OTTO BOOKSTORE First Friday book reviews, signings

‘A Love Song – From the Alps to the Cahill and Beyond’

Do you want to know how to trap muskrats; build a chicken house to raise 24,000 chicks; play kick the can; bale hay; build a skateboarding ramp; run a construction business; buy and operate a tractor; build four foot high sand castles; or how to find the physical and spiritual strength to live with 16 years of cancer? If so, then this is the book for you.

Sullivan County farmer, builder, Mennonite missionary, father and devoted husband, John M. Souder, has written a book with everything he wants his descendants to know.

It’s a biography, a book of guidance in the nuts and bolts of farm life and an impassioned story of Souder’s love for his God, wife, family and community.

Born in 1943 and raised in Telford, Souder married his high school sweetheart in 1962 and was asked by his church to move to Sullivan County in 1964 to help plant a new church community.

When they moved into their farm house, Souder and his wife, Susan, began farming, serving their community (John was acting pastor for awhile) and raising their four children.

The book has an entire chapter on the glories of Sullivan County – from the memorable individuals to the Forksville Fair, to the beauty of World’s End State Park and Eagles Mere to even the many rocks in his fields.

A local person had explained to him that, without the rocks, the ground would never get warm enough for anything to grow.

In 1994, Susan was diagnosed with cancer and began her numerous surgeries.

She kept up her household chores plus her duties as an licenced practical nurse at the Dar-Way nursing home. During her last year she relied on a wheel chair to enable her travels. In spite of the unbelievable responsibilities both of the Souders bore in their life, they relied on their grown children and neighbors to keep the home place humming while they took vacations all over the country and even to Europe.

In his book, Souder tells of the many places and people they visited and includes photos and memories recorded in his and Susan’s diaries. Susan died in the Gatehouse at Divine Providence Hospital in February 2010, after 47 years of marriage to John.

Giving voice to all of their children, the book includes tributes to Susan from each of them. Souder’s grief was mitigated by the faith he and his wife had shared.

Almost a year and a half later, he married the widow of one of his best friends and they remember their first mates with love and gratitude.

John Souder will be Otto’s guest author from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.

He will be signing his book, “A Love Song, from the Alps to the Cahill and Beyond.”


‘Daily Life in Bible Times – What Archaeology Tells Us’


Special to the Sun-Gazette

Doctor Pamela Gaber has had an insatiable appetite for ancient history. For almost 50 years, she has dug the archaeological sites in the Holy Land, looking for clues to the people who founded the world’s three major religions.

Among the many books and articles she has written about her work, she published a picture book for children called “Daily Life in Bible Times, What Archaeology Tells Us.”

What can be learned of the Israelites’ 40 years in the desert on their way back to the Promised Land after their Exodus in Egypt? What is a “tel?” And what secrets lie beneath it? What kind of house did the first Israelites build? What did they eat?

Who were their rulers?

The answers to these questions can be found underground and that’s where archaeologists like Gaber dig for them. Gaber will be at Otto Bookstore, 107 W. Fourth St., for a book signing of “Daily Life in Bible Times” from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.