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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

December 2007


Merry Christmas! Talks to Jan Karon, Author of HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS Talks to Tony Dungy, Author of QUIET STRENGTH

The 2007 Christmas Roundup

Author Interviews of 2007

Now in Stores: KEEP WALKING: One Man's Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time, by Larry Jones

Study Guide Now Available: WHEN THE MORNING COMES by Cindy Woodsmall
Coming Soon: A List of Upcoming Books

Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device

Faithful Fiction Reviews

Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Review Poll Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

Merry Christmas!

I love the holidays. Yes, the pace becomes a tad crazy, and I have been known to call this time the Holidaze, but I still love it. One of my favorite things is reflecting on holidays past and creating new traditions around our house. Last year, for the first time, we spent Christmas on the Outer Banks with my parents instead of traveling there after Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve we went to an inter-faith service at a small chapel in Corolla, and the memory of that evening stayed with me throughout the year.

There was an elderly pastor conducting the service who spoke about the significance of the season to him, why he was so happy to hear the words "Merry Christmas" being spoken and how bereft he was when people wished him "Happy Holidays." There was some lovely caroling. There was real camaraderie and fellowship in that tiny church as we sat amidst a group of strangers celebrating. During the service the pastor announced that the ceremony this upcoming Christmas will be his last before he retires.

I look forward to being part of this evening next Monday night. There is something very special to me about celebrating the holiday in a place that means so much to me. The Outer Banks has become both a "reflex place" to me, one that I can escape to just by closing my eyes, and a place that feels much like home after all our visits there.

While the holidays are a time of reflection, this can also be a very busy time of year for many of us. Often we find ourselves rushing around doing chores that will tug our focus from the true meaning of these holidays. Thus we are continuing to feature a heartwarming selection of fiction and nonfiction titles in our 2007 Christmas Roundup. Whether you are searching for a good read or hoping to find the perfect gift for a fellow faithful reader, these books are a surefire way to get your focus back on track.

We have two new interviews this month. Jan Karon talks about the first book in her new series featuring Father Tim Kavanagh from her hugely popular Mitford series. And in a conversation with Tony Dungy, the Indianapolis Colts head coach discusses his memoir QUIET STRENGTH, his personal struggles and why talking about his faith in public is something he feels he has the right to do.

One of our new featured titles this month is KEEP WALKING: One Man’s Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time. In this inspiring memoir, Feed The Children founder Larry Jones reveals how faith has helped him through the toughest of times.

As always, new reviews have been added to our Faithful Fiction, Christian Living and Marriage and Family Life sections, including seasonal titles like TILL MORNING IS NIGH by Leisha Kelly.

Also included in our lineup is a new discussion guide for WHEN THE MORNING COMES by Cindy Woodsmall, the second book in her Sisters of the Quilt trilogy. This story will certainly stimulate lively conversation among book groups.

For those of you who are Angela Hunt fans, a screen adaptation of her book THE NOTE --- directed by Douglas Barr and starring Genie Francis and Ted McGinley --- has been airing on the Hallmark Channel during December, and you can view it, or tape it, on Tuesday, December 25th at 7 PM EST. In this story, a reporter finds a note that washes up after a plane crash and becomes determined to deliver it to the surviving child before Christmas.
For more information, please click here.

Our poll and question this month continue to take on the holiday theme. Do you buy holiday-themed books, and if so, what kind do you prefer? We also would like to know what some of your favorite holiday titles are.

As we count down to Christmas, may you find time to reflect on what makes this time of year meaningful. May the celebration of His birth be one of joy for you and your loved ones. Here’s to a Merry Christmas with some new memories and the enjoyment of time-honored traditions, and a fresh beginning for 2008. We will see you next year. Happy New Year!

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Jan Karon, Author of HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS

After launching her first novel AT HOME IN MITFORD more than a decade ago, author Jan Karon’s Mitford series numbers a whopping 30 million copies in print. Her stories about an Episcopal priest are lauded for their charming characters, the evocation of small town life and her gentle inclusion of faith. In HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS, the first installment in her Father Tim Novels, Karon takes her beloved priest to new locations and levels of self-understanding.’s Cindy Crosby talks with Karon about the book and Father Tim’s future escapades, the challenges of getting older, the importance of Advent and Karon’s new appreciation of Elvis.

HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS: The First of the Father Tim Novels by Jan Karon (Fiction)
Although prolific novelist Jan Karon has completed her popular Mitford series, everyone’s favorite Episcopal priest is back in HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS, the first installment in the Father Tim Novels. Readers of Karon’s previous series will find the same wonderful brand of fiction they’ve grown to love. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS.

Click here to read our interview with Jan Karon. Talks to Tony Dungy, Author of QUIET STRENGTH

On and off the field, Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy is a winner. In February 2007, Dungy became the first African American to coach a professional football team to a Super Bowl victory. Although his personal life was marked by tragedy last year when his 18-year-old son committed suicide, Dungy continues to maintain a strong faith in God --- and isn’t shy talking about it.’s Cindy Crosby chats with Dungy --- the author of QUIET STRENGTH --- about his biggest personal struggle, the most difficult thing about coaching, what he plans to do someday after he retires, and why talking about his faith in public is something he feels he has the right to do.

QUIET STRENGTH: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
Although at first glance Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy’s QUIET STRENGTH might seem like just another sports-filled tell-all, readers who spend more than a few pages with the book will be delighted that it goes much deeper than this. His solid principles for living will appeal to anyone trying to lead a meaningful life. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of QUIET STRENGTH.

Click here to read our interview with Tony Dungy.

The 2007 Christmas Roundup

We at have compiled a number of inspirational fiction and nonfiction titles perfect for the holiday season. Many of the books on our list will help you focus your prayer life in the days leading up to Christmas. Others offer ideas for blocking out commercialism and reflecting on the true meaning of the holiday. And even a few come with CDs to celebrate the beloved traditional carols. Be sure to read some of these selections with a child and rediscover the innocence and wonder of the season. We hope all of the titles in this year’s roundup will further the peace and joy of Christmastime in your homes.

Click here to read our 2007 Christmas roundup.

Author Interviews of 2007

As 2007 comes to a close, we invite you to take a look at the author interviews and Faithful Fifteens that were featured throughout the year on This is a great way to catch up on the discussions you may have missed --- and to re-read what some of your favorite authors had to say about their books.

Click here to see our roundup of 2007 interviews.

Now in Stores: KEEP WALKING: One Man's Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time, by Larry Jones

KEEP WALKING: One Man’s Journey to Feed the World One Child at a Time by Larry Jones (Memoir)
In this uplifting memoir, Larry Jones --- the founder of Feed The Children --- reveals the inner faith and single-minded belief in his cause that have helped him overcome nearly insurmountable threats and trials. And he does so in a highly readable, personal narrative that is compelling, often humorous and inspiring.

-Click here to read Larry Jones’s bio.

Click here to read more about KEEP WALKING.

Study Guide Now Available: WHEN THE MORNING COMES by Cindy Woodsmall

WHEN THE MORNING COMES: Sisters of the Quilt, Book Two by Cindy Woodsmall (Fiction)
Cindy Woodsmall continues the story of Hannah Lapp in Book Two of the Sisters of the Quilt trilogy, her follow-up to WHEN THE HEART CRIES. Rejected by her family and doubted by her fiancé, a young woman flees the seclusion of her Old Order Amish community to find a new beginning.

-Click here to read more about WHEN THE MORNING COMES.
-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN THE MORNING COMES.
-Click here to read Cindy Woodsmall’s bio.

Click here to see the discussion questions for WHEN THE MORNING COMES.

Coming Soon: A List of Upcoming Books

If you’re wondering what books have been released recently, or are coming out in the months ahead, then be sure to check out our Coming Soon section on Currently we have titles from January through April listed. Please note that we have not included every book being published, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.

Click here to see our Coming Soon feature.

Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device

The Amazon Kindle is a revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, newspapers, magazines and blogs to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.

Kindle customers, no matter where they are in the U.S., can wirelessly shop the Kindle Store and download new content --- all without a PC or a WiFi hot spot. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity so there are no monthly wireless bills and no service commitments for customers. The Kindle Store contains over 90,000 books that can be purchased and delivered wirelessly to Kindle, each in less than a minute. Customers can choose from hundreds of top newspapers, magazines and blogs and have their subscriptions auto-delivered wirelessly. All New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise.

