Learn how to converse better this summer with these great non-fiction how-to’s!
The Art of Civilized Conversation, by Margaret Shepherd Do you ever feel as though you’re woefully lacking in conversation skills? This was my mood when I decided I’d benefit from reading this elegant looking little blue book. And I’m glad I did. It was full of pointers on how to handle any conversational situation, from visiting a sick person in the hospital, to managing a conversation with different difficult people-types. Beginning with the basics of a polite conversation, each chapter shows you how to build a more interesting tete-a-tete so that you don’t have to worry about falling into taboo subjects or clichéd small talk. The authors also include do’s to practice and don’ts to avoid, in order to avoid embarrassment. I took lots of notes, but this little pocket-sized book would be a handy little volume to own. If you feel you could use a tip or two, this book is for you.
Praying in Color, by Sybil MacBeth One of my New Year’s resolutions is to improve my prayer life. Unfortunately, I think I’m lacking in conversation skills with God, as well as with other people! I’m one of those people who knows they should pray for things and other people, and intends to pray for them, and tries, but “Dear Lord, please help so-and-so” is about as original as my prayers get. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while, and was glad to finally check it out of the library. The author gets us out of our prayer box to show us how we can use art (even if it’s just doodling with markers) as a form of praying. The book is filled with the author’s own doodles. At first, I was a little hesitant that I could pray in this way. I’m still experimenting and trying to make this method my own, but so far I’m enjoying it. I don’t feel like have to the rules of praying in complete sentences this way, and it’s a little freeing. I couldn’t say I’d agree on doctrinal issues if the author and I were to sit down and have a talk about such matters, but then the book is really only on the subject of prayer and I feel I learned some ways in which I can communicate with my Lord better. God made us all creative in some way… could it be you were made to pray in color, too?