, and why do Owen Barfield and Charles Williams matter so much? The Oxford Inklings explores the complex and fascinating interactions of the group, including the women on the fringes, such as Dorothy L. Sayers and Lewis’s wife, Joy Davidman.

Where to buy: Amazon |


Taking a look at the influence of the Inklings for next month’s #Inklings read! Join us!
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Discussion date: June 22, 2017

You can find all of the previous discussions here! Please feel free to join in any of them. You can never talk to much about Tolkien or Lewis!

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Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser | Book Review https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/16/almost-missed-jessica-strawser-book-review/ https://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/16/almost-missed-jessica-strawser-book-review/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 08:01:00 +0000 https://booksandbeverages.org/?p=9122 I always enjoy books that have multiple layers. The ones that can initially lead you down one path, but after different pieces and character’s stories, reveal something a bit different. This debut from Jessica Strawser was memorable and a good fit for those who enjoy layered stories. Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said […]

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I always enjoy books that have multiple layers. The ones that can initially lead you down one path, but after different pieces and character’s stories, reveal something a bit different. This debut from Jessica Strawser was memorable and a good fit for those who enjoy layered stories.

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

This is one of those books you finish in one setting because you really want to know how it all plays out. I admit, I almost….almost, jumped to the end to find out the what happened. I stopped myself though because as the story moved forward, I realized this wasn’t going to be exactly as I thought it would be.


A multilayered debut for fans of women’s fiction from @jessicastrawser
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While it wasn’t a perfect novel, I did enjoy it. I thought it was honest about the difficulties in marriage, the secrets we think are better off hidden, the struggles we hide and the consequences we face when we make not so wise decisions. Through all of it though, I was surprised at how I enjoyed the ending. I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out, but I appreciate when an author leaves us readers with hope and redemption in ways you don’t fully expect.

What’s a recent novel about married couples you enjoyed?

(This was a Spring pick for SheReads.org. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | Goodreads

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