At 10.3 ounces, Kindle is lighter and thinner than a paperback book, carries two hundred books, and includes built-in access to The New Oxford American Dictionary and wireless access to the Earth’s biggest encyclopedia,

Click here to learn more about the Amazon Kindle.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

TILL MORNING IS NIGH: A Wortham Family Christmas by Leisha Kelly (Fiction)
In this seasonal novella, the power of God to provide in all circumstances, the generosity of those who have little but give much, and the true meaning of Christmas are all wrapped together in a story that will inspire readers to find gratitude and joy in their own Christmas celebrations. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.
ZERO-G by Alton Gansky
If you need to get a good night’s rest, then don’t pick up Alton Gansky’s ZERO-G, a novel about space travel, the depravity of evil and the struggle of Christians to understand why good things happen to bad people. Page-turning suspense and a fascinating plot help make this Gansky’s best fictional work to date. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.
THE BLUE MOON: Mysteries of Sparrow Island #3 by Lorena McCourtney
If you enjoyed WHISPERS THROUGH THE TREES and FLIGHT OF THE RAVEN, then you’ll want to keep up with the resilient and faithful Abby --- a 50-something Christian ornithologist living in the San Juan Islands --- in this latest installment of her ongoing story. When Abby discovers a three-million-dollar diamond necklace hidden in her old desk, trouble can’t be far behind. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.
(Historical Fiction)
Can life in a 14th-century Benedictine monastery reflect contemporary life today? By telling emotive stories of monks and their abbot, this powerful trilogy --- bound as one book --- opens doors to our human condition and God’s wide grace. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

Click here to read our Christian Living Reviews Click here to read our Christian Living Reviews

Christian Living Reviews

LED TO BELIEVE: Inspiring Words from Billy Graham and Others on Living by Faith by Billy Graham (Christian Living/Inspirational)
Known as “America’s Preacher,” Billy Graham has touched millions of people with his message of faith through over 50 years of his crusades. LED TO BELIEVE is a collection of Graham’s own words and beliefs interwoven with stories from real people whose lives were changed by his message. Reviewed by Michele Howe.
A BETHLEHEM CHRISTMAS: Celebrating the Joyful Season by Charles R. Swindoll
The world changed forever one Bethlehem night. Bestselling author Charles R. Swindoll invites us to sit back and enjoy his personal and engaging retelling of the first Christmas story. Combining both regal mystery and humble human experience, the book focuses on four major characters: Gabriel, Mary, Joseph and Immanuel. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

(Christian Living)
With passion and imagination, popular pastor and bestselling author John Ortberg calls for readers to reassess their priorities and change their lives --- because WHEN THE GAME IS OVER, IT ALL GOES BACK IN THE BOX. This is his best book to date. But be warned: you’ll come away changed. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

WIDE OPEN SPACES: Beyond Paint-by-Number Christianity
by Jim Palmer
Jim Palmer's critically acclaimed DIVINE NOBODIES was only half the story --- the deconstruction and shedding of a religious mentality that hindered his knowing God. In his next book, Palmer takes the reader along into the wide open spaces of exploring and experiencing God beyond religion. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.
GOD’S MESSAGE, YOUR SERMON: Discover, Develop, and Deliver What God Meant By What He Said by H. Wayne House and Daniel G. Garland
(Christian Living)
Using the Bible to teach something other than what a given text was intended to communicate --- however true it may be --- is an all-too-common form of false teaching. This book will equip anyone who would speak for God with a proven, step-by-step procedure for discovering, developing and delivering the actual message of the text. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Marriage and Family Life Review

EFFECTIVE PARENTING IN A DEFECTIVE WORLD: How to Raise Kids Who Stand Out from the Crowd by Chip Ingram (Parenting)
In a world of over-extended schedules, amoral messages and incessant peer pressure, how can you raise a confident child who follows God's will? Chip Ingram's practical tips for modeling right living, building strong bonds and disciplining effectively will help parents bringing up Christ-centered kids who feel secure and significant no matter what comes their way. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life review. Poll

Do you buy holiday-themed books?

I buy them for myself.
I buy them to give.
I buy them to give and get.
I do not buy them.

What kind of holiday-themed books do you buy?
I buy only books with a spiritual theme.
I buy only secular titles.
I buy both secular titles and books with a spiritual theme.
I do not buy holiday-themed books.

Vote in our Poll here. Question of the Month
What are some of your favorite spiritual and/or secular holiday-themed books?

Answer the Question of the Month here.

Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. This contest period, one winner will receive HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS by Jan Karon. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the
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Thanks for reading....and don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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