Your reading group needs this. And you can even get it for free.

As Lorraine Caulton writes on the IVP website:

Reading is a solitary act. For many of us it is a form of retreat—a welcomed silence and deserved rest from our demanding routines. We have our favorite spot in the house: the unmade bed, the couch long enough to doze on, or maybe the off-limits living room. Wherever it is, when we are there with book in hand and maybe our favorite cup of tea (my favorite is anything peach) all who encounter us know to “shush.” It’s reading time.

But when you read a really good book, aren’t you just dying to talk about it? Halfway through or maybe even in the introduction, who comes to mind? There’s always someone we can’t wait to share our newfound knowledge with, or tell of our disbelief of an author’s opinion. We can agree or disagree with the author, and he or she is none the wiser. But our dear fellow reader is always eager to hear our perspective. Or at least we hope so.

In reading groups we don’t have to hope someone wants to hear our opinions—it’s expected! And even better, the idea or concept that we missed in our reading is often what our fellow readers will discover and share with us. Our “aha” moments are multiplied in conversation. Even in disagreement—maybe especially when we disagree—there is opportunity to learn from one another as we seek to understand different points of view.

"Book Club Discussion," by Alpert Cugun. Photo courtesy Alpert Cugun via Flickr Creative Commons.
“Book Club Discussion,” by Alpert Cugun. Photo courtesy Alpert Cugun via Flickr Creative Commons.

In the end, our shared conversation becomes another welcomed respite as we glean wisdom and receive understanding from one another. My hope is that the diverse assortment of titles in this first volume of Read Up will provide you and your group with books that lead to both stimulating reading and meaningful conversation.

Whether you’re looking to read contemporary issues, history, fiction, memoirs or even humor, Read Up has you covered, with descriptions, discussion questions, author conversations or excerpts for more than 30 thoughtful books. Bring Read Up to your next book club and get the conversation started.

I’m thrilled to announce that my book, Eat With Joy, is one of the books featured in Read Up. Order your paperback copy (or enough for your whole book group!) here (and you can get the paperback free when you order, oh, say, MY BOOK from IVP!)– or download your FREE e-version here.

My Flip-Flopping Reactions to Affirmation in Gifs

So yesterday I found out that my book, Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, won the Christianity Today Book Award in the category of Christian Living.

I never seem to take things in just one way.

One part of me does this:

…and tries to brush it off as no big deal.

But then the other part of me is busy doing this:

And then somewhere in between the skepticism and the overenthusiasm is when I start to feel very Mr. Rogers-y. Because I feel like I just want to thank everyone who has loved me for being me, encouraged me when I was discouraged, insisted that my words and thoughts had meaning, and urged me to press on with hope and confidence.

Friends, family, editors, publicists: you know who you are. Thank you.

 

 

“I Have Not Read This Book Before.”

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Katherine Willis Pershey, the (very talented) author of Any Day a Beautiful Change, has written a lovely review of my book in the Englewood Review of Books. I loved that she began by saying that she’s read most of the locavore/foodie books, and dreaded that my book might be a sort of “Pollan-lite” for Christians, but found herself saying “I have not read this book before.” And one of her favorite parts of the book was one of my favorite parts–a story about Jack and Edie.

Alas, her review is not readable online, but you can find subscription information for the (truly excellent) Englewood Review of Books here.

And (shameless plug) if you want to buy my book you can do so at Hearts & Minds Books, the IVP website, or Amazon.com.

 

 

“There’s Something For Everyone Here.”

The lovely Aubry Smith recently posted a review of my new book, which you may read in its entirety here.

But here are some of my favorite parts, with my comments italicized and in brackets:

“I’m also nine months pregnant, which brings its own set of complications to the table: I indulge in some cravings, but I have a bit of anxiety from reading too many baby books that warn us that “every bite counts,” and that promise if I just put all the right ingredients in my mouth, out comes a perfect, healthy baby (although, somehow all of my kids have survived the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper cravings). There is also the fear of gaining too much weight.”

