K~B Books

KB Books

Book Reviews:

Select from the list or browse below:
My Life as a Pancake, by Elizabeth Ellen Bradford Cunningham
Not in God’s Name, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Sleeping with Bread, Holding What Gives You Life, by Dennis Linn, Shiela Linn, and Matthew Linn
Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held
Bread for the Journey, A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith, by Henri Nouwen

Jan Karon Patches of Godlight
retired Bishop, Charles Shannon Mallory Other Roads Less Traveled:
Robert M. Wills:Taking Caesar Out of Jesus, Uncovering the Lost Relevance of Jesus
Lenore Tolegian Hughes: Cups of Fortune
Richard Rohr: Yes, And…Daily Meditations
Beverly Cleary: The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Man in WHITE - A novel about the Apostle Paul by Johnny Cash
C. S. Lewis - A biography of friendship by Colin Duriez

Title: My Life as a Pancake,
Author: Elizabeth Ellen Bradford Cunningham
Taking Caesar My Life as a Pancake is a strange title for a book. How did I come up with that? I really can't say it was my idea. I do know that thru my ups and downs of my 70 plus years of my life God has always been there. God and I have had many conversations. He speaks to me thru scriptures, and I reply back to Him with my poems …. Thus begins my story as a pancake and a collection of my poems. I will give you a hint of what my book is about . A pancake is a type of bread, and Jesus is the bread of Life. With that as a positive statement, does this mean that Jesus lives in me? I hope you will find that answer in my little book.

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Title: Not in God’s Name
Author: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Taking Caesar Rabbi Sacks is considered one of today’s foremost writers, thinker and speaker in the field of Religious Studies.

A class is being offered this summer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego and being led by the Rev. Tom Wilson.

In today’s world of violence in the name of religion it is especially important that we as people of the Word become better informed as to the reasoning if there is any behind global warfare in the name of religion. All be it this is not new to the world as we know from history it has been going on since the beginning of time.

So it behooves us as a thinking church to further study books that are written with all peoples and religions in mind so that we can be a light in the world of darkness.

Submitted by,
Kathryn Bunch

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Title: Sleeping with Bread, Holding What Gives You Life
Author: Dennis Linn, Shiela Linn, and Matthew Linn
Taking Caesar This short, thought-provoking, and spiritually beneficial book took just a short while to read. The three parts of the book are “The Examen”, The Nine Hundred Candles, and Questions and Answers.
The title suggests that sleeping with bread literally or spiritually will bring you closer to God. It will bring a comfort and a sense of security knowing God is present. God is near. In this case, The Examen is the bread.
Throughout the book, questions are posed for us to ask ourselves and each other as part of spiritual self-examination. Just some include “What are you grateful for?” What was today's highpoint? What was today's low point? When was I the happiest? When was I the saddest? When did I give and receive the most love today?
These and many similar questions are the essence of examining one's life each day. The authors gave example after example of how they used The Examen to improve their spiritual lives and those around them. These three writers have led many many workshops and retreats to explain what works for them and others.
All their sharing is related to consolation and desolation. St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) wrote The Spiritual Exercises that have guided people for centuries. This examination may change our life direction as it did for St. Ignatius. He believed and experienced God speaking through his deepest feelings and yearnings that he called consolation and desolation. Consolation is whatever helps us connect with ourselves, others, and God. Desolation is whatever disconnects us. Desolation also means feeling misery to some degree.
The suggested Examen uses this process although the authors state “there are no rules doing the examen”.

Light a candle to symbolize the light of divine revelation in our everyday experience.
Ask positive questions only or ask the positive (consolation) and the negative (desolation).
Share your thoughts with another family member or friend.

Or share the questions and answers with your family including your children. Questions with children might focus on the following questions.

“What did you feel good about today?”
“What was your biggest struggle today, or when did you feel sad, helpless,or angry?”

Or conduct your examen by yourself. Here one can use imagination and experiences that caused a feeling of God's love. Record the insights through journaling, even drawing, or movement of some type.

Daily examination is recommended. Also, this process can be followed at other intervals such as monthly or annually.
Spend about 20 minutes to complete each exercise.
Give thanks to God for whatever you experience.

