Sometimes one reads a book and loves it for its style; the writing just grabs you.
And sometimes, happily, one discovers an author with helpful content and an artful style, whose books offer a wonderful confluence of vision and voice, of content and character.
And then, sometimes, you find out that that person is, well, a bore. Or at least a boring presenter. Yep, it happens. Maybe that is why they write, since they can't speak in public worth a darn.
But, sometimes---cue a few bars of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus right about now---there are those authors who are truly wise and insightful AND fine authors who are really good at their writerly craft, AND who are also great speakers, fun to be with, who can tell their story as well as they can pen it. They've got the whole thing going on.
Margot Starbuck, I suggest to you, is that kind of a writer/speaker/person.
AND SHE IS APPEARING THIS FRIDAY NIGHT at LIVING WORD COMMUNITY CHURCH in RED LION PA at 7:00 PM. Sponsored by Hearts & Minds, Dallastown, PA.
We are so pleased that Margot is doing a reading from her great new book, Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor (published by the provocative Likewise imprint of InterVarsity Press) THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, February 24th, at an event sponsored by yours truly, Hearts & Minds of Dallastown. It will be held over at Living Word Community Church, a thriving congregation near us which allows us to use their cool Coffee Bar and Art Gallery from time to time. We really value their partnership with us. We are delighted to invite you to listen to Margot sometime shortly after 7:00 in their very nice space.
You can get directions here. The address of Living Word is 2530 Cape Horn Road (which is Route 24) outside of Red Lion, PA. It's really not far from our shop, just a bit past Windsor Commons.
I think I'm going to interview her a bit, since I want to prompt her---although I have a hunch it won't take much prompting (for some authors you nearly need a cattle prod)---to tell us a bit about herself, her vocation as a writer, how she came to write her previous books.
Of course we'll have all three for sale and she will be autographing them.
The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail
I raved about this, her first book, at BookNotes when it first came out. Beth and I were really, truly moved by it and struck by its insight and how very well-written it was. It's a poignant and entertaining memoir of Starbuck's journey trying (among other things) to relate to the image of God as father given that the fathers in her life were less than fully faithful. (She was adopted and there is a bit of a sub-story about her trying to find her birth father that, uh, doesn't go so well.) The Girl in the Orange Dress tells the tale of Starbuck's college years, her short term mission trips and passion for God's Kingdom, her call to Princeton Seminary, her coping with physical pain and depression as she seeks to serve God's people as a Presbyterian pastor. (And a human-scale, wise-cracking one, at that.) It is a marvelous book and we can't wait to hear how she summarizes it, and what it was like being so honest about the ups and downs, the foibles and graces of her own life.
Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights and Stilettos
Less than a year after Ms Starbuck's first wonderful book was released, another one came out, a book we enthusiastically awarded as one of the Best Books of the Year in 2010. Unsqueezed, again, wades through some pretty hefty hoo-hoo (given the way sex and beauty and gender roles are so fraught with terrible distortion and the cause of great confusion these days.) And, as the subtitle suggests, it is---yes, it is--fun and clever and really, really interesting. It is written for women, but it seems to me that men could really benefit from listening in to this candid conversation among their sisters. It won't be awkward (I hope) but I want to ask her a bit about this body image stuff, about what our bodies are for, really, and what she can report about her ministry among young gals these days. I'm interested in how to bring critique to the exploitation of women by the fashion and cosmetics industry without, well, without throwing the baby out with the bath-water. She has a lot to say on this, and we'll try to get her going.
Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor
Then, we'll get to what might be considered the heart of the evening, her reading a bit from her new book. Margot has been convicted in her own discipleship that followers of Jesus simply must be more intentional about reaching out to the needy, offering service and solidarity, care and kindness, to those who are hurting, oppressed, impoverished in one way or another. She is amazingly good about showing us how we can take baby steps to do this and she is thoughtful about not being haughty about our "helping" others. Her vision of mutuality is profound. Her joy in inviting us to this great "adventure" is palpable. This book is a treat, with a very creative writing device (which you'll discover soon enough) and we can't wait to have Margot tell us about it all. We reviewed this at great length back before Christmas and then named it as one of the Best Books of 2011. And we have her coming here! Is it wrong to boast a bit? Yippeee.
Won't you join us Friday night?
In fact, won't you help spread this news around a bit? Anybody who is within a few hours from the greater York area should be encouraged to come. There will be free coffee, some light refreshments, maybe a bit of tomfoolery, and an opportunity to meet one of those gifted people who can write well, present well, share heavy content and get us feeling happy about the whole crazy thing -- for God's sake. This is going to be a wonderful night.
We have a facebook events page, too, that maybe you could use to help invite your friends.
If you are farther away (as I realize most BookNotes readers are) please pray for us. We want this to be well attended and we want her books to touch lives. We are (to be honest) pretty drained from our big role in the Jubilee conference last weekend. We need God to lead the way. I wouldn't be surprised if Margot said the same thing. We'd be glad for your prayers.