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

July 6, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday link kangaroo

A kangaroo walks into a bar.

“Wow!” the bartender says; “We don’t get many kangaroos in here.”

“Yeah,” says the Kangaroo, “And at these prices, you’re not going to get many more.”

…I know it’s pathetic, but that’s always been one of my favorite jokes, and the link list seemed the best place for it.

Click the image above to see 226 more pictures from North Carolina's Wild Goose Festival in June by photographer Courtney Perry

  • If you missed the Wild Goose Festival, photographer Courtney Perry has 227 pictures; you can even purchase copies.
  • John Starke nails it on How to Write a Great Book Review (Or How Not to Write a Bad One).
  • Speaking of which, Benji Zimmerman does a great review of Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle’s Erasing Hell the response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins. (Easier to read with a Javascript Black/White swap app.)
  • And Chan himself sits down with Mark Galli at CT for what appears to be an interview but is really more of a dialog.
  • Stephen Brewster was one of many syncrobloggers who joined together in June to talk about blocks to creativity.  He links to some of the other writers, too.
  • Frank Turk digs into the can of worms being opened by New York’s new marriage law.
  • Craig Groeshel, the guy with the .tv web domains, is now suggesting individuals and families take a few nights off each week to unplug.
  • A few days late for the 4th, but for our American friends, Louis Giglio reflects on the Declaration of Independence with Chris Tomlin on camera and some cheap shots at England’s Matt Redman.  (HT: Worship Blog)
  • Matt Rawlings brings his twice yearly top five books list, and his top 62 “geek” books list.
  • Also on books, Jon, our academic book-watcher on the left coast wants you to know about Christians at the Border: Immigration, The Church and the Bible.  Basically this is a Guatemalan professor of Old Testament studies discussing social policy.  Here’s the publisher’s 411, and a 9-pg .pdf preview.
  • Adam Young, aka Owl City, has a new video, packed with footage from the Back to the Future movies.  Check out Deer in the Headlights.
  • But we can take the animal video linking thing further with this Charlie the Hamster audio file. (HT: Stuff Fundies Like.)
  • Anne Jackson, transparent as ever, has reactivated her blog which has been dormant since March.  You can read her posts from June 17th and June 24th.
  • No link here, but my son Chris put this on his Facebook page:
    The Parable of the Dry Stick
    I was out for a hike a while ago and there was a stick on the path.  I gave it a kick, and all the bark broke off and scattered, leaving only the bare, white wood.
    God then said:  “The world is full of people who will completely change, who are just waiting to be prompted, quietly hoping someone will disrupt their daily ennui.”

     If you know one of those people, give them a proverbial kick.  Tell them their life can amount to something.  Invite them to join the adventure of discovering God.

Separated at Birth (and by a few generations) — Lyn Cryderman, author of Glory Land, republished as No Swimming on Sunday and Colton Burpo of Heaven is for Real fame.  The Cryderman book is a bit of a hard-to-find collector’s item but an excellent document capturing growing up in America in the Free Methodist denomination.  “I gotta home in Glory land that outshines the sun…Way beyond the blue”

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