Well, I cannot tell you the entire book! I urge you to read it and use the examen. I recommend this book to anyone! I recommend it to lay people and to clergy. I recommend it to families and to children. In my life, I have conducted spiritual self-examination. Now again, I am becoming more intentional with self-examination of my spiritual life.

Submitted by,
Ted Parsons

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Title: Searching for Sunday
Author: Rachel Held Evans
Taking Caesar I loved this book!!
Rachel Held Evans is a millennial who grew up in a evangelical church and suddenly found herself questioning church for its hypocrisy, politics, focus on buildings and in everything but Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.
This is the story of her quest to find Jesus in church again, a quest she centers around the seven sacraments. In her quest she meets all kinds of people who worship God in many different ways, and in her search she finds community, asks questions that challenge and deepen her faith, finds grace and love amidst messiness and questioning and inquiries like she is- at an Episcopal Church 30 miles from home.
Her journey is a riveting story written in a conversational and open way that invites interest, questions and respect for her willingness to embark on a journey to deepen her faith. A great read.

Submitted by,
Susan Hulbert

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Title: Bread for the Journey, A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith
Author: Henri Nouwen
Taking Caesar Sometimes I start a book and immediately know it will be a keeper! A friend recommended it. In fact, she insisted that I buy it!

I have read virtually all of Nouowen's books. This one is a daily devotional with short pithy commentaries of wisdom. In succinct sentences, he makes me think and reflect on how I can use his bread for my journey.

Some of the daily titles include the following.

Who is My Neighbor?

Forgiveness, the Cement of Community Life

Wounded Healers

Being Broken

Answers to Our Questions

Emptiness and Fullness

See what I mean? The titles are provocative. Nouwen's words, though brief, are inspiring. We can even share these thoughts in bible study, with friends, at church, or anywhere.

I insist that you buy this book! ISBN 978-0-06-066359-9

Ask Kathryn Bunch to order it for you.

In Peace,

Submitted by,
Ted Parsons

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Title: Patches of Godlight
Author: Jan Karon
Taking Caesar Many have read the Mitford Years Series with Fr. Timothy.
This thin book is chock full of nuggets! Many if not all of Fr. Timothy's trenchant and wise sayings and quotes are in this memorable short book. Each page is written in cursive or typed, just as Fr. Tim would have done. I have used his quotes in numerous meetings and Bible studies to make a relevant point. And I use it for almost daily reading and meditation.
Here are just three of my favorites.

“Read at every wait; read at all hours; read within leisure; read in times of labor; read as one goes in; read as one goes out; the task of the educated mind is simply put; read to lead.”
Cicero, 106-43 B.C.

“Once a man is united to God how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?”

“If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you'll find you've done it.”
Geo. B. Shaw 1856-1950

I shall stop with my quotes! I have every other page turned down! This bedside and recliner booklet is going to be a favorite for those who value something I call “wisdom in my pocket”.

Submitted by,
Ted Parsons

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Title: Other Roads Less Traveled: Some Pathways of Life Seldom Explored
Author: retired Bishop, Charles Shannon Mallory
Taking Caesar Bishop Mallory currently resides in Palm Desert, CA and makes St. Margaret's his church home.
Notes from the publisher that coincide with my thoughts which were gleaned from reading this thoughtful tome.
"In a provocative manner, Bishop Mallory crosses boundaries of orthodoxy and raises some issues not commonly discussed, such as a possible Christian approach to reincarnation, betrayal as a normal part of life, the common thread in all religions, praying for one's enemies by name, and not believing everything you think. This book is a collection of sermons and meditations, from his 50 years in the ministry, that ask and answer a wide range of questions: Who is God to you? What happens when we die? What's the meaning of life? What's the value of prayer? Just to name a few.
Practical and down-to-earth, reflecting Bishop Mallory's experiences living and working in more than a dozen third-world countries, including eighteen years in Africa where he and his family lived under the apartheid regime of South Africa and the deadly reign of Idi Amin in Uganda.

