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Posts Tagged ‘Christian authors’

How Things Shaped Up at My Store

Usually when I publish a top 40 chart, I have to fudge the last 4 or 5 entries because the data doesn’t support a strong list of titles. But this time around, some things which did well (Dream Big by Bob Goff, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado, Chasing Vines by Beth Moore) actually got cut from the list for lack of space.

Also, it was interesting that we did our Spring 2020 list before the lockdown, and only 12 books that were there appeared here. Combined, it’s a healthy collection of about 70 great titles.

You’ll probably see titles that didn’t do as well where you work, but also have some that didn’t make our list at all. Feel free to compare notes in a comment here or in the dealer Facebook group. (By the way #1 was a complete surprise when I added up the numbers; it was really a tie with David Jeremiah, but I figured David gets enough encouragement; why not put a Canadian author at the top spot?)

Correction: Our #34 book was actually various editions of The Book of Enoch, though The Book of Jasher did well, too.

Ontario Author’s Mainstream Travel Book

This is apparently our third in a series of Ontario authors who are signed to mainstream U.S. publishers. And the second to have an Orillia connection.

Freelance writer Janet LoSole wrote to us last week to let us know about her book with the interesting title, Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America. Her story was published in December, 2019 by Wipf and Stock. Here’s their summary:

Embarking on a homeschooling field trip to Central America is stressful enough, but add in perilous bridge crossings, trips to the hospital, and a lack of women’s underwear, and you have the makings of an Adventure by Chicken Bus.

Buckling under a mountain of debt, Janet LoSole and her family are at their wits’ end. Determined to make a drastic change, they sell all worldly possessions and hit the road. With only a few items of clothing, a four-person tent, and little else, the family visits a sleepy island backwater in Costa Rica to save endangered sea turtles. In Panama, they bounce around like turnips in the back of a vegetable truck to reach an isolated monkey sanctuary. In Guatemala, they scale the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal. In between tales of begging rides from total strangers and sleeping overnight in the jungle with an indigenous family, Janet endorses community-based travel–supporting local businesses and favoring public transportation called chicken buses.

She also writes candidly about what it takes to travel long-term with two little girls amid the chaos of border crossings, erratic drivers, and creepy crawlies lurking at the edge of the jungle.

In an email she explained that her family are Quakers, a constituency not frequently heard from among the publishers most of us carry. “The book was written for the mainstream audience so my faith is mentioned only briefly in the first chapter… However, Wipf & Stock is a Christian publisher.” (The book is actually under the Resource Publications imprint which covers a variety of religious titles.) 

She describes her goal, “Adventure by Chicken Bus demonstrates how to travel sustainably, but more importantly, how to nurture the next generation of environmentalists and social justice activists by exposing them to the conditions faced by those in the developing world.”

If you’re looking for something safe but a little outside the box for Christian bookstores, this would be a title to consider.

9781532684869 | 226 pages, paperback | $23.00 U.S. | Ingram

Website: adventurebychickenbus.com

Remembering J. I. Packer

Remembering J. I. Packer

Today Christians around the world are remembering the man Wikipedia describes as an “English-born Canadian theologian;” J. I. Packer. His books — numbering over 50 — have been staples in Christian bookstores for decades. But his name appears elsewhere in our stores, as John Stackhouse noted a few years ago, “Perhaps no one in history has written more endorsements and prefaces to the books of others than Packer did.”

Packer died on Friday at age 93. While we were at Regent College last year we frequently drove by what some called “J. I. Packer’s church,” a church on the campus that he could easily walk to.” And back in the day, as an employee for IVP Canada, I packed and shipped many copies of Knowing God.

Though he surprised many with his decision to move from an important role with the Church of England to settle in Vancouver, his career continued to span the entire world.

Just over two years ago, we featured this fun picture at Thinking Out Loud:

At age 91, J. I. Packer isn’t too old to cruise the J. I. Packer section in the Regent College Bookstore, making sure his bestsellers are properly displayed! [June, 2018]

Much more information is available at this tribute at Christianity Today.

