The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2015

Overview

Bloggers and other invited writers from around the world contribute to this creative conversation about the weekly lectionary through commentary, stories, biblical study, liturgical resources, and more. Jenee Woodard, creator and editor of the immensely popular lectionary research site, The Text This Week, curates the conversation and adds insights of her own, including a list of the best online resources for sermon preparation. The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual remains among the highest quality preaching ...
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Overview

Bloggers and other invited writers from around the world contribute to this creative conversation about the weekly lectionary through commentary, stories, biblical study, liturgical resources, and more. Jenee Woodard, creator and editor of the immensely popular lectionary research site, The Text This Week, curates the conversation and adds insights of her own, including a list of the best online resources for sermon preparation. The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual remains among the highest quality preaching resources available, ensuring that pastors can quickly find relevant material for their sermons.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426780264
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 490,158
  • Product dimensions: 8.51 (w) x 10.93 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Jenee Woodard is the creator of “The Text This Week,” an online lectionary, worship, and scripture study resources index. She lives in Jackson, Michigan.

Dan R. Dick (Nashville, Tenn.) is the Research Coordinator for The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Among the books he has written are Revolutionizing Christian Stewardship for the 21st Century, Equipped for Every Good Work: Building a Gifts-based Church (with Barbara Dick), Beyond Money: Becoming Good and Faithful Stewards, and Vital Signs: A Pathway to Congregational Wholeness. A sought-after speaker and consultant in leadership development and strategic planning, Dan works with annual conferences and congregations across the United Methodist connection as well as a wide variety ecumenical groups.

Dr. Rev. Safiyah Fosua has roots in both Kansas and Oklahoma. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois; a Master of Divinity degree from Oral Roberts Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary of Dayton, Ohio, in Afrocentric Pastoring and Preaching.

Safiyah writes weekly lectionary-based preaching helps and articles for the General Board of Discipleship’s worship web page and has written for Upper Room publications, Cokesbury’s Daily Bible Study, Urban Ministries, Inc., and contributed to the Women of Color Study Bible. Among her published works are Mother Wit: 365 Meditations for African-American Women (1996), Jesus and Prayer (2002), and a tract titled Learning New Habits (2005). Safiyah also served as the associate editor of the Africana Worship Book, series (2006-2008) and the Companion to the Africana Worship Book (2008). Currently, Safiyah is a member of the Africana Hymnal Study Committee for the United Methodist Church and a writing coach for GBOD’s Open Source Liturgy Project empowering writers to produce ecumenically-grounded contextual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic liturgies for use in local church worship.

Dr. Fosua is a clergy member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. Her pastoral experience includes ministry in the large downtown church, the unique ministry of the rural circuit, and the ministry challenges of the small inner-city congregation. Safiyah Fosua is married to Rev. Dr. Kwasi I. Kena. Prior to her current appointment as Director of Preaching Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship, Safiyah and her husband, Kwasi, spent a number of years as missionaries in Ghana, West Africa. The couple has two adult sons, and two grandchildren.

Dr. Kwasi Issa Kena has taught numerous collegiate courses in communication, social science, and religion, and has written curriculum resources for Urban Ministries Inc. Dr. Kena and his wife, Dr. Safiyah Fosua (author of Mother Wit), formerly served as missionaries to Ghana, West Africa and were jointly appointed to start an African-American United Methodist Church in Waterloo, Iowa, which became the Jubilee United Methodist Church.

Linda Leeis a graduate of United Theological Seminary (M. Div. and D. Min.). Shemade history in 2000 when she was the first African American woman to be elected bishop in the North Central Jurisdiction. Lee was elected on July 14, 2000, in Middleton, Wisconsin, and was assigned to her home area of Michigan, an unusual action that had not occurred for 40 years and required special action of the jurisdictional conference. After one quadrennium of service in Michigan, Lee was assigned to the Wisconsin Area in 2004.

Lee served as chair of the Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church (1996-98) and has been a member of a number of annual conference committees, including the Board of Ordained Ministry. She has served as a speaker for numerous schools, retreats and conferences and is a two-time delegate to General Conference. She is a contributing writer in several publications and has served as an adjunct professor of spirituality at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit.

