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Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl


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Product details

  • DVD
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc; DVD edition (23 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1418550787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1418550783
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,512,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

N. D. Wilson is a best-selling novelist, professional daydreamer, and occasional screenwriter. He enjoys hilltops, callouses, and the smell of rain on hot asphalt. He and his wife have five children, and he is currently a Fellow of Literature at New Saint Andrews College, where he teaches freshmen how to play with words. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film presents a Christian, theistic, world-view. Everything around us is "miraculous". It is very thought-provoking. It is well-made. Its style is partciularly suited to young adults and mature teenagers - lots of fast sound-bites. It would make good viewing for a group that was interested in discussing it afterwards.
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By Mrs Anna Hembury on 26 Oct 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Delicious read, embracing physicality and abstract thought, Plato and poop! A book about everything which at once examines detail with a microscope whilst stepping back for the big picture. Soul food :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 150 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
My favorite book of 2009 25 Jun 2009
By Jared Totten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the span of one paragraph, N.D. Wilson made me break out in goosebumps then made me laugh and cry at the same time. His writing in Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl from Thomas Nelson Publishers evokes emotion like the best fiction, scratches the brain like the best philosophy, and stirs a love for Creator and creation like the best theology.

His bursts of thought are not always clear-cut and linear, rather they seem to be confusing and unrelated at times. As his ideas shape the chapters, however, and the chapters form the book, a step back reveals a beautiful piece of work.

And this, I think, was no accident. Wilson's premise is that the universe we live in is a work of art and the masterpiece of The Artist. It is a drama, a play, and God is the Author. And so, just as his writing style reflects, there are surprises, twists, and turns. It doesn't progress in an uneventful, gradual incline.

The best dramas have real tragedies, the best paintings have both shadow and light. Thus it makes sense that the best of all possible worlds made by an Artist/Author will have real tragedies, both shadow and light.

My favorite book of the year, hands down.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
TILT 22 July 2009
By Alexis K. Wisniewski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure where to begin with this one, or how to communicate everything I'd like to without re-typing the entire text here.

I laughed - both that genuinely amused kind of laugh and that startled out of my comfort zone awkward laugh. I teared up - both from heartache and gladness. I underlined and bracket-ed and read pages at a time out-loud to my poor, unsuspecting husband. I gushed and I quit writing before I ever really began because Wilson has captured everything that is both horrid and beautiful in the world in every perfectly-crafted phrase I could have ever dreamed to pen.

So let's start here: buy this book.

Wilson uses words like Rembrandt used hues to establish himself as the 21st century's C.S. Lewis. The 21st century's C.S. Lewis, with an extra shot of eccentric. Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl presents life and creation as God's greatest masterpiece by evaluating the work as a whole, musing on the Artist Himself, and analyzing every colorful or dreary detail. Wilson's Notes will expand your view to appreciate creation at large, and focus your gaze to relish the details - soft and fuzzy, or dark and painful - at the same time.

And the language is wonderful. The whimsical cover and first taste of the Preface combined to make me wonder if this wasn't going to be a little pretentious, self-important, and/or exhausting. If this wasn't just a guy who likes being a little silly and a little random trying to use his gift with words to justify an entire book. That fear was quickly relieved. Substance upholds immaculate style, without waivering, for 200 pages.

Wilson confesses early on that he writes to believers. He references scripture and theology without much explanation or hesitation, but the book may still be a delight for spiritually-minded non-Christians who enjoy good art. My only regret is that he does not make a stronger, clearer case for salvation in Jesus in the one chapter that does address eternity. Admittedly, that's not his aim with the book, but part of me wonders if it isn't a missed opportunity. (The other part of me wonders if his gentle, almost vague approach isn't exactly what some people need to hear, so I hand Holy Spirit His job description back.)

