Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World” as Want to Read:
Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,810 ratings  ·  642 reviews
Product Description

A visual, poetic exploration of the narrative nature of the world and the personality of the Poet behind it all.

When Nate Wilson looks at the world around him, he asks "What is this place? Why is this place? Who approved it? Am I supposed to take it seriously?" What could such an outlandish, fantastical world say about its Creator?

In these sparkling

Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 29th 2009 by Thomas Nelson (first published May 30th 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,810 ratings  ·  642 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
Douglas Wilson
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Stupendous. More to follow.

I had read Notes from the Tilt a Whirl before in its various manifestations. But when it arrived in its final printed form, I was happy to sit down and go through it again, left to right. What a good book this is.

The conceit for the book is that the solar system is a ride at a carnival, with circular motions inside circular motion. Not only do we have the carnival-like motions, we have a carnival-like environment, gaudy colors and situations included. The book works th
Jen H
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So, on Saturday I was the lone woman sitting amongst a group of men when the subject of this book came up. I'd started to read it once before and hated it. Why? I didn't like the author. I've thought for years he was trying too hard to be like his father and never quite measuring up. Ugly, I know. But true. And I happen to think his father a right jolly old elf, with a bit of Lewis, Chesterton and Luther thrown in for good measure. Who wouldn't like THAT sort of guy, right?

So when talk about thi
Let me put it this way: Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl made me very, very happy to be alive. Wilson's writing is as compelling as always, and his wise perspective on life, God, Christianity, and the world is vision-changing.

Absolutely mind-blowing.

J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote that our purpose in life "is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks." This book has done that for me. It has moved me deeply. It has made me
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book has received rave reviews (here's one), and I can see why. There's a movie too. Here (3:06–4:30), Nate explains the goofy circumstances that led him to write this statement of faith.

"Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl focuses on a way of seeing. With this book [Death by Living], the focus is on a way of living, a way of receiving life" ( Death by Living xi).
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
This was a refreshing, honest and very personal book about faith...from one man's perceptive. He doesn't seem to be trying to convince anyone about anything (well maybe in a couple of places...not totally sure). He just expressed how he saw the world through faith.

His style was kind of like reading Robin Williams teaching Sunday School or maybe talking with his fellow theologians down at the pub. It took a page or two to get into, but I enjoyed the style.

This is not one of those get pumped up,
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it

This is one of those books that's hard to rate because I read it over more than a year setting it down and picking it up. I think it was best read in small batches, actually, as the essays - and I use that term somewhat loosely - are based on the seasons as the earth - ahem "tilt-a-whirl" - revolves around the sun.

I like much -most- of what Wilson has to say about God (Father, Son, and Spirit), Creation, and the interplay with man. I like the way he holds things up in the culture, church, s
Barnabas Piper
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The peaks of this book were higher than almost any book I have read in recent years. Wilson has a genuinely unique voice and a gift for seeing the world and the greatness of its minutiae. If you want an exploration of God's kingdom and reality in a fresh way, this is the book. ...more
Dec 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
N.D. Wilson's book is peculiar. I set out reading this not having a clue what to expect; and to the author's credit, I got a good handle on what I was in for after reading the introduction. Wilson's style is distinct. He is very self reflective and loooooves metaphors. This I do not mind. But it is also no guarantee of a good read.

This book has problems. It is a compilation of random personal reflections capped off by one powerhouse chapter concerning hell towards the end of the book. The writin
Jacob Rush
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
The Wilson family probably share Chestertonian blood. In an insightful and poignant way, N.D. Wilson dismantles the academic skepticism of the secular, evolutionist by his sharp, sometimes crass, wit. Without God, without the Divine Storyteller, life is meaningless, we are a drift and alone in this vast cosmos. Wilson paints for us what it would look like to be amazed at the story that God is writing with our universe. This world and everything in it is being spoken by God like a master novelist ...more
G.M. Burrow
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking. Hilarious. Scathing. Fiercely jolly. If you ever want to read about poetry, ants, creation, thunderstorms, evil, Hamlet, eternity, snow, hell, pain and death all rolled into one ecstatic ball, then read this book. It will sprawl you, wind you, pick you up, and push you on your way even as you hold out both arms to stop the world from rocking. It will blind you with beauty and insist that you see.

