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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian authors’

Calgary Author Confronts ‘Christian Materialism’

Wesley Hynd is a church planter and pastor in Calgary. He holds an MDiv from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and according to his bio, “loves to think deeply and challenge the status quo.” He is involved there with a cross-cultural Christian organization serving new Canadians.

His book, Jesus Take All of Me: Learning to See God as Beautiful in Every Part of Life, is self-published an available to retailers through Ingram at full trade terms. The back cover blurb describes its aim:

What does it really mean to follow Jesus? Is it just a set of intellectual facts about the cross, forgiveness of sins, and an afterlife? Or is it something more than that? Why is it that the lives of Christians and those who are not Christians seem to look so similar at times in the Western world? If someone followed you around live-tweeting your daily decisions and values, who would they say that you follow? These are some of the questions Wes Hynd has been wrestling with for 15 years as he has sought to identify some of the ways in which Western culture has subtly influenced our Christian faith, including in our:

Time
Career
Family
Friendships
Money
and Emotions

Released date: December 1; 284 pages, paperback; 9781738717019; $21.99 US; 90-second book trailer on YouTube. Book website: jesustakeallofme.com.

Nova Scotia Writer Wins Book Award

Jonathan Geoffrey Dean, author of  Salt & Light: The Complete Jesus has been awarded as the winner in the Christian Nonfiction category for the 2022 NYC Big Book Award

He is a New Testament scholar, researcher, award-winning author, political leader and thought leader. Salt & Light; The Complete Jesus is his reaction to Jesus. He is a partner in an investment advisory firm and lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with his wife Lynn.

He won in the category of Christian Nonfiction. From the press release:

The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award winners and distinguished favorites are based on overall excellence.

For the first time ever, after years of research using the complete body of early Christian literature and new and exciting discoveries by modern scholarship, the real Jesus emerges. Dean offers an eminently readable yet powerful portrait of the authentic Jesus full of astonishing facts for both believers and skeptics alike. So come along for an utterly fascinating journey and meet the historical Jesus, learn about his mission, and discover his teaching!

Salt & Light contains numerous colour pictures with captions, complete footnotes, and a bibliography for further study.

Publisher marketing:

What did Jesus do?
What did Jesus say?
Who was Jesus?

Salt & Light is the highly acclaimed and award-winning definitive statement concerning Jesus of Nazareth, history’s most compelling figure. The single most important book about the Historical Jesus in the last 30 years, more comprehensive than Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict and more powerful than C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

However, even today, there is still general confusion surrounding Jesus:

Was (Is) Jesus God?
Did Jesus even exist?
Did he rise from the dead?
What are we to make of the miracles?
Is he Peter’s Jesus or Paul’s Christ? Or both?
Is there evidence for Jesus outside the Bible?
Should we still believe? If so, believe what?
What does all the evidence point to?

Salt & Light does not shy away from addressing these and other tough questions. For the first time ever, after years of research using the complete body of early Christian literature and recent modern scholarship, including new and exciting discoveries in many areas such as early manuscripts, science, New Testament studies, archaeology, and history, the real Jesus emerges.

Dean offers an eminently readable yet powerful portrait of the authentic Jesus full of astonishing facts for both believers and sceptics alike. So come along for an utterly fascinating journey and meet the historical Jesus, learn about his mission, and discover his teaching!

Available from Ingram using ISBN 9781778250408; $36.99 US, 240-page paper.

Newfoundland Author, Tyndale Professor Killed in Motorcycle Accident

A Tyndale University Associate Professor of Christian Ministries with a recently published book from Whitaker House was killed on Saturday while enjoying his sabbatical in Newfoundland. Dr. Bradley Truman Noel was, according to reports killed when his motorcycle collided with a moose in South Brook, NFLD while he was riding with friends. He leaves his wife Melinda.

Tyndale made a formal announcement a few hours ago:

An abundance of tributes are being expressed online by current and former students and colleagues. Dr. Noel was more than a scholarly professor, he was a mentor and leader. Gifted at creating safe spaces, Dr. Noel was known for his ability to help students express differing opinions and theological viewpoints respectfully, while challenging them to expand their understanding.

