27 Reasons to Buy Any Book, Some of Which Apply Even if You Hate the Author

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There are many reasons to buy a book. Here are 27 of them:

  1. You have high hopes that a particular book might be the book that will change your life.
  2. You like the other things the author has written.
  3. You read an excerpt from the book and liked it.
  4. You want to be an encouragement to the author.
  5. You heard a great review about the book and you’re convinced it will be a good read.
  6. You’re bored.
  7. There’s nothing good on TV anymore.
  8. You’re looking for an alternative to arguing with relatives on Facebook about the current administration, and reading seems like a nice distraction.
  9. You think the author might be crazy and you enjoy looking for clues of that in their writing.
  10. You simply love reading anything.

Or, maybe you hate reading, but:

  1. You need a good doorstop.
  2. You need a decent paperweight.
  3. You want to have thick books lying around so people think you’re smart.
  4. You need a booster seat for your toddler at the dining room table.
  5. You’re super-rich and $10 won’t break the bank.
  6. You enjoy getting packages delivered to your door in two days or less because it helps you believe your Amazon Prime membership was worth it.
  7. You need another book with a navy-colored spine to fill in a particular bookshelf.
  8. You like to give books as gifts to other people.
  9. You like to give books as gifts to yourself.
  10. You love the author and want to help support his or her creative life (and his or her family of 8).

Or, maybe you hate the author, and:

  1. You think that if you support the author’s writing, they’ll keep writing, which you think is hilarious because you think they’re terrible at writing and by supporting them, they’ll go on humiliating themselves by writing drivel, which will make you smile.
  2. You think that if you buy enough of their books, they might become popular enough to go on a book tour, which might bring them to your town, which might give you an opportunity to humiliate them in real life, in front of other people, with difficult personal questions.
  3. You think most wealthy people are secretly unhappy, and if you help the author sell enough books, they might someday become wealthy, and, therefore, unhappy.
  4. You believe writers live tortured lives and want to help this particular author continue in that vein of work.
  5. You believe most writers never live above the poverty level, so you want to give the author just enough hope to continue. Heaven forbid they fail and take up something financially rewarding, like banking. Or a multi-level-marketing scheme.
  6. You hate the writer’s blog most of all and hope that if they succeed in book writing they will, for the love, stop sharing their blog posts on social media
  7. You think that if you support their fiction, maybe they’ll stop writing their poetry, which is even worse.

Oh. By the way, I have a book coming out! If any of these reasons sound appealing to you, please head HERE to find out more about my upcoming novel and see the various places you can preorder it.

Seven of the Best(ish) Quotes From 2013

Three years ago I compiled the best quotes from 2010, and it was moderately funny. Here are seven(ish) quotes from 2013 that got my attention:

“I’m basically the healthiest fat guy you have ever seen”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as he ate a doughnut on a late-night talk show

“The administration does not support blowing up planets”
Paul Shawcross, chief of science and space in the White House Office of Management and Budget,
rejecting a viral petition for the creation of a national-defense “Death Star”

“Nolle Timere”
– Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s final words (“Don’t be afraid”),
to his wife in a text message

“He broke up with me”
Matt Damon regarding President Obama<

Anything Miley Cyrus said in 2013.

“I don’t think anybody is 100 percent happy with the bill.
That probably means we have a pretty good bill”

– House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, on April 25,
after the National Rifle Association and Alabama Sheriffs’ Association
announced their support of a compromise version

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine”
Mayor Rob Ford

Anything you’d like to add to the list?

Who Our Daughter Was Praying To

Requests had been made by the kids that someone go to bed with them, at least for a few minutes, so Maile got down on the floor where they sleep when we are at her parents’ house. It was a wide stretch of blankets and pillows and a few stuffed animals who had somehow made the trip.

Maile had almost fallen asleep when Lucy nudged her.

“Mom, look at Abra,” she whispered with a huge smile on her face.

Abra had risen to her knees and was swaying front and back, her little blond hair swinging back and forth slowly. Her mouth moved, releasing unintelligible words in a constant stream.

“Is she praying?” Lucy asked, her smile turning into something akin to awe.

Happiness surged in Maile’s heart (alongside a tinge of pride). We weren’t completely ruining our children. They would follow in the faith of their ancestors. Perhaps, based on this sign alone, Abra was destined to be some kind of religious prodigy who would lead the people in prayer and thanksgiving.

Abra opened her eyes and, seeing she had an audience, laughed and ducked under the covers.

“Abra, come here,” Maile said, touched by that special moment.

Abra swam through the blankets to Maile and Lucy.

“Abra, were you praying?” Maile asked.

Abra giggled and nodded. So it was true. But then Abra spoke.

“I was praying to Santa Claus.”

Sigh. ‘Tis the season.

The Problem With Hard Work

IMG_1293Where I grew up few things are more admirable than hard work. Calluses, blisters, and sore muscles are signs of worship to God. Short grass, clean cars, and weedless gardens are the result of extreme holiness. Waking up before the sun or working long after dark are indications of piety.

