Book Review: Twelve Strands

twelvestrands_frontcover_300Title: Twelve Strands: Journeys with Asian Authors

Editor: Bernice Lee

Publisher: Graceworks

Price: SGD 15 (paperback) / SGD 11.20 (ebook)

 

Like many of my peers, I grew up on a diet of Western literature. From Enid Blyton to Jane Austen to Mark Twain to C.S. Lewis, these are some of countless works that millions over the world know. But when it comes to local literature, as it is in many developing countries, the numbers were few.

Thankfully today, we see marked growth in local literature across nations, and it is an exciting season. It is out of this that Twelve Strands presents the life stories of 12 Asian authors who all share one thing — the almost compulsive need to write.

Each author hails from a different country: Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines, to name a few. Some lived and breathed words from adolescence, others discovered them along the way. Some write children’s books, others pen essays, and still others produce evangelical materials and devotionals. One underlying gold thread weaves through all 12 stories — the call of God to the written word.

Although I connected with a few writing styles better than others, each tale was so particular to the author as a person that none should be discounted. It was fascinating to learn how circumstances that appear non-cohesive eventually come together. That’s not to say that the journeys were perfect or complete. Many rejections and dejection were experienced, and while several now happily declare their niches, few are still riddled with uncertainty. But through it all, God was faithful in leading them to their calling as writers.

This collection also opened my eyes to the literary opportunities to be had in the developing world. Growing up on Western literature was not a bad thing; I’ve gleaned invaluable wisdom from them. But now I also see that we have just as much to offer. Building up the local industry may be a difficult undertaking with all the grooming and honing and polishing still needed, but it is a worthy pursuit.

Twelve Strands was a light read that spoke volumes, because it has caused me to reflect on my own response to the call to write. Firstly, it comforted me to know that I am not alone in this journey. Secondly, it cleared my doubts and inspired me to keep going and, more importantly, to trust God more. He knows my future and where I should be going.

I believe Twelve Strands will also resonate with the general reader and not just the writer. Each of us are given a specific calling or gift, and this book affirms that whatever it is, if it is God-ordained, you can be sure that He will be there beside you bringing you and your good work to completion. It may take years and a few trials, but ultimately, God is the Author, and His stories are always the best.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book gratis from Graceworks, in exchange for an honest and independent review. The opinions are entirely my  own. If you’d like me to review your book, drop me a note here.

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Book Review: The Pattern

ThePattern_frontcoverweb_300Title: The Pattern: Discovering God’s Design for Marriage

Author: Dev Menon

Publisher: Graceworks

Price: SGD 12

 

Lately, there seems to be renewed discussions on the institution of marriage. The discourse goes beyond the “how-tos” of communication skills and financial management. Instead, it goes behind the scenes, focusing on ideas and principles that shape one’s view of matrimony. The common conclusion is that ultimately, marriage is to glorify God and testify to the gospel of Christ.

In his latest book, The Pattern, author and minister Dev Menon explores that same line of thought. But The Pattern is not just about what a God-glorifying union should look like. It hopes to reveal that an authentic, successful marriage is dependent on a proper understanding of God Himself.

Almost from the get-go, 1 Corinthians 11:3 is introduced, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (ESV).

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Book Review: Wherever You Go

P1070290 cropTitle:
Wherever You Go: A Conversation About Life, Faith & Courage

Author: Hannah Lau

Publisher: Graceworks

Retail Price: SGD 22 / RM 59.90

 

When a vision of God first captures us, we are often taken up with excitement, confident that the journey ahead would be filled with wonder and glory. But the truth is that fulfilling our calling is not a bed of roses. There will be seasons when it gets exhausting and confusing, and that is when our faith is stretched and tested.

Author Hannah Lau tackles this very challenge in her debut novel Wherever You Go, a work of fiction based on her own experience. The tale unfolds through the email correspondence of two young women, and delves into what it means to follow your dreams with courage.

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