Holding Your Books

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Have you ever thought about how you hold your books? Most of the time, I suspect our book holding maneuvers are subconscious as we shift a book from one hand to another, or re-position a book or ourselves.

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Ladakh” by Christopher Michel is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

I didn’t think about this so much in the past as I do now. Depending on the print size, my lap is too far away for these aging eyes and holding a large book in my hands gets tiring. Or I will cross my leg, and prop the book on my lower leg, until I uncross and recross my legs the other way. Resting the book on a table is another solution, but that means sitting at a table, hunch over if it is flat, or I hold the book propped up on the table

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Photo by r._.f from Pexels

I’ve always been a bit of a fidgeter. Sitting in a chair for very long and I have to move around. Sometimes I read standing. Sometimes laying down–until I fall asleep. Sometimes even laying on the floor.

Then there is the challenge of holding the book open. Many will not lie flat and so need to be held open.

Yet for some weird reason, I still usually prefer print to e-books, except for walking on my treadmill.

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Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Apparently people have been devising ways to cope with these challenges for years. Winston Churchill often worked and read at the standing desk pictured above–the original hands free reading. The desk here holds several open at once. I’ve seen some use drafting tables in this way. You just need some kind of ledge at the bottom to keep the books from sliding off.

Alternately, people have used book pillows to rest the book closer than a lap. There are acrylic book stands that can be placed on tables or wood book podiums that can be placed on a table.

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Photo via Pikrepo licensed under CC0 1.0

A variety of bookholders have been created for those who like to read in bed. These vary from lab desks and pillow desks to various bed tables, and even bedside tables like those whose in hospitals where the base is wheeled and slides under the bed and the stand tilts and can be adjusted to the ideal height and angle to “consume” your book. Here is a BookwormGadgets post that features a number of these products.

There is still the problem of holding your book open hands free, ideally in a way where it is easy to turn the page when you are ready, but secure. While some better books lie open of themselves, and are easily held, many either have to be held by one or two hands, and hardbound books can be awkward.

There is a Flipklip book holder that holds the book open but allows you to turn pages easily. There are various other page clips which are great at holding books open but need to be removed as you turn pages. If you are reading on flat surfaces, there are various types of bookweights, which probably work better than the stapler I sometimes use to hold a book open when I’m writing a review. Another BookwormGadgets post describes a number of these products.

Maybe this all seems fussy, and there are times when the book, the chair, the lighting are perfect, allowing us to lose ourselves. However, the existence of all these products suggest that I’m not the only one who finds holding a book in my hands or on my lap is not always optimal. All the items we have devised actually are quite ingenious, and many diehard readers end up using one or more.

It also reminds me of what an ergonomically exquisite thing an e-reader is–easily held, allowing one to set fonts. lightweight, and capable of holding not one book but thousands. It makes me wonder why so many of us still love print books–and reminds me what peculiar creatures we bibliophiles are.

 

Black Authors

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Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the national holiday in the U.S. when the Civil Rights leader is remembered. February is Black History Month. On Monday, I asked my readers on the Facebook Bob on Books page for their recommendation of Black authors. It is quite a list, and even so, far from complete. Here is the list with names linked to Wikipedia articles so you can look up their works.

This is a sizable, but to be sure, incomplete list. Different names may be controversial to different people. Part of the adventure of reading is to read those who are different or disagree with you. I’m struck with the diversity of genres represented among these writers–from poetry to science fiction, from advocacy to autobiography (often the same thing). African-Americans were among our earliest Americans and their contribution to our literature is immense. The coming month might be a good time to explore the work of at least one black writer you haven’t read, or a title you’ve always wanted to get to. And if there is someone I’ve left out, let me know so I can add them to the list!

Fostering Civil Spaces on Social Media

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Social Media: Image by Gerd Altman via Pixabay, [CC0 1.0]

Several good friends have recently announced their intention to leave Facebook until after the U.S. national elections in November. Their reason is their own mental health. The level of argument, vicious attacks, false or misleading claims, and fake news are putting off increasing numbers who once thought these sights to be a fun and social way to keep up with friends. Is that the way it has to be?

In recent years I’ve been increasingly involved both as a participant and a page administrator on Facebook and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good has been conversations, particularly around books, where people have shared about their love of books, what they love reading, what they don’t (and these can be polar opposites), and discussions where people learn from each other, and about new genres of literature and authors they might like and learn from.

