For some background reading, try these books by Phyllis Zagano, available at Crux:
Thanks to all loyal Crux customers who have stopped in this week to support us. Your words and actions mean a lot to us. This morning, one of our regular customers — and friend to many on staff — Rev. Rachel posted a reflection on her blog connecting Pentecost and Crux. Here’s our favourite paragraph:
Crux provides a vital source of theological depth in our city. Perhaps even more importantly — it is staffed by committed people of faith who believe that what they do is a ministry to our spiritual community (several of them are personal friends). If you’ve always thought about investing in your spiritual library, now is the time to do it! Take a walk down Hoskin Avenue and check out some titles and authors you’ve always wanted to explore. Support this wonderful independent store, and keep them going through the summer months. Let us be the body of Christ we celebrate in the coming of the Holy Spirit and minister to one another.
The Crux Staff Picks them for February was “Books we Love.” The March theme is “Books we found/find challenging.” To bridge these two themes, we recommend reading this article on Re-reading Books. Sometimes we re-read books because we love them. Other times we need to re-read books to better understand them. Look for our books we found challenging posts over the next week or so.
Astute readers of this blog will have noticed that there are no women in the Authors Who Sell Well list previously published, yet there are three women in the Authors Who Don’t Sell Well list. This may concern some of you. It concerned the feminists here in the store, the ones who carefully count how women are represented in each “X People From Christian History” book we stock. If you look at the writings of the saints, or saints’ lives, that is a place where women clearly outsell men at Crux. Which women? I’m glad you asked, here’s a list:
Of course, Francis of Assisi has been getting a lot of press and increased book sales since Francis I became pope. But none of the other male saints get the sales of the holy women.
Crux is a theological bookstore, which has served the Toronto School of Theology for years. The number of Christian bookstores in downtown Toronto has been shrinking for many years, and we are the last ones standing. We have lots of new customers coming into the store all the time. Sometimes new customers are surprised by what we do and do not carry. Like most bookstores, we order books based on our experience of what sells. Here are two lists for you to consider — 8 authors who do not sell at Crux, and 8 authors who sell very well at Crux. We draw no conclusions, but you can, if you’d like.
Eight Authors Who Do NOT Sell Well at Crux (alphabetically listed):
Eight Authors Who Sell Very Well Indeed at Crux (alphabetically again):
Sometimes it is difficult to read scholarly books. Language and concepts can both be dense and tangled, but only one of the two need be obscure for difficulties to arise. (See what I mean?)
We (Crux Staff) have read our share of difficult texts. Here are 7 strategies (see what we did there?) we use to wade through and find meaning when things get tangled and twisted.
Ask the Crux Staff — we sure do. We are here to help in any way we can, even when the reading gets tough.
Here comes V-Day, where V is for St. Valentine. Hearts and flowers might be traditional, but there are some books that also might fit for Valentine giving. Here are some slightly tongue-in-cheek possibilities, selected by the staff at Crux. (Yes, this is what we talk about in the store.)
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 4.1: The Doctrine of Reconciliation. Reconciliation sounds good for relationships, plus there’s the pink cover. A winning gift for the Barth scholar.
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce. Ok, maybe it isn’t very romantic, but it might be just the thing for the Lewis fan who is single? Maybe?
Sarah Sentilles, Breaking Up With God: A Love Story. Nothing more need be said.
Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has so many different editions that there is sure to be one for someone you know for V-day. Nothing says love like a gift? Isn’t that a love language?
Yvonne Sherwood, The Prostitute and the Prophet. Because nothing says V-Day quite like Hosea and Gomer?
And finally, the book for all couples on Valentine’s day:
At any bookshop customers have odd requests that we just cannot help with. They are looking for a green book, or a book with ‘Tree’ in the title. At this bookshop, a theological bookshop, the book descriptions that make us giggle come in slightly different flavours.
This month a customer who’d never been to our shop before came in and asked for our religion section. Not wanting to laugh at the poor man’s honest question we pointed out that the whole store was basically one big religion section. Did he have something more specific in mind? He looked confused as well. We suggested he give us the title of the book he wanted so we could tell him which of our sub-sections of religion it would be in.
Another customer came in. She didn’t remember the title of the book she was looking for, but assured my colleague that it had Jesus and God in it.
Today a student came in looking for a recommended book in his course. Again, he couldn’t remember the title, but it was about Roman Catholicism. He looked expectantly and trustingly at my colleague who had to tell him to go away and find the title on his syllabus as his description didn’t narrow it down sufficiently.
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.
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.