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The Singer and the Song

An Autobiography of the Spirit
Narrated by: Janis Ian
Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Grammy Award-winning narrator Janis Ian personally selected this work to follow the success of Society's Child. The Singer and the Song includes a performance of "Joy Is Like the Rain" and other songs penned by Miriam Therese Winter, and also an original song written by Janis Ian. The author and narrator, supported by friends who formed an interfaith chorus in the studio, perform a classic spiritual memoir in a way that will inspire anyone interested in living a life of love and service.

Miriam Therese Winter - award-winning musician, author, and missionary - is a four-time Catholic Book Award-winner. She shares her experiences of becoming a Sister, working with starving children in Ethiopia and with refugees in Cambodia, of exploring the mysteries of India and the wonders of God in her own backyard, of having breast cancer and having hope. She also illumines new aspects of community, Eucharist, the word and spirit, water and the stars, spiritual blessedness, and much more. Each chapter is like a short story, complete in itself but revealing new aspects of the author's life and vision. Each one begins with a personal experience and segues into a spiritual lesson that will resonate in your mind and heart. You'll come to know Miriam Therese Winter as a friend and, in the process, understand more about your own life and the purpose God has for you. The author is a professor of liturgy, worship, and spirituality at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut.

©1999 Medical Mission Sisters (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Singer-songwriter Janis Ian delivers both story and song in award-winning musician Miriam Therese Winter's memoir. Each chapter moves from Winter's personal experience to the spiritual lesson she learned from it, each of which is eventually expressed in her music. Ian renders Winter's story in a lilting and engaging tone. As Winter describes working with refugees in Cambodia and starving children in Ethiopia, Ian helps listeners feel everything she felt. While the author's impact on the poor is clear, it's her music that helped many more determine their own life pathways. Ian uses her crystalline vocal talents and evocative guitar playing to take this engaging story to a level rarely experienced through audio.” (AudioFile)
December 2013 AudioFile Earphones Award

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Brilliant!

What made the experience of listening to The Singer and the Song the most enjoyable?

Janis Ian's rendition of the songs.

Have you listened to any of Janis Ian’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. Another 5 star performance! Ian's acting background and musician's ear for sound quality, make her performances blend completely with the story. Janis' voice coney's an understanding of the story so completely it is a joy to listen!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I found the songs compelling.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to more from Janis Ian!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • PointBlank, TX, United States
  • 06-21-19

Not What I Expected

I thought this would be more about her life and experiences, not so much theology. I did enjoy many of the songs sung on this audio.

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A Triumph of Writing & Narration

First the performance. I saw that Janis Ian was the narrator and couldn't imagine it was the singer. But it is. Her voice is smooth, crystal clear, and moving. I have no idea what Ms Ian's religious views are, but having heard this book, I am convinced that she's a person of faith. But the most important thing here is that she is able not to read but to *sing* the author's songs—often with guitar accompaniment, sometimes with interesting percussion. The effect is wonderful and it made the book that much better.

And now for the book.

Coïncidentally, just before I read The Singer and the Song, I'd just finished Richard Rohr's The Universal Christ—also an audiobook. Both Wiinter & Rohr write of creation spirituality. But whereas Rohr seemed to be writing from a philosophical perspective, Winter was where the rubber hits the road. What Rohr thinks about, Winter lives.

The subtitle of this book is therefore entirely appropriate. Winter writes about her life and ministry from the perspective of the Holy Spirit. With every experience comes revelation and insight. And the insight is truly significant—sometimes affirming church teaching, but just as often challenging it. In every case, however, the reader/listener is lead to think about their own life experience and how it makes sense of (or denies) the core of their theology.

In this way, Winter's music—including some of her best known hymns found in so many contemporary hymnals—are transformed from pleasant poems that evoke personal emotional responses into deep theological responses to real life experiences—a way of explaining the inexplicable.

I respect Richard Rohr and his work and don't want this review to appear to be trolling him. But there were two areas where I was rather jarred by his support of his church's dogma, namely mariology and the eucharist. In both cases, his theology repels those who were not brought up in or who didn't already affirm his tradition. This is not the case with Miriam Therese Winter. In both of these areas, her theology is inviting, and helps all people—Catholic and non-Catholic alike—connect with and understand one church's teachings. Especially in the area of eucharist, she challenges and broadens our faith to be more inclusive, and her understanding of the presence of Christ in the holy meal is very insightful.

I highly recommend the audio version The Singer and the Song to all people—those of faith and those who are still seeking. Winter's words coming from Ian's lips will enrich you and call you home.