The bad have been arguments where people go beyond reasoned and vigorous exchanges to slogans, epithets, and dismissive remarks in increasingly heated exchanges. Others often just shut down and leave.

The ugly comes when people resort to personal attacks on the character of each other, or of other figures, or even bullying and abusive behaviors.

What have I learned about creating civil spaces?

  1. If you are expecting perfection, forget it. People have bad days. Some people only want to assert an idea without defending it. People misunderstand each other. There are “trolls” and downright mean people. The truth is, we have bad days with the people who are closest to us.
  2. Probably the best thing that can be done is to have clear rules about posting online. Social media researcher J. Nathan Matias has found that clear posting rules with clear consequences both reduce harassment and increase participation. On my book page, I bar any personal attacks, profanity, and bullying, and any “marketing” posts for books (open that door and that is all you get). Others can include things like off-topic posting. Positively, I encourage respectful dialogue, and focusing on our common love of books. I think it doesn’t hurt to remind people why a group exists.
  3. Moderators or page administrators have to be willing to enforce rules. This is easier when you have them. It can mean shutting down toxic threads, deleting posts that violate your rules, and posting reminders about page or group rules when needed. I try to send a friendly message to those who break rules the first time. With most people that’s enough. Often they even apologize, especially when they realize they are dealing with a person rather than an algorithm. The only person I ever banned was someone who called another member “stupid.” When I messaged him about it, he called me “stupid.” NEVER call page admins names!
  4. Watch “vigorous” interactions closely. I try to let them go as long as they don’t degenerate to name-calling or personal attacks.
  5. Learn the limit’s of your particular page or group’s capacity and exceed them at your peril! Sometimes you discover them when you exceed them! I’ve found you can talk religion as long as you don’t go negative on others. Politics–forget it in this climate. Controversial issues? Sometimes, the issue is how “in your face” the post or comment is to opposing positions.
  6. On pages I curate, I try to mix it up to allow for diversity–serious with light, posts appealing to a variety of interests, posts from diverse authors and sources, with a healthy dose of humor–even if it is lame! While we have basic page standards, I want people to know that we don’t want this to be an echo chamber but a place where different people can meet.
  7. I try to promote engagement. Sometimes over a hundred people respond to the “Question of the Day” on my page, and many others check out the contributions.
  8. I avoid commenting on many posts except when I’m directly asked a question. I want people to have a sense that the page is about all of us, not just me.

And a few things about other pages and groups:

  1. Know and follow the page rules and never cross the admins.
  2. Engage what others post as well as respond when people engage you. Be friendly, and a little humor never hurts as long as it is not belittling to the other person.
  3. Don’t be that person who talks incessantly, or dominates posts.
  4. Learn to distinguish between things you disagree with, or are different from your experience, and genuinely objectionable behavior where you are disrespected. Don’t get into it with with such folks–just message the admin. They may not immediately spot your interaction if there is a lot of activity. This is what they get paid the big bucks for (usually nothing!).

Mostly, it comes down to the things that make for good conversations in any setting. Funny how we forget these when we are online. That, I suppose, is where the rules really help.

One final thing. Kindness never hurts.  Often when there is an unexpectedly strong response, there is often more going on than meets the eye. For example, someone responded very strongly to an article I posted on vaccines one time. As we interacted, I discovered the reason why. The person had lost a family member to an extreme reaction to the vaccine. The conversation moved from a discussion that could be controversial to a connection with the deep pain that comes from loss. A saying that is variously attributed is perhaps a good thing to remember in all our online interactions:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

My Reading Goals For 2020

reading goalsTo a certain degree, reading has been one of those pursuits guided by my interest of the moment. Even with books I’ve agreed to review, my choice of the next read is often a function of interest–unless I’ve had the book for a while.

