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A Season For Reading

‘Tis the season to be thinking about those last-minute gifts. Splurge on the
calories and have some Christmas candy, visit your neighbor, surprise someone
with an unexpected act of kindness, or just spend some time reflecting on the
year. If you need some gift ideas, check out these books for the folks on your
list.

Liz Curtis Higgs is back with another batch of lessons in Really Bad Girls of
the Bible (Waterbrook Press, $12.95). In this sequel to Bad Girls of the Bible,
Ms. Higgs chooses eight more women who are "slightly less-than-perfect"
to teach the reader all about the sovereignty, power, and mercy of God. Each
woman’s story is told from a modern-day fictional viewpoint, interjected with
bold reality and the well-known Higgs humor, then retold using the Biblical
facts of the story. Whether the reader is a "bad girl" or not, there
is much to be learned from these women’s mistakes.

If you have a train collector to shop for, then check out Kincaid Herr’s book,
The Louisville & Nashville Railroad (University Press of Kentucky, $35).
Herr was an employee of the famous L&N railroad for more than 40 years,
with this book being a compilation of a series of articles written for L&N
Magazine between 1939 and 1942. Herr covers all aspects of the L&N history,
including its role in the economy, its role in war, and its role in expansion.
Included are many photographs throughout the book showing the changing faces
of the railroad over the years.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, $25) is the fictional story of a
potential ministerial student in Goforth, Kentucky. He is challenged by the
life questions he is asked by his professors and wonders if he will ever find
the answers. Later as a seminary dropout turned barber in his small rural town,
he discovers some of these questions weren’t so difficult after all when he
takes the time to listen to his customers. Jayber tells from his perspective
all the lessons he learned from his friends and neighbors about life, love,
and faith.

For the poet on your shopping list, Ultima Thule by Davis McCombs (Yale University
Press, $11) is a great choice. McCombs, a native of the Mammoth Cave area of
south-central Kentucky, is this year’s winner of the Yale Series of Younger
Poets competition. His poems, dealing with both his own experiences as a cave
tour guide and the age-old history of the cave, allow the reader to mentally
explore the miles of mystery Mammoth Cave provides. The reader is able to sense
what it felt like as an early cave explorer who found new passageways or fossilized
glimpses of the past.

Scrapbooking has quickly become the hottest trend for capturing and keeping
life’s important moments. Mollie Jameson has designed a gift book for just this
purpose with Merry Christmas, Daddy ($39.95). She originally created the book
as a gift for her husband, then developed it into a do-it-yourself book for
others. Copies of her own pages are included for reference, but are removable
from your finished copy. A photo stencil and stickers of family-oriented quotes
are included to be used as you wish. A portion of the sales from this book will
be donated to the SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) foundation in memory of
Jameson’s nephew, who died from SIDS at three months old. What a great gift
for the children to present to Dad on Christmas morning.

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