Book Review & Giveaway! “Tables in the Wilderness”


Preston Yancey is a favorite of mine. He has an artist’s soul and a deep and wide knowledge of theology and literature. His first book is officially launching TODAY, and I recommend it to you.

As you read, you must come to peace with the truth that Preston is ridiculously young. Yes, he is. He might deny this, but I know it to be true. In many ways, he is an old soul and that adds gravitas to his words, burnishing them with lived experience and grace.  

This memoir slice is the story of a relatively short season of life — the college years. The years of growing up and growing out, of finding lifelong friends, discovering what you love and what you don’t, and maybe, if you’re truly blessed, finding your life partner.

Over the pages of this lovely book, he does all of these things — he grows up, he grows out, he makes (and loses) friends, he discovers what and whom he loves. And in the process, he learns a lot about God — something that he was certain he already knew.

That’s the way with us humans, isn’t it? We think we know so much. And then . . . we don’t. Preston tells us about his faith journey, about the professors who inspired him, about the parents who loved and honored him, about a few girls he dated and the one he married. And he does it in the inimitable Yancey way. . . by talking in beautiful, lyrical circles.

So my primary word of advice is this: carve out a half day and read this book in one sitting. I did not do this and I wish I had — because Preston circles back to where he began more than once, as the quote above boldly tells us. Take it from me that tracking names and relationships can get a little more difficult when you’ve let time elapse between reading spells. 

And the second word of advice is like unto the first: as you read this lovely story, try to remember as much of your own growing up years as possible. If you read “Tables” in one sitting, this remembering will be easier to do. 

Most of us who’ve lived a bit longer than Preston will recognize ourselves as we read. We’ll remember what it feels like to love and lose, to visit strange congregations, to wonder if God has forgotten us, and to discover our faith all over again. 

I think that kind of remembering is one of the primary joys of reading memoir. It’s a good thing to find companions on the way, even ones we’ve never met. And Preston Yancey is a very fine companion, indeed.

I happen to have one extra copy of this book and if you’d like to put your name in the hopper for a chance to win it, just leave me a comment. I’ll draw names one week from today — Tuesday, October 7, 2014 and I’ll post the winner here that evening. Please be sure to leave me your email address!


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  1. Thanks for the opportunity to maybe win a copy of this memoir…..
    I enjoy stories so much and we can learn so much from one another’s story
    can’t we ?
    Thank you too for always sharing yours with transparency.

  2. in the hopper along with the others!

    good to be back again and feel like i can absorb and respond to some of my favorite writers!

  3. email for carol

  4. I’d love to win a copy! Glad I found your blog, I’ve enjoyed reading today.

  5. I’d love a copy! Preston has been one of my favorite authors to follow this past year.

  6. Stephen Carter says

    Having followed Preston for awhile now, I’m giddy at the thought of reading!

  7. I’d love to enter this giveaway. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the book, Diana. Preston Yancey’s just entered my radar, and I’m always eager for new books.

  8. Blessings Diana … Tables In The Wilderness may be just the enlightenment that my heart and soul needs during this period of trials and miry clay. Preston’s literary work sounds like a beacon in the shadows of doubt … pulling us to victory by grace and His amazing love and glory. Be blessed precious sister. ~Tami

  9. Laurie Geuther says

    I’d love to enter the giveaway. Thanks. I enjoy your blog so much!

  10. I’ve written Yancey’s book on my list of books to buy. Sounds excellent. I think I’ll also buy a copy for my son-in-law, a pastor: a lot of university students attend his church. Thanks for telling us about this book. 🙂


  11. I love the idea of companions on the journey, even ones we’ve never met. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. Beth Werner Lee says

    Second giveaway I’m entering today, for this book! I’d love to read it. If I don’t win a copy I will probably have to wait until Christmas break to sit down and read it, but maybe that would be a lovely time for a book group or memoir day out or holing up alone! Thanks for the recommendation!

  13. “We think we know so much. And then …we don’t.” I love the books and thoughts you share Diana, especially the circling ones.

  14. Sheila Dailie says

    “to wonder if God has forgotten us, and to discover our faith all over again.”

    Ah, yes, this happens, often when I least expect it. I’m learning to trust more of the time, and also that Jesus is sweeter as the years go by.

    This book is on my wish list, but I’d love to have a copy that had been in your hands, Diane. You have been in my prayers with nearly every step the past couple weeks as I have had some heel pain. Glad that your foot is healing and mending!

  15. living our lives in circles…oh man. yes.

  16. Yes, please Diana!

  17. It sounds like a lovely read. I’m not very familiar with Preston’s writing, but when he has written for The High Calling in the past, I recall that his words gave me goosebumps. So many wonderful books to read!

  18. I would love a chance to win this book! I just found your blog from your recent post at SheLoves. I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing.

  19. Thanks for those nice words, Shannon. And you’re on the list. I’ll post a brief announcement here tomorrow and put it on my writer’s FB page, too.