I read this in one dizzy three-hour sitting in June 2009, then again (much slower) in M
Hannah Jayne
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
oh, to be made in the image of God. to see the stars and understand them. to have studied matter down to the space between atoms. to see the ocean. to feel the sun.

yes, there are mysteries in this life. how we came to be is not one of them. why we are here is not one of them.

i am grateful that my eyes are open, and that i see beautiful and lovely things.

for nothing is as beautiful in appearance as the knowledge of Truth.

I love these words. I love this world. I love this life. And the Ar
Sydney Jacques
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love it quite as much as Death by Living, but that doesn't really mean anything because it was still incredible and beautiful and sparkly. ...more
Mark Jr.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I succumbed to the buzz the year this came out; I read it, and I'm glad. It's not quite like any other book I've encountered. If it's a little too self-conscious at times of its witty uniqueness, it's equally full of insights and great little stories—like the toddler and the butterfly. The great John Frame says that theology should be written in many genres; Wilson seems almost to have created a new one. A good book to savor a bit at a time. ...more
Anthony Ray
May 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really great. Wilson does something with language that I've never experienced before. He's taken weighty topics and made This book really does feel like a Tilt-A-Whirl. I've just finished it and feel mentally and emotionally dizzy. A bit wobbly. Could be the Jameson though.

I didn't expect this to be the apologetic work that it was. I don't think Wilson intended it to be an apologetic in the traditional sense, but the way he reasons about things like morality and Hell are done so well
Kris Irvin
Aug 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. But holy cow, reading it was like stabbing myself in the ear with a toothpick.

There were a few lines and paragraphs I enjoyed. I loved the entire chapter on Hell. But the rest of the book I found painful. It reminded me of "one thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp, another very flowery, Christian book that goes on and on without ever coming to a point.

Actually, Wilson does make a point in his book. He makes several. But I found him condescending, repetitive, and ir
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
As the title implies, this book was like being on a tilt-a-whirl. I felt at times discombobulated and punched in the gut. At other times I was filled with awe and wonder. My eyes poured tears on more than one occasion. I pondered the beauties and pains of life and it was good for my soul, good for me to consider God and His creation, his artwork. I will most likely come back to this book again some day.
Pat Lane
Nov 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I gave it a 5 in written form. It’s just too foreign to my old brain. But listening to it and hearing it in the author’s voice added a whole new level of understanding to these words and the wonder in them for this globe we live on and God who made it all.
Megan Miller
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Review for 2nd read:
Still amazing. Still exactly what I needed. (Will there be a time when these words are not relevant to life?) Still my favorite book.
2018: listened to an audiobook version this time, read by the author himself. Still love these words. A lot.
2018 2.0: I gave this to a friend of mine, and I started glancing through it to remind myself of pieces and then I was like, "Forget this, I'm reading the whole thing." So I did. For the second time in a year. And the 4th time overall, app
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2021
Warning: If you don't like profound, honest, nitty-gritty, so-obvious-you-missed-it, powerful observations poetically written in order to change your view of the world (and your place in it) then this just isn't your book.

Everyone else: grab you a copy.

You have been born into a narrative, you have been given freedom. Act, and act well until you reach your final scene.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read October 16, 2011 and October 12, 2014.

Maybe it's something about Octobers. Even richer and more perceptive than I remember it being the first time. This is a volume of literary criticism on the biggest Art of all. I particularly recommend it to writers.
Aaron Fox
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Hmm. This book is very interesting. I would recommend it to most people, but it did not have the same impact on me as it has had for others. This is a very mainstream Christian book that would probably land in most church and/or Christian bookstores but for the 1 swear word (kind of used in context...) and a couple misuses of the word "hell".