* * * * *

There’s a legend that circulates here in Lancaster County. It says Amish women have an unspoken competition with each other on Monday mornings to see who can get their laundry on the line first. I don’t know if the legend is true or not, but I’ve driven in a car with friends past those orderly stretches of clothes waving on a long line between a house and a barn, and the feelings of guilt experienced by those of us in the vehicle have been palpable.

“I have so much to do around the house,” my friends mutter under their breath. “Look at all that laundry that woman has already done today, by hand.”

I think about how I I slept in until 7:30 that morning, and the remorse is so heavy that in that moment I am certain my eternal fate has just been sealed.

* * * * *

When I was a kid, there were only two reasons you ever sat down: to eat supper, or to adhere to the Sabbath. Even on Sunday the sitting was only acceptable if it was on a hard bench, or the floor. During the week you could start breakfast at the table but the last few bites must be eaten on the fly as you’re walking out the door, an illustration of how sorry you were that you hadn’t started working as soon as you stood up out of bed that morning.

Armchair recliners were clearly of the devil, as were pillows and cleaning ladies. Of course you could be a cleaning lady, but you couldn’t pay one to come clean your house. Pay someone else to scrub your toilets or wash your windows? What were you, some kind of lazy city-slicker?

I often found myself sitting around on Sundays listening to the adults humble-brag about how hard they had worked that week, how many hours they had put in, how many fingers they had lost.

Yes, that’s right. How many fingers they had lost. One particular man I remember had a hand missing at least six digits.

“It’s a pity about all those missing fingers,” someone said after he left.

“Yeah, but he sure is a hard worker,” their neighbor replied, getting up and walking around the room just to keep the feeling of relaxation from settling in too deep.

* * * * *

“The Lord helps those who help themselves” was a regular saying in these parts, although it can be kind of a silly thing to say if you think about it, as if God’s willingness to act is somehow tied to my ability to put in a 16-hour day. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against hard work. I’ve inherited my share of Anabaptist genes. I still get a kick out of sweating, of working the earth, of maintaining order.

But I’ve also seen how this little idol of hard work saturates the minds of those who worship it. Many a father went before the idol of hard work and laid his family on the altar. Many a judgment was made about those in poverty, that they don’t work hard enough, that the answer to all of their problems is a little dirt under their nails, a little ache in their shoulders. Many a beautiful moment was missed, because the enjoyment of that moment would have required a pause in the action or an “unproductive” minute.

We still joke about it, though, how much we love to work. We laugh at ourselves, because we know that we often take it to the extreme. But after the jokes settle, we still whisper in admiration, “That guy sure knows how to work,” or “I don’t know how she does it all.”

* * * * *

“I don’t know how to live in this county,” someone from the west once told me, “because all people ever talk about here is work. It seems like no one has any hobbies. It seems like no one does anything just for the fun of it.”

I’m learning how to rest. In fact, just the other day I sat in my arm chair for no apparent reason. On a Thursday. At 2:00 in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure I felt the rumbling of my grandfathers rolling over in their graves, but that’s okay.

They’ll get over it.

Crisco: Superman’s Weakness

Today I’m posting over at Deeper Church. The post is called “When Crisco is Kryptonite and Candles are Stars.” Here’s a taste:

The kitchen is an explosion of flour and sugar. Cade, Lucy, Abra and Sam sound like chattering monkeys. It is cookie-making day.

Mouths are streaked with chocolate from smuggled chocolate chips. Sam hides behind the sofa, eating cookie dough. Abra inexplicably has flour on the back of her head.

“Okay, Cade,” Maile says. “Pass me the Crisco.”

“Crisco,” Cade says, then adds authoritatively. “That was superman’s weakness.”

Click HERE to go read the rest.

Democrats and Republicans Finally Agree On Something

In a last ditch effort to avoid driving the nation over the quickly approaching “fiscal cliff,” Democrats and Republicans finally agreed on something and called in two high-end consultants: Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner. It was a brief show of solidarity emerging after weeks of name-calling and insults.

Earlier reports remained full of uncertainty as to the exact identification of the consultants, but it was soon confirmed when multiple wooden crates (labeled “Acme”) were discovered floating in the Potomac. Various explosions and an annoying “beep! beep!” also emerged from the White House from time to time.

One Senator (who wished to remain anonymous due to security issues surrounding the negotiations) was asked why these two were chosen over other, more experienced financial heavyweights like Warren Buffet or the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“It’s business as usual,” the Senator muttered, pushing past the microphones. “They’re looney tunes in there. Someone got fixated on that “fiscal cliff” term and argued that Roadrunner always avoided the drop-off. But Wile E. Coyote keeps interrupting with his British accent. It’s throwing everyone off their game.”

Sources say no meaningful concessions were made by either side. As frustration increased, Democrats began calling for Roadrunner’s IRS returns, wondering if perhaps they were dealing with another wealthy individual trying to avoid higher taxes. Republicans, meanwhile, questioned the status of both consultants’ nationality and began processing deportation papers.

Neither consultant was available for comment.

It would appear the government is trying to save face tonight as box after box of Acme products have been removed from the Congressional buildings. These include, but are not limited to, an anvil, multiple detonation devices, and rocket-powered roller skates.