In this extraordinary book about the human heart, Brian Doyle salutes stories:

"Look, I don't know much, but I know these things uncontrovertibly and inarguably:

"One: stories matter waaaaay more than we know.
"Two: all stories are, in some form, prayers.
"Three: love is the story and the prayer that matters the most.

"So: here are some stories and prayers, and they are all about love, and I hope that they matter to you too."

He is the editor of Portland Magazine, winner of three consecutive national gold medals as the finest small circulation university magazine in the United States. We were impressed with the buoyancy and the imagination he demonstrated as editor of God Is Love: Essays from Portland Magazine and as a virtuoso stylist in Spirited Men: Story, Soul & Substance. Here he salutes the human heart with facts, literary references, notes on emotional and spiritual understandings, and even pop songs. He was inspired to write this book about this "mad wild miracle" by his love for his son who was born missing a chamber of his heart. Spilling across the pages of this brief volume is his gratitude for the doctor who saved him.

Doyle pays tribute to the eleven-ounce organ that "feeds a vascular system that comprises sixty thousand miles of veins and arteries and capillaries. It beats a hundred thousand times a day. It shoves two thousand gallons of blood through the body every day." The miracle and the mystery of the human heart is not only a medical marvel but also the symbol of the selfless service of people like Doctor Dave McIrvin and a colleague who works wonders in America and in Armenia. Whether pondering the small heart of the hummingbird or scratching his head over the staggering cost of heart diseases, Doyle proves to be a gifted and sensitive guide to stories and prayers that matter.