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My two (and a half)-star rating of this LibraryThing Early Reviewers book is less of a reflection on the quality of the poems and prayers contained within and more a reaction to the breadth and organization of the book.

It may sound like a silly complaint, but I think that Acceptable Words would be better off as a smaller collection – much smaller. The subject matter — the writer’s desire to witness, through their words — is a worthy one, but the collection could have been reduced to an inspirational pocket-sized book and met the same goal, without becoming boring.

The editors did try to divide the collection into thematic groupings, beginning with “The Writer Encounters the World” up through “The Writer Offers the Work to God”, but I really struggled to see what differentiated the work in one section from another. Additionally, many of the “prayers’ were quite long — less prayers than long poems or chunks of theology. Like the hymn book in the church pew, a lot of the pieces are saying the SAME thing and would be best enjoyed over a whole church year. Maybe that’s the problem with sitting down with the goal of reviewing this collection in a timely fashion. It all blends together, and not much stands out?

The most helpful section of the collection was ‘The Writers’ Biographies’ at the back. Half of those whose works were included were well-known writers and theologians. The rest were new to me, and the shear number — over 120 — speaks to the overreach of this collection.

In summary — great content that could be more inspirational in bite-sized, more differentiated bits.