But there are some goals, or at least aspirations, I have for the coming year:

  1. I want to read at least a couple of the books on my “Ten Books I Want to Read Before I Die.” I read Chernow’s Washington and Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism this past year. For this year, I hope to read Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age and Karl Barth’s The Epistle to the Romans.
  2. It has been years since I’ve read C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia–really since our son was you, probably over 25 year ago. I think it is time for a re-reading.
  3. There is a stack of books by my bed which is my primary reading pile. Instead of adding to it, I’d like to read down the pile so I can filter in some other books waiting to be read.
  4. I only discovered the work of Mary Oliver with her passing a year ago. I now have one of her books of poetry and a collection of her essays. I want to read them this year.
  5. I’ve heard of the mysteries of Louise Penny and I have the first of her Chief Inspector Gamache series on my stack. I also hope to read one or more of Sinclair Lewis’s Lanny Budd stories.
  6. I want to be a bit more careful on the number of review books I request. I’d like to finish reviews within 60 days of getting books, something I’m not always doing. I do get to them all eventually.
  7. I had to read a Graham Greene novel in college. In the years since I’ve come to a greater appreciation of his work and hope to work in at least one or two of his novels that I have lying around.
  8. I have loved the sports writing of Jane Leavy, having read her biographies of Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle, both boyhood heroes. Babe Ruth was before my time, but I just picked up The Big Fella, by Leavy as my baseball read for this year.
  9. I will be reading James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree for a work discussion, so I’ll throw that into my reading goals.
  10. Finally, I do set a conservative Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal of 130 books. I’ll probably read 40 or 50 more, but there are some long books on my list, so we’ll see.

These reads certainly reflect my own idiosyncrasies and interests. But I love hearing about what others are reading or hoping to read. Let me know what you are reading or hoping to read. And if there is anything here that you are reading, let’s talk!

Reading Reflections: Advent by Fleming Rutledge–Two

AdventSpiritual warfare. The Day of Judgment. The Return of the King. Darkness before the coming of the Dayspring. These themes recur on pages 157-272 of Advent, in the second of my reflections on this collection of Pre-Advent and Advent sermons. These sermons cover the three Sundays before Advent, and the first of the Advent Sundays.

Spiritual warfare. Rutledge exposits, “save us in the time of trial, and deliver us from the evil one,” from the Lord’s prayer. These phrases would have made ready sense to believers from many ages. We want to be saved from trial. For many, they have been saved in the time of trial. We pray about adversity and hard times. Rutledge reminds us of the cosmic warfare and the personal power of evil opposing God and those who would claim allegiance to him.

The Day of Judgment. Rutledge invites us not to suppress the preaching of such a day, but to actually love the day of judgement. Why? For one, when we glimpse the terrible evils of the world, we do not want the perpetrators to continue with impunity, that a world without judgment would be worse than hell. But this is no invitation to smugness. “The time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God.” Judgment bids us to repent and to look with joy upon the one who alone can cover and forgive sin and save us through judgment.

The Return of the King. The Feast of Christ the King is the last Sunday before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to return. In one sermon in this section Rutledge asks two questions: Whom do we want to be ruler of our lives? Whom do we want to be ruler of this world of Sin and Death? If we are honest, we have to admit that the answer to the first question is often ourselves. The answer to the second is often, is the world really that bad? As we approach Advent, we ask, do we really want a King, and do we want one whose coming means the extinction of sin and death.

Darkness. One of Rutledge’s first sermons is titled “Advent Begins in the Dark.” Anglican churches have no decorations until Christmas. Only when the one who is the Dayspring comes, is it appropriate for light to shine out from the church. It is the shortest time of the year. It is the darkness of the absence of God, of awaiting God’s coming. It is the parable of the doorkeeper charged to stay awake watching for the master. Drawing on the title of another sermon, it is “The Advent Life for Nonheroic People.”

Every step we take in this world is a step toward either darkness or light. Every harsh word, every mean act, every vengeful thought is a part of the world of darkness. Every act of forgiveness, every small act of charity, every temptation resisted is a piece of the armor of light.

All of this increases my longing for the King, and my wonder that such a King came first to die, and returns to judge, and save, and reign. It all increases my sense of dependence on the King–for the power to resist to the end the Evil One, for conviction leading to repentance and grace, for the coming of the King who is the light shining out of the darkness.

Reading Reflections: Advent by Fleming Rutledge — One

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During Lent this year, I read The Crucifixion by Episcopal priest Fleming Rutledge. It was one of the richest books of theology I’ve read in the past ten years, and so I purchased a copy of AdventThat time has come and I’ve begun reading this book (not quite as long) as I await the celebration of Christ’s coming, and anticipate his return. I thought I’d share reflections as well as a review, partly to let you know as soon as possible about this book so you might be able to join me in reading during this season of Advent. Like The Crucifixion, there is such a rich feast of thought that a single review cannot do it justice!