She retired from the episcopacy in September 2012 andjoined Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as Bishop-in-Residence beginning in March 2013.

The Marbury E. Anderson Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching, and Director, The Center for Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN

Mary J. Scifres serves as a consultant in leadership, worship, and evangelism from her home in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband, B. J., reside with their son Michael. Her books include The Abingdon Worship Annual, The United Methodist Music and Worship Planner and its ecumenical counterpart Prepare!, and the worship evangelism book Searching for Seekers.

Mark W. Stamm is Assistant Professor of Christian Worship at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

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Read an Excerpt

The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2015


By Jenee Woodard

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2014 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-8026-4



CHAPTER 1

January 4, 2015

Epiphany (Year B)

Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12


John Wesley

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/notes

Isaiah 60:1

"Arise"—A word of encouragement accommodated to the Jewish, or Hebrew style, wherein, as by lying down, is described a servile and calamitous condition, chap. xlvii, 1, so by rising, and standing up, a recovery out of it, into a free, and prosperous one, as may be seen frequently; Rouse up, intimating her deliverance to be at hand. Here under a type, of Jerusalem's restoration, is displayed the flourishing state of the Gentile—church, under the Messiah. Thy light—Thy flourishing and prosperous state.


Ephesians 3

This chapter consists of two parts. I. Of the account which Paul gives the Ephesians concerning himself, as he was appointed by God to be the apostle of the Gentiles, ver. 1-13. II. Of his devout and affectionate prayer to God for the Ephesians, ver. 14-21. We may observe it to have been very much the practice of this apostle to intermix, with his instructions and counsels, intercessions and prayers to God for those to whom he wrote, as knowing that all his instructions and teachings would be useless and vain, except God did co-operate with them, and render them effectual. This is an example that all the ministers of Christ should copy after, praying earnestly that the efficacious operations of the divine Spirit may attend their ministrations, and crown them with success.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc6.Eph.iv.html


Chuck Aaron

Isaiah 60, Ephesians 3; Matthew 2

The readings from Isaiah, Ephesians, and Matthew all proclaim a grand message with wide implications. Although Isaiah acknowledges the reality of the "darkness" and "gloom," he calls for the people to lift their eyes to see the far-reaching effects of the Lord's influence. First, the community itself will be reestablished as the sons and daughters return. Then, the nations, those at enmity with Judah, will bring gifts. The scene painted by the prophet is at once both worldly and otherworldly. The prophet assumes that this reconciliation will take place in this life, in this world, not in a resurrection scene. Nevertheless, the promised reconciliation seems impossible given human nature and international relations. The prophet still suggests an international influence for the people and the overcoming of barriers and animosity.

In the Ephesians passage, the Pauline voice reveals a cosmic dimension to the role of the church. God has had a hidden plan to include all people in the church. This diverse church now speaks to the cosmic forces of evil, revealing divine wisdom.

The well-known story of the visit of the magi displays the significance of the birth of Jesus for the wider world, beyond his role to his people, the Judeans. Does the story suggest that God can use even the Babylonian religion of astrology to bring Gentiles to an understanding of Jesus' significance? Just as the Isaiah passage acknowledges the darkness, so this charming story becomes the precursor to great horror, with the murder of the children.

In January, on Epiphany Sunday, these three passages recognize the evil in creation, yet promise reconciliation among people and the powers that hold creation in bondage. This promise offers hope, energy, and assurance as the church looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities of a new year.


Marci Auld Glass

http://www.marciglass.com

Matthew 2

The epiphany is only the beginning of the changes for the magi. And not all changes are easy. The epiphany of a child born as king in Bethlehem shakes the palace in Jerusalem. The world responds when God breaks into the world—and it is not always peaceful. I invite you to read ahead in Matthew this week and see how the powers of the world respond to the epiphany.

The magi are warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they leave for their own country by another road. But Matthew doesn't say what happens next for the magi.

Do they make it home?

And if they do make it home, what is it like to return to their routine?

