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Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies Paperback – June 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre is professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California. She has written dozens of articles and reviews in such journals as The Washington Post, Theology Today, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Christianity Today. She is also the author of Dwelling in the Text and A Healing Art: Regeneration through Autobiography.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802848648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802848642
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Diana Harkness on February 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book with its 12 chapters is a wonderful manual for reading intelligently and writing well. Replete with examples of good writing as well as being well-written itself, this book could help create a literate culture. The 12 chapters are: 1. Love Words 2. Tell the Truth 3. Don't Tell Lies 4.Read Well 5. Stay in Conversation 6. Share Stories 7. Love the Long Sentence 8. Practice Poetry 9. Attend to Translation 10. Play 11. Pray and 12. Cherish Silence. These should give you an indication of what the book contains and how useful it is.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Almelle on April 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's "Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies" is a beautiful meditation on words from the perspective of a Christian scholar who teaches the English language and literature.

I loved the poetry excerpts she discusses, and her thoughtful meditations on caring for words, reading, conversing, telling stories, enjoying poetry, practicing translation, praying, playing, and dwelling in silence - a needed counterpart to all our words!

My only critique is that at times, her critical words towards culture are a bit clang-y, and perhaps not in the way she intended. But overall, a book that thrills as you taste the words and read them aloud!
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With the poet's heart, a theologian's tongue, and...I want to say, something like a surgeon's scalpel, Marilyn McEntyre tries to help us resurrect truth-telling in public discourse, in our writing and reading, thinking and praying. I found delight in her humor and her wit. (Her lively discussion of that latter word is worth the price of the book.) I cannot commend this book highly enough.
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Marilyn Chandler McEntyre believes that we as a culture, generally, and as a faith community, specifically, have not stewarded well the gift of language. After making her case that the Word cares about words, she shares twelve thoughtful strategies to steward language: Love Words, Tell the Truth, Don't Tolerate Lies, Read Well, Stay in Conversation, Share Stories, Love the Long Sentence, Practice Poetry, Attend to Translation, Play, Pray, Cherish Silence.

Two phrases from the author most relevant during to the U.S. in an election year:

"...two other points worth mentioning about the consequences of language abuse: as usable words are lost, experience becomes cruder and less communicable. And with the loss of the subtlety, clarity, and reliability of language, we become more vulnerable to crude exercises of power."

and

"habitual verbal promiscuity" (aka, thoughtless hyperbole, unexamined metaphors, slogans and sound bites, grammatical confusion, ungrounded abstractions, overstatement, and blather)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By trobaritz21 on October 1, 2010
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While I do not necessarily agree with everything Marilyn Chandler says, I find myself enjoying this book's lyrical prose and her reflections upon the importance of words. I especially enjoy her description of felicity and her exhortation to be truthful in descriptiveness.

A friend who recommended this book claimed that it "changed her life." While it has not had that great an impact on me, I will enjoy poring over it at least several more times.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Libraries strong in discussions of language literacy, and how language can be restored will find a fine acquisition in Caring for Words In a Culture of Lies, a survey of how to preserve the vibrant relevance of spoken and written language in society. Chapters provide plenty of literary references as they discuss the nature of reading and analytical thinking and draw connections between this and how the classics are written. Perfect for college-level libraries strong in language analysis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.R.B. on May 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
A beautifully written introduction to language, reading, writing, speaking, contemplation, and story-telling for a broad range of students. I've taught this text for 3 years now to college freshmen and consistently receive positive feedback from them at the end of the semester; and the feedback is about the text, not my teaching! The book is divided nicely into 12 "Stewardship Strategies" that fit well into a 15 week semester. One of my favorite chapters: "Love the Long Sentence."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. A. Strand on September 24, 2011
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This is a deceptively short book, but it is like a fine meal to be savored bite by bite. The author appreciates language well used and it shows glowingly on every page. Although originally written for a religious audience, it's really fine for anyone who needs reassurance that there still are people out there who care deeply about such things. To be recommended for language teachers, students and those who continue the tradition of the love affair with the English language.
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