This book is unlike The Crucifixion in consisting of a compilation of writings and sermons on Advent themes from throughout Rutledge’s ministry, given in or written for a number of different settings. The sermons have been grouped around Pre-Advent Themes, the four Sundays of Advent, concluding with a Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent. The writings and sermons are preceded by an introduction that frames the collection theologically.

This reflection covers the several sections of the book, up through page 158. Several things have been striking so far. One is the focus on the Advent as the season of the second coming. Most of us focus on the anticipation of the birth of the incarnate Lord, celebrating this first coming in all that it means for our redemption. Rutledge observes that the liturgical focus of the readings in all but the last Sunday is on the second coming of Jesus. This is what truly makes it a season of waiting. She observes:

Because the church in modern times has turned away from the proclamation of the second coming, an intentional effort must be made to reinstate it. Related to the second coming, which Jesus repeatedly says will come by God’s decision at an hour we do not expect, is the Advent emphasis on the agency of God, as contrasted with the “works” of human beings.

In another sermon she describes the tension of a passage in 2 Peter of “waiting and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord” and describes hastening as “action in waiting.” Yes, we act in the hope and anticipation of that day, but always from a posture of waiting, knowing that the Lord will return in his time on his terms.

Advent is not all sweetness and light for Rutledge. It is light into the darkness, the revealing of the line of good and evil that runs through each of us and the resistance against the Evil One, a reminder of the battleground we inhabit between the first and second Advents of Jesus.

In another sermon, Rutledge reminds us of King Hussein of Jordan, who shortly before his death, visited families of Israelis killed in an Arab terrorist bombing, simply sitting with the bereaved. Then she turns to the late Princess Diana visiting an Angolan hospital ward filled with disfigured and suffering patients coming alongside and caressing patients. Rutledge observes in each, “majesty stooped,” and that this is what we remember in Advent. The focus on the second Advent with Christ’s kingly return stands in contrast with the incarnate, helpless and vulnerable babe, who grew lived, and died for our redemption. In Christ, majesty stooped, and it truly is a wonder to behold as it was with King Hussein and Princess Diana.

This is but a taste of the rich material in the opening pages of this book. I would mention that my favorite bookseller, Hearts and Minds currently offers this and a number of other Advent books at a 20% discount. Wherever you buy or borrow this book, I hope you will have the chance to spend time in it, whether this Advent or in a future year.

 

Overwhelmed with Booklists?

Booklists2An hazard of being a bibliophile is being overwhelmed with booklists. I confessing to contributing to this feeling for those who follow my blog and social media. This time of the year is the best, or worst, depending on your perspective, as a number of outlets publish their “best of the year” lists. In the next weeks, I’ll be doing this myself. And I’ll be posting others.

Today, I came across a most impressive list–all the books NPR has reviewed since 2013, organized as NPR’s Book Concierge, which is quite elegant as a book site. The list is tabbed by years, with access to their reviews by cover images or lists. You can search by your favorite genre. In all, there are over 2,000 reviews.

So how do I avoid being overwhelmed? Here are some things I find helpful:

  1. I pay attention to what sparks curiosity or interest. It might be a favorite author, or a cover, or a subject I’m interested in.
  2. I notice books that keep coming up in genres I’m interested in.
  3. I look for lists in subjects I’m interested in. I like Five Books because they post five books by an informed expert on a variety of subjects. Some awards, like the Hugo Awards (science fiction and fantasy) are genre specific.
  4. I read a number of religious books, and Christianity Today’s Book Awards each year is one list I pay attention to. If there is a topical area you are interested in, finding out what the flagship publication in that area is, and learning if they publish a list of books helps.
  5. Some of the most famous lists also reflect a particular literary culture. If you like the reviews you see in a particular outlet, the list may be helpful. If you tend to check out when you read the reviews, the list might not do much for you either. I don’t feel compelled to read what the literati think I should read.
  6. On the other hand, some lists may be useful if you want to branch out and read in an area different from what you usually read. For example, if you want to read more books by international authors, searching international book award lists may be helpful. Wikipedia, has a great list of these.
  7. Often, these lists have a latent effect on me. I may notice a book, perhaps multiple times and move on. Then I come across the book in a book store, and it just seems the right moment to pick it up.
  8. A special form of booklist is a bibliography, usually in more academic books. Sometimes, when I’m researching a topic, there will be a reference to another book, sometimes multiple ones, that tell me that the referenced book is really the one to read on the topic.
  9. Some of the best book lists come from other bloggers who are readers. One from the Modern Mrs. Darcy site is a compilation of 52 lists this blogger has posted over the years.
  10. Finally, when I’m tempted to become overwhelmed and shriek “so many books; so little time,” it helps to remember that most books are actually meant for others, and that the joy of perusing lists is looking for that book that was meant for you.