In addition to his teaching, Bradley Noel had released two academic books on Pentecostalism through Wipf & Stock in 2010 and 2015, before releasing a general title, Tinder, Tattoos, and Tequila: Navigating the Gray Areas of Faith through Whitaker House in April of this year.

His biography with the publisher states,

A native of Newfoundland, Canada, Bradley Truman Noel was ordained by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAONL) in 2000. He has served as a youth pastor and has taught Bible and theology at the college and university level for more than twenty years.

Since 2008, he has taught at Tyndale University, a Christian school in Toronto, where he serves as chair of the Christian Ministries Department. Brad previously taught at Acadia University, Vanguard College, and Master’s College and Seminary, where he created a variety of live and online courses.

He earned his Doctor of Ministry from Acadia University and his Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa.

His book blurb summarized the book’s goals:

“The church has been plagued by two extremes when it comes to living a Christian lifestyle,” says author Bradley Truman Noel. “On one side, we have the serious folks adorned with a really impressive frown, who remind us of all the do’s and don’ts. On the other end of the spectrum are folks who play fast and loose with the rules. They typically don’t spend too much time thinking about holiness, or wondering if their actions align with biblical teaching.” Both sides, Bradley says, miss the power of God’s grace in our lives.

With the news of his passing, Tyndale’s press release quoted a student:

It was clear he cared more about loving you as an individual than just fulfilling his duties as a teacher. He had a special heart.

Another Tyndale student posted on Facebook:

Dr. Noel was a great professor and taught with great passion. Always encouraging enriching conversation and deeper studies in the scriptures.

 


Photos: upper: Whitaker House; lower, Tyndale University and Seminary

The Story Behind Flying, Falling Catching by Henri Nouwen

In late May I received a short note from the co-author of a book we had mentioned briefly here, Flying, Falling, Catching: An Unlikely Story of Finding Freedom (HarperOne, 2022) by the late Henri Nouwen and Carolyn Whitney-Brown. Both Carolyn and I thought that the story behind the book deserved greater attention, and months later, she sent what follows, which at this point, we have exclusively.

Carolyn lives on Vancouver Island, and the book is set in North Toronto. As she says, “It’s a very Canadian story.”

You can learn more about her writing at this link.

by Carolyn Whitney-Brown

I first met Henri Nouwen at L’Arche Daybreak in Richmond Hill in 1989 when he drove me with my husband Geoff to a local pizza place for lunch. He was a terrifyingly inattentive driver. But we had a terrific conversation that day. Geoff and I were completing our PhDs in English literature, so like Henri, we were coming from academic backgrounds looking for ways to live the gospel more concretely in a diverse community.

As Gord, a longtime L’Arche member with Down syndrome, would encourage us, “Open your heart.” We lived with Henri and Gord and many others at Daybreak until 1997, learning to think and love and laugh and pray in new ways. Those were transformative years.

Carolyn Whitney-Brown with Henri Nouwen

Henri first saw the Flying Rodleighs trapeze troupe perform in 1991, and it hit him like a thunderbolt. He described a physical response that left him shaken, excited, in tears – a response of his body, not in words. Over the next five years, he got to know the trapeze troupe and they became close friends. His times with them were relaxing, inspiring and full of fun. He talked about them constantly.

I knew from conversations with Henri at the time that he wanted to write differently; something that would read like fiction or even a novel. He wanted his circus book to be different than any of his previous books, based not on ideas or insights, but offering a story that would draw readers into an experience and invite them to draw their own significances and connnections.

But he died suddenly in 1996, and the fragments that he left behind sat in his literary archives for decades.

In 2017, because I was a writer who knew Henri well, I was invited by the publishing committee of Henri’s literary estate to have a look at his trapeze writings and see if anything inspired me.

Immediately, I was hooked by two mysteries. First, why did his encounter with the Flying Rodleighs strike him so powerfully at that moment of his life? And second, why he did he not finish his book about them?

