Thinking Out Loud

May 13, 2014

On Reviewing Books

Filed under: books — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:54 am
No, not mine. I wish...

No, not mine. I wish…

One thing I’m really thankful for is that I came into blogging after years in Christian publishing. When I was offered review books, I didn’t just jump at the offer of something for free, but rather knew the titles, authors and themes I wanted to have in my library. I probably turn down more books than I accept.

There are bookshelves in our recreation room, bookshelves in our bedroom, bookshelves at the top of the stairs, and yes, bookshelves in our living room. It’s the living room collection that reflects the most recent or more often referred-to acquisitions. Some were sent for review. Some I picked up at remainder sales. A few I was willing to pay full price for.

At some point, the collection will need to be downsized. I’ve heard people, including pastors and Christian leaders, talk about going from 3,000 titles to 300. They speak of the angst of the process as though they were forced to give away their children. I totally get that. There will be titles my kids won’t want; and giving them away is going to hurt.

Each book has a story. I can tell you where or how I came to receive it. How it affected me. I can even quote sections of many of them even though no paragraphs are underlined and no page corners are turned down. I’m the same with worship songs. I can tell you where I was when I first heard a particular song.

I still work both in and around the publishing industry. The books I am involved with selling are not always the same ones I read. I can’t let my personal tastes dictate what might be a bad business decision; neither can I let the popularity of a Christian bestseller lead me to think that I am obligated to go beyond the first chapter.

At Christmas when everyone was home from college, I picked up a set of three books by a well-known Christian author that are now out of print. I said to the boys, “When the time comes and you’re setting up your own households, I really hope you fight over who gets these.” I think they just might do that.

Book Shop Talk Masthead



  1. You have to be a reader to get this. Books are like people, like friends!

    When I was in Bible College, my homiletics teacher said something that I took very seriously, much to the dismay of my young wife: “If you are going to teach God’s word, sell your bed and buy books!”
    She did draw the line at having bookcases in the bedroom!

    Comment by Jim — May 13, 2014 @ 10:42 am

  2. I can totally relate to this. I have books stacked all over the place. Once my wife said something like, “Why are you keeping those books. You know you’re not going to read them again.” I didn’t know how to tell her, “But, they’re like children to me.”

    Comment by Bill — May 13, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

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