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The power of words

"The power of words" Continued...

Issue: "Millions cut down," Jan. 17, 2009

He draws frequently from his own family for the skeleton of a plot. ("I don't get in trouble because I write with love about them rather than indictment.") He starts with a truthful experience and then asks basic questions: "What if that happened? What would I see? What would happen next? What would that be like? What would be the effect on the next generation?" His books are full of "people making steady mistakes and reckoning with that."

Writing about sin can err in two directions, he says: toward pornography or toward pablum. "It's a fine line-we need to look at it but need to see depravity in the light of Christ. When you're a participant you're sinning. . . . It's all reliant upon how the author renders it. That is the way readers receive it."

After teaching, Lott heads home, cooks dinner, and sits down to watch a program like Amazing Race or Survivor. He likes them because they "strip people bare and show what their make up is, what their moral character is, and why people do what they do."

A good day ends with Lott reading a good book. A perfect day ends with him reading a Patrick O'Brien novel "with the knowledge that there isn't an end . . . that there's not a closed amount of Patrick O'Brien."
(Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to reflect the correct spelling of Bill Frisell's name.)

Pay as you go

By Susan Olasky

Remember when your mom put those (ugly) lace-ups and other school-year purchases on summer layaway? With money tight and credit crunched, layaway as of 2008 is back.

Finding favorites

By Susan Olasky

One of my favorite discoveries this year has been the English Standard Version online Bible reading plans (esv.org/biblereadingplans). The website offers several different plans-Book of Common Prayer Daily Office, Through the Bible, M'Cheyne's, etc.-to take a reader through the whole Bible in a year. Readers can subscribe to an RSS feed, download podcasts, or get the daily reading on their mobile device. The audio feed, read by actor David Cochran Heath, allows me to hear the passage as I read it. I now also listen to a chanted version of the daily psalm at the website of the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood (llpb.us/Canticles-Psalms-Ants.htm).

One of my favorite books as a child was Louisa May Alcott's An Old Fashioned Girl. When society girl Fanny's father goes bankrupt, she learns what her friend Polly Milton always knew: Poverty can be the mother of creativity. In these tough economic times, many of us will be learning or relearning that lesson and learning to do more with less. That may increase the popularity of websites like www.instructables.com, which is full of ideas (and instructions, both written and pictorial) on making items ranging from duct tape messenger bags to homemade chocolate chapsticks and sculptures out of recycled watches.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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