IVP - Behind the Books - Readers Archives

February 26, 2013

[Question] Junot Díaz on Creating a Reading Public

There are some periodicals that are so good that I fall way behind — because they're so good I don't want to skim or skip or unsubscribe. Currently I'm about three years behind with National Geographic, even longer with McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, and I don't even want to think about Books & Culture.

Continue reading "[Question] Junot Díaz on Creating a Reading Public"
Posted by Jon Boyd at 8:10 AM | Comments (16) are closed

February 1, 2013

Let's Not Say "Out of Print"

Speaking of old books that are still in print, what about old books that aren't? Isn't that sad? In a word: yes. But there's good news.

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Posted by Jon Boyd at 9:35 AM | Comments (2) are closed

December 12, 2012

What "Google Suggests" About Books

You know the nifty feature from Google where they expand what you're starting to type, sort of like "auto-complete" for your search query? Technically, that's exactly what Google itself calls it: Autocomplete. (I guess they're probably not wild about the vernacular "Google Suggests," with its implication of recommendation or endorsement.) Well, no matter what it's called, you can learn a lot that way.

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Posted by Jon Boyd at 11:11 AM

September 14, 2012

The Significant Work of the Christian Bookstore

The following article is an adaptation of a piece from CBA Retailers + Resources by Jeff Crosby, associate publisher and director of sales and marketing for InterVarsity Press.

The theologian Klaus Bockmuehl once wrote that books are “God’s instruments in the history of salvation.” As a long-time bookseller in Bloomington, Indiana before joining IVP in 1998, I clung to Bockmuehl’s thesis as I went about my front-line work putting books in the hands of readers. I believed wholeheartedly that he was right on target—that there is something of significant, transcendent value in ideas expressed carefully, artfully in books.

I still do.

In my travels representing InterVarsity Press, I continue to find bookstores doing their work in light of that belief, and serving readers like you and publishers like IVP exceptionally well. Bookstores like Hearts and Minds in Dallastown, Pennsylvania; Logos Bookstore in Dallas; and Eighth Day Books in Wichita, Kansas. They are shining examples of stores distinguishing themselves through the stocking and promoting of thoughtful books.

When Logos Bookstore opened in 1974, there were 25 Christian retail stores in Dallas. Today there are comparatively few, but the store in Snider Plaza on the near north side of the city still stands, still serves readers.


“Our establishing of a niche with a broader selection of books (than simply bestsellers) has helped us weather the storm,” said Rick Lewis, who with his wife, Susan, owns and manages the store. “We do carry many of the best-selling titles—they help us generate the capital that enables us to carry the titles that I believe have a deeper impact, a more long-lasting impact.”

The familiar injunction from Matthew 6:33 (“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”) guides the work going on at Hearts and Minds Bookstore, owned and managed by Byron and Beth Borger.

Byron Borger.jpgThe Borgers see their store's mission embodying at least four key characteristics: >Serving the diversity of the church as a theological principle even more than as a business strategy; equipping students of local colleges in the integration of faith and learning; helping people integrate faith and vocation; and guiding men and women in toward experiencing more of God through reading on the contemplative life.

“We carry the sorts of books that we think will be useful for the vision we have of equipping the saints to live faithfully in every area of life,” Byron said. “We keep books on hand that aren’t as popular, but can help folks think through these significant areas of whole-life discipleship.”

Eighth Day Books, owned and managed by Warren Farha, has specialized in classic books across the disciplines of art, science, and the humanities since 1988, when the original store was opened in Wichita.

Eighth Day Books.jpg

“From the beginning, we have not been a typical independent bookstore; we eschew the trendy, and do not carry books solely based on their salability,” Farha says of the store. “Instead, we’re selective, offering an eccentric community of books based on this organizing principle: if a book—be it literary, scientific, historical, or theological—sheds light on ultimate questions in an excellent way, then it’s a worthy candidate for inclusion in our catalog” or store.

These and many other stores across the country are doing significant work serving the breadth of the church and their communities with thoughtful Christian literature that can be an essential part of the awakening and deepening and enlarging of the faith of men and women they come in contact with.

Do you have a store like this in your area? If so, are you supporting it? As a publisher of thoughtful Christian books, we encourage you to do so wherever possible.

“The best disciplers I’ve had through the years have been authors,” Lewis said. “Having read these books enables me to sell them. I can say that George MacDonald deepened my love for God. Reading Henri Nouwen helped me grow in compassion. C.S. Lewis and John Stott sharpened my thinking. Richard Foster encouraged me in the disciplines. The storytelling of Walter Wangerin, Stephen Lawhead and Madeleine L’Engle improved my imagination and aided my wonder. Brennan Manning told me God loves me, as I am. I cannot not tell others about them.”

If you have a bookseller like this in your area, we encourage you to support them and their work. We’ll all be better off when you do.

Posted by Leah Kiple at 3:53 PM

May 18, 2011

A Few Books for Your Summer Reading List

Now that warmer weather is finally on its way, the summer planning begins. Here come the family vacations, backyard BBQs, trips to the beach, church picnics and long, sunny walks with the dog. This warmer weather also means you can finally get around to those outdoor projects you’ve been able to put off all winter. But before you leave for vacation or make that honey-do list, remember that summer is a great time to relax and read a book!

IVP has plenty to offer! Browse our website or check out these four easy-reading titles on different aspects of our demanding culture. Happy reading!

Hollywood Worldviews by Brian Godawa

worldviewsBB.jpg“Any Christian wanting to understand modern film from the viewpoint of its message, its moral premise, will find Godawa’s Hollywood Worldviews a must-read. A film must be approached from more than one direction to do justice to it, but an understanding of its worldview is a requirement. There is no better book available on the subject.”

