Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Then Sings My Soul (Special Edition) - Book Review

So I was recently sent Robert J. Morgan's book Then Sings My Soul (Special Edition) from Thomas Nelson for review. This book is essentially the same concept of the previous book Then Sings My Soul. What makes this the "special edition" is the fact that it focuses on telling the stories behind hymns that are traditionally associated with important American holidays. It includes sections for "Christmas", "Easter", "Thanksgiving", "Patriotic" and "Other Favorites".
     
     Let's face it, we usually want to know the stories behind the hymns we are the most familiar with. Those usually tend to be the ones associated with holidays. Plus, the "Other Favorites" sections includes all our favorites sang throughout the year such as: A Mighty Fortress, Amazing Grace, How Firm a Foundation, Rock of Ages, Just as I am etc. Over 150 "favorite hymn stories" in all.

     Sure this book delivers the background of many of our beloved favorites. If you're like me you have been singing these for the last 20 years or more and this type of book is truly interesting because of that. You get one side of one page telling the story, and across the page you get the actual hymn. Now that's not too bad especially if you like to play the piano, but if you don't play them it is kind of a waste to have the music right there. Yeah it does give you the lyrics like you're looking in an actual hymn book but in today's day and age you can easily find these online (or at church).
  
     The stories are mostly good, that is, satisfying my curiosity of the background of these age old church staples. Sometimes the "hymn stories" are lacking. You get the title at the top of the page in large font. Then a scripture verse or two that takes up three or four lines. Then you finally get to the entry. This leaves enough room in general until the author includes a quote or poem (which is frequent).

      As long as you're not expecting an exhaustive overview of the background of these hymns this book will be ok for you. You won't get a lot, but you will get more than you probably have in the past. Enough to satisfy your curiosity perhaps. If you are a worship leader at your church this book would help you since most entries are short enough to read during a service. If you can get book for cheap and you love classic hymns this book might be good for you too. For the general Christian person who is not very familiar with many hymns or doesn't have a strong attachment to many classic hymns, this book will be a complete miss.