For me, the “Best Books” lists are my adult equivalent to the release of the Sears Christmas catalog, the “Wish Book,” when I was kid and I could leaf through the pages and make my Christmas wish list. Those are long gone. We bibliophiles are more fortunate. I suspect these lists will be around as long as there are books.

A Bibliophile’s Top Ten For Thanksgiving

happy-thanksgiving-3767426_1280Thanksgiving is the traditional occasion for recalling the many good gifts of life for which we are thankful. With that holiday approaching, it occurred to me that bibliophiles have particular reason to be thankful. Here are ten:

  1. The gift of words. In well-crafted sentences and paragraphs, filling the imagination with ideas and stories films only poorly capture.
  2. The feel of a well-made book in one’s hand.
  3. The smell of books: fresh paper and ink, or the faint mustiness of an older book.
  4. The discovery of a good series and the thought that there may be two, five, ten or more to follow, where characters become friends (or hated enemies).
  5. That moment when light and seating, beverage and book merge into a seamless flow of pleasure as we lose ourselves in a story.
  6. The insight that the world, both real and imagined, is larger, more complicated and interesting that we’d previously thought.
  7. The re-reading of once, or twice, or thrice-loved books that are never the same book because we are never the same reader.
  8. The finding of a book on the shelves of a bookstore, or a book sale, that one has always wanted to acquire, as if both you and the book were just waiting this moment.
  9. The thought that there are professionals, booksellers and librarians, who share our love of books, and work to connect book and reader; where their employment and our enjoyment allow us both to flourish.
  10. Finally, there are those, usually teachers and parents, who ushered us into the love of story, the printed page, and the wonder of books. Perhaps for these we reserve our greatest thanks, for without them, the rest is not possible.

I could go on and I’m sure you can think of reasons to be thankful connected with books. Why don’t you add them in the comments below, and perhaps share this exercise with your book-loving friends and loved ones this Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!

A Facebook Conundrum

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I ran into a conundrum yesterday in posting the above meme, of all places, on my Bob on Books Facebook page. It is a page that gather readers to talk about books and share their common love, and offers everything from humor to serious articles about book-related topics.

The conundrum, as some who are on the page noted, is the act of posting something like this does the very thing it discourages, taking us away from the book we were intending to read. It could probably be argued as well that hosting the page, and blogging about books,  takes me away from reading.

It may be observed that there are other things beside books, including the communal act of talking about books and ideas, hopefully civilly and substantively, rare things in our society, and even rarer on social media. I also post humor, because I think it is a healthy thing to laugh at ourselves as the quirky creatures who love books and reading and all things related, like libraries and bookstores.

But I also realize that it is possible to help dig reading’s grave with digital distractions. Apps like Facebook are exquisitely designed to do just that. Of course, we can say we are “reading,” and sometimes we really are. I find a number of great and interesting articles, that in the reading, enhance my understanding of authors, bookselling, and you name it connected with books.

Perhaps this is another aspect of the double-edged nature of many technologies, maybe all technology. Atomic energy can kill cancer, or kill people. Opioids can provide a merciful release for those in intense pain, or addict and kill.  Likewise, social media can point us to worthy books, and distract us from reading them.

So what is one to do? Perhaps the best I’ve come up with is to have social media time, and book time. It may mean having the phone in another room while one reads, or to turn off all notifications. Of course this is a problem for those who read on their phone or tablet computer with non-reading apps. Probably most of us need to set some boundaries on social media. Increasingly apps can even be set to allow us only a certain amount of viewing time per session.

I think managing digital distractions, which is really self-management, is just a reality of our modern lives, at least for most of us. Such self-management is what allows us to appropriately and not inordinately use such technology.

At least that’s what I tell myself as I curate my page. I assume we’re all adults and have learned, or are learning to set our own boundaries of social media use. It does seem that this is so from the titles and numbers of books people report having read. Maybe the meme above is nothing more than a “gotcha” moment we all laugh about.

But I’ve not stopped thinking about the conundrum, and trying to discern the line between ordinate and inordinate. I’d love to hear from others who host social media or blog sites as to what they think about this.