Longtime booksellers will also want to walk down memory lane through this list of his titles at Wikipedia. (People newer to Christian publishing are strongly encouraged to do the same.)

Memorial gifts may be made to the J. I. Packer Scholarship at Regent College.

Brant Hansen Spoofs Book Trailers

I reviewed the book here a week ago, but wanted to share this as well.

Hamilton, Ontario Pastor Introduces Forthcoming Title

Kevin Makins is the pastor of Eucharist Church in downtown Hamilton, Ontario and he’s chosen a unique way to introduce his forthcoming title with Baker Books; so we get to let him tell you himself! The book is Why Would Anyone Go to Church: A Young Community’s Quest to Find and Reclaim Church for Good. Release date is June 16th.

Publisher marketing:

There are plenty of reasons to criticize, judge, and even walk away from the church. Many of us have been hurt and rejected. We may see church as insular and irrelevant. Despite this, Kevin Makins believes that the church still matters–perhaps more than ever.

When Kevin was 23 and didn’t know any better, he started a congregation with some friends who were on the edge of faith. Together they hoped to discover if the church was worth fighting for. In this brutally honest account, he shares their story of becoming a community of misfits, outcasts, and oddballs who would learn that, even with all its faults, the church is worth being a part of . . . and must be reclaimed for good.

If you’ve been burned or burned out by the church, if you’ve been silenced or misunderstood, if you’ve left or never even joined in the first place, this candid, hopeful book is your invitation to consider what you miss out on when you give up on church–and what the church misses out on when it gives up on you.

Kevin Makins (MDiv, Heritage Seminary) is the founding pastor of Eucharist Church in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada, which has been recognized as one of the most creative and innovative churches in the country and spotlighted on national television and radio outlets, in newspapers, and on podcasts. A frequent speaker at conferences and churches, Kevin also performs one-man shows in bars and makes videos for thousands on YouTube. His audience includes the faithful and the skeptical, those hungry to learn, and those who just want to hear a good story. He lives in an old house downtown with his wife, kids, and housemates.

 

When Mainstream Book Dealers Become the Default Christian Store

Editorial

Every time a bookstore closes it hurts, even if it’s three provinces away from where you live.

In many cities, a mainstream bookstore might find themselves picking up a few extra orders for titles from Christian publishers. The ones I’ve talked to are aware of this phenomenon, but say the impact isn’t significant. In other cases, the customers are forced to educate themselves how to order online from CBD or other online vendors.

But in a great many cases, the sales never happen. The books never find their way into a consumer’s hands.

I’m committed to Christian books reaching people in families, neighbourhoods, workplaces and schools. I don’t have a personal succession plan for what’s going to happen to my own store — we currently have 4,000 fiction titles alone, and over 1,000 Bible products — but I do have a succession plan for continuing to promote the reading of Christian authors and reference materials. I still hope to keep writing reviews, and personally promoting the efforts of remaining booksellers.

I would greatly miss that connection if it all ended tomorrow.

And so, here in Canada, we find ourselves in a situation where stores like Chapters/Indigo have taken up the slack, offering in many cases a fairly decent selection of Christian non-fiction, fiction, and Bibles. (In some U.S. cities, if there isn’t a Barnes and Nobles, there’s the option of discount chain Ollies, which carries Christian remainders from B&H, Harper and other publishers.)

It wasn’t always this way. For well over two decades, it appeared that Barnes and Noble in the U.S. knew the secret that Chapters didn’t. I even offered my services to Chapters once, but never heard back. But eventually suppliers — especially Hachette and HarperCollins — were able to convince the stores to stock the Evangelical authors they had always been lacking. Hopefully, they see return on these products. Today at Indigo you’ll find a mix of good titles; not just the cases where authors have found their way to FaithWords or Howard or Waterbrook (being distributed to mainstream stores through Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House respectively) but also titles from David C. Cook, Baker Group, or Tyndale House, which don’t have an affiliation with a major publishing house.

So it pained me to hear that Indigo is continuing to face the challenges we all deal with on a daily basis.

