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Porch Talk: Stories of Decency, Common Sense, and Other Endangered Species (Porch Talk series #1)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  287 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Beloved American storyteller Philip Gulley evokes a time when life revolved around the front porch, where friends gathered, stories were told, and small moments took on large meaning. In today's hurry-up world, Gulley's observations are frank and funny, reminding us of the world we once shared, and can again.

With poignancy and humor, Gulley writes about small-town life, th
Unknown Binding, 170 pages
Published May 22nd 2007 by HarperOne (first published 2007)
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Jun 11, 2009 Pat rated it really liked it
Finally, someone else who is a liberal Christian and thinks that fundamentalist are tyrants who want everyone else to believe like they do or else. I really enjoyed this!!!
Jessica A Kramasz
This was a fun an easy to read book, with a laid back style and interesting tidbits wisdom. I enjoyed it, but must warn of serious theological errors. The author is a Quaker, so of course one must expect Quaker theology and it's errors to be evident in his writing, but beyond that Gulley is a universalist and makes that claim in the book.
Jul 20, 2010 Jaime rated it really liked it
A book that's full of charm, anecdotes, and thought-inspiring passages. Favorites include chapters on 'the social compact' -- the idea of collective responsibility, and 'the slow life' -- with its reference to a Carl Honore's book "In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed" and the phenomena of "seeking to live at what musicians call the tempo giusto (the right speed). Some good lines follow:

p.7 "' sure to marry someone you can be silent with and not be anxious.'"

p.69 "Beware of
Philip Gulley wrote two wonderful books (with James Mulholland) about God's love and grace. They have been a major inspiration to my spirituality and to my life. This means that I have great expectations from every book I read by Gulley. I am afraid that this book did not meet that unreasonable hope.

This book is not specifically about God's love and grace in terms of Universalism. Although love and grace permeate much of what Gulley writes about. This is a different subject. In this book Gulley
Nov 07, 2015 Kristin rated it really liked it
Once I find an author I enjoy, I like to read more and more of their work. This is my second Gulley book, having read If the Church Were Christian. This book is a series of short essays on life. In the first essay, Gulley lightly attributes some of the downfalls of society to our loss of the front porch, where conversation happened and people simply interacted with one another. This book has characteristic Gulley insight, sprinkled with humor and personality. He shares eccentricities (who has 64 ...more
May 25, 2013 Brittany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The number of times I heard the voices of adults back home coming through in this narration were too numerous to even guesstimate. This is one of the most enjoyable and funniest books I've ever read. When I first saw this book at my local library, I thought of the song "If the World Had a Front Porch" by Tracy Lawrence. He says in that song: "If the world had a front porch like we did back then,/ We'd still have our problems but we'd all be friends./ Treating your neighbor like he's your next of ...more
Jen S
May 07, 2016 Jen S rated it it was ok
Easy enough read. Random thoughts scripted into short stories. Personally, I wasn't a fan of the writing style, or maybe it's the personality of the author. That whole "I'm not trying to be funny but really I am trying to be funny" thing is more annoying to me than humorous. Overall, may be worth borrowing, def not worth buying.
"She was reminiscing about her childhood. I asked her what she missed the most. She closed her eyes for a moment, thinking back, then said, 'Porch talk. I miss the porch talk'"...well, we don't have a porch, but our front patio is open for some talk!!
Mar 06, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing
Bought this to read along with my Lenten study this year- but ended up reading it all- just because it felt good. I will go back to ponder a "daily" message- but a thought provoking group of short stories. And I do miss a front porch.
Jul 25, 2012 SaraJane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Page 7:
"We have more talk than ever before, but too little communication; so may words, but so little meaning. 'Bombardment' is the word that comes to mind - talk radio, twenty-four hour news, hundreds of television channels....I miss those days of lag time, of sitting on the porch swing with my grandmother, when large chunks of summer days would pass with scarcely a word between us, her fingers caressing a rosary, me whittling a stick, the silence full and rich and comfortable."