Late Fall Book Preview 2019

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We’ve had our first snowfall already. The leaves are down, it is dark around 5 p.m., and the winds are chill. Christmas is only 37 days away and the formal beginning of winter a few days before that. It’s a good time to curl up with a good book in your favorite chair, perhaps by a warm fire if you have a fireplace. It’s not a bad time to think about books for gifts (or maybe your own wishlist!). Here’s some books that have arrived for review. I won’t get to some of them before Christmas so I thought I’d let you know early if you want to take a look. So, from the top of the pile…

Bowery Mission

Bowery MissionJason Storbakken. Walden, NY: Plough, 2019. The Bowery is notorious as the underside of New York. The Bowery Mission has provide food and shelter for 140 years, and this little book tells the story. Inspiring for anyone considering homeless ministry.

A week in the life of a greco roman woman

A Week in the Life of a Greco-Roman WomanHolly Beers. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. I’ve loved this series. This volume creates a story around a fictional young wife and mother in Ephesus. All of the books I’ve read so far have shed helpful light on cultural backgrounds of the Bible in an enjoyable read.

conscienceen

The ConscienceEberhard Arnold. Walden, NY: Plough Publishing, 2019. Arnold, a founder of the Bruderhof, a network of Christian communities, explores how in Christ the conscience may become a valued friend rather than a troublesome voice that we try to placate or suppress.

tending soul, mind, and body

Tending Soul, Mind, and Bodyedited by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. The book is a collection of papers from the 2018 Center for Pastor Theologians conference and “explores the relationship between three fields–theological anthropology, spiritual formation, and modern psychology” (back matter). I’ve been impressed with the high quality of papers from previous conferences.

40 Questions

40 Questions about Heaven and HellAlan W. Gomes. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2019. In a format where each chapter focuses on one question, the book explores questions related to the afterlife about which many wonder.

unsettling truths

Unsettling TruthsMark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2019. These two authors dig into the pernicious effects the “Doctrine of Discovery” embodied in fifteenth century edicts had upon settlement of the Americas and the treatment of Native Peoples.

out of darkness

Out of Darkness, Shining LightPetina Gappah. New York: Scribners, 2019. A novel on the exploration of Africa, told by two attendants of Dr. David Livingtone, as they transport his remains 1500 miles for burial.

choosing community

Choosing CommunityChristine Colón. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. Dorothy Sayers both participated in and commented upon many communities and this is a study of her writing on this theme.

gospel allegiance

Gospel AllegianceMatthew W. Bates. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2019. This is the second book by Bates developing the idea of faith as allegiance to Christ. I liked his Salvation by Allegiance Alone and look forward to seeing how he has developed his ideas.

revelation

The Heart of RevelationJ. Scott Duvall. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2019. A study of Revelation identifying ten themes outlining what we can know for certain in this often puzzling book.

warfield

Evolution, Scripture, and Science, B.B. Warfield, edited by Mark A. Noll and David N. Livingstone. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2019. This is a reprint of a work first published in 2000 showing nineteenth century Princeton theologian Benjamin Warfield’s approach to science and faith, one that did not see these as inherently in conflict.

spiritual warfare

Spiritual Warfare in the Storyline of ScriptureWilliam F. Cook III and Chuck Lawless. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2019. The authors outline a theology of spiritual warfare with practical applications.

last leonardo

The Last LeonardoBen Lewis. New York: Ballantine Books, 2019. The story of the last painting by da Vinci, a painting of Christ, searched for in vain, until Christie’s announced they had it, and sold it at auction for $450 million, the highest price ever paid for a painting.

seeking church

Seeking ChurchDarren T. Duerksen and William Dyrness. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. A study of global Christian movements using emergent theory that posits that “the gospel is read and interpreted through existing cultural and religious norms” (from back matter).

narrative theology

Narrative ApologeticsAlister E. McGrath. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2019. McGrath takes an approach to giving a reason for faith from story rather than arguments and talking points.

opening the red door

Opening the Red DoorJohn A. Bernbaum. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. The story of the first Christian liberal arts university, the Russian-American Christian University, from its beginnings with the eclipse of communism in 1989, its rise and partnership with Russia, and the increasing pressures it has faced in the Putin era

I have my stack of books for a cold winter night. Have you stocked up yet, or perhaps gotten an idea for a stocking stuffer? Happy reading!