I started to read widely in the archives, trying to figure out what else was going on in his life and spirit in those years, what had prepared him to see, as he put it, “the angels of God appearing to me in the form of five trapeze artists.”

I couldn’t write the book that Henri would have written, but in Flying, Falling, Catching, I honour his desire to write a creative book that would be as engaging as a novel. I juxtapose his writings about his friendship with the Flying Rodleighs trapeze troupe alongside other significant moments in his life. Those experiences in Henri’s own words are framed by the true story of his first heart attack and his rescue out the window of a hotel in the Netherlands in 1996.

The book is in two voices, Henri’s and mine, with two typefaces so that readers know which writings are Henri’s and which are mine.

I had a lot of fun writing it.

After completing the book, I keep thinking about pedestals. It’s easy to put Henri on a pedestal: he was wise and brave even when he was demanding and anguished. He’s often called a spiritual master. But that elevates him to a unique and lonely place, and being admired like that was not a healthy place for Henri. The trapeze act involves a different image of a pedestal, as somewhere to launch from. You’d look silly staying on a pedestal. It’s a platform to allow you to take a risk. And trapeze performers are rarely on a pedestal alone: no one can do a trapeze act by themselves.

Henri Nouwen with The Flying Rodleighs
Photo: Ron P. van den Bosch

You can actually see some hilarious film footage of Henri on the trapeze pedestal on the online recordings of two book launch events, one with commentary by Rodleigh Stevens himself, and the other with L’Arche Daybreak. In that one, I tell viewers to notice that real friends will not only accompany you on a pedestal, but they will throw you off at the right moment! You can find links to both book launch events at:

https://www.writersunion.ca/member/carolyn-whitney-brown

It struck me recently that I am now the age that Henri was when he was so entranced by the Flying Rodleighs, and interestingly, so is Rodleigh himself, since he and I are close in age. At our age, Henri let his imagination be seized by a whole new adventure. He said,

On a deeper level, [my friendship with the Flying Rodleighs] has given me a sense my life is just beginning. I don’t know where it’s going but I’m only sixty-two so I may have another thirty years. The Rodleighs are saying to me indirectly, don’t be afraid to fly a little, don’t be afraid to take a few doubles or triples or a few layouts. If you really miss the catcher you fall into the net so what’s the big issue! After all, take a risk and trust, trust, trust.”

Henri cared passionately about building communities that honour differences, that work for justice, that seek God’s vision of peace on earth and goodwill to all. As you finish reading Flying, Falling, Catching, be open to the spiritual challenge: What seizes YOUR imagination? What excites you? What life of fun and creative energy does God imagine for each of us, not just alone, but in our communities?


Flying Falling Catching is hardcover; 272 pages; ISBN 9780063113527 and also sold in the UK through SPCK.

GTA Author’s Work on Hope is Two Books in One

Greater Toronto Area author Danielle Strickland has put together a combination of teaching (or her term, theory) and anecdotes (her term, stories) to offer both hope and a guide to how to find it. Using the flip book concept, readers can choose which part to read first, or can combine the two, devising their own reading plan. Unlike other flip books, there aren’t two covers as distinct as booksellers have seen with works by John Hagee or Stan Campbell, but the concept evidences itself as soon as readers pick up a copy.

Danielle is known in the greater Toronto area most recently for her work as teaching pastor at The Meeting House, a detail omitted from the biography printed, and known to people across Canada and the United States for her social activism and conference speaking, all of which stem from her Salvation Army roots.

Adapted from the publisher blurb:

Part guidebook and part storytelling, The Other Side of Hope by GTA author Danielle Strickland is a uniquely designed flip-book with two entry points to the message of finding hope in a desperately harsh world. One part of the book focuses on theory and biblical philosophy; flip the book over to the other part and read a collection of stories about people from around the world who overcame impossible situations, showing that nothing is impossible through Christ. You choose where to start. 256 page paperback from Thomas Nelson.

from material gathered from DanielleStrickland.com and the publisher; a review copy was not supplied.

