Book Reviews

Here is a collection of book reviews. There are some famous people scattered in there. So keep an eye out! Yes, to some of them I sent books.  And yes, they responded with gracious handwritten thank you notes of which I only printed a portion here! But if you send me a review, I will print it here too!

April Love-Fordham has discovered an utterly unique method for teaching the Bible: through the narrative of a novel that reveals the deepest meaning of a book of scripture… I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a fresh understanding of scripture.

–Dr. Kenneth Swanson, Rector, St. David’s Church, Roswell, GA

St. Francis and the Christian Life is a beautiful book. April’s descriptions of the Umbrian countryside and towns evoke a timelessness many of us associate with Franciscan spirituality. I can smell the olive trees and feel the breezes on mountain passes in the scenes that April paints. More importantly, she does here what we desperately need spiritual books to do: she prompts questions in us, as readers, in ways that help point us, as fellow pilgrims, in the direction of answers.

Jon M. Sweeney is the translator/author of Francis of Assisi in His Own Words and The St. Francis Prayer Book, and the fiction series for children, The Pope’s Cat. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife and daughters.

I am captured by James in the Suburbs.  You have provided one of the most interesting and accessible commentaries (and much more) that I have seen.

Steve Hayner, Past President of InterVarsity Press, President Columbia Theological Seminary, Board Member of World Vision, Decatur, GA.

April Love Fordham’s Disorderly Parables Series resonates with the women’s lives in our Bible Study Group. She stretches us beyond our comfort zone to prayerfully consider our fellow humankind. Whether it is considering them in time of need, in time of racial discrimination, in time of oppression, or in time of equal rights she brings the gospel to us in a language that relates to modern day. We highly recommend her books for your next study. — Stephanie Yuicus, St. Catherine’s Women’s Bible Study Leader

In the same way Clarence Jordan made the Bible relevant in the Cotton Patch of Southwest Georgia, in James in the Suburbs, April Love-Fordham brings the disruptive letter of James to our American suburbs whose inhabitants are anxiously in need of some true undefiled old-time religion.

Kirk Lyman-Barner, Director of US Field Operations, Fuller Center for Housing, Americus, GA

James in the Suburbs will make you laugh, think, and laugh again! –Chris MacDougal

An engaging and potentially life-altering encounter with the Song of Songs. In Dismantling Injustice, April Love-Fordham combines serious Bible study, spiritual development, and Christian ethics. While this is a good book for individual study and reflection, I suspect it will be especially powerful when used in a small group setting. I, for one, can’t wait to convene such a group.

Rebecca M. Blackwell, Retired Executive Presbyter, PC (USA); Steward of the Mysteries; Minister of Reconciliation

James in the Suburbs is not only a fun read, but a great way to study the book of James with contemporary relevance. Once you have read this book you will recall key principles when you go back to reread James’s epistle. Besides being a challenge to personal spiritual growth, I recommend its use for church adult Christian education. –Dr. Ronald Lee Firestone

In Dismantling Injustice, through an engaging tale of an unlikely friendship between a novice writer and a celebrated political figure in Washington’s halls of power, Love-Fordham crafts an imaginative but responsible commentary on one of the most enigmatic books of the Bible. In a bold re-interpretation of the Song of Solomon, Love-Fordham turns an enigmatic, often ignored biblical narrative into a powerful commentary on contemporary issues of justice, race, and hope.

Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning, Columbia Theological Seminary

A must read for every suburban Christian, James in the Suburbs is packed with memorable characters and sound Christian wisdom from a pastor who sees into the soul of the suburbs. –Tom Kennar, Team Rector, North End Team Ministry, Portsmouth, UK

Dismantling Injustice was an amazing story interweaving a challenging section of the Bible with a vivid recounting of the life of a fictional character who fought racism through his actions both personally and politically. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good page turner! — Karen Kraeger Goodreads

We used James in the Suburbs for a church-wide study.  It was and still is continuing to be a blessing to us.” –Salzburg International Christian Church

Dismantling Injustice is a welcome addition to my collection. – Jimmy Carter, Thirty-Ninth President of the United States

Dismantling Injustice got my attention! — Bishop Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

James in the Suburbs is a great book, not only for personal reading, but for Bible study groups as well. It is beautifully and cleverly written as a novel, but it is a great study of the Book of James. It is extremely well documented and comes with an index of journaling suggestions as well as group study questions. It is such a refreshing approach to studying a book of the Bible. I hope Dr. Love-Fordham will follow up with this approach to other books of the Bible. -Ron Bagwell