An opinion piece by Jennifer Wells in the Business section of The Saturday Star this week noted second quarter revenue dropped by just under $13 million. Online sales were down 12.2%. She writes, “…Not that long ago, the CEO was counting on a $20 and up share price and further U.S. expansion…On Thursday, Indigo shares closed at $4.26…”

On the upside, the article notes that “…bookseller James Duant, who really does sell books and has his own nine-store chain of bookstores in the UK…has run Waterstone’s since 2011, returned the UK chain to profitability in 2016 and is now trying to work the same turnaround at Barnes and Noble.”

Writer Wells concludes that 4th quarter profitability at Indigo, necessary to offset money-losing quarters, is key. Christmas is a make it or break it time. But she adds, “Heather Reisman hasn’t yet fixed the recipe for Indigo; that ‘curation’ she refers to in staging books amid a studied lifestyle.”

In many cities and towns that have already lost their Christian bookstore, losing that “Religion: Christianity” section at Indigo would be the end of a physical presence for Christian authors and publishers in those locations.

Read the full article at The Star.

Toronto Author Tim Huff’s 8th Title with Castle Quay; 5th for Children

From Canadian Christian News Service:

Just in time for Christmas, a new beautifully-illustrated children’s book by author Tim Huff focuses on the “true meaning of Christmas” in our highly secular and materialistic age.

Following the successful pattern of Huff’s previous best-selling and award-winning books, this special book is a vibrant and artfully crafted jewel, using excellent storytelling and colourful illustrations, interlaced with a call and challenge to children and adults alike to return to celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Themes are knit together in a perfect mix of contemporary Christmas motifs and traditional old school charm.

Readers will quickly discover that Christmas Hush is more than just a “what” is Christmas, but is likewise a “who” is Christmas. While Huff’s lively storytelling skills and vibrant illustrations make this unique children’s book great fun, the true magic is in the tender reminder about the importance of quiet moments spent thinking of and caring for others, in the truest meaning of Christmas.

Huff’s story introduces several new, intriguing and fun characters as readers follow adorable little Hush on a wild journey through a panorama of festive scenarios…

Castle Quay notes:

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tim has spent his life combining his love of creative arts, writing, and music with social justice endeavours. He has been in full-time front-line social justice work for over 30 years, serving, learning, and teaching across North America and around the world.

Tim is a much sought-after national speaker in addition to a best-selling author of books for adults and an award-winning author-illustrator of children’s books.

  • 8½ x 8½ saddle stitch paperback $12.95 ISBN: 978-1-927355-89-3
  • 8½ x 8½ hardcover $18.95 ISBN 978-1-988928-29-6
  • Not mentioned on the cover: Includes a downloadable audio performance link to a special “Christmas Hush” song written and performed by award-winning jazz great Mike Janzen
  • Tim Huff is both the author and illustrator of this book
  • Distributed in Canada by Parasource; Ingram/Spring Arbor in U.S.

Previous titles include: Bent Hope: a Street Journal, Dancing with Dynamite: Celebrating Against the Odds, which won Best Canadian Book of the Year award in 2011; The Yuletide Factor: Cause for Perpetual Comfort and Joy; and his previous illustrated children’s books, The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge: Helping Children Understand Homelessness; It’s Hard Not to Stare: Helping Children Understand Disabilities; The Honour Drum: Sharing the Beauty of Canada’s Indigenous People with Children, Families and Classrooms; and his most recent release Am I Safe?: Exploring Fear and Anxiety with Children, all published by Castle Quay.


Also at Canadian Christian News Service

A great celebration is planned for the launch… Parents and children are invited to a fun afternoon on Saturday, November 16th at Kings Christian Collegiate in Oakville (528 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W), between 2 and 3 p.m., in the new state-of-the-art thrust stage.

The launch event is sponsored by Marantha Foundation and will feature a live show with special original music by award-winning and renowned jazz pianist great Mike Janzen and a performance by acclaimed stage actor/producer Jason Hildebrand.

The event is free but seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. For more information send your name and number of guests to Allison at the email address contained in the linked article.

