Best Reads of 2013, continued.

Heather (@rockettheology and the person who tweets @cruxbooks and writes these blogs) read John Stott’s last book, The Radical Disciple, during the big ice storm and powerless days last week. It seemed an appropriate read for the time and situation. Stott’s book challenges us all to become mature Christians, and suggests things that characterize people of mature faith. You should read it. You should read it with Still by Lauren F. Winner. The two books together challenge readers to move forward in faith, even when that seems difficult. Move on to maturity — put away childish things.



Best reads of 2013: Andrew’s turn

Today we hear from Andrew, back on Crux staff after a couple years away. Well, he never really left the store, he just didn’t work many shifts. Welcome back Andrew!

Andrew’s favourite book read this year:


Wendell Berry, A Place in Time. I love Berry’s fiction. A steady reflection on what it means to be faithful to a place. No romantic, Berry never shies away from the terrible beauty of remaining faithful to place and his stories in this collection of short stories masterfully narrates this.

Seeing and hearing Wendell Berry was one of Andrew’s highlights of the recent SBL/AAR conference in Baltimore.

Best book you read this year?

So of the books you read this year, what is your favourite? Note that this is not a book published in 2013, rather a book READ in 2013. For examples see this New Yorker post. There might be some overlap between the year of publication and the year of reading, but that is certainly not always the case.

In the short time left before Christmas, we’ll post some of the read-in-2013 favourites from Crux staff. We’ll start with Connor’s pick of the year.

My Pick for 2013: Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher. It’s the best selling book on negotiation that introduces its readers (of any background) to the basic strategies that make co-operation possible. For most people, it probably won’t work; the strategies are difficult to use. I enjoyed it, because its simplicity and wealth of examples make it an attractive starting point to someone looking into the subject more deeply.

Let us know your pick of the year!

More thoughts on Christmas Music

Crux staff have had a few discussions about Christmas music in the store in the past couple of days. Connor and Carolyn don’t have any specific non-favourites, but they are both against versions of well-known songs that they deem to be “over the top.” The example that I suggested to both of them was “O Holy Night” — a beautiful carol if well done, but difficult to do well. Yes, they agreed, that is a good example.

Andrew wishes we could put together our own Christmas mix. He’d include “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the two Christmas albums Sufjan Stevens has recorded. Sheila never wants to hear “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” again. Pam is happy to be at home with a new baby instead of in the store counting the number of times “The 12 days of Christmas” is played in one day. And I’ve had enough of “Santa Baby” for this year.

Best of 2013 Religion and Spirituality

2013 has been a big year for Theology and Religion publishing. The long-expected N.T. Wright book Paul and the Faithfulness of God appeared. Many book-review publications have begun to put together their best of 2013 lists. Here are a few for your consideration.

  1. Five from the Library Journal. From this list, the one I am most interested in is Francis Watson’s Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective.
  2. Twenty from Huffington Post. I was pleased to see Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics on this list. I’ve had my eye on that one since it landed in the store.
  3. A list from Christian Century. Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Silence: A Christian History just landed in the store last week. It looks intriguing.

Happy reading!



Christmas Listening

Here at Crux we have the holiday satellite stations on during December. Sheila likes the Holiday Pops station, particularly instrumental versions of Christmas carols, the songs with Christian meaning. She also likes choruses and arias from The Messiah. Heather also likes the Holiday Pops station, particularly the choral renditions of those carols Sheila likes.

It is only the ninth of December, so no one has a particular song that they’ve heard just a little bit too often this season yet — though, “Santa Baby” has been on far too often today. We’ll see which one emerges as this year’s over-played song.

Christmas music?

Here at Crux we’ve begun listening to Christmas music. Yesterday we had a lot of Santa-music from the mid-twentieth century. Today we are tuned into a more classical/choral/orchestral station. The 12 Days of Christmas is a perennial play-list choice. So here is the question: What is your favourite seasonal song, the one you don’t mind hearing again and again? Tune in through the month as we interview Crux staff for their favourites and possibly their unfavourites.