Book beauty is only cover deep, but truth goes to the bone


By Amanda Cleary Eastep Have you ever seen a beautifully decorated cake and thought, “Wow, that’s too pretty to eat”? Well, if you’re an avid reader and on Instagram, you will at some point see gorgeous “bookstagram” posts of popular fantasy novels. These still lifes are composed of almost-too-pretty-to-read hardcover books strung with tiny lights […]

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9 of the Most Important Books I’ve Read


By Amanda Cleary Eastep In the corner of our fifth/sixth grade Lutheran classroom was a narrow bookshelf full of books that were ours alone. Our parochial school had a library, a place I loved to visit despite the taunts of the older students who worked the desk: “You’ll never read this book. . .it’s too […]

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This is us: the story of midlife writers and co-conspirators

By Amanda Cleary Eastep It was a year ago November that Michelle Van Loon and I met for the first time. I was attending the Deeply Rooted conference in Chicago with my daughter and two friends, and Michelle was a speaker. She delivered her message about restlessness (which just happens to be my middle name) […]

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Just like a 1970s sleepover gone horribly wrong


By Amanda Cleary Eastep I stuffed my overnight bag into my narrow grammar school locker, already counting the red-handed seconds until I left my 4th grade troubles behind and walked two blocks to my best friend’s house for a sleepover. My presence always caused a bit of angst for my friend’s mother since–although I was […]

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Sinking your fists into the bread of life


By Amanda Cleary Eastep The man’s tattooed arms were up to the elbows in bread dough. I could so relate. Not to the guy’s past, to his former gang life in Los Angeles, but to that feeling of fists sinking into soft dough and spirit reposing on a whiff of yeast. He is one of the […]

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Do you feel lucky? Well, do you bookworm?

It was my lucky day. At least that’s what the neon yellow piece of paper sticking out of the library book said. Your Lucky Day Collection The medieval mystery I snagged from the New Arrival shelf just before the library closed appeared to be the perfect book for a weekend in Michigan, so, with unexpected […]

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Good (and Cheap) Reads for Young Adults (and Adults)

“If it’s not good enough for adults, it’s not good enough for children. If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grownup, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books.” –Madeleine L’Engle Not only should children read, they […]

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A couple of months back, one thing led to another… I started to follow the blog of Lena Roy, writer and granddaughter of famed author Madeleine L’Engle. Then she checked out my blog. The latest posting just happened to be about her grandmother’s influence on me and the time L’Engle signed my copy of A […]

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Tesser Well

By Amanda Cleary Eastep “Tesser well.” The handwritten words quiver across the novel’s title page, and I imagine the woman, then in her 80s, whose trembling hand penned them. “For Amanda” is written above the strange instruction, and below it, the name of my favorite childhood author, Madeleine L’Engle. In 2004, I mailed my 1976 […]

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