I started this book on Monday evening and finished it Wednesday. And I think I might just start at the beginning again. It's encouraging, amusing, and heart-warming. Notes makes me want to live louder, love deeper, and laugh harder - to throw back my head and let go of the safety bar because we all know it's just for show anyway.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Rembrandt and Van Til have a baby...it is ink on a page. 22 July 2009
By C. Schneeberger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'Notes' is truly a small slice of heavenly art; a picture of what is and where it is going. As a doctoral student in philosophy, a minister, and resident of the whirling ball I can honestly say that this book captures something of the unity and diversity of God's glory that many others do not.

Unlike other commentators (and no offense) I take Nate at his word that there is intention in every page. The work is like a tapestry, not a scratch and sniff. One must dig, wait, watch the thread, hold on, and not let seeming confusion confirm suspicions of incongruity.

The book is a mirror to redemptive history: many stories, one great purpose and goal and God. I enjoy Don Miller, but this is no wannabe. Nate brings a fresh brush stroke, a wisely used artists' pallet to the exposition of the beauty of a universe where God is utterly huge...and you...dear reader, are not. Read this book for a feast of the fantastic.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"Tilt" Review 27 July 2011
By Reid Roger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I first heard about this book before I went to Sweden. My sister recommended it to me. She seems to know my interests well, so I listened to her and gave it a try. However, after reading a few pages of the book, I returned it to her. Wilson seemed a little too eccentric to me. And, at the time, I was in a phase where I wanted an honest memoir, with straight up introspective thoughts and stories.

"Tilt" isn't written like this, a little bit, but it's more like a poem. A very thought provoking, colorful poem. After getting home about a year later, I had some questions about God, and some pessimism towards life. This book approaches both, Wilson makes a compelling front to see and understand reality. Some of the themes of the book are: life, people, beauty, heaven, and hell. After I had started the book a second time around, I found myself enjoying it, and read to the end, including the special-thanks-to part.

The poetic style of writing in the book may take a while to adjust to, but after you do, it becomes addicting, and terribly amusing. It is one of the most engaging books I have read. Granted, you do need some imagination for his style, you must find some way to create your own stories through his writing. To create a film of sorts in your head. For example he talks about bugs a lot. At first I was really annoyed, "seriously, stop talking about ants, I stepped on one yesterday, you are making me feel guilty." But, after a while you start seeing the beauty, insight, and humor in his writing of bugs.

There is one part in particular where he gives a colony of ants human characteristics/comparisons, that of having a civilization, thoughts/dialogue, and fear. Somewhere during the reading you need to see the ants faces with human reactions, with human emotion and reaction. Once you can visualize that (and he usually helps out, through giving them dialogue or ideas), it becomes quite humorous. This type of reading may sound weird, but it is sort of like an animated film, with animals as the main characters. His writing does at times flow like a current of consciousness. To be honest, I like it. I feel as if I am having a conversation, and that sometimes I am asking him these brilliant questions, or creating these great illustrations that I personally cannot always find the words to, but Wilson does it for you, or rather, with you.

I have this habit when I read something insightful, or witty, to tag the bottom corner of the page. Most books I read have 10 or less. This book boasted 23. It spoke to me. Wilson digs deep and encounters our most important questions and themes. Ones that I think need to be addressed before you pick up the next novel, or watch the next blockbuster. I am not saying that this book is the one with all the answers, it isn't, but it provides a great start. Wilson makes you start to appreciate the small things (like bugs), and the big things (God and life). He also challenges you to address and question the difficulties of life, pain, death, silence, and work.

Here are a few sections from the book I enjoyed:

1. "When I lie on the ground, face down in the carpet, penitent with thankfulness for a life undeserved, for beauty and happiness unmerited, grateful for the stars and the starlings, for the grass and the leaves..."

(I am quick to realize and question suffering (see my last post), but rarely do I offer its rival the same reflective attitude. I will ask, "why this suffering, I didn't ask for this." But another question could be, "why this happiness, I didn't ask for this.")

2."The thing about Christians is that we usually want to pick one aspect of this world, one aspect of God's personality, and then stick with that."