Devotions for Christian Writers

With three blogs, I receive a number of books unsolicited, but this one is probably one of the most unusual I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a book of short devotionals targeting a very specific market, but one which makes up many among our secondary readership here at Christian Book Shop Talk: Christian book and periodical writers and prospective writers.

As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers and Speakers by Glenda Dekkema, Melony Teague, Carol Ford, Caludio Loopstra, and Marguerite Cummings (Judson Press) was actually published in 2016. The even numbered (left side) pages feature the familiar devotional format, with scripture, article and prayer. But on the odd numbered (right side) pages, there is a journal format consisting (usually) of a question for reflection and then a writing prompt on the subject of the devotional.

As the author bios indicate, each of the authors is a member of The Word Guild, “a growing community of more than 325 Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals who are Christian;” best known for their annual conference and annual awards. (Additionally, all of the endorsements for the book are from Canadian Christian leaders.)

The 90 devotional articles are divided into several sections:

  • The (Writer’s) Craft,
  • Inspiration
  • Knowing Yourself
  • Well-Being
  • Personalities
  • Faithfulness

As a retailer, I’m always looking for other applications for a product, but this one has a very particular focus. That said however, the devotions are refreshingly and creatively different, but what else would you expect from some of our best authors? As the editor of C201, a daily devotional blog, I’d like to see them tackle something similar but with greater mass market appeal. I know it would be well done.

If you know a writer, a copy of this along with the current version of the Christian Writer’s Market Guide would make a very helpful gift set.

 

Remembering Norman Geisler

 

A leading voice in Christian apologetics, author Norman Geisler passed away on Monday at age 86.

Books by Geisler in Christian bookstores include: Who Made God?, Chosen But Free, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, When Skeptics Ask, Essential Doctrine Made Easy, If God Why Evil, and more. He also contributed to many other books, such as Four Views on Eternal Security and a large number of Bible reference books.

Richard Land, Executive Editor of The Christian Post wrote:

…Dr. Geisler has been the “go to” authority for more than two generations of evangelical seminary students who were looking for a bold, erudite, and uncompromisingly faithful defense of the inerrant, infallible Word of God and the historical doctrines of the Christian faith. His ministry was invaluable, and his influence incalculable…

The funeral service will be on July 6th, Saturday at 3pm in Charlotte, North Carolina according to his Facebook page notice.

Read more at Religion News Service.

 

 

Ontario Author’s Extensive Work is a Manual for People Dealing with Trauma

In a single moment, my entire life shattered before my eyes. Everything inside of me desperately wanted to scream out in order to give release to the excruciating pain. My mind was frantically scrambling, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Staring wide-eyed at my mom and with all sincerity, I concluded with, “Everything you’ve told me about God and Heaven had better be true!”

Last week I had the privilege of meeting Linda Joy.

Although she was in the store as a customer, toward the end of our time I learned about a book she had recently completed with Essence Publishing, and then we had a whole other conversation!

Journey from Redemption to Restoration: A Firsthand Account – Detailing the Faithfulness of God is probably one of the most unusual books I have ever held in my hands.  It transcends many different writing genres, making a description here challenging. It is a faith-inspiring series of personal stories of experiences that can only be described as miraculous. Miraculous in the sense of things like healing, but also in the sense of God moving in the everyday, such as repeatedly providing much needed housing just when it was needed.

In spelling out these stories however, the book serves a definite teaching function. There are times that Linda “breaks the fourth wall” and addresses readers directly, even to the point of having places in the book where readers can write their own name and the date, making their own declaration of casting their worries and anxieties on God.

This is the end product of reading these anecdotes. Linda tells of a situation where before prayer for healing, six people first gave their testimonies to help increase her faith. In a way, that’s a meta-reference to the book itself; she now does that for her readers believing her story can raise their trust and reliance on God.

In Linda Joy’s mind, the book is an anthology; she sees its writing style as similar to the Chicken Soup for the … Soul series of titles. In so doing, the personal vignettes from her life are arranged in twelve different categories. While the individual stories are concisely presented, as I skimmed the book’s 362 pages, it was impossible to read a single narrative in isolation without having to continue to the next.