Ontario Author’s Compelling Case for Christianity

The book we’re highlighting today is special to me because I’ve known the author, Clarke Dixon for a decade, and had read the material when it first appeared as part of his blog, now called Thinking Through Scripture. Clarke was a pastor in western Ontario, then Ottawa, and most recently Cobourg, Ontario.

Beautiful and Believable: The Reason for My Hope is especially directed towards those who might be sitting on the fence regarding Christianity, or doubting its core claims, or having specific objections.

From the introduction:

The picture of the diving board on the cover was taken by one of my sons where we vacation. My sons have taken the plunge from this board many times. Me, not so much. I can understand reticence. However, despite my caution, there are good reasons to dive in from this board. The water is deep. There are no sharks. Jumping in can be great fun. Or so I am told. I tend to be a skeptical person.

There are many reasons people share for being skeptical of the claims of Christianity. In this short book I would like to introduce you to some reasons that we can lay aside our doubts and fears and take the plunge into a life of faith. It is beautiful. It is believable. And it can be great fun.

This book is presented in two parts. The first part gives reasons to believe in God and trust in Jesus based on the beauty of Christianity. The water is refreshing on a hot summer day. Jumping in is a beautiful experience. Christianity, when expressed well, leads to greater beauty in one’s life, and indeed the world.

The second part gives reasons to believe in God and trust in Jesus despite the warnings of the people who say it is foolish to do so. According to the evidence, the water is deep, there are no sharks. Faith is not a blind leap, but a reasonable step.

If you are skeptical, I understand. However, I invite you to discover how Christianity is both beautiful and believable. I invite you to join me on the diving board, maybe we might even take a step . . .

The chapters are short — this is a great title to give to a guy, since some men have trouble staying on track while reading — and Beautiful and Believable is printed in a very clear, readable font.

Booksellers in Canada and the U.S. can order through Ingram, using ISBN 9798836457112 and while this is a short(er) discount product, the MSRP has been set generously low for the 142 page paperback. I’d encourage you to consider having this in stock.

Ontario Retired Pastor’s Collected Teachings

This week I had the opportunity to meet Rev. Bruce Pero, a retired minister and see his book, Teachings from God’s Word.  The 180-page paperback (also available in hardcover) is published through Friesen Press of Altona, Manitoba, and is available to Canadian retailers at standard terms and discounts through Ingram. Here is the publisher summary:

Teachings From God’s Word is a book of life experiences—of trusting God through difficult circumstances. It is a devotional memoir of a believer’s life testimony, the testimony of Rev. Bruce Pero, through messages he has preached over the years bringing insight and hope to others on their earthly journey with faith-building strategies and detailed accounts of intimacy with God.

Readers will experience wisdom on how to:

• build their faith with endurance and perseverance
• know the Master in a personal relationship with God as their Heavenly Father
• perceive the Father’s love through mothers’ prayers that can deeply affect the direction of their lives and what they are called to do.

The book outlines wide-ranging stories of salvation experiences and testimonies of how the author led individuals to the Lord and of how God loves to heal His people through His power, grace, and mercy.

Teachings From God’s Word will increase the reader’s knowledge of God’s eternal plan for their life. It can be used for new Christians as a seminar teaching tool for intimacy with God, for those hoping to grow in their faith, and also for mature Christians still hungering to learn about God’s word.

Teachings From God’s Word will cultivate discipleship by resurrecting God’s church to be doers of the word and committed to His Glory.

Bruce grew up just north of Kingston, and currently lives just east of Oshawa.

ISBN 9781039124387 | US $14.99

Ontario Author’s Third Title Touches Felt Needs in Leadership

Western Ontario author Lisa Elliott is back with a third title for Word Alive Press, and as you can see from the above graphic image, this one ticks a number of boxes for women in Christian leadership.

I found out rather randomly yesterday that the speaker and author of The Ben Ripple, and Dancing in the Rain, had completed a third book (all are with Word Alive Press) titled Ministry Survival Guide: Straight from the Heart.

