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The Listening Book: The Soul Painting & Other Stories Hardcover – 31 Oct 2015
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Midwest Book Review A thoughtful and inspiring read from beginning to end, "The Listening Book: The Soul Painting & Other Stories" is especially commended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of their denominational affiliation This is a beautiful book, in words and images, and will appeal to old and young and all those in between. As the title suggests, the stories are perfect for reading aloud and could be used in a range of settings. The delicate images add another dimension. From fables to folk tales, from stories told around the camp fire to John Lewis Christmas ads, humankind responds to the power of story and to the meaning that narratives give us. Sophie Duffy, Author of 'The Generation Game' and 'This Holey Life'. Job 28 pictures the search for wisdom as digging for gold. The Listening Book has numerous nuggets to mine, embedded in stories that will help you to remember them. Steve Divall, Senior Pastor, St Helen's Church, North Kensington.
About the Author
James has had a variety of interesting learning experiences in his life, some from being a Baptist minister in the UK and then some from being a member of Cornerstone Community, a mission and discipleship community in Australia. He fancies himself as something of a storyteller, and this book is his first attempt to put some of the things he's learnt into words. James currently lives in Canterbury with his wife and five (yes, five) children.
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Looking forward to the next book by this author.
James Webb reads the book beautifully - my only comment should the audio version ever be reissued is that longer gaps between each story would be helpful. I found that each new story started very abruptly after the end of the last one, with little pause, meaning that you had not even a few seconds to process the end of one before you were into the next ...
Overall a book that's hard to categorise, but that is part of its appeal. A book to savour slowly, taking your time and pondering ...
I would give five stars simply on the basis that it packs far more punch than any coffee table book I know and the anthology combines well. Moreover, some of the rebukes made concerning modern day Christianity are well-deserved and need to be said. At the same time, as stories such as Look on the Bright Side remind us, all is not lost here, "there's always hope".
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
That is not to say that this is a children’s book. I think the stories appeal to all ages. The stories have that kind of timeless quality. I felt like I was reading a collection of myths, fables, or parables. They deserve to be read and reread. They are simple stories with many layers of meaning. The stories stuck in my mind and I found myself pondering their meaning throughout the day. Simple stories that opened my mind to complex and paradoxical questions.
I think the stories reflect the author's background and life. James Webb was a Baptist Minister, now living in Australia, with his family of five children. So these stories are of a spiritual nature, more precisely a Christian spirituality. I'm sure the book will speak to each reader or listener in unique and various ways, and the reader or listener will find their own nuggets of truth within each story. I'm sure I will be rereading the stories with pleasure discovering a little different meaning with each reading.
Here are some of the questions and and themes that stuck in my mind. We all walk our own path. Things don't always go as we plan, but hope can get us through them. Perhaps we find meaning in service to others. Accepting the trouble that life brings is the key to living life on life's terms. Christ came for the wounded and tormented, opening our eyes to see creation with the wonder of a child.
More questions to ponder. What kind of responsibility does the gift of grace bring? Are the ways of God so inscrutable that we must respond without expectation? Are we our own worst enemy, imprisoning ourselves by misusing the gifts that God has given us? Can we ever really hide our sinful nature? Has the Lord defeated death's grasp through his resurrection? Is the only sustenance we really need given to us by listening to the story...the Word of God?
These are only a few of the things I found in the storyteller’s stories. I'm sure you will find many more. But most importantly the stories are full of the joy and humor that life brings...all we have to do is listen...and James Webb makes it easy to hear the whispers of beauty and truths of life that are often hidden by the noise and clamor of everyday living. This is one of those rare books that will change your perspective of life...for the better. I am pleased to say that I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.
I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. It had many short stories that were meaningful and insightful for a deeper meaning of the Bible. There's nothing heavy, it's subtle as the blurb says but it's easy to understand. The stories all relate back to life and how we perceive it. I found this book relaxing.
James Webb did a great job not only writing these stories but also narrating them himself. I love hearing an author read their own book when they have a nice voice and he does. He has a nice, calming voice that I found refreshing.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."
I was given a copy of the audio book in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
I am Muslim and absolutely believe awesome healing and wisdom can come from sharing stories -- following the example Jesus, upon him be peace. I am grateful for the author following this tradition with excellence. The stories are never too long.
Of course there are things in the pages that don't ring true for me, but who reads to agree all the time? Gratefully, I highly recommend the book.