{Yes!!! YES! I am fond of pointing out that during one pregnancy I lived on Canada Dry ginger ale and Breyer’s vanilla ice cream, and that during the other, I was all quinoa-kale-organic eggs-etc. One of my kids gets every virus that goes around. The other has hardly been sick a day in his life. Guess who was gestated on which diet? But that’s a post for another day…}

“Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that Stone is a realist who pushes us toward the ideal. Using William Webb’s hermeneutic of redemptive movement, Stone insists that we start where we are, and make slow movements toward embracing the vast goodness of food. Don’t eat in community yet? Schedule 2 or 3 meals and build from there. Can’t afford organic, local, free-trade, cage-free, or otherwise ethical food yet? Try making one meal per week that fits the bill and work up as you can. Never cook from scratch? Pick a simple meal or two to practice with, and when you’ve perfected them, pick another. There is something for everyone here.”

“I also appreciate Stone’s non-snobbish approach to food. So your friend serves you non-organic vegetables or meat raised unsustainably? Accept the gracious gift with love, just as it was offered to you. While encouraging us to care for creation, Stone also pushes us to love our neighbor. She doesn’t attempt to solve all the complicated ethical questions, but she does help us think through them and perhaps live with a little tension as we wait for God’s justice to fully come to our broken planet.”

“I’ve been craving cinnamon rolls for weeks – the gooey, homemade kind that usually brings me a lot of shame after eating it. You know what I did last week while in the middle of this book? I made some. I kneaded that dough for 15 minutes and longingly waited all afternoon for them to rise. I didn’t skimp on the ingredients to save calories. And when I pulled them out of the oven after dinner and served them to my family, I ate one. I soaked up the excitement and pleasure of my little boys who weren’t expecting dessert. I praised the God who put all these ingredients on earth just for our enjoyment. And I just really enjoyed my cinnamon roll.”

{Yay! YAY! I wrote this book hoping that it might help people enjoy God’s gift of food a bit more in a culture that has endless food anxiety, and to raise questions of justice and ecology and health WITHOUT adding to that food anxiety.}

Thanks, Aubry!

Nice People Saying Nice Things About Eat With Joy

I’m so grateful for the good words from diverse people about my new book. Here are just a few of them:

Brian D. McLaren (author, speaker and blogger at brianmclaren.net) said:

 “I’m not proud of this, but I didn’t start taking my eating habits seriously–or seeing them as part of my spiritual life–until I reached mid-life. I wish I’d started when I was in my twenties (or before), and I wish I’d had Eat with Joy as my guide. The beautiful mealtime prayers alone are worth the price of the book. A treasure for soul and body.”

 Tracey Bianchi, pastoral staff at Christ Church of Oak Brook and author of Mom Connection and Green Mama, said:

“This book made me hungry! Hungry for all that is good and beautiful about the art of gathering with others around a table. As a drive-thru mom I have struggled daily with my own connection to food for decades. Rachel helped me understand the true joy and gift of community, culture and a healthy connection to my food. It gave me nourishment, comfort and a deep understanding of the power of my kitchen table to heal and restore. A truly great read!”

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, said:

 “This book is a remarkable spiritual and practical guide to God’s most basic gift. Rachel Marie Stone takes eating to a devotional level, where food becomes a part of our healing, our relationship building and our gratitude toward God. My joy in eating is now increased as I can better realize the meaning and purpose of food, and the relationships built around it.”

 Lisa Graham McMinn, author of Walking Gently on the Earth and Dirt and the Good Life, said:

“When Irma Rombauer published The Joy of Cooking she couldn’t have imagined we’d need to learn to eat with joy eighty years later. But we do. Stone offers the backstory of our current food woes and dilemmas along with hopeful and redemptive responses. And all the while she invites us toward a practical, joyful celebration of just, good food.”

{Now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Officially releases on March 1.}