I love music. Everything from jazz to country to hip hop. But what I listen to most is my Christian music. My cell phone is also a MP3 player, and it is full of Point of Grace, Caedmon's Call, Third Day, Tenth Avenue North, and many other wonderful contemporary Christian singers. It is also full of my favorite hymns, because even though I love the contemporary singers, these songs have been around for hundreds of years--there is a reason for that. They're very good. How Great Thou Art was my Mother's favorite hymn, and it is also one of mine. Be Not Afraid is a song I sing to the kids when they're having trouble falling asleep. There are many songs that are such wonderful, spirit filled songs, that the younger crowd forgets in favor of the more modern music.
This book, "Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition" breathes new life into the old favorites. With the song lyrics and notes on one page (I wish I could read music) and a brief history on the other, this book brings to life the authors of the lyrics, the composers of the tune, and the message behind the song. This book is an easy read, as each hymn has it's own little story to tell. Read about your favorite songs, learn about some 'new' ones, and find out about some of the most famous lyricist you've never heard of. Knowledge of the hymns will vary depending on your religion, and the region in which you live, but there are many songs that are known to all, such as the Star Spangled Banner, Amazing Grace, and Away in a Manger.
The only thing that gave me pause was a hymn written in 2005. Why is this song in here, among the other songs from the seventeen and eighteen hundreds? The history behind it is vague, instead of the story behind the song, the author gives the reader an anecdote and a mini-sermon, if you will. Closer inspection reveals the song to be written by the author himself, based on an earlier hymn written by a celebrated songwriter. While being the author of a book gives you special liberties, such as sneaking your own song into 150 (149) of the most loved and widely sung hymns, I don't think this was the book to do it in.
Other than that little hiccup, this book is wonderfully written and organized, the cover art is inspiring, and I will definitely recommend this book to all my music loving friends.