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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sittser reinforces his faith in ‘Water’

No one is a bigger fan of Christianity than Whitworth University theology/philosophy professor Gerald Sittser.

If that fact wasn’t clear in his 1996 best-seller “A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss” or his 2004 treatise “When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer: Insights to Keep You Praying with Greater Faith and Deeper Hope,” then it definitely is in his newest book, “Water from a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries” (IVP Books, 364 pages, $22).

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said that Sittser’s book “offers a compelling history of spirituality. While many such histories focus on the early martyrs of the faith and medieval mystics, Sittser’s singular study demonstrates that contemporary Christians drink from a deep well of spiritual practices as they become part of the cloud of witnesses to the faith.”

And a review in Library Journal said that “Sittser allows us to see the depth of personal Christianity in the lives about which he writes, and he comments that these life stories may result in ‘changing effects on readers as they did on the author himself.’ “

Sittser will read from the book at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore (see reader board below).

Facing the truth

Several journalists over the past several years have gotten into trouble over accusations that they faked parts of their stories.

Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke, for example, won a Pulitzer Prize for writing a series headlined “Jimmy’s World” on a boy she claimed was being victimized by the Washington, D.C., drug trade.

New York Times reporter Jayson Blair went even further, by faking a whole series of stories.

And they aren’t alone. Michael Finkel may not be as familiar a byline as Cooke or Blair, but he, too, got caught making stuff up.

In Finkel’s case, he was fired by The New York Times Magazine for using “improper narrative techniques” in a story that he’d written about a young boy working on an African cocoa plantation.

The impropriety: He merged the stories of several boys into one fictional character.

Finkel, who offers his version of events in “True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa,” will talk about the book, among other things, during a presentation at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Idaho (see reader board below).

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Book talk

•Gay and Lesbian Book Group (“The Business of Fancydancing,” by Sherman Alexie), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.

•Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, noon Thursday, Old Country Buffet, 5504 N. Division St. Wendy Carroll will speak on screenwriting. Lunch purchase required. Call (509) 325-2072.

•Literary Freedom Book Group (“Seven Loves: A Novel,” by Valerie Trueblood), 1 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

•Renaissance Readers (“Sources of the River,” by Jack Nisbet), 2 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

The reader board

•Maria Davis (“Souls of My Sisters: Black Women Break Their Silence, Tell Their Stories and Heal Their Spirits”), speech, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Louise Anderson Hall Lounge, 905 Elm St., Cheney. Call (509) 359-2205.

•Bharati Mukherjee (“Jasmine”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Globe Room; 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Spokane Community College’s Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities. Call (509) 323-6681.

•Mike Finkel (“True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa”), speech, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, University of Idaho Administration Building Auditorium, Moscow, Idaho. Call (208) 885-7725.

•Elizabeth Lonseth (“Leave It With Him”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

•Elena S. Smith (“Why Birches Are White”), speech, 7 p.m. Thursday, Colfax branch, Whitman County Library, 102 S. Main St., Colfax. Call (509) 397-4366.

•Gerald Sittser (“Water From a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality From Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

•Jamie Leigh Hansen (“Betrayed”), signing, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Waldenbooks, Spokane Valley Mall. Call (509) 892-3907.

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