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Title: Taking Caesar Out of Jesus, Uncovering the Lost Relevance of Jesus
Author: Robert M. Wills
Taking Caesar This is the information age. As such, much information heretofore unavailable to earlier generations of scholars is ready available and reviewed by present day scholars independently and in more formal forums such as the Westar Institute, a group of 150 modern scholars with advanced degrees in Biblical Studies and related fields, who meet and discuss the information available in considerable depth. Such an intense and self deprecating effort is revealing much about the historical Jesus, the politics of the time, and his particular perspective. It has at the same time revealed much about the politics and motivations of the evangelist Paul and the early gospel writers. If you are content with the mainstream view that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and wish to seek confirmation or unveil difficulties with your position, I strongly encourage you to read this book. If you are uncertain about mainstream Christianity, and are willing to consider an historical perspective of Jesus to help you form a clearer understanding, I strongly encourage you to read this book. Considerable research and scholarly consensus has gone into the writing of this book, if bears reading. But be aware, it may be uncomfortable and it will be thought provoking.

Submitted by,

Pete Casalegno

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Title: Cups of Fortune
Author: Lenore Tolegian Hughes
Signed copies are available, please make this request with purchase.
Cups of Fortune Lenore Tolegian Hughes' tale of the coming of age of an Armenian-American girl in 1950's Los Angeles is a brilliant combination of rich elements united with taste, wit, and vitality. It involves a focused look at immigrant life from the point of view of a dark-haired child who wants nothing more than to be completely "American"--and blonde; a haunting evocation of old-world faith in the meaningfulness of mysterious tradition; a mouth-watering journey through the rich emotional and culinary landscape of an Armenian kitchen; a deeply touching reminder of the effects of the Armenian genocide that avoids stepping into guilt trips or politics; and a hilarious retelling of the witty deceptions, family feuds, and high jinks of a generation of immigrants happy to be alive in a free country despite the burden of history on their souls. In the grounds that cling to the bottoms of overturned cups of thick Armenian coffee, Azad's Armenian grandmother reads her fortune, for better or worse, and the reader will be hard pressed not to believe in the prescience of the forecasts and the wisdom of the lore. The style is direct, fresh, and evocative, with nary a cliche and never a dull moment.

Submitted by,


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Title: Yes, And…Daily Meditations
Author: Richard Rohr
While not an "original" work, i.e. a work newly authored for this reason, Fr. Richard Rohr has carefully selected, from his numerous works and publications, selections which follow various thematic trends, bringing into focus, from his experience, faith and Scripture, the essence of Christian Spirituality. Intended for daily meditation, this is not a work which the reader can take lightly. The subject matter is weighty and requires time to be pondered. I have dipped substantially into the work and I find myself carrying echoes of what I have read with me throughout most of the day. This is not a work for idle, casual reading, it is intend to make one think! As David Brenner says in the foreword to the work, this is "a set of daily meditations that offers meat for chewing, not warm milk to make you feel good." Be prepared to spend time with Fr. Rohr, long after you have finished "reading" him, he stays with you.

Submitted by,

The Rev Paul Gambling
St. Paul's, Yuma, AZ

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Title: Taking Caesar Out of Jesus, Uncovering the Lost Relevance of Jesus
Author: Robert M. Wills
In my recent travels I met the author of this book on Jesus. He is an Episcopal priest and has had a career in the mental health field as well. He leads groups in the study of Progressive Christianity and is an associate member of the Westar Institute.

This book is a scholarly work to be sure, well researched on the subject matter of Jesus. The author in his research for this book includes such well known authors as Karen Armstrong, Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, John Dominic Crossan, Bart Eherman, Robert Funk, Harold S. Kushner and Walter Wink.

This book contrasts pointedly with two recent best sellers, Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, and Zealot by Reza Alan. All three books claim to offer substantially new portraits of the historical Jesus. Wills is prepared to discuss critically those claims and defend his portrait as the only one of the three based squarely on the authentic words of Jesus as determined by contemporary historical-critical scholarship.

This book is highly informative and filled with concepts that will make the reader think.