3. "A daughter's face emerges from my chest, smiling beneath my chin.
`I cannot stay here forever,' she says simply, with her eyebrows high. She is wise.
I smile. `Why not?'
`Because I will grow. I will be too big and you will be old and sparkly.'
`Sparkly?'
`Yes. And then you will die.'
I laugh. She remains serious.
`And then I will get old and sparkly and I will die, and my children will put me in the ground.' "

For me, this book wasn't perfect, but it was close. Some of his ideas are not completely original, but his way of presenting them are. In one or two parts of the book I didn't see the best logic, and some deep questions are left in the air. And, there were still points where I had to adjust to his style of writing. Part of me wishes he had talked about Jesus more too, but I understand that wasn't his direct intention for this book. Regardless, I thought this was an exceptionally well written book. And I would recommend it to almost anyone, hobbit and man alike.

My rating: 4 ½ (out of 5) scoops of Butter Pecan ice cream. Very satisfying. (And yes, I did just have a bowl of butter pecan ice cream a few minutes ago, however I think I had 6 scoops)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Wide-Eyed Wonderful Book 24 May 2012
By John Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most fascinating topics I studied during my time in college was synesthesia. Translated literally, this means "joined perception", and basically refers to a condition in which someone simultaneously perceives one sensory input with multiple senses. For instance, someone might hear the smell of fabric softener, or know exactly what the color blue tastes like.

The first time I ever thought I might have some idea what this could be like was at a Blue Man Group show in Las Vegas. My senses were on overload to the point when I could barely tell where the boundaries were between sight, hearing, and touch. (This was by design of course; BMG aims -- and often succeeds -- at confusing the senses. They even have a song called "Synaestetic".) I loved it.

Reading this book was sort of like that. As I read, it seemed that every one of my senses was firing at once. It looked, smelled, sounded, felt, AND tasted good.

It did take me a little while to get into this book, however, but that's because I was trying to read it, rather than to experience it. Upon first reading, I felt like I was living inside the mind of someone who is WAY smarter than me. I took the writing style to be a stream-of-consciousness type prose, and I wasn't sure where Wilson was going.

By about the end of the second chapter, though, I realized that the mistake was in my approach to the book. Trying to read it line-by-line was a bit like trying to enjoy a Rembrandt painting by staring at individual brush strokes. So I went back to the beginning, and began approaching Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl as a piece of art.

Wow, what a difference!

It wasn't long before I began to truly appreciate what Wilson had accomplished with this book. Theologians often talk about two types of God's revelation: the specific (his Word) and the general (his World). Scores of great books have been written investigating God's Word. This makes sense. Written words can help make sense of God's written Word.

But what about His World? Can words ever suffice to explore the depths of what God has revealed in Creation? Romans 1:19-20 tells us that God's "invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." Men have wasted many words trying to parse out exactly what that means. Valiant apologetic efforts have been aimed at persuading those who "suppress the truth", but all too often they result in simply accusing the unbelievers of being fools. It may be true, but strangely, calling someone "fool" rarely wins the lost (much less an argument)!

What N.D. Wilson has done, then, is simply brilliant. Rather than try to tell readers how God's attributes are made plain in nature, he shows us. As the subtitle says, he writes with "wide-eyed wonder" at the world around him. By pointing out how truly amazing many every day occurrences really are, he reminds us how rarely we take the opportunity to witness God's glory in the things that are made.

Along the way, he winsomely interacts with the many philosophers who offer alternative explanations for life and the universe around us. Kant, Neitszche, Darwin, Hume, Rand... all leave the careful observer of the divine Artist's handiwork wanting, for none have offered anything so compelling as the Bible's own description of the origin and nature of things. Better than anything else I've ever read, this book truly makes this plain. The truth was there all along; I just needed help to see it.

Wilson describes us as characters in a play, lines in a poem. We live do, after all, live in the greatest story ever told; one which the Poet himself entered as a fellow actor upon this very stage! I am grateful for this book, which has helped me to look with a renewed sense of wonder at God's self-revelation in the things that surround me all the time. May I never lose this wonder!
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