We don't know what happened with the magi, but we do know that once you encounter Jesus, you travel on different roads. Epiphany is about God coming to us in ways we would never have predicted on our own.

Because, really, if you can come up with the idea on your own, then what need do you have for Epiphany? And, post-Epiphany, you don't travel the same roads; you go home by another road.

What star will we follow as we journey? How will we prepare for this other road?

Minnie Louise Haskins put it well in her poem, "God Knows": "And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, / "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."

He replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than the known way" (The Desert, 1908). (Excerpt from http://marciglass.com/2009/01/08/home-by-another-way/)


Eric D. Barreto

Matthew 2

In Latin America, January 6th marks the celebration of Three King's Day. On that day, children collect grass and water in a shoebox, which they leave under their beds. During the night the magi visit, taking the gathered supplies for their camels and leaving a present in their place. This joyous holiday, of course, relies on the story of the astrologers from the East who chase a mobile star in the heavens that leads to the doorstep of a toddler Jesus.

For me, there are at least two critical facets to this narrative. First, that the magi follow this star for some incredible distance is a sign of the expansive import of Jesus' birth; this was worldwide, breaking news. The indefatigability of the magi in chasing this star is an example of deep faithfulness as well as openness to see the signs of the time and follow them wherever they may lead. Second, this is also a frightening story. Herod's interest in this child is not the same as that of the magi. They come to worship a child in the shadow of his startled parents. They come to adorn him with extravagant gifts. Herod, however, sees in this child, and in the many others that populate his kingdom, a threat. Power is an addictive drug Herod is unwilling to relinquish. From the very first, therefore, Jesus' life is threatened by the political forces of his time. He represents a threat to their unchallenged reign and promises a world turned upside down.

At the same time, there are many who will see what Jesus' very presence means, even if it requires pursuing a star across the skies day after day. This is the very essence of faith on Epiphany.


Julie Craig

http://winsomelearnsome.com

Matthew 2

Led there by the star, they went home by another way. Possibly motivated by fear or perhaps by cunning, they eschewed the known route, and took off on an unknown path, carrying everything they had learned in Bethlehem with them.

Very early in my ministry, here in this river-and-railroad town, I did something kind of silly. I took an afternoon drive into the heart of town—famous for its one-way streets—for the sole purpose of getting lost and finding my way home again by different roads, but without a map. It's very easy to get lost in this town, but fortunately, there are many roads home.

As I drove, I found I had to rely on what I was able to perceive around me: Which side of the river was I on? How many times had I crossed the tracks? Were there any signs pointing me to the freeway? (This, technically, would have been cheating if I'd followed them.)

It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. It caused me to think: What if the church were to do this same thing? What if we went somewhere we had been before, but changed course and found ourselves going back home by another road?

What if continuing to do the same things over and over again and living our lives as if the act of kneeling at the manger changes nothing is our way of being complicit with the powers that be?


Two Bubbas and a Bible

http://lectionarylab.com

Matthew 2

Fear ... joy—two fairly strongly contrasting emotions that dwell together in this text. Herod is "frightened" by the news of the magi who come in search of a king. By all accounts, he was a nervous fellow when it came to threats to his sovereignty. He "axed" several of his own family members when he thought they might be after his seat of power. He later orders the "Slaughter of the Innocents" in order to root out what was, in his mind, a pretender to his throne.

Okay, so much for fear; now we know why not only Herod but also "everyone in Jerusalem" was frightened.

The "wise men" from the East, despite Herod's best efforts, do find their way to the child, Jesus, and discover great joy.

They discover overwhelming joy, in fact. That's an interesting sensation to think about—when are the times you can remember being so happy that you were nearly overcome by it?

These guys aren't Jewish ... and they probably don't fit anyone's definition of a Christian, either, at least not at this point in the story. We can't make them people of faith. But their response is instructive. They came a very long way to find this child, and when they met him, they knelt and offered him gifts.

I have an odd passion for what I call "Bumper Sticker Theology." I collect and remember pithy sayings about religious topics—most of which are pretty bad (think of the slogans you see on most church signs. Ouch!).

