“An illuminating and refreshing, whimsical and weighty work of philosophy and apologetics and poetry in prose” — that’s how I described N.D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl when I was reading it a year ago. It inspired me to write some poetry, and it was one of those books that I couldn’t stop reading even if I was faced with pressing obligations or enticingly fun activities. In Notes, every page is dripping with meaning and beauty, every word hand-picked, and every sentence artistic and fresh. It is a book about Creation ex nihilo and the wonder of this spoken world. I bought this book for my best friend, practically impelled Charles to read it, and shared excerpts of it at staff devotions; I couldn’t over-share or over-sell this book.
“Evangelicals, and especially American Reformed ones, need to get better at conversational-literary-poetic prose” — these are the words I read on The Gospel Coalition‘s Facebook feed last week that caught my eye and immediately brought to my mind Notes by Wilson. It took me only a few seconds to scan the post and learn that these words were indeed an introduction to a second book of non-fiction by this gifted author. Within 5 minutes, I had read two book reviews on Death By Living, raved to my husband about my excitement to read this work, and downloaded the Kindle book. Unfortunately, the next few days were incredibly busy, and like a committed school teacher should, I focused on preparing to educate my students instead of caving to my own literary pleasures. But now I’ve had a chance to taste the book, and I agree with book critics that Death By Living is rich and full just like its predecessor.
In his review of the book, Derek Mishmawy of The Gospel Coalition compares Death By Living to Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl saying, “If the last one changed the way I thought, this one might change the way I live.” His review of the book is thorough and sophisticated, but I’ll be honest that I only skimmed it because I didn’t want any spoilers before I read the book myself. Mishmawy closes his critique with these words: “If you hadn’t picked up on it, Death by Living is a great book. Buy it. Read it. Give it away. Most importantly, though, try to live it.”
In 2007, John Wilson, the editor of Books & Culture: A Christian Review predicted that the name N.D. Wilson would “soon be widely known.” In his recent book review, he contends that Death By Living is N.D. Wilson’s best book yet.
N.D. Wilson is an exceptional author, and his books of non-fiction are incredibly worth reading (FYI: he has some imaginative and enjoyable fiction out there too). But in the words of the lovable LeVar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it!” You can buy Wilson’s books on Amazon.