Personally, when I read a book that tries to get me to rethink how I think about the world, I like it to put the seemingly random pieces of the puzzle toge
Mason Sherrill
Mar 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I already want to “re-read” it, although I listened through the Canon+ App!
Profoundly encouraging, existentially thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable. N.D. has a way of writing I’m always impressed and captivated by. My favorite thing about his writing is his ability to evoke the true hope of the gospel in an entertaining work of art.
Highly recommend listening to the audio or watching the video! It brings to life the poetic nature of this work.
Emma Whear
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars. Well done. Much deep.
I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.
Caleb Powers
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc-non-fiction
I resolved before I even began Page One that I was not going to like this book—at least not too much. I figure that I've read enough books by this guy's dad that I really don't need to become a cheerleader for two generations of Wilsons. Well, I'm sorry. Putting on my game face didn't work and, in spite of a heroic effort on my part, I really did love this book. It's quite a ride. A bit out there, to be sure, but as far as all that goes, really nothing even remotely as inscrutable as some of the ...more
Jun 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
When this book was not what I was expecting, it was ok. I liked the wide-eyed wonder theme because I think we lose too much of that in our modern world. However, this book did seems to ramble and not have a clearly defined "purpose" or if it did, it was blurred into the background by the imagery and wonder. Which maybe that's what Wilson was headed for. I think maybe I set myself up expecting too much like he might write like Brennan Manning or some spiritually enlightening master. He did, howev ...more
Joshua Jenkins
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply one of the best books I’ve read. I laughed. I cried. I laughed laughs while crying cries. Out loud. I’ll never be able to experiencing mosquito bites the same, nor will croaking frogs sound the same. And I’m glad. This book made me love Jesus more, and that makes me happy. 10/10 would recommend and wish that all would read.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
the most beautiful book about God that I have ever read, besides the one he wrote about himself.
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
first read: October 2014
second: audio book, July 2018
(also, only the second audio book ever that I finished and loved.)
I read this book slowly because I needed to stop often and ponder what I had just read. Like an actual tilt-a-whirl, this book takes you on a wild ride. It's not written in a conventional style with a conventional structure, I will warn you. I understand that the style is just not for some people, although I do urge you to get at least a few chapters in, because sometimes it simply takes time to get adjusted to his way of writing.

This is a brave book. Brave, because he doesn't talk about God in
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Watch the Tilt-a-Whirl book trailer 4 40 Mar 25, 2013 01:22PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ploductivity: A Practical Theology of Tools & Wealth
  • The Winter King
  • Ride, Sally, Ride
  • Why Children Matter
  • The Household and the War for the Cosmos: Recovering a Christian Vision for the Family
  • In the House of Tom Bombadil
  • It's Good to Be a Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity
  • Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity
  • You Who? Why You Matter and How to Deal With It
  • How To Exasperate Your Wife and Other Short Essays for Men
  • Gashmu Saith It: How to Build Christian Communities that Save the World
  • Evangellyfish
  • Reforming Marriage
  • A Different Shade of Green: A Biblical Approach to Environmentalism and the Dominion Mandate
  • Fidelity: What It Means to Be a One-Woman Man
  • Slaying Leviathan: Limited Government and Resistance in the Christian Tradition
  • Heaven Misplaced
  • Future Men: Raising Boys to Fight Giants
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
42 likes · 5 comments
“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.” 114 likes
“Do not resent your place in the story. Do not imagine yourself elsewhere. Do not close your eyes and picture a world without thorns, without shadows, without hawks. Change this world. Use your body like a tool meant to be used up, discarded, and replaced. Better every life you touch. We will reach the final chapter. When we have eyes that can stare into the sun, eyes that only squint for the Shenikah, then we will see laughing children pulling cobras by their tails, and hawks and rabbits playing tag.” 88 likes
More quotes…