January Staff Picks

Now that January is more than 2/3 over, here are the staff picks for the month:

Ed – The ESV  Bible black leather with a zipper. Handy for travel!

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CindyMy Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

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Heather W: The Radical Disciple by John R. W. Stott, his last book, and one of HW’s picks of 2013

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Alain: The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

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Sheila: Becoming Human by John Behr. Sheila says “It is a beautiful book, a meditation on what it is to be human with images and quotations woven throughout to give the reader much to ponder.  In lyrical prose, Father Behr invites us to look upon Christ, God and Man, and through Christ, to understand our calling to be human.  It is a lovely book to read especially ‘in the bleak midwinter’.”

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Conner: Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers by Jacques Barzun.

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Carolyn: A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. Carolyn thinks this is a book that everyone should have in their library.

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Andrew: Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition by Gary A. Anderson.

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Heather L: A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

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Monthly Staff Picks February, 2014

Looking forward to 2014

Here are some books staff at Crux are looking forward to reading in 2014. Of course, all of us know that some of the best reading of the year is unplanned and serendipitous. We talk about books in the store and recommend things to each other. We talk about books with other people and get recommendations from them. Lots of times the best books are the ones we weren’t looking for.

Sheila: “At this point it would have to be Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev’s The Mystery of Faith, which examines the teaching of the Orthodox faith, looking at both ancient and modern texts to examine doctrines of, for example, the Trinity, the Church, and prayer.  It is the first time that this work has been made available in English.”

Alain: “Poetic Diction by Owen Barfield, which admitttedly was my staff pick for December. I’m going to read it. I promise.”

Andrew: “D. Stephen Long’s Saving Karl Barth: Hans Urs von Valthasar’s Preoccupation. Love or Loathe him, we must reckon with Barth. I fall on the love side and Balthasar encapsulates why with the soundest reason: Barth’s theology is beautiful. Long’s book seeks to understand why Balthasar thought this was so and why more recent Barth scholarship (critics and apologists) has too quickly overlooked why Balthasar thought this was so.”

Connor: “Getting Past No by W. Ury. Ah, a sequel. Getting to Yes intrigued me, and now I wonder if it might be worth considering the follow-up guide. these books seem to be quite basic, but for their concise organization and summary of more complex principles, this may well be one that I read in the near future.”

Carolyn: “The End of Apologetics by Myron Penner.”

Heather W.: “C.S. Lewis: A Life by Alister McGrath. I feel like I should have already read this for the Lewis Jubilee in November. This is just a way to extend the celebrations.”

Myths about Books and Reading

In a recent blog post, Robert Bruce exploded five myths about reading. Bruce proposed that we can learn from fiction, we all have time for reading, reading is an important activity, our opinions about books we read matter, and real reading doesn’t depend upon genre.

The myths about reading reminded me of some myths about books and buying them that we hear in the bookshop regularly. Here are some common book-buying myths:

  1. Buying books is a temptation one should always resist. Most staff at Crux can sympathize with the idea that buying books is a temptation. Books, however, are not inherently bad for you, like junk food. Reading books has been known to feed your soul. Feeding your soul is a good thing, not something to resist. Buying books is, therefore, sometimes a soul-feeding activity that should be embraced.
  2. Books are too expensive. What are you comparing the price of a book to? At an hourly rate, books are excellent entertainment value. Further, books can be invaluable companions over a long period of time. They are soul food (see above). It is true that some books are expensive. Many are worth the price. Reviews and personal recommendations can help you choose which are worth adding to your library.
  3. I don’t have time for reading. What is important? If you think that reading is important, you can make time for it. One regular Crux patron, a busy priest in an urban parish, reads many books by setting aside time at the end of the day. Books refresh and restore her for the next day in ministry.

What prevents you from buying and reading books?