Sunday, May 12, 2013

What do Bill Cosby, mystery, yearning, "Almost Famous," transparency, tears, and Jethro Tull have in common?

My book, Embracing the Gray: A Wing a Prayer, and A Doubter’s Resolve, has elicited many Five Star Reviews at  Here are some more that have come in… 

I want to get right to the point: Buy this book! It is a memoir of a serious Christian and his faith journey, but so much more. Other reviews have given you a pretty detailed view of what it comprises, so let me focus more on what it is not. It is not a conventional memoir, starting from A and ending with Z. It is more a series of vignettes in Mr. Hollingsworth's life that exemplify how he struggled and how he grew in his faith. It is not a "preachy" book in regards to faith. Rather, it describes the struggle that just about all followers of Christ experience. It does not insult the reader by talking down to them, summing up what a chapter means. Rather, one is left to decide for themselves what conclusions should be drawn. It is not a book of rigid Christian doctrine, describing a narrow path to faith. Rather, Mr. Hollingsworth shares with the reader timeless principles of faith. The chapters comprise wonderful short stories or events in his life, and regardless of the details of each, I cannot imagine the great majority of readers not identifying with his struggles, sharing his emotions, and being enriched from his telling. This book is filled with hope, doubt, sadness, reflection, joy, wonderment, yearning, questioning, affirmation, and so much more. But if I had to describe a single term for what it evokes, it would be humanity. Like I said: buy this book. You will be richer for it. 

Honest and entertaining. Embracing The Gray has been one of the most rewarding reads I have had in recent history. Mark has the relatable, honest, and humorous qualities of great storytellers like Bill Cosby, and manages to inspire deep thought in an honest spiritual journey all at once. I look forward to reading it again.

Treasure the questions. This book is a collection of the some of the blogs from one of the most thoughtful, insightful, entertaining and challenging writers in the blogosphere.  I have been a keen reader of his writings for a number of years and I was excited when I heard of the release of this his first book.

It does not disappoint. It is a journey into the world of a man who has lived an extraordinary life but has clearly kept his feet on the ground and so displays himself as an ordinary guy. The son of a pastor he shares the story of a boy brought up in a world where he realizes he has his own big questions about God. The book explores this ongoing journey from the trusting faith of a child through his agnostic period (whilst at bible college!) through to his acceptance that if God is God & Mark is not, then he will never have all the answers. This is the gray that is mentioned in the title.

The stories are all incredibly readable and in many cases very moving. My personal favourites were "Entertaining Angels" and "In a Highland Meadow"

If you like your faith stories and parables full of simple answers & platitudes, give the book a miss and pray really hard that tragedy never visits your door. However, most of us accept that life is full of mystery & as such this book is a welcome addition to our library. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

Simply stunning. Honestly, Mark's life runs parallel to the film "Almost Famous," only it's more exciting. I won't ruin any of the surprises, but I guarantee you'll have several moments where you say to yourself "I can't believe all this happened to one person."  The only book I've ever read with a meeting with U2, and an incident with a drunken, suicidal gunman live just pages apart. And both are true. Loved it!           

You’ll be reading passages aloud to the nearest person. Embracing the Gray will have you reading with your mouth agape, or tearing up, or laughing out loud. You'll be inspired by the author's transparency and humor. You'll enjoy this read if you are interested in music, travel, deepening relationships or spiritual things. There is no shying away from the "hard questions" here.

Excellent.  I appreciate Mark's refreshing honesty about his faith, his struggles, and the joy and torment that life in general brings. I was moved to the brink of tears often. The compassion exhibited throughout is inspiring.

In a world where many people try to delineate the "black & white" - the "one way or the other" - it's refreshing that someone has "embraced the gray" because that's where we all live. There are too many factors involved in everything to make a clean cut decision between "this and that" - even though that's what many of us want. What is written in this book are Mark's experiences, but I'm sure any/all of us can relate somehow. If not, then I don't know..."I may make you feel, but I can't make you think..." (from “Thick as a Brick” by Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull). Either way is good by me. Get the book, read it, and come to your own thoughts as to how what is said applies to your own life.

I continue to be humbled by the response the book is generating.  If you have read it and wish to correspond with me, I always interact with any communiqués.   You can also read many reader reviews (97% are Five Stars) at:

Embracing the Gray is still available for a limited time as a 99 cent Kindle download at that same link, or as a free PDF download at my website (donations accepted):

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