Occasionally, one will hit the mark. I think I once put a bright, pink bumper sticker on our family station wagon when I was young and enthusiastically evangelistic: Wise Men Still Seek Him!

Inclusive language issues aside, not a bad thought.


Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

http://www.carolynshymns.com/

Once Long Ago (Matthew 2)

SANDON 10.4.10.4.10.10 ("God of Our Life")

Once long ago, the wise men sought a king—a little child.
They brought him gifts so they could honor him; perhaps he smiled!
How can we honor Christ with what we bring?
How can we now give presents to our king?
We seek you, Christ, and far away we hear a child's small cry.
She lives with war, with constant daily fear, as loved ones die.
Christ, can we honor you with what we bring?
Can deeds for peace be gifts to you, our king?
We seek you, Christ, and close at home we see a child who's poor.
His family tries to pay for food and heat, but both cost more.
Christ, can we honor you with what we bring?
Can deeds of mercy make you smile, our king?
As we love neighbors, Christ, we also show our love for you.
When we serve those we may not even know, we serve you, too.
Now may we see what you would have us bring:
Our love for neighbors honors you, our king.

Biblical references: Matthew 2:1-12, 5:9, 25:31-46, 14:13-21; 22:34-40

Tune: Charles Henry Purday, 1860; Text: Copyright © 2008 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. Email: bcgillette@comcast.net Web Site: www.carolynshymns.com

CHAPTER 2

January 11, 2015

Baptism of the Lord

Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11


John Wesley

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/notes

Genesis 1:1

The holy scripture, being designed to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it, and supply the defects of it, since the fall, lays down at first this principle of the unclouded light of nature: That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time, and all worlds. And the first verse of the Bible gives us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers.


Acts 19:4

John baptized—That is, the whole baptism and preaching of John pointed at Christ. After this John is mentioned no more in the New Testament. Here he gives way to Christ altogether.


Sharron Blezard

Genesis 1; Psalm 29; Acts 19; Mark 1

Do you remember your baptism? If your parents brought you as an infant, you may remember the experience itself only through family story and image. If you were baptized as a teen or adult, your memory may be more vivid. Perhaps you recall the splash of water as it poured over your head or the feeling of being immersed beneath the water and then lifted up with a gasp for air. What you probably did not feel was that instant when the Spirit of God was gifted to you in the holy confluence of water and word. Most important, whether you remember the day or moment itself, your baptism changed you forever.

This Sunday's readings flow with water, word, and Spirit. God creates order from chaos in Genesis, making something new and good, bringing light that foreshadows the light that no darkness will ever quench. Psalm 29 praises God's majesty and creative power over the mighty waters, as well as mercy, grace, and blessing.

In Acts 19, Paul baptizes disciples in Ephesus in the name of Jesus, laying his hands on them and bestowing the gift of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, their lives are forever changed. Finally, in Mark's account of Jesus' baptism, the heavens are rent asunder, and the Spirit descends with power on the Son, and God is pleased.

These lessons flow with rich possibility, and no matter which way the Spirit guides and informs your proclamation this week, make sure to set a joyous tone where water is central to the sensory experience of worship. Do be attentive to those who may not yet have come to the living water. Welcome all to walk wet into a new reality as disciples of Christ, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, and made new each day.


Lowell E. Grisham

http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com/

Genesis 1; Psalm 29; Acts 19; Mark 1

Prayers of the People

Presider: Let us pray to our God, whose Spirit breathes life into being, that through baptism we may be empowered as God's beloved children to share in the healing and reconciling work of Christ, saying: God shall give strength to the people; God shall give us the blessing of peace.

Litanist: Fill your church with the power of your Holy Spirit, O God, that we may bring the light of your blessing to the whole world. God shall give strength to the people;

God shall give us the blessing of peace.

Let your gentle Spirit be upon this nation and upon all in authority, so that we may share in your work to bring forth justice upon the earth. God shall give strength to the people;

God shall give us the blessing of peace.

