Wow, Banner of Truth have really gone for something different this time! 'The Work of His Fingers' is essentially a children's picture book with a rhyme 'in praise of creation'. The artwork is fascinating and the rhyme is surprisingly informative, even scientific. This is certainly not another vaguely inane children's poetry book with stupidly unrealistic pictures. I used it for the boys' bedtime story this evening and discovered that it led to all sorts of topics of conversation - the rotation of the earth, the ozone layer, the planets and universe. This did make me wonder what age group the book is really aimed at. Obviously at 4 and 2 yrs (and of course our 11 month old was listening in too) our boys found the science a bit mind-boggling, although rhyming books always go down well. The large booklet format (A4ish) would be good if this book was used to read to a group of children, but I think A5 would perhaps have been a better size for more personal reading. All in all though, I think it's a lovely book and will no doubt be reading it many more times yet.
Perhaps you wouldn't think that a catalogue of some 1400 commentaries on books of the Bible would be something to jump at. But, being Spurgeon, it has become a classic, though just now reprinted after a gap of some years. It may be considered dated because of all that has been produced since his era, but still it remains true that much of the best had been done by then. Being a paperback it can be taken with you to secondhand bookshops for consultation - you might stumble across some hidden gem! Generally speaking Spurgeon displays a good and witty judgement in his brief assessment of each book. There is also a thought-provoking lecture 'On Commenting' at the beginning which gives direction on making practical use of his work when it comes to preaching/teaching. Maybe a good Christmas present for your pastor, if you dare! Costs £8.95
If you're looking for suitable books for children this Christmas, look no further! We have recently updated our Young People page with better pictures and descriptions of the books to help you make a more informed choice. Don't forget we also have plenty of Reviews of the books on our site. PLUS, we are only a phone call away if you want to discuss any further details. We're always happy to help! Lorna
'My bestest book about Jesus'. This is the way Matt (age 4) describes his current favourite 'The Life of Jesus for the Very Young' by Isobel Tallach (Banner of Truth, £1.25). It's an A5 wire-bound booklet outlining the life of Jesus, from his birth, through some of his miracles and parables and ending with the gospel simply explained in his death and resurrection. The pictures are very stylised (no pictures of Jesus) but our boys find them fascinating. At only £1.25 it can't really be passed over.
4pm and the Bookshop closes for the week as the new Chapel next door opens. The first service of any kind here was held today. It was a short prayer meeting just for the very regular church and congregation. There are still a number of details to finish off (including chairs & signage!), but it is so good to get in at last. Services will switch back to here from the Priory Lane Church Hall as of tomorrow. Normal times apply: 10.20am Prayer Meeting. Preaching services 11am & 6pm.
New out from Christian Focus is this book subtitled 'The Challenge of the Aged Parent'. In her usual easy manner Ann Benton writes about her experiences of looking after her father-in-law giving much practical and biblical instruction along the way. Here's an extract...
'Each one of us is made in God's image; each one is a living soul. To treat with tenderness and respect the ageing body of an elderly relative or neighbour is fitting because of what that body houses. Such a treatment is not borne of sentimentality, because the person concerned is 'a dear', although that may be the case. The motive for care and concern for elderly people is that each one is made in the image of God. And though time and wear and tear has made some of these folks unattractive or cantankerous, they are still worthy of respect because they remain God's creation and bear his image.
Every congregation of believers in Jesus Christ can demonstrate the grace of God in action by its treatment of and attention to the elderly. This is gospel work.
In an inhumane world the church is called upon not only to preach but also to adorn the gospel of Christ and draw attention to the fact that faith works. How can that be too much trouble?'
Christian Focus Publications have now brought out their popular Lightkeepers series in box sets. What a brilliant idea! For those who don't know the series there are 10 titles, 5 of 'Ten Girls Who...' and 5 of 'Ten Boys Who...', each has 10 short biographies of well known Christians written for approx 8-10 yr olds. If bought singly, these books are £4.99 each, however you can now buy them in box sets of 5 (a 'boys' set and a 'girls' set) for £19.99 - effectively one book free!
There is a proliferation of books on courtship & marriage, even divorce, but we have just one book in stock on singleness. One! and that one has been in the shop for 4 years. 4 years!! Why doesn't anyone buy books on singleness? I'm not saying there aren't many books being published on singleness - there may be dozens, but we find that this topic just does not sell well. Why? Is singleness a taboo subject? Okay, so I am married - you may think I am totally unqualified to waffle on this subject, but I would suggest that singleness for the Christian is something very different than singleness for the non-christian. Perhaps all those single Christians out there are actually very happy with their singleness and therefore don't feel the need to buy these books. If that is the case, great! But perhaps someone could help me out by buying this book and giving it to a single friend who isn't as happy as themselves.
'Fine China is for Single Women Too' by Lydia Brownback (published by P & R, £8.95) is a well presented small hardback that would be perfect as a gift for a good friend.
p.s. If you order it and leave a comment on the blog I'll let you have it for 6 quid.
Back in the thick of it now, getting the buzz of life in a Christian Bookshop in the run up (it seems so long!) to Christmas. I have been ticked off twice now by customers for using the shorthand 'Xmas' instead of 'Christmas'. Apparently it takes the Christ out of Christmas and is from a secular mindset, but I maintain he was never in it anyway. The Bible is silent about celebrating 25th December, except that if we decide to observe a day or not, the principle is that we do it 'unto the Lord'. So, we sell cards to those who want to send greetings at this time of year, but just have no particular religious fervour in doing so. Calendars are less contentious at least, although our AV Block Calendar has been slated for supposedly encouraging people to only look at one text of scripture a day! In fact it is intended to send readers to the Bible to look up the context, and we have received much positive feedback over the years to the profit people have found from it. It is selling steadily this year - down to our last 250 now. The message is clear: buy now before it's gone. For just £6.95 plus postage you get the condensed prayerful output of a year's worth of someone's Bible study. We always have to be about a year ahead in order to get it printed on time. The texts for 2009 are now just about ready for proof reading. It's like coping with 2 christmasses at once! Jeremy
As part of our preparations for our evening event this week we wrote out numerous 'shelf-talkers' - recommendations for our favourite books. This one is a classic - written spontaneously by the son of one of our helpers when she asked him why he liked his favourite story bible. I don't know how anyone can resist the book when it has such a sincere recommendation!
I jolly well think it is 'OK to cry' for a man when you get an eyeful of this cake selection photographed at last night's women's only event! By all accounts it was a definite success - the whole evening, not just the cake. Careful planning was well rewarded. I noticed significant gaps on the shelves first thing this morning. Feedback from customers was along the lines of "It's so nice to be able to have a good look at the books without children fussing around" and "Lovely atmosphere" (I think referring to the mood lighting and friendly service) and "When are you going to do another of these evenings?" One on Sunday School / Bible study materials was specifically requested, so that is a measure in itself of how well things went, as well as a cue for the future. Lorna and her crew have been fantastic - here's a picture of her flanked by her expert advisers on the night, all exhausted but radiant!