She also sees the book as “a manual for trauma.” It’s the type of book that you could read sequentially, but also find yourself referring back to individual sections. I can also see this as a helpful resource for those who provide counseling to others. 

Linda Joy has chosen to live out the rest of her life in total thanksgiving to her Heavenly Father for all He has done, carefully unwrapping, thoroughly enjoying, and readily acknowledging each new day as His gift to her. She is a personal friend and intentional follower of Jesus Christ.
– from the Publisher website for Journey From Redemption.


Journey from Redemption to Restoration is published by Essence Publishing of Belleville; 362 pages; 35.00 CDN. ISBN: 978-1-4600-0869-0

Book trailer:

 

 

Remembering Jean Vanier

Best known to many of us as a one-time mentor to author Henri Nouwen, L’Arche founder Jean Vanier passed away earlier today, May 7th, at age 90. He had been in palliative care for just a few weeks at Maison Jeanne Garnier (Paris) where he died.

When he entered hospice care in April Aleteia.org noted:

…Vanier suffered a heart attack in October 2017 and has been resting since then, with periodic treatment. He has lived until recently at the small L’Arche home in Trosly-Breuil (Oise, France).

Vanier told Aleteia last September: “Today, I have no future, but I am happy in the present. At every moment.”

For decades, the work he founded has accompanied thousands of people around the world: In 2018, L’Arche in France had 4,000 members, including 1,800 disabled people and 1,150 volunteers…

His passing was noted earlier today by BBC News:

The son of a Canadian diplomat, Jean Vanier embarked upon a naval career that saw him serve during the World War Two. But in 1950 he resigned his commission saying that he wanted “to follow Jesus”.

He studied theology and philosophy, completing his doctoral studies on happiness in the ethics of Aristotle. He became a teaching professor at St Michael’s College in Toronto.

During the Christmas holidays of 1964, he visited a friend who was working as a chaplain for men with learning difficulties just outside Paris. Disturbed by conditions in which 80 men did nothing but walk around in circles, he bought a small house nearby and invited two men from the institution to join him.

L’Arche – the Ark – was born…

…In 2015, Vanier became the recipient of the Templeton Prize, an award described as “entirely deserved” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby…

…continue reading at BBC


Jean Vanier titles; note that one of his most recent titles was released by IVP (InterVarsity Press). This shows current English titles only; his books were translated into many languages, including nearly 40 titles published in French (see link below).

Product Name        
EAN/
Product Code
Supplier Pub Date U.S.
SRP
We Need Each Other: Responding to God’s Call to Live Together (English) 9781640600966
1640600965
Paraclete Press (MA) 09/18/2018 $19.99
A Cry Is Heard: My Path to Peace (English) 9781627853910
162785391X
Twenty-Third Publications 09/15/2018 $16.95
From Brokenness to Community (Wit Lectures) (English) 9780809133413
0809133415
Paulist Press 06/01/1992 $6.95
Becoming Human (-10th Anniversary) (-10th Anniversary) (-10th Anniversary) (English) 9780809145874
0809145871
Paulist Press 09/01/2008 $13.95
Jean Vanier: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) (English) 9781570758065
1570758069
Orbis Books 09/16/2008 $16.00
Drawn Into the Mystery of Jesus Through the Gospel of John (English) 9780809142965
0809142961
Paulist Press 08/16/2004 $22.95
The Gospel of John, the Gospel of Relationship (English) 9781616368906
161636890X
Franciscan Media 04/24/2015 $15.99
Life’s Great Questions (English) 9781616369415
1616369418
Franciscan Media 08/21/2015 $16.99
Community and Growth (Rev) (English) 9780809131358
0809131358
Paulist Press 12/01/1989 $22.95
Signs: Seven Words of Hope (English) 9780809148721
0809148722
Paulist Press 10/01/2014 $14.95
Jesus, the Gift of Love (English) 9780824515935
0824515935
Crossroad Publishing Company 09/01/1996 $17.95
Made for Happiness: Discovering the Meaning of Life with Aristotle (A List) (English) 9781487002572
1487002572
A List 09/05/2017 $14.95
Encountering ‘The Other’: (English) 9780809144099
0809144093
Paulist Press 09/01/2006 $9.95
Tears of Silence (English) 9781770898349
1770898344
House of Anansi Press 11/11/2014 $19.95
Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness (English) 9780830834969
0830834966
InterVarsity Press 06/01/2018 $17.00
Happiness: A Guide to a Good Life, Aristotle for the New Century (English) 9781611454970
1611454972
Arcade Publishing 07/01/2012 $14.95
Befriending the Stranger (English) 9780809146901
0809146908
Paulist Press 03/01/2010 $15.95
I Meet Jesus: He Tells Me “I Love You” (English) 9780809148356
0809148358
Paulist Press 10/02/2014 $16.95
I Walk with Jesus (English) 9780809148363
0809148366
Paulist Press 10/02/2014 $16.95

