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What I've Been Reading

Those who know me or have read much of my blog know that I read a lot, often having multiple books going at the same time. They also know the subjects about which I tend to read, whether for my writing projects, for edification, or for mere pleasure.

Recently, I became aware of two books with a bearing on one of my projects that is in the publication process at TouchPoint Press, Dillon's War, an account of my uncle's experiences during World War II. I wish I had known about them while I was writing that book. Those two books are After D-Day by James Jay Carafano and Victory at Mortain by Mark J. Reardon.

Those who know me or have read much of my blog also know that I enjoy reading about the people who lived in the mountainous regions of the South. Perhaps the greatest evidence of this preference is my affinity for the life and writings of Jesse Stuart. Of course, his autobiographical works The Threat that Runs So True and To Teach, To Love, of which I've written before, were influential in shaping my own teaching career. And my own family heritage includes such people from the ridges and mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. (The photo at the start of this post is of my maternal grandfather's family when he was only a teenager. That's him sitting on the porch rail. His father is holding the rifle, apparently ready to shoot the photographer if the photo doesn't turn out to his liking.)

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that I was immediately enticed to purchase a book that my pastor mentioned in a recent sermon. The Man Who Moved a Mountain by Richard C. Davids. After opening the package when it arrived and glancing at the book's opening pages, I put all of my work-related reading on hold for a while and became immersed in the new story. Only iron-willed self-discipline forced me to lay it aside in deference to on-going writing projects, but short, intermittent reading sessions will guarantee that I soon will finish this relatively short (~250 pages) book.

Bob Childress, the topic of The Man Who Moved a Mountain, was born and reared amid the ignorance, superstition, poverty, violence, and moonshine making and drinking of southwestern Appalachian Virginia, but his ministry was in an area that was an even more intense version of it. Childress had been a part of that sad environment--until he met and accepted Christ. He ended up returning to school, a grown adult among little children, attended college and seminary, and ministered to his mountain people to change their rough, godless environment by promoting education and Christian living. His own selfless service to people was a major factor in his success. In that, his life provides a good example for us all.

In preparing this book, Davids interviewed a plethora of Childress's relatives, neighbors, congregants, and acquaintances and did a masterful job of putting their accounts and remembrances together, painting a compelling and inspiring account of Childress's life and ministry. And I have no doubt that I will surely enjoy and learn from the rest of this book. Although I'm only about one-third of the way through it, I already can recommend it to my readers.

And what are you reading?

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