Page 65:
Feb 23, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
Like all of Philip Gulley's book, this was a nice read. It isn't my favorite of his, but I love the quaint, simple insights this book had to offer. A great fireplace read on a cold day to warm your heart and mind.
Ann Hunt
Sep 19, 2016 Ann Hunt rated it it was amazing
a set of short essays by a liberal Quaker minister. Filled with folksy and thought-provoking insight. absolutely wonderful stories. I will read more by this author, speaker, Quaker.
Jan 16, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This author is a beloved storyteller. He writes with humor, compassion and honesty. I love his ponderings of the simple pleasures of life.
Jul 17, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
Gully has a keen eye for taking every day life and seeing the spiritual and humor in things. It's a "light" read - stories to warm the heart but full of laughter and insight. Each story runs 2 to 5 pages. As devotional material, it's quite good but not deep.
Aug 28, 2010 Dee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Free thinkers
I always wanted to read this guy so I did. He is quite entertaining. He tells a lot of stories about living in a small town and like the book implies he loves his porch. He just likes to sit and think. He's a free thinker. Why the man ownes 64 chairs! He writes about the past and the present. He actually mentions my hometown in Indiana and going to church at the Old Catherdral in Vincennes Indiana. That was a nice surprise for me. He has a lot of common sense and we could all learn a thing or tw ...more
Jul 15, 2015 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Excellent humor laced with candid honesty. Much laughing aloud.
Douglas  Donaldson
Sep 02, 2008 Douglas Donaldson rated it it was amazing
This book is full of stories that make sense out of a word that is so abused: patriotism. It is such a wonderful celebration of the American soul without being overbearing or prideful in the least. To celebrate is not to brag but to be thankful and to relish those things God has blessed us with, and yet allow all others their unique and equally important share of God's blessings also. If you want to be uplifted by the land and character that is America without being lifted up in pride, than this ...more
Arianna Tapia
Jun 06, 2015 Arianna Tapia rated it it was amazing
10/10 would recommend
Jaclyn Perry
Oct 08, 2015 Jaclyn Perry rated it it was amazing
Love the humor in it. Really lifted me up when I needed a good laugh.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Yes, I’d seen these books before, but the big American flag on the front cover along with a blurb about the book citing it was composed of stories about “decency” and “common sense” put me off. However, I desperately needed a book to read and this was all I could find. What a surprise. Not stories about decency and common sense as much as stories about trying to make a life of decency and common sense.

Nov 26, 2013 Tammy rated it liked it
Philip Gulley shares more heartwarming stories revolving around the front porch where friends and family gather to share stories and small moments. He writes about small-town life, his thoughts, and his Quaker meeting. His observations are humorous and remind the reader to stop and smell the roses, or in Gulley's case, relax in the rocking chair on the front porch.
Aug 11, 2016 Le added it
I absolutely love Philip Gulley's writing! His delivery and sense of humor is right up my alley. He's funny, subtle, dry, and profound. He writes from a Christian perspective, but not a
down-your-throat kind of thing. It's like sitting down and listening to an old friend.
Oct 25, 2013 Monica rated it it was amazing
I love anything by Philip Gulley. This is a collection of observations that remind me of the simple hometown days. Sitting on the porch, going visiting, finding God in the simple everyday things. Also a call to live following His truth. This is a book I wish I owned.
Sep 04, 2009 Denise rated it really liked it
All of Gulley's books are just plain nice. This is one of his books of non-fiction. He is a Quaker minister. He also has a series, "The Harmony Series". It is about a town named Harmony and all (well almost all) the nice people in the town.
Jan 13, 2013 Lela rated it it was amazing
Wonderful stories. Reminds me of a Garrison Keller without the patronizing. Maybe a cross of Herb Shriner (who remembers him?)and Will Rogers. Has a lovely open way of envisioning God and God's children.
Madelaine Landry
A great quick read, but one that will have you returning time after time when you think: "Now, what was that story again?" or "How did he phrase that insight?" Highly recommend!
Christine Slocum
Mar 03, 2013 Christine Slocum rated it it was amazing
Some very funny stories in here. I feel like the title is deceptive- the stories are about the quirks of life more than preaching about common sense or decency.
Michell Karnes
Aug 10, 2016 Michell Karnes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book leaves me laughing and pining for a simple small town life. Gulley's text is fun, sometimes irreverant, but full of family and faith.
Carrie Rzeppa
Love short stories... gives an interesting perspective on how we perceive people, values, etc. in modern day life. Quick read.
Jan 05, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
It's a good read. Short and simple. Some chapters were really great, others were.. not miserable to read.
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Philip Gulley has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, Gulley is the author of the Harmony series of novels, as well as If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, which are coauthored with James Mulholland.

He hosts "Porch Talk with Phil Gulley" on the Indiana PBS affiliate WFYI television's flagship show Across I
More about Philip Gulley...

Other Books in the Series

Porch Talk series (4 books)
  • Front Porch Tales: Warm Hearted Stories of Family, Faith, Laughter and Love (Porch Talk series, #2)
  • Hometown Tales: Recollections of Kindness, Peace and Joy (Porch Talk series, #3)
  • For Everything a Season: Simple Musings on Living Well (Porch Talk series, #4)

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“In any crowd there is a malcontent or two, and the Easter crowd is no exception. Someone invariably demands I speak out against the Easter Bunny. I am captivated by a great number of subjects, but have never worked up the enthusiasm to preach against rabbits, real or mythic. These are the same people who complain about Santa at Christmas and want me to take a swipe at Halloween.” 4 likes
“There is a moral sturdiness to (hardware store owner) Charley that isn't advertised or boasted about, but is obvious to all who know him and quickly discerned by those who don't. Our country has lately been afflicted with television preachers and pundits who focus on our families while neglecting theirs. How vainglorious these critics seem, how vacuous and shallow they appear when placed alongside a man of Charley's stature.” 4 likes
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