Additional out-of-print titles are listed at his article at Wikipedia.


Image above and some additional information used here was posted at a French language version of the story: Décès de Jean Vanier, fondateur de l’Arche.

Remembering Two Much-Loved Authors

This past week our bookstore community lost two very much loved authors, but very different, catering to two very different audiences: Rachel Held Evans and Warren Wiersbe. It speaks to the diversity or breadth of the constituency we serve that it includes such a broad range of writers; such a wide demographic.

Warren Wiersbe died on May 2nd at age 89. Anyone who has read the series of commentaries known informally as “The Bees” — Be Victorious (Revelation), Be Joyful (Phllippians), Be Mature (James), Be Real (1 John), Be Dynamic (Acts), etc. — knows Warren Wiersbe. (David C. Cook) There’s about 50 titles; which are also available in a two-volume hardcover set. Many of “The Bees” are also available in a study guide form — Wiersbe Bible Study Guide Series — for groups. A Wikipedia article credits him with over 150 books in total. Showing a sense of humour, his autobiography is titled Be Myself.

He worked for Youth for Christ, and pastored at Central Baptist Church in East Chicago, Indiana (1951–1957), Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky (1961–1971), and the iconic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Illinois (1971–1980). He was very much involved in mentoring pastors, including a young Erwin Lutzer. He was also a much sought-after conference speaker.

He will be greatly missed. Learn more at Christianity Today and Premier (UK).

Rachel Held Evans died on May 4th at age 37, after entering a coma following treatment for flu and a subsequent infection. The outpouring of love for Rachel on social media has been enormous. Her titles included Searching for Sunday , A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask, (formerly Evolving in Monkey Town), and her newest, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again. (Two Zondervan, two Thomas Nelson.)

The first report of problems came on her blog on April 19th. “During treatment for an infection Rachel began exhibiting unexpected symptoms. Doctors found that her brain was experiencing constant seizures. She is currently in the ICU. She is in a medically induced coma while the doctors work to determine the cause and solution.”

Updates continued until May 4th,

Rachel was slowly weaned from the coma medication. Her seizures returned but at a reduced rate. There were periods of time where she didn’t have seizures at all. Rachel did not return to an alert state during this process. The hospital team worked to diagnose the primary cause of her seizures and proactively treated for some known possible causes for which diagnostics were not immediately available due to physical limitations.

Early Thursday morning, May 2, Rachel experienced sudden and extreme changes in her vitals. The team at the hospital discovered extensive swelling of her brain and took emergency action to stabilize her. The team worked until Friday afternoon to the best of their ability to save her. This swelling event caused severe damage and ultimately was not survivable.

She leaves her husband Dan, and two children. Dan told Slate’s Ruth Graham, “She put others before herself… She shared her platform. She always remembered how others had helped her. She enjoyed seeing other people in contexts where they thrived. She didn’t hold grudges, would forget as well as forgive. She had little time for pettiness and a big heart for people. And these are all things I wish I had told her more while I still had the privilege to keep her company.”

News of her passing was carried at The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, People Magazine, and a great swell of tributes on Twitter at the hashtag #BecauseofRHE.

Read more at Slate, Health UpdatesReligion News Service, CBN News, and the GoFundMe page set up by fellow-author Sarah Bessey.