The blurb for the book covers a number of areas that impact people in different levels of involvement in their local church.

A Ministry Survival Guide: Straight from the Heart explores the joys and challenges of life in the spotlight of ministry. Relatable stories, survival tips, biblical mentors, and a Bible study guide provide a valuable resource for pastors’ wives, women in ministry, and anyone who desires to thrive, not just survive in the Christian life. This book will help you, live a public-private life, fortify your marriage, balance family and ministry, prevent burnout, navigate transitions, manage painful relationships, grow through personal challenges, build a godly support system, discover blessings beneath burdens, nurture your soul.

Retailers may order from Word Alive in Canada or Anchor Distributors in the U.S.


9781486621767 | paperback | April 30, 2022 release | $19.99 CDN & US

Canadian Author Pushing the Envelope on Language

It was somewhere in the 1970s. It wasn’t either musician Steve Camp or popular speaker Tony Campolo. It was both of them. “Every day thousands of people are dying and going to hell and most you don’t give a s**t. And sadly, more of you are upset about the fact I said s**t than you are about the thousands of people dying and going to hell.”

The quotation may not be word-for-word, but it’s about 90% intact.

Fast forward a few years and a young Lutheran pastor from Colorado takes the stage at a national youth rally and becomes an overnight sensation and is given a book contract. Nadia Bolz-Weber wasn’t trying to use an expletive to make a higher point. It’s just the way she talks. Google her name and you see phrases like, “I love Jesus but I DO swear a little.” Or, “Nadia Bolz-Weber is famous for swearing like a sailor.” Or “Nadia will keep swearing because she is not going to pretend to be someone she is not.” (And those were on page one, without even clicking on the results.) One of her four books starts with “F**k” right on page one.

Part of me admires what Nadia does. Sort of. My wife and I got caught up in the excitement and tuned in weekly to watch her preach at House for All Sinners & Saints, aka HFASS, aka “half-ass.” And that’s the name of her church. We watched because we wanted to know what she was preaching; what her doctrine was all about. Honestly, we were wondering if we could find some heretical content, but each week — despite the fact that her church was full of people she herself described as “queer” — it remained sound doctrine.

But nothing prepared me for Jamie Wright’s book The Very Worst Missionary. It was also the name of her blog and I had followed her for years. I knew she would insert a four-letter word here and there, but with her book, she went all out, even flaunting it on her blog — I redacted the words themselves — as seen in the chart below.

Nadia’s books now resides on a shelf in a back office in our store. I decided I couldn’t risk the books ending up with the wrong customer accidentally. Or worse, having them then tell twenty people they got this horrible book at my store.

With Jamie Wright, the book never made it in the first place. Not even remainder or overstock copies. And I declined a review copy, I think.

Which brings us to Danielle Strickland. Yes, our Danielle Strickland, as in, a Canadian author and until recently a teaching pastor at The Meeting House. Her book The Other Side of Hope is releasing for early August under the W Publishing imprint, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Our sales rep thought we should have a heads up, and many of you received the same email.

We’re warned that the book,

…has a few instances of profanity. This is because many of the stories are between Danielle and people who are down and out (such as homeless people, drug addicts, and even Danielle before she came to Christ). We did scrub the material where we could, but the decision was made to not sanitize the true conversation where it was necessary to convey the real brokenness. There are four occurrences of sh*t, one d*mn, and one h*ll. This book is beautifully gritty and one of the most grounded books on hope. Even in the midst of despair, she compels the reader toward a beautiful hope.

The announcement then goes on to inform us that there is a second book by another author with similar language occurrences and some mentions of abuse which “may be triggering.”

Welcome to Christian bookselling in 2022.

I’m sure there are people who work in the broader publishing industry who are reading this and thinking, “Seriously? That’s all? Four instances of sh*t, and a single damn and a hell each?” (Look at us! I didn’t even redact those last two myself.) But give our little sub-industry a break. For some stores, this is still new territory.

Each of us need to decide for ourselves where we land the plane with these titles.