—Jack Hafer, producer, and chairman of cinema and media arts at Biola University

Unsqueezed by Margot Starbuck

unsqueezedBB.jpg“Margot Starbuck navigates the complexities of self-image, appearance, our bodies and beauty with humor, insight and wisdom. Get ready to be both entertained and moved. You will be laughing out loud one moment, then suddenly challenged with biblical truths that will transform your thinking and inspire change. Reading Unsqueezed is a truly liberating experience.”

—Ann Capper, R.D., C.D.N., nutrition editor, FINDINGbalance.com, and author of Big Thighs, Tight Jeans (Should Jan Go on a Diet?)

Friending by Lynne Baab

friendingBB.jpg“Friends are so important to me! But today there are more forces pushing us apart—as well as new media to bring us together—than ever before in history. Lynne Baab explores a world of options and encourages us to redevelop the art of friendship for a new era. This book is full of practical tools, winsome stories and keen insights. I’m hooked.”

—Dr. Steve Hayner, president, Columbia Theological Seminary

The Wisdom of Pixar by Robert Velarde

pixarBB.jpg“Wow. And here I thought I was just watching cartoons with my kids! I love how Robert takes readers through the beauty, fun, depth and warmth of Pixar films and frames the solid values that run through them. This book is a must-read for parents who love Pixar films as much as their kids—and for those interested in generating some great postfilm family conversations.”

—Caryn Rivadeneira, author of Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. and cofounder of TheMommyRevolution.com

Posted by Leah Kiple at 10:42 AM

March 20, 2009

Nerd Alert

Thanks to my brother-in-law for turning me onto the webcomic XKCD. This particular episode has everything a nerdy book editor would want:

—a poke at e-books

—stick figures

—the illusion of world travel and wild adventure

—a poke at Kindle(tm)

—an homage to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

If you don’t laugh, you’re probably cooler than I am.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at 12:35 PM

July 10, 2008

Check All That Apply

I has some exciting news this morning. Sundee Frazier, author of Check All That Apply, is going to be on the Today Show on Friday, July 11, at 9:45 am (in all time zones). A new book she has written for Delacorte, Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, will be featured.

Sundee also recently forwarded to me the following email from a reader, Mark Crumbliss, about how her book Check All That Apply helped him in his ethnic identity formation. Mark has given permission for me to share it here.

I was a new student at UT San Antonio in the fall of 2002. I had looked online for different Christian organizations on campus before moving to San Antonio. I saw InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, although I knew very little about it. I had become a Christian about two years prior to that time. One of the staff workers, Eric Teague, gave me a book called Check All That Apply. I am a mixed person: my grandmother was from Mexico, her husband was half Italian and half French Canadian. On my dad's side, I think everything can be traced to Ireland or Scotland. Although I had spent most of my life more or less really ripped up inside about this. I never really talked about it or thought that I should really. The reasons for that were deep, but the book Check All That Apply really confronted some inner, self-directed hatred I had and exposed a wonderful image of people from all nations, tribes, and tongues working together (Rev 7:9-10).
That book was really difficult to read because of the straightforwardness of some of the content. I did finish it, though, because I knew I needed to do that. Usually now if people ask me what books have really been an influence in sorting through ethnic identity or social justice things, I will say, the Bible, Check All That Apply and The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe that Check All That Apply is a part of God's plan for me to be free.
In case you are wondering, I am preparing for missionary service with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Cameroon at this time.
God bless you,
Mark Crumbliss

Sundee has a passion for encouraging multiracial people in find their journey toward wholeness. Both of her books deal with this too-seldom-explored topic. I commend them to you.

Posted by Cindy Bunch at 8:15 AM

February 21, 2008

Longing for More

I learned a long time ago that pastors love to hear something more specific about their preaching than, 'Nice sermon, pastor" (especially if those specifics don't involve the parishioner dragging out a Scofield Bible and correcting the pastor's Scripture interpretation). The same is true for authors! They love to hear from readers.

You might be surprised how little real input most authors (and editors for that matter) hear from the end readers. When we get some concrete input from how our books make a difference in someone's life, it fills another day at the office with purpose!

Here is some reader input on our book Longing for More that was happily received by the author, Ruth Haley Barton, and forwarded to me. The writer of this note has given permission for us to share her thoughts on this blog.

Dear Mrs. Barton,
Thank you so much for your work in Longing for More. I literally just finished it and felt moved to tell you that you gave voice to my own journey over the last two years; no, over a lifetime.

I was pregnant with my son, after giving birth to two daughters, when I began wrestling with this idea of gender. I have felt for my entire life that I was "wrongly born." My gifting and calling seemed more suited to a man's body. And yet, there I was. I withdrew and hid from my gifts in order to embrace being feminine. But when I discovered that I was carrying a boy an indefinable need to understand this idea of gender overtook me. I wanted to have a true sense of what made me a woman so that I could be clear in forming him into a man.

It was scary to open the door to this journey. I am a minister's wife who has atrophied in myself, not by my husband's desire but in order to be the correct minister's wife. Much of my reading and searching leaned over into
the world of feminism and I couldn't digest that. Parts of the dialogue were familiar but the conclusions were inconceivable.

Longing for More is the first link I have found to answer those parts of myself that are buried but still be a godly woman in the church. Thank you for showing me the place where the two parts of myself could meet again and begin to journey together for the first time.

Grace and peace,
Rhesa Higgins

If you want to read more, Rhesa has blogged about Longing for More at www.danceofthedevoteddaughter.blogspot.com.

Posted by Cindy Bunch at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) are closed

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