Well folks, it’s hear! Today Don Miller’s newest book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life, is officially on shelves nationwide. First of all if Don reads this, congrats on putting out another great book! Anyone who writes, or aspires to write, understands the difficulty of not only writing a book, but writing a good book and having it published, and now Don is the envy of many aspiring Christian writers, who would kill for his career.
I was first introduced to Don’s writing in Summer 2005. A friend gave me Blue Like Jazz and from that point forward I’ve been a huge fan. I read a lot, but it’s rare that I actually become a fan of the authors I read. In Don’s case, I was a fan after the first chapter.
About a month ago I received a copy of A Million Miles from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was excited to have received not one, but two copies in the mail, and eagerly anticipated devouring the finished product of the book.
First things first. To my knowledge this is the first of Don’s books to be published in the traditional way– hardcover before paperback. I was pleased with it’s size, the cover, and the feel of it, right off the bat. Not only that but I was impressed by the quote at the top, from well known author Anne Lamott. “I love Donald Miller. He is a man after my own heart.” She said. Not exactly an endorsement for the book itself as much of an endorsement for him.
The next thing I was impressed by were the other endorsements. Tony Hale, Ann Lamott, Rob Bell, Max Lucado, Brian McLaren and Allan Heinberg (Executive Producer of Grey’s Anatomy), all of which wrote glowing reviews. You can tell a lot about a book, or at least his publishing house, by the authors that put their stamp of approval on a book. Needless to say, Don Miller’s book is endorsed by the best in Christian Publishing.
But as for the book itself, do I think it’s any good? I don’t think I’d blog a review about it if I had many negative thoughts. It reads more like a mature Blue Like Jazz, and even starts with the same kind type of introduction. The Chapters themselves are numerous, but a bit short, however this is most definitely a case quality over quantity. The story is simple: Don is in slump, Don meets two screenwriters who want to make a movie of Blue Like Jazz, Don begins learning about the art of story while co-writing the screenplay, Don’s life drastically improves as he learns how to implement the principles of story into his own life, Don makes some personal life decisions, and Don is no longer in the slump.
I loved the idea, loved the writing, and loved the way it spoke to me as a reader much more personally than most books do. I even loved it more than Blue Like Jazz, which is very hard to say. I think perhaps the one drawback is that in Blue Like Jazz we were reading the work of an unpolished, relatively unsuccessful, raw and normal guy. But now, Don is a New York Times Best Seller, a nationally renowned speaker, and somewhat of a political figure. It’s tantamount to an underground band going mainstream and losing their edge. I don’t think Don will necessarily lose fans, but I do think that the magical “Blue Like Jazz” experience will be hard to recapture, no matter how many books Don writes. That, I believe, may just be a God thing. Below is a brief quotation from the book!
“…When Steve, Ben and I wrote our characters into the screenplay, I felt the way I hope God feels as he writes the world, sitting over the planets and placing tiny people in tiny wombs. If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.” (Page 59, Million Miles by Donald Miller)
The most important aspect to this book, for me, was that after I finished it I didn’t forget it. Every day this month I’ve thought about it and contemplated what it promotes, a better story. Don’s carpe diem mentality, combined with his honest writing, are the two best features to his writing, and they always leave me satisfied.
Right now Don is on tour for the book, and his opening act is the brilliant Susan Isaacs, author of another fantastic book, Angry Conversations With God. They are traveling across the nation on a 65 city tour, and I can’t wait to see them several times when they get to the Southern leg of the journey.
Buy this book. You will read it multiple times and laugh out loud every time you do. It’s worth the money, way worth the time you’ll spend reading it, and might just be fuel to help you take more control over your own story.
For more information on Don, the tour, or Susan Isaacs click the following links: