Few things have been as important to me throughout my life as books.
When I was a kid, I loved the freedom and adventure of exploring a new book. I loved that a book could go with me to a favorite tree and take me to a faraway land, that it was small and portable but unlimited in scope, that we could get fresh air on a sunny afternoon or huddle under the covers to keep reading by flashlight.
As a writer and former English teacher, I love and value books, and I love sharing them with others. The best books can unlock our understanding and inspire new ideas, new work, new connections; such things should not be trapped within one person’s mind or solitude. Many of my books wind up annotated with my reactions, questions, and ideas.
I always thought it would be intriguing to have a shelf of annotated books at a local or church library, giving people the chance to participate in conversations about the books’ ideas and inspirations. I haven’t found a librarian willing to open that door, though, and much of our cultural attitudes toward books inhibit that.
For Christians, words take on added importance. God spoke the world into existence, talked with those He loves, and asked His disciples to tell others about Him. As missionaries preparing to serve overseas, we’ve read a great many books, and as a visitor to the Evangelical Press Association’s past two conventions, I’ve been able to pick up a lot of freebies. Much like a kid finding a lost puppy, I’ve often been eager to find them a home, even if there wasn’t really any more room in our house or time in my schedule. Still, if they’ve come home with me, there was always some hint of value or worth I saw in them.
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” – Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)
It seems, therefore, worthwhile to add more book reviews to our writings here. Most will be of books we purchased for our personal library, some of books that were set out publicly as free samples at the conventions, and a few of books given by publishers for writing reviews. Whatever the source, the opinions Tracy or I write about a book will be our own thoughts of its merits, not a reflection of any influence or hopes by a publisher; a disclaimer will clarify any time a free review copy was provided. At no point will we ever get paid to do a review or lose our independence about it. It’s also worth remembering that babies often show up amid bathwater; discussing an aspect of a book doesn’t mean we’re endorsing it entirely.
If anyone finds a title interesting, then I hope you’ll add your own comments or message me. I may not be able to set up that interactive library shelf, but we can certainly enjoy some conversations.
There may even be some puppies that’ll follow you home.