Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Hunger Games, and other good reads

Some of the classics hang out in the tea room for easy reference 
I am passionate about reading. As a writer, I believe it’s the first and most important discipline in honing my craft. But more than that I simply love a good story.
When I was a kid I’d often stay up late at night – with a flashlight under the covers – nursing a novel well after “lights out.” The problem then, as it is now, was to come up with long enough blocks of time to literally immerse myself in the adventure. There’s something magical about being able to read one book over just a couple of days in three to four sittings.
HUNGER: Our recent family cruise provided such an opportunity, and Rebekah and I both made our way through THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy. I’ll be finishing off Book-3 this week, and I’ve mostly enjoyed what turned out to be a gripping adventure. The social commentary is challenging, and I plan on writing some about the idea of being a part of “The Game” and wondering exactly who are the “game-designers” we allow to wield such control over our lives?
Typically I almost grieve saying goodbye to characters I’m invested in and don’t want the story to end; but I have to say that – by this point three-quarters of the way through Book-3 – the violence has become tedious and gratuitous to the point that I just need the story to conclude and the book to be finished.
A few more from the family room
LEARNING: This week I’m launching a re-read of an old favorite as I prepare to lead two summer-long classes in Philip Yancey’s THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW. This will involve my Wednesday evening men’s Bible-study and my Sunday morning adult education class.
I enjoy the element of discussion because it changes the entire reading process. As a group – especially in a faith-based community, reading with a purpose – the level of insight tends to grow exponentially.
Excellent study book
Yancey’s book challenges the way we look at the historical Jesus and – in consequence – the way that Jesus interfaces with our lives today (if we choose to follow him). Much of what we think we know about Jesus comes from sources other than the biblical text, and without a clear understanding of Mid-east culture at the time of Christ.
THEN THERE’S MY LATEST BOOK! Finally, I get to devote a couple of days to reading my newest book without interruption. The editing and the design work is now done and tomorrow I should get the final “galley proof.”
This time I’ll have a short 48-hour turn around for one more “big picture” read and a fine-tune for typos. Then it will be off to the printing-house and 10 LIFE-CHARGED WORDS: Real Faith for Men should be on track for a summer release!
Slated for release this summer!
I’ll share more on the content closer to the availability date. But I can say now that I’m very excited about the new project! I believe I have been able to articulate the heart of what I mean by  this Life-Charged Life concept that we talk about, day by day, through ongoing discussions here on this blog.
READING: It’s an interesting fact that, while the publishing industry as a whole continues to struggle on every level, an increasing percentage of people report that they are reading more books, and that reading makes an important contribution to their lives.
I’m still planning to publish that first novel. I have some stories outlined, and I have a Young Adult manuscript pretty much ready to go. But I can’t scare up any interest in a publisher. Five successful non-fiction titles still can’t open that door!
Peace, blessings, and many happy hours of reading – DEREK
Upper Room Books

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