The Old Yellow Book

While there are many different styles of music which I enjoy, in particular, I often like the words to the music of Country songs.  A recent hit song from Ken Chesney is called “I Go Back” where he recalls a lot of memories from his high school and younger years.

For a few entries about the Writing Life, I thought I’d go back to my early love of the printed page and books. It would give you a bit of insight about where I’ve been in relation to publishing.

During the last twenty years, many books have passed through my hands. Because I’ve interviewed and profiled more than 150 best-selling authors, their respective publisher sent me the background books to read and prepare for these interviews. I’ve also reviewed books for more than a dozen different magazines. For several magazines, I wrote a book review column and selected the books for each issue (of course taking my editor’s guidance—which was rarely given).  If you do this type of writing, then publishers will add your name and address to their “review copy” list and you will begin to receive many more books than you could possibly read. Some days I would receive multiple boxes with multiple books in a single day.

My bookshelves quickly filled with these books and it begins to take a bit of time to determine what to read next and why you are reading it. My pleasure reading went to almost zero and I wrote about the book or the author for almost every book that I read during this time.  Many of these books, I donated to a church library in Frankfort, Kentucky.  In fact, so many books were given the church petitioned their mayor to declare a “Terry Whalin Day.” Also this church had an elementary school which used these donated books and became accredited in part because of their extensive library. It’s no exaggeration to say that many books have passed through my hands over the last twenty years.

One book remains on my shelf.  Jesus the Revolutionary by H.S. Vigeveno (Regal Books) contains a simple cover with a drawing of the face of Jesus Christ. The pages are yellow in this old book and the cover says, “With forceful, flowing style, this book unmasks preconceived fantasies and presents the Jesus of the Bible in all His power, humility and love.” I purchased the book at a Logos Bookstore in Bloomington, Indiana which was just off the campus of Indiana University.  These printed pages showed me a different side of Jesus Christ than I’d ever seen before.  The book started my search and my personal relationship with Christ. You can learn more about the details of that experience through the article, “Two Words That Changed My Life.” 

I’ve personally been changed through the printed page. I’ve experienced the power of words to change life. It’s one old yellow book which I’ll be keeping as a constant reminder.

One Response to “The Old Yellow Book”

  1. violet Says:

    Terry, thanks for the link to your story. It encourages me greatly. You see, my 19-year-old son has embarked on the road to fame and fortune as a musician — in a secular punk band. His actions mirror yours in so many ways (smoking, drinking, partying etc.). His band is scheduled to go on tour in the U.S. this summer — Yikes!

    We dedicated him to God as a baby, and know God has a plan and purpose for him. It buoys me up to hear what an apparently insignificant thing God can use to turn someone around.

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