This really is the most fantastic time of year for books. It is hard not to feel like a kid in a lolly shop right now, with all the reading copies of the various books that are coming up in the next couple of months.
I am particularly spoilt for choice at the moment, with Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, Day after Night by Anita Diamant, Wonders of a Godless World by Andrew McGahan and Lovesong by Alex Miller sitting waiting to be opened – all treasured writers as far as I am concerned, all big new releases over the coming months.
However, I put them all aside for Have a Little Faith, which will be released world wide on September 29.
This is Mitch Albom’s long awaited return to non-fiction, after the phenomenal success of Tuesdays with Morrie, which has sold 12.5 million copies world wide since its original publication in 1999. Mitch is no one hit wonder. He is a talented musician, columnist, sports journalist and philanthropist, not to mention a very successful author. Five People You Meet in Heaven was the second bestselling US fiction title in 2003. The only book to beat it was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, which when you think about it, is a pretty funny combination.
The fascinating thing about Mitch is that he writes about such unfashionable subjects and he has not only a huge following, but the most passionate of advocats. Tuesdays with Morrie was a chronicle of the time spent with his dying college professor. What resulted was an examination of how to live, as well as a solution to fund his mentor’s crippling medical bills. Five People You Meet in Heaven is a fable about love and war, told through Eddie and the five people he meets in the afterlife.
Mitch is clearly interested in the big questions of life, but his style is simple and light. Occasionally (and I think unfairly) accused of being syrupy, his great talent is to take those big questions and unravel them for a readership who wouldn’t dream of picking up a book on philosophy. His is in turn thoughtful, approachable and funny – a pretty powerful combination. Look through his website – you’ll see what I mean.
Have a Little Faith starts with a request made by a former clergyman, for Mitch to write his eulogy. What follows is an 8 year relationship that concludes with the death of Reb. At the same time, Mitch becomes close to a former drug dealer who has found Jesus and established a struggling church in Detroit whose mission is to take care of the homeless. What follows for Mitch is a reconnection with faith, an acceptance of difference, a discovery of optimism.
It is a journey that a lot of people will be able to relate to. To read this book is to warm one’s heart.
(The book will be available on CD as well. There are no jacket images yet).