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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
April 26, 2008
It’s funny how Saturdays, which used to be the most relaxing day for me, have become so busy. I am coaching Nick’s baseball team this year and we were on the field early this morning for our first practice. This season the kids are staring from the plate to a pitching machine and seeing pitches whistling in at 40 miles per hour. This is a substantial step up from last year’s coach pitch league where the balls were lobbed from about 10 feet away. Each of the kids got ten pitches from the machine and most of them flailed helplessly at all ten. Now that practice is over, we’ve got to get ready for Nick’s birthday parting at a nearby bowling alley. His birthday was a few weeks ago but this was the earliest we could book some lanes for him…and he really wanted to bowl for his birthday. So it is going to be a good but busy day.
I have been thinking about buying a Kindle (which Amazon finally has in stock after many months of distribution problems). Though the reviews on the Kindles are decidedly mixed, I do think it could solve a couple of problems for me.
One problem is that I am just about out of room to store books in my office. When we first moved into this house two years ago, I had three or four bookcases in the office and my books fit. Today I have seven full and two half bookcases and they are almost all full. Of greater concern is the fact that I am out of walls against which I can place more bookcases. The photo above was taken a couple of months ago. Even since then things have gotten worse. Books are beginning to stack up on top of the bookcases. I am going to go through and cull some of the junk, but I know it will not take long for the problem to return.
All of this to say that a Kindle may just offer me the ability to read at least some of my books in a “soft” format rather than a printed format.
The second issue, and the one that is probably more likely to be solved by a Kindle, is that I have stacks of manuscripts to read through and it might be nice to read some of those on the Kindle rather than on printed 8.5 x 11 inch paper or in PDF files on my computer.
And so I ask…does anyone out there own a Kindle? What is your user experience like with it? Is it worth the rather steep price of $400? What I really need is to find a friend who can loan me one for a while…
Last week I shared a couple of photos of my book in strange places. The very next day I received not one but two photos of the book in Mongolia, of all places. And the two people who sent the photos are not, to my knowledge, connected to one another. So here is the photographic proof of the book in Mongolia. If you have a picture of my book in a strange place, feel free to send it along.
A CD I’ve been enjoying a lot in the past week is Before the Throne by Sojourn (Sojourn Community Church of Louisville, KY). It is a CD that earned a rare five star review from Christianity Today. The reviewer said, “Every once in a while, I receive an album that pleasantly surprises me on all fronts. Not only is the packaging impeccably and cleverly designed on Sojourn’s Before the Throne, but the worship band for Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky also managed a far more impressive feat: They actually wrote worship music that I didn’t feel like I’d already heard a million times before. Hard to imagine, I know.” The album features ten original songs and one cover and the songs represent a wide variety of musical styles. Personal favorites are “We Are Listening” (Morning and evening we come / To delight in the words of our God / Give us eyes to see / Give us faith to hear / …that the Word has come / …that the Word is here) and “In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross” (These crowns I’ve clenched with fisted hands / I cast them down before the throne / Of Christ my God the worthy lamb / Christ crucified, the Great I AM / Hallelujah, Hallelujah). You can learn more about it at sojournmusic.com. You can download several songs for free (including my favorite tracks) if you’d like to sample the album.
Sojourn has just announced that their next project will be a 2-CD set of hymns inspired by Isaac Watts, “The Father Of English Hymnody.” The assignment for the songwriters was to “rewrite the Isaac Watts hymnal … Take these lyrics as a springboard and rewrite the words and melodies. Capture the language of our time and place and keep vibrant the message of the songs. Look for ways to refresh metaphors and imagery in the songs … and write melodies that will fit contemporary song arrangements.” This will prove quite the challenge, I am sure, and I look forward to hearing the result!
Another new and good CD is one you’ve seen advertised right here—Come Weary Saints by Sovereign Grace Music. “Come Weary Saints is an invitation to redirect your focus to the God whose love has been forever demonstrated at the cross of Calvary. As you listen to these songs, may your faith and joy in the Savior be strengthened for the challenges you face, now or in the future.” It features songs by the usual cast of characters, including Bob Kauflin, Mark and Stephen Altrogge, Steve and Vicki Cook and Pat Sczebel. It is perhaps not insignificant that the first time I listened to the album was in a hospital bed while cradling a sleeping but very sick little girl. It was an encouragement to me then and has been in the couple of weeks since.
You can listen to song samples and purchase the album right here. Personal favorites are “So I Will Trust You,” “I Have a Shelter,” and “Through the Precious Blood.”