Let your prophets speak powerful words of repentance and transformation to the ends of the earth, so that the breath of your creative love and the sound of your blessing may go forth throughout the world. God shall give strength to the people;

God shall give us the blessing of peace.

Let your grace descend and dwell among the people of this community, that we may be united in love, abounding in compassion, and proactive in peace. God shall give strength to the people.

God shall give us the blessing of peace.

May your heavens open and your Spirit descend upon us,
bringing your comfort and healing to all for whom we pray, especially ___.
Hear our grateful thanks and praise for your manifestation of presence and grace in our lives and in the lives of others, giving thanks especially for ___.
Welcome with your divine pleasure all who have died, especially ___, that they may have a place in your eternal domains.
God shall give strength to the people;
God shall give us the blessing of peace.

Presider: Gracious and loving God, you have anointed your people with the waters of baptism and have made us your beloved children: Let your Spirit spread mightily among us, that we may share in the work of your Son, bringing blessing and light to all the world in the power of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


Teri Peterson

http://clevertitlehere.blogspot.com

Acts 19

We've not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit" (Acts 19:2b).

O Lord, how we have neglected your Spirit.

Though she is all over the Scripture, brooding over the waters and breathing life into creation and descending upon Jesus and enlivening the church, we forget that there's more to faith than an intellectual understanding of the One who is Three, more to who we are than created and redeemed, more to God than Word.

On this day when we remember Jesus' baptism, the Trinity comes into stark relief, but rather than seizing the opportunity of a new beginning, we're mostly relieved when it's over and we can go back to our comfortable and undisturbed blindness to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit changes things—brings life, but also chaos. There are cacophony and unmediated communication, breath and wind and flame and water, all of which both create and destroy.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2015 by Jenee Woodard. Copyright © 2014 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

"Introduction",
January,
"January 4—Epiphany (Year B)",
"January 11—Baptism of the Lord",
"January 18—2nd Sunday after Epiphany",
"January 25—3rd Sunday after Epiphany",
February,
"February 1—4th Sunday after Epiphany",
"February 8—5th Sunday after Epiphany",
"February 15—Transfiguration Sunday",
"February 18—Ash Wednesday",
"February 22—1st Sunday in Lent",
March,
"March 1—2nd Sunday in Lent",
"March 8—3rd Sunday in Lent",
"March 15—4th Sunday in Lent",
"March 22—5th Sunday in Lent",
"March 29—Palm/Passion Sunday",
April,
"April 2—Holy Thursday",
"April 3—Good Friday",
"April 5—Easter Sunday",
"April 12—2nd Sunday of Easter",
"April 19—3rd Sunday of Easter",
"April 26—4th Sunday of Easter",
May,
"May 3—5th Sunday of Easter",
"May 10—6th Sunday of Easter",
"May 17—Ascension of the Lord",
"May 24—Pentecost",
"May 31—Trinity Sunday",
June,
"June 7—2nd Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 5",
"June 14—3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 6",
"June 21—4th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 7",
"June 28—5th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 8",
July,
"July 5—6th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 9",
"July 12—7th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 10",
"July 19—8th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 11",
"July 26—9th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 12",
August,
"August 2—10th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 13",
"August 9—11th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 14",
"August 16—12th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 15",
"August 23—13th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 16",
"August 30—14th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 17",
September,
"September 6—15th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 18",
"September 13—16th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19",
"September 20—17th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20",
"September 27—18th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21",
October,
"October 4—19th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 22",
"October 11—20th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 23",
"October 18—21st Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 24",
"October 25—22nd Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 25",
November,
"November 1—All Saints Sunday",
"November 8—24th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 27",
"November 15—25th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 28",
"November 22—Reign of Christ/Christ the King, Proper 29",
"November 26—Thanksgiving Day",
"November 29—1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)",
December,
"December 6—2nd Sunday of Advent",
"December 13—3rd Sunday of Advent",
"December 20—4th Sunday of Advent",
"December 24 or 25—Christmas Eve/Day, Proper 1",
"December 27—1st Sunday after Christmas",
Resources,
"Online Media and Other Helpful Resources",
"Conversation Partners Index",
"2015 Lectionary Calendar",

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