Ink Slinger’s Review of Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

From Josh: Today’s book review is from a guest writer, Corey P, aka the Ink Slinger. Ink is a young aspiring writer, and a lover of books, movies, music, Science Fiction, Reformed theology, logic, history, guns, and the great outdoors. And Italian food.

His blog, the Ink Slinger, is one of the few where I read every post; I highly recommend it. You can also find Ink on Twitter.

He is reviewing Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N. D. Wilson. (Keep reading to the bottom, where you can enter to win a free copy.)


Notes from the Tilt-A-WhirlI’m going to start my review with a simple injunction: read this book. Comprende? Good. Let’s move on.

I first become aware of Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl a couple years ago, but I never gave it more than a passing glance. In hindsight, I must say that’s really too bad – this is a book I wish I had read much sooner than I did.

Wilson’s premise is that the world – this moist, round, inhabited, spinning ball, filled with flamingos (real and artificial), snowflakes, and human beings – is a work of art crafted by the ultimate Artist. He’s the Someone behind it all, for “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. Through Him all things were made…”

Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Skip the bowls of fruit and statues. Let the pages flick your thumbs. This is His spoken world. ( p. 8 )

Wilson explores this idea with wide-eyed, slack-jawed wonder: unapologetic and as contagious as the measles (only a whole lot better for you). He has Chesterton’s knack for showing us how extraordinary the ordinary really is. Look at the world around you. Be amazed. Be thankful you’re a part of it. Be oh so thankful…

But lest you think this is some sort of fuzzy-brained sentimentalist cakewalk, rest assured – it’s nothing of the sort. Childlike? Yes. Childish? Not on your life. Wilson may write with the whimsy of A.A. Milne, but he has the sharp-edged theological insight of a surgeon’s scalpel. He’ll nick you; more likely than not, he’ll slice you right open. But like every good surgeon, he won’t leave you that way; and when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you went under his knife.

The quality of writing throughout is top-notch. Actually, it’s several notches above top-notch. High praise, I know, but well deserved. It’s engaging, poignant, funny, and profound. You’ll laugh, you’ll pump your fist, and you’ll probably tear up (I did). You’ll find wordcraft in this book as enjoyable as anything found in a novel.

You’ll also find a veritable treasure trove of imaginative metaphors. As Tony Reinke observed, “Readers who seek a literary buzz of metaphorical intoxication will find it hard to put this book down, and once they do, may find it impossible to touch their nose with their fingertips.”

Be warned: Notes is also highly quotable. You’ll have to pick and choose, though, because you can’t bloody well highlight the whole book. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows. ( p. 157 )

If, by some chance, you are still unconvinced that this is a must-read, then I fear there is little hope for you.

I was asked to give this book a star rating. Five stars is generally the highest, but I’m going to break the rules and give this one six. Anything less just wouldn’t do it justice.

Note: If free books aren’t your thing, you can buy a copy of Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl on Amazon. This page contains affiliate links.

Book Giveaway

Congratulations to Kent Roberts, winner of this week’s book giveaway.

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  • amy

    This looks awesome! I’d be delighted for a chance to win :-)

  • Tricia

    Excellent review. I love Douglas Wilson’s zeal for life & wonder for God’s creation. Wilson is the Chesterton of our generation :)

  • Melissa Dow

    Of course, this isn’t Doug Wilson; this is his son, N.D. (Nathan). 

  • Persis

    Thanks for the great review and the giveaway.

  • Petra

    Another excellent review! 

  • Babyaarup

    Awesome review, can’t wait to read this one!

  • Dawn

    It sounds like an excellent read!

  • Michael

    Wasn’t interested in reading this till I read an interview with N D Wilson this week and he seemed like an astute guy.

  • Emily Woodham

    Ink Slinger, I couldn’t agree with you more! An excellent review of a fabulous book! Your comments about quoting the book are particularly spot on. ;)

  • Butterflyt05

    I love quotable books! Sounds great!!!

  • Caroline

    I cannot wait to read this book!  I watched the film version and I’m hooked already.

  • Dollymadisonetsy

    Ink Slinger is always such an excellent reviewer. He even makes me want to read the books that I’d generally avoid (like science fiction). :D I’ve heard lots of good things about this book, and I’d love to read it!

    Oh, and since I don’t have FB or Twitter, I shared on G+. I hope that’s okay.

    Constitution Girl 

  • Josh

    Thanks for letting me know about G+. That’s definitely okay.

  • Victoria

    I have been wanting to read this book for a while and this review just made it necessary!

  • Kent Roberts

    You’ve quoted this book a couple of times now.  I guess it’s time to track down my own copy.  Thanks for the recommend and review!

  • Josh

    Congratulations to Kent Roberts for winning this week’s giveaway, proving that the randomization doesn’t care whether you’re the first or the last to enter!