In Dismantling Injustice, with lots of humor, creativity and wisdom, April reinterprets the most avoided book of the Bible (Song of Solomon) as an ancient opera whose main character has to learn how to stand up against racism and oppression. She weaves this interpretation around a modern parable applying the lessons of the Biblical story, interspersed with directions on spiritual disciplines to help us apply the lessons from both stories. I learned a lot in my first reading, and I’m going through it a second time more slowly now, taking time to work through the daily spiritual practices that April recommends. This a a great book for personal reflection and for group study. I highly recommend it to anyone who ever wondered why the Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) is in the Bible and anyone seeking to find their own worth and live out their calling in a culture pursuing other values. – Larry Reed, Microcredit Summit Campaign, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government

James in the Suburbs is a wonderful interpretation of James in a modern setting. The “small but mighty” book of the Bible is presented in a very thought provoking manner. –Janet Georges, St. David’s Episcopal Church

I just finished using Dismantling Injustice as my morning devotional material over the last couple of weeks. This is not only a new take on the Song of Solomon for me, but April Love-Fordham presents it with a very readable and enjoyable story line. It was difficult to keep from reading the entire book at one time, but reading sections daily was my goal. The issues and lessons are very timely!! This would make an excellent small group study. – Mark Cooke, Associate Pastor at Massassas Baptist Church

James in the Suburbs is an amazing book that brings the Epistle of James to life and raises profound questions on the application of “James” to today’s life. Seen through the eyes of a varied group that gathers to study this letter, one cannot help but ask how they themselves would answer and respond to the issues raised. Likely the reader will be uncomfortable at times with the answers, but my view is this is the stirring of the Holy Spirit pointing us toward discernment and action. This book can be read individually but is also ideally suited to group study, either facilitated by a leader or by the group as a whole, as there is a robust study guide included with this work. Dr. Love-Fordham I eagerly await your next book. –William D. Sleeper

I started reading James in the Suburbs thinking of others and how it might be used as a catalyst for engaging my church in active service in the community. However, it provided guidance for my personal journey to be a better listener and to be patient with myself. –Ouida Myers

April Love-Fordham has brilliantly woven the story of Congressman Morgan and the story from the Song of Songs into an engaging tapestry that invites the reader to travel on the path with the characters as well as engaging in personal reflection and spiritual practice. This is refreshing because it provides a very concrete way for the reader to make a response to the impact of Dismantling Injustice as each section is read. — Dr. Catherine Meeks, retired Clara Carter Acree Distinguished Professor of Socio-Cultural Studies of Wesleyan College, the chair of the Beloved Community: the Commission for Dismantling Racism for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, the author of five books, the religion columnist for Huffington Post, a community and wellness activist, and a mid-wife to the soul

James in the Suburbs is a thought provoking book. April unwraps James in layers, converting one of the most difficult books of the Bible into a readable story applicable to our life in the 21st century. If you want to grow in your spiritual journey, I highly recommend that you read this book! –Donna

James in the Suburbs may be the most engaging biblical commentary I’ve ever read.  This is a must read for every Christian leader. –Kenneth Swanson, Rector, St. David’s Episcopal Church, Roswell, GA

James in the Suburbs is an excellent read that will touch your heart! It sends you looking inward, evaluating your faith. I identified with a character in this book that felt she was a good christian, doing God’s work. And then she passed by a teenager in distress – because it felt uncomfortable to reach out. I’ve been in those shoes, wanting to help someone but not feeling up to the challenge. Not long after reading that chapter, I took a leap of faith WAY out of my comfort zone to help someone. I felt inspired by this book. My faith in serving others has been energized as never before. I enjoyed reading this book on my own but it would be great for Bible study as well. Truly inspirational! –Sharon 

Wow, I have never read a book that I want to instantly start rereading again from page one. (And I’ve read A Lot.) James in the Suburbs is my new favorite book besides the Bible :). Thank You Lord! Thank you April Love-Fordham!  –Stacy Paprocki

James in the Suburbs is a True Christian View of the Church. Ms. Love-Fordham takes you on an interesting trip through the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. She outlines the behavior of the “Church” in the Suburbs. It’s an ideal book for use in group discussions among Christians. – BillyBob

James in the Suburbs was an incredible book! It was an engaging read that brought the Book of James to life for me. I could relate to all the characters and their trials and tribulations trying to lead a God-filled life. – Karen Kraeger

I have read many wonderful Bible commentaries and books on spiritual formation but never one that was such a “page turner”! I found myself very captivated by the characters and how they applied the book of James to their lives. James in the Suburbs is truly a worthwhile read. – Ellen D Lagrone