One of my English professors at U. of T. would use the phrase substandard language when discussing material that one wouldn’t read aloud in polite company. (We won’t even get into the KJV’s use of “him that pisseth against the wall” in 1 Kings 21:21.) It’s become more common to hear people using “OMG” at church (sometimes without the abbreviation) and we’ve seen one or two Christian people use “WTF” on Facebook. (I wrote about this back in 2014.)

This is not a good thing. Much of what God intended for his people was “the maintenance of a distinct identity.” We’re supposed to be … different. (I wrote about our identity in a 2017 devotional.)

I realize that Danielle Strickland has a story to tell, and I’m not going to be too hard on her. I also know that the language probably sets the stage for all that she both experienced herself, and later witnessed doing ministry in some tough, dark places. I have yet to make up my mind whether to stock the book, and if so, whether to display it or have on a shelf in the back next to Nadia.

What I do know that is that for all its shock value, the Steve Camp/Tony Campolo line had a major impact on a lot of people.

 

Pastor of one of Canada’s Largest Churches Updates His Signature 2010 Title

Book Review: The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus (Revised Edition) by Bruxy Cavey (Herald Press)

I’ve never undertaken to read and review an updated edition or second edition of any book I’ve already covered, but this is an exceptional undertaking worthy of fresh consideration. Besides, I’ve often said that while some writers’ body of works builds up to a crescendo over a lifetime, other authors state most plainly and forthrightly in their first volume what represents the tenor of their ministry; so why not revisit that a decade later, as is the case here.

The updated version of The End of Religion represents a complete revamping of the original NavPress book from start to finish, with the addition of a new preface and five entirely new chapters.

This is a book about Jesus.

In that vein, it looks at the human tendency to religiosity, and the way that has sometimes, and in some places made the Christian faith about everything but Jesus. Its aim is to renew us to seek the restoration of the type of faith practiced in the First Century and echoed throughout history by those who practice that goal, but also a type of discipleship seemingly lost in modern Protestantism, Catholicism or Evangelicalism.

This is a theme the book constantly returns to, but it does so inasmuch as it is constantly returning to Jesus.

Bruxy Cavey is the teaching pastor of an alter-cultural church in the greater Toronto, Canada area called The Meeting House. With one mother-ship in Oakville on the city’s west fringes — they prefer the term ‘Production Center’ — they have 20 satellite sites — they prefer the classic term ‘parishes’ — which in less pandemic times meet in theaters in Southern Ontario, with a number of additional distant affiliates in diverse places such as Scotland and Italy.

By the way, I love that word alter-cultural. Bruxy’s teaching style, self-deprecating nature and overall sense of humor are found in the book which makes the serious topics it studies a fun read, although I do recommend using two bookmarks, keeping one in the text itself and one in the notes.

Organizationally, the 27 chapters of the book are arranged in three sections which look at the irreligious life of Jesus, how his life and teachings stood in contrast to key elements of the Judaism which provides the context for his time on earth, and the implications for our own words and deeds. Each chapter contains an ample helping of scripture references and there’s also the aforementioned notes to consider.

Who is the intended audience? In many respects, his 2017 title (re)Union: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints and Sinners (Herald Press; see my review here) is by definition the book you give to someone camped out on the edge of faith. That said, this newer one covers so much primary, formative and apologetic ground that if the seeker in question isn’t intimidated by 400+ pages, they might really appreciate gaining a very thorough understanding of what it is to which they are potentially making a commitment.

While there were echoes of the previous edition to be encountered, I found them to be rare. This is a very updated update! I’d recommend this to anyone looking to read something with an intense Jesus focus.

9781513805498 | Herald Press – Parasource in Canada | $19.99 US – $25.99 CDN

Ontario Author Offers Guidance for Young Men 16-25

After spending a half hour on the phone with Dennis Gazarek, and subsequent emails, I wanted to share this title with readers here sight unseen. So while this isn’t a review, this is also a title that’s a bit outside the box for Christian Book Shop Talk for other reasons and yet, that said, it’s a title I can easily picture some of us carrying.

