Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World

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N.D. Wilson


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Book details

Nathan Wilson lives and writes in the top of a tall, skinny house only one block from where he was born. But his bestselling novels, including the highly acclaimed 100 Cupboards series, have traveled far and wide and have been translated into dozens of languages. He and his wife have five young storytellers of their own, along with an unreasonable number of pets. You can visit him online at

AUTHOR: Nathan Wilson

PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson

PAGE COUNT: 224 pages

SIZE: 5.50x8.50"

ISBN 10: 0849964865

ISBN-13: 9780849964862


Media: Paperback

A cinematic treatment of worldview: 60 Minutes meets "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Listen on Audible*

What is this world? What kind of place is it? The round kind. The spinning kind. The moist kind. The inhabited kind. The kind with flamingos (real and artificial). The kind where water in the sky turns into beautifully symmetrical crystal flakes sculpted by artists unable to stop themselves (in both design and quantity). The kind of place with tiny, powerfully jawed mites assigned to the carpets to eat my dead skin as it flakes off.... The kind with people who kill and people who love and people who do both.... This world is beautiful but badly broken.

I love it as it is, because it is a story, and it isn’t stuck in one place. It is full of conflict and darkness like every good story, a world of surprises and questions to explore. And there’s someone behind it; there are uncomfortable answers to the hows and whys and whats. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through Him were all things made...

Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Let the pages flick your thumbs.

You can also purchase this as an audiobook here, on audible,* on SCRIBD, and wherever audiobooks are sold.

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What People Are Saying:

"Hold your breath and throw your hands in the air! This theological ride thrills with a colorful whir of profound and profoundly amusing meditations on creation, existence and God. Influenced by his evangelical Christian faith, Wilson (Leepike Ridge) uses an engaging, casual style in this personal notebook of spiritual thought as he offers readers a peek into his world of unapologetic wonder. Spinning through the pages, reflections on philosophers, theologians, leeches and kittens offer dazzling new perspective on the bright lights and dark corners of our carnival-like existence. Wilson's most striking achievement in all his whirling musings is an ever-present insistence on optimism. Even when contemplating death, he cheerfully concludes that he will then have admission to “go on the gnarly rides” of immortality. Indeed, Wilson excels in his elegantly intricate arguments for hope: even a naked mole rat matters. Yes, the prose often jolts and reels on its paper track. It can be an unsettling ride. But that is the poetry of a tilt-a-whirl—the poetry of living." -Devi Titus, Publishers Weekly

"As jumbled and chaotic as the proverbial carnival ride for which it's named. ... In this spirit, theology, mythology, poetry, observation, dialogue, and philosophy are flung together on these pages in a barrage of color, motion, and sensory detail that threatens to derail readers after the first few pages. But those who give up will miss an intriguing book.... Wilson invites the reader to partake in the intricate beauty of the world while remaining open to its endless absurdities and darker aspects. If he muses on the wonders of snow, he makes sure you also know that dogs pee on it. If he reflects on the Nativity, he reminds us that the baby Jesus was laid to rest in an 'animal food bowl.'" -Cindy Crosby, Christianity Today

"N.D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl is certainly unlike any book I’ve read before. I pity the publicist whose job it is to provide a soundbite or snapshot from the book! How would one describe it? Wide-eyed, look-ma-no-hands exuberant enjoyment on this spinning tilt-a-whirl we call Earth as it passes through its four seasons? In-your-face mockery of the atheists and their god called Boom? Full-throated defense of a good and sovereign God in a world of pain and evil? A poetic exploration of eucatastrophe? A gospel tract for postmodern times? All of the above. If I had to summarize it in a word, I’d choose provocative—in the old-fashioned sense of provoking, prodding, stimulating, inciting. To do what? To see and to sense and to smell the glory all around us. Wilson is one of those literalists—he takes Solomon and Jesus seriously when they say to “observe the ant” and to “consider the lilies of the field.” Wilson doesn’t stare at them for a few minutes or look them up on Wikipedia–he gathers the kids and gets dirt on his chin and engages in delightful, obedient study. And then he does the same with topics like heaven and hell, gospel and grief, wonder and disbelief. The result—for those of us willing to following the biblical paradox of being childlike without being childish—is that we feel like fish being pulled out of the water for a few moments, finally able to see with new eyes what we have long taken for granted." -Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

"How can I describe Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World? It is about philosophical questions, but it is not a philosophy book. It includes narrative, but it is not a storybook. At times it is poetic, but it is not a poem. Sometimes theology appears, but I would not put in under the theology section. The best way to describe this book is a creative worldview book. He seeks to answer the questions: What is this place? Why is this place? Who approved it? Are the investors happy? Am I supposed to take it seriously?... Wilson begins the book by calling himself a Traveler. Take the journey with him; I think many will find it a wild and refreshing journey." -Patrick Schreiner, The Gospel Coalition

"All said, Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl is a rare treasure. Few living writers I’ve read match N.D. Wilson in imagination, creative articulation of orthodox theology, and ability to write in a simple prose style. That his attention has turned—however briefly—to an adult audience has resulted in a wonderfully modern, C.S. Lewis-like treasure." -Tony Reinke

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
Esther G.
Best modern Christian literature.

Read the review title again. Read the book if you haven't read it yet. Then read the sequel : Death By Living.

Martha V.

We love it. Thank you!


Looking forward to reading it

Ryan I.
My new favorite

I love this book and I recommend it to everyone that I can!

Walker T.
So good

So good.

Amazing! Me new favorite!

This book really does change how you view the world that God created. It has caused me to recognize that all of history from the macro events of the world to the micro events of everyday life are all individually spoken by God and are stories that are being told by the great Author of life. This excellent book by N.D. Wilson really has provided me with wide eyed wonder in God's spoken world!

Jacqueline C.
My new favorite book

I listened to this on audio and by chapter two, I ordered a physical copy because I knew this would be a book I would love coming back to. I think a lot about death and how to live in light of it, and I appreciate that this book gave voice to things I have ruminated over for years. I hit my knees and thanked God for it multiple times while reading it because I was just that satisfied with how the author puts our world into words.

Luke R.B.

Gifted this to my anti-theist co-worker.
Starting good conversations.

Samantha N.

I have listened to this book 3 times.

S. K.

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World

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