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

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,928 ratings  ·  484 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)
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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
Roberto Vargas Jr.
O estilo de Wilson é extremamente fluido e agradável. Diria até que é “viciante”!

E é difícil dizer mais algo sobre o livro sem encher este texto de spoilers. Farei, então, apenas dois breves comentários.

O primeiro: Como é bom encontrar eco do que pensamos em palavras muito mais apropriadas e que jamais poderíamos usar, por nossa própria incompetência! (Aliás, Wilson usou magistralmente o mesmo argumento que usei em Sobre a autoria do mal por Deus; adorei isso!)

O segundo: O que dizer sobre de que
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,
Sydney Kirsch
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.
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.
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
Shelves: theology, favorites
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
Thiago Lima
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantástico! Genial!
Esse livro é sobre cosmovisão. Isso, "cosmovisão" no singular. Não é um livro discutindo sobre as diversas cosmovisões existentes, embora ele fale superficialmente de algumas. Nesse livro Nathan, de forma magistral, nos apresenta uma cosmovisão singular, uma que enxerga esse mundo além de simples taxonomia e estações climáticas, que te deslumbra com a beleza desse mundo que, na verdade, é obra de um grande Artista.
Nathan fala sobre moralidade, céu, inferno, morte, vida, ressur
Hannah Jayne
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these words. I love this world. I love this life. And the Artist—the Artist is best of all.

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.
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.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Senhoras e senhores, que livraço!

Foi divertidíssimo entrar na Xícara Maluca e ver a forma biruta de ND Wilson enxergar o mundo!

Tem lugar pra mais um! Vamos?
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
Luiz Amaral
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, favorites, unlimited
Que livro!!! Nate é genial. Eu via as coisas na minha frente enquanto ele descrevia! Cada reflexão, cada estação, cada coisa apontada... Tudo se torna marcante!
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
Megan Lane
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
Helena Sorensen
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wilson uses words in surprising and delightful ways. It's always a treat to read his stuff. And, besides, I don't think I've ever read anything so aggressively joyful.
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.)
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.
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
Andre Argolo
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Certamente está entre os melhores que já li. Esse livro definitivamente te instigará a algo mais: uma visão diferente do mundo - uma visão na perspectiva do Criador.
Marcelo Tarocco Prevedel
Que livro!!! Cada capítulo é um deleite, me trouxe uma nova visão do mundo. Gostei especialmente dos dois últimos capítulos, talvez porque foram os últimos que eu li... mas não por muito tempo...
Callie Glorioso-Mays
I am very conflicted about this book - I'll do my best to explain why. When I read the summary, I thought I would love this book and I was thrilled to be reviewing it. But when it came and I actually started reading, I really labored over it. The first few chapters were mind-boggling. Each time I picked up the book, I literally got a headache and had to put it down within a few minutes. I was thrown off by Wilson's style and really struggled to keep reading. It was the first time I seriously con ...more
Brandon Zaffini
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a piece of art about a greater piece of art. It is a book of words about God's words, about the whole-wide world, and the universe too. It is about God's never-ending work of poetry. As N.D. Wilson explains it, the infinite God has revealed Himself in a finite cosmos, and the result is stunning, beautiful, scary and cute, with enough tension to make the final world, the final restoration of all things, that much more worth it. Understanding the ultimate character of the universe, underst ...more
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 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics
I gave it five stars with around 60 pages left. Having now finished, I wish I could give it six.

What I consider the major theme of the book from page 70:
Are we on a world kick-started by a god who doesn't know how to drive? Is this god embarrassed? Did he not know that snowflakes would come with avalanches as well as the quaint village scenes they ruin?

Of course He did. This God is big, bigger than the world. Faith is hard on the back of a motorcycle, it is hard when the Tilt-A-Whirl reverse
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Watch the Tilt-a-Whirl book trailer 4 39 Mar 25, 2013 01:22PM  
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“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.” 85 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.” 73 likes
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