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Author: Richard Rohr
Reviewed by the Very Rev. James Carroll
As a "practitioner" of Centering Prayer, I was happy to buy and read Richard Rohr's "Everything Belongs." This Franciscan teacher and author guides us into an understanding of prayer as an exercise in value. Preoccupation with exchange value and market value blinds our spirit. "Prayer, though, reconnects us with inherent value. Everything becomes priceless if it is sacred. And everything is sacred if the world is a temple." (page 56) In driving hard to the value of contemplative (or Centering) prayer, Richard writes that your life is not about "you," It's a part of a much larger stream called God. As we begin to understand that "God's life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me," we permit the Triune God to go to our very center.
Every person who wants to deepen their prayer life should read this book.
James Carroll

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Title: The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Author: Beverly Cleary
There is pleasure found taking the time to visit again your childhood memories. Turning the pages of Beverly's 'The Mouse and the Motorcycle' was just this. Wonderful memories of imagination lessons. A bridge back into the days of learning. Hopefully many more children choose this book to explore and adults too.
Reviewed by WRD

There is a sequel to this wonderful children's story which I also carry in my inventory ever Since the above reviewer asked me if it was still in print. The title of the sequel is ' Runaway Ralph'
These books are available in hard cover or paperback and will make delightful Christmas Gifts for boys ages 8-10.

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Book Review and suggestions by Fr. Hugh Tudor-Foley
Title: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth -
Author: by Reza Aslan
What I find most important about this book is the context - well written, well researched - about the conditions of life while Jesus of Nazareth was alive. The total brutal oppression by the Roman authorities, a situation that caught my eye was the 1% - temple elite and the rich often working hand in hand with the Romans - and the 99% who were the over taxed, removed from the land, used in many times as slaves and serfs to that 1 %.

Why some might ask is yet another book about Jesus and his humanity. The Catechism in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer says,
The divine Son became human, so that in him human
beings might be adopted as children of God, and be
made heirs of God's kingdom.

The purpose of books such as this provide a deeper understanding into the Man.
This one meets that goal.
One caveat, I do see a certain amount of proof-texting that the author uses to support his thesis. I would have hoped for more examples to make his case. I am not sure that I would use this book as a parish book study. Although that will depend on the parish. Zealot is an excellent book to go along with Bible study particularly with the book of Mark. Other suggestions: The First Muslin, The Story of Muhammad, by Lesley Hazelton. Help, Thanks, WOW: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott This is a wonderful, down to earth, deeply spiritual look at prayer. It reads very much like a journal of faith. It would be very useful and helpful for parish studies and for personal reading and meditation. It is a book that acknowledges humanness, brokenness, and a true - as best she can - authors trust in God.

Other suggestions:

The First Muslin, The Story of Muhammad, by Lesley Hazelton.

Help, Thanks, WOW: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

This is a wonderful, down to earth, deeply spiritual look at prayer. It reads very much like a journal of faith. It would be very useful and helpful for parish studies and for personal reading and meditation. It is a book that acknowledges humanness, brokenness, and a true - as best she can - authors trust in God.
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Title: Man in WHITE - A novel about the Apostle Paul
Author: Johnny Cash
I first came across this intriguing book in a Catholic Church Library at the Ecumenical Ultreya in early 2013. It took me awhile to locate the book as I didn't take down The ISBN # and of course the correct title eluded me as well. I'm sure you are already asking, "You mean Johnny Cash" the singer wrote a book. To be more specific a novel about the Apostle Paul and how Johnny related to him.
Johnny Cash has always been a fascination of mine ever since I saw and heard him perform live in the 1950's in Fargo, ND. Like many of us, Johnny came from humble beginnings and due to a childhood tragedy his life was forever changed. This book was completed near the end of his life and after he had renewed his life in Christ. Mainly due to some very tough love by his in-laws did he completely kick his hard life of drugging and drinking.
In the afterward, written by his son John Carter Cash, entitled The Thorn Removed? John relates how his father felt a kinship with the apostle Paul, and sez that in many ways they were of the same ilk.
Who among us does not have a thorn in our flesh and how we deal with it is really what matters. I found this book to be very Inspirational and extremely well researched as to biblical authenticity

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Title: C. S. Lewis - A biography of friendship -
Author: Colin Duriez also the author of J.R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend.
If in fact you are a C.S. Lewis fan, you will not have a complete Library without this new tome on your shelf. I'm repeating a quotation written by an Oxford student of C.S. Lewis's who said he found his new tutor interesting and was told by J.R.R. Tolkien, "Interesting? Yes, he's certainly that. You'll never get to the bottom of him. These are my sentiments exactly as I've only been reading him since 1996 when I first came into the Episcopal Church.
Rowan Williams, Cambridge, writes: "It may seem difficult to imagine that we could have a new take on C.S. Lewis's life when so much has been written - but this book is just that…thoroughly researched, wide-ranging, and sympathetic."

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