A good friend suffered a heart attack. His doctor prescribed a treadmill to strengthen his heart and taught him about healthy diet. One evening when I visited, my friend took me to his basement to show me the treadmill. He got me on it and started putting the machine through its paces to show me its features. He explained why this kind of walking is necessary for our hearts, even though as farmers, we already do a lot of walking. Our regular walking is not the right kind for heart strength (too intermittent). While he was killing me in the paces, he explained how to read the "Nutrition Facts" panel on groceries as it relates to our hearts.
It is crazy what's in a serving of Oreo cookies or those coconut frosted miniature donuts that I like. Canned soup? I quit it because of the salt. The problem is not just with junk food. All kinds of prepared or packaged foods are less heart healthy then we think.
Too bad there is no "Nutrition Facts" panel on what passes for Christian books and articles. What are the ingredients of those doing to our hearts? They have their own kinds of saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol. Even though it may be selling like hotcakes in the nearby Christian bookstore, a book might be no better for us than Cheetos or Twinkies, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried. (Sorry that I spoke ill of bacon.)
At least with food, making the shopping adjustment is not so difficult. You know where the fresh fruits and vegetables are in your usual grocery store. But in that nearby Christian bookstore, which is the aisle for you, the aisle for heart health? It's not that there are no worthwhile books there, but they are few, and wow, the sifting process!
Where is the good Lutheran aisle? It's not in the store down the street. We have to make special trips, but to where? The first problems are what to read and where to get it.
As we discover answers to those questions, we find that we often will need to read the materials in electronic form. That happens either because of lower cost, convenience, or our preference for e-reading. More often than we might have expected, a writing that we desire to read is readily available to us only in one of many electronic formats. This raises a number of additional questions. Where to find electronic books and texts, and how to manage them once we have them.
This article addresses a number of these problems. Provided here are:
Version 1.0 — Suggestions
This article definitely is only a version 1.0 effort. I welcome suggestions for additions, changed URLs, and other updates and improvements. Please use the comment box below, which will benefit everyone immediately, and cause an email to be sent to me so I can incorporate improvements.
Suggested Reading List for the Lutheran Layperson
Lutheran Book Publishers
Luther Academy Books (via Logia)
Lutheran Journals and Periodicals
Lutheran PDFs and Texts
Calibre – A Fabulous E-reader Application
You may be happy with your dedicated e-reader device: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or another. If so, you might never need to know about e-reader applications. But there are reasons for such applications, and for many people, such an application is a must.
What are some of the reasons?
Some of the producers of dedicated e-reader devices provide free computer applications, such as the Kindle application for Amazon Kindle-formatted books, and Nook Reading for Barnes & Noble Nook-formatted books. These might not support the format of a document you want to read, or their features might be poor. For example, the Kindle application that runs on Windows 8 Metro has not been well received, and Windows 8 tablet users have moved toward running in Desktop mode with the Windows 7 version of the Kindle app.
Consequently, the software industry has produced dozens of independent e-reader applications. There are many good and very good ones. One fabulous e-reader application is Calibre.
Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. It runs on Windows, OS X, Linux, and portably such as on jump drive. It has a cornucopia of features divided into the following main categories:
Besides that, Calibre has a built in feature called Get Books that helps you search for e-books online. It searches, at this writing, 45 stores and repositories. While researching the historic Lutheran liturgy, I found many out-of-print books by Lutheran authors in PDF format through this feature, and easily loaded them into Calibre.
For certain formats such as PDF, Calibre may call an external viewer, such as Adobe Reader. But I recommend getting Foxit Reader. Foxit Reader is richly featured, yet lightweight, and portable. When you install it, let it set itself as the default PDF reader. Then, when you choose in Calibre to read a document in PDF format, the document automatically will open in Foxit.
Calibre has a very large user base. Many favorable reviews have been written about it. You would have no trouble finding some by searching the Internet. See for example, Calibre: Hands-Down, The Best eBook Manager Available. But perhaps the best way to get an idea about whether you want to try it is to watch the Grand Tour Video on the Calibre website. Give it a fair try, and I'll bet you will feel you want to make a voluntary contribution to its developers, as I did.
Online Bookstores and Repositories of E-books, PDFs, and Texts
These bookstores and repositories are not specifically Lutheran, but contain many valuable Lutheran e-books and texts.
Search Engines for E-books, PDFs, and Texts