Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Besides The Bible

    When I first started working at BookPeople, I was treated with a certain degree of uncertainty by some of my co-workers. That isn't to say that they were unfriendly, far from it, but simply unsure as to what it meant to have a practicing pastor and committed Christian in their midst. Particularly when it came to books. After all, this was a bookstore; would I spend all my time in our religious section, pushing Joel Osteen and Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series? It was in these first few weeks that more than one of my co-workers said, surprised, "You don't remind me of Pat Robertson." This was good to hear.
    The fact is, I have always been a fan of books, and not the ones that make the bestseller list at your local Lifeway Christian bookstore. My favorites are listed along the right side of this blog page and a more extensive (though, by no means, exhaustive) top 40 list can be found here. I not only love to read books, I love to talk about books, I love to see how that story that you and I both love helps connect my story to your story.
    Which is why I love lists like the aforementioned top 40. And why I love to read others' lists as well. It's why I love books of lists. It's why I love books like Besides The Bible.
    Besides The Bible's subtitle is 100 Books That Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (I'd have called it 100 Good Books Besides The Good Book). Listmakers Dan Gibson, Jordan Green, and John Pattison (with the help of other contributors) make their list and then make their case.
    Books of lists are tricky. There have to be enough entries that match up with your list to make the listmaker(s) trustworthy (9 of the 100 can be found in that list of 20 on the right). There have to be enough new entries to be intriguing (I've never even heard of Anarchy and Christianity, but it sounds incredible). There have to be enough questionable entries for you to know the listmaker isn't playing to one specific crowd (how did Mere Christianity get left off this list and even when they explain why Left Behind is on this list I ask why is Left Behind on this list!?). Besides The Bible has all of that.
    This book will be most fun for and of most interest to Christians, but you don't have to be a Christian to read or enjoy it. A lot of the favorites I found here (The Brothers K, Gilead, Don Quixote, Blankets) are favorites I share with non-Christian co-workers. Because Christian books can be good books too.
    And speaking of good books, Besides The Bible is a good book. I really do recommend picking it up.

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