423: It’s not all going digital! Here are two new books that defy “new media”

WHAT an exciting week!
    FIRST, A TREKKIE ALERT: Readers already are
sending us “Star Trek” notes, which we’ll share with you later this week. Thanks! On Monday, we shared an overview of “Star Trek.” Then, on Wednesday, we’ll publish an interview with Gabriel Mckee, a leading authority on the spirituality of science fiction. And, we’ll continue to share cool stuff about the movie through its opening this weekend.
    AND, ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE: Our weekend story about readers’ responses to swine flu has spilled over into the OurValues page this week, where Dr. Wayne Baker is asking readers to share your reactions to flu news events this week. Please, stop by and add a few words!


    Two intriguing new books arrived at our Home Office recently that seem to defy the predictions that all media is going digital these days. It seemed appropriate to offer mini-reviews of these two today—both to alert you to these cool titles … and to make the point that some book ideas are “timeless.”

OR MAYBE NOT EXACTLY TIMELESS IN THIS CASE: Candlewick Press, one of the most creative publishers of family literature these days, has come up with another winner in “The Time Book: A Brief History from Lunar Calendars to Atomic Clocks,” by Martin Jenkins with illustrations by Richard Holland.
    I’m both a parent and, decades ago, I was a child myself reared on family reading as a daily delight. We loved to curl up with picture books and enjoy a good story. Given my lifelong interest in nature and history, I especially loved books with vivid images of animals and famous scenes from the past.
    I can remember one large-format book on the history of mathematics and another huge book that opened up with intriguing layouts about animal life and what we now would call ecological science.

    The moment I saw Jenkins’ and Holland’s new book on the history of time keeping, I was hooked!
    Although we’re big advocates, here at ReadTheSpirit, of exploring new digital devices like the Kindle and iPhone, none of those cold electronic gizmos will replace the wonderment of a large-format picture book like this for family reading.
    Jenkins’ book is a great example of Candelwick’s appeal. This may be a picture book, but it certainly isn’t for preschoolers. I’d suggest it for “late elementary”——but the truth is parents will enjoy this romp through the curiosities of time as much as the kids. The story takes us from ancient time-keeping schemes, through efforts to correct the calendar and also tells the fascinating story of how trains helped to correct our clocks. (Yes, it’s true—trains running from one city to another finally forced people to keep properly adjusted clocks.)
    This book isn’t for all kids. But for just the right family mix? For the kid hooked on what makes our world “tick”—and the parent who enjoys answering questions—this book could become a keepsake.

AND WHAT “ELSE” DO WE DO WITH OUR FAVORITE BIBLES … We read them, of course. Or we claim that we read them. Overwhelmingly, Americans tell pollsters that they own a Bible and they enjoy reading the good book. Turns out, much of that is wistful thinking. The majority of Americans can’t name all four gospels, if put on the spot by a pollster.

    But most homes do have a cherished Bible—often more than one copy.
    What’s the coolest thing about a family Bible beyond reading its pages and spiritually shaping our lives?
    It’s the additions we make! It’s the notes on when a particular Bible story was read. It’s Grandma’s note on her favorite Psalm. It’s Dad’s note on the verse he memorized in Vacation Bible School years ago. It’s the puzzling question jotted next to a gospel story—a question that you perhaps raised in a Bible-study class.
    If you’re familiar with well-used Bibles, you know that the margins quickly are crammed with sideways scrawls that are tough to read even a few days later.
    So, Oxford University Press has published a new edition with the entire text of the Bible printed in a single column—next to a 2-inch-wide margin with neatly ruled lines perfect for jotting your notes.
    Yes, it’s true that digital readers like the Kindle now allow some notes in the text of a book—but anyone buying a Bible with the intention of marking it up over time won’t want a device that will become obsolete over time. This new edition is a terrific idea, perfect for gift giving—psst, think about a graduating student this spring.


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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