Dennis would be the first to admit this isn’t a Christian title in the traditional sense. Born in Windsor, Dennis now lives in Durham Region (part of Greater Toronto) where he is actively involved in several leadership areas in a local church there. While he would say his faith underlies his writing it’s not the raison d’être for Be the Awesome Man: A Young Man’s Guide to Achieving Discipline, Success, and Happiness, however, faith-friendly resources in this book genre can be scarce, which makes this worthy of consideration.

The target audience is young men 16-25 and the parents, teachers, coaches and counselors who mentor them.

The book, which is publishing December 1st, is available to retailers from Ingram Publisher Services, and the description there — among the most detailed I’ve seen at Ingram for any title — contains most of the media kit, from which I’ve excerpted what follows. It clocks in at 280 pages, and retails for $18.99.

A diagnosis and a prescription for a generation of young men in crisis, Be the Awesome Man is a must-read guide for young men who want to achieve lasting success and personal happiness.

Young men are underachieving in unprecedented numbers. More and more young men are not attaining standard benchmarks of maturity, such as entering and graduating from higher education, finding a career, establishing their financial independence, and living on their own. Be the Awesome Man approaches the challenges of being a young man from a unique and practical perspective. Written in a sensible, easy-to-read format, Be the Awesome Man delves into the roots of male underachievement and provides practical guidance for young men and their parents, teachers, ministers, coaches, and other mentors.

Drawing on real-world experience as a coach, mentor, and father, author Dennis Gazarek provides methods to counter the negative influences that encourage underachievement, and shows how effective decision making can lead to a better life. Be the Awesome Man emphasizes that freedom requires responsibility and offers specific guides and advice for taking full responsibility and control over one’s life.

Combining old-fashioned wisdom, a critical analysis of modern culture, and a pragmatic program of character development, Be the Awesome Man offers a better way of life for young men who want to break out of mediocrity and underachievement.

Quill Driver Books | ISBN 9781610353373

Ontario Author’s Mainstream Travel Book

This is apparently our third in a series of Ontario authors who are signed to mainstream U.S. publishers. And the second to have an Orillia connection.

Freelance writer Janet LoSole wrote to us last week to let us know about her book with the interesting title, Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America. Her story was published in December, 2019 by Wipf and Stock. Here’s their summary:

Embarking on a homeschooling field trip to Central America is stressful enough, but add in perilous bridge crossings, trips to the hospital, and a lack of women’s underwear, and you have the makings of an Adventure by Chicken Bus.

Buckling under a mountain of debt, Janet LoSole and her family are at their wits’ end. Determined to make a drastic change, they sell all worldly possessions and hit the road. With only a few items of clothing, a four-person tent, and little else, the family visits a sleepy island backwater in Costa Rica to save endangered sea turtles. In Panama, they bounce around like turnips in the back of a vegetable truck to reach an isolated monkey sanctuary. In Guatemala, they scale the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal. In between tales of begging rides from total strangers and sleeping overnight in the jungle with an indigenous family, Janet endorses community-based travel–supporting local businesses and favoring public transportation called chicken buses.

She also writes candidly about what it takes to travel long-term with two little girls amid the chaos of border crossings, erratic drivers, and creepy crawlies lurking at the edge of the jungle.

In an email she explained that her family are Quakers, a constituency not frequently heard from among the publishers most of us carry. “The book was written for the mainstream audience so my faith is mentioned only briefly in the first chapter… However, Wipf & Stock is a Christian publisher.” (The book is actually under the Resource Publications imprint which covers a variety of religious titles.) 

She describes her goal, “Adventure by Chicken Bus demonstrates how to travel sustainably, but more importantly, how to nurture the next generation of environmentalists and social justice activists by exposing them to the conditions faced by those in the developing world.”

If you’re looking for something safe but a little outside the box for Christian bookstores, this would be a title to consider.

9781532684869 | 226 pages, paperback | $23.00 U.S. | Ingram

Website: adventurebychickenbus.com