Okay, shoppers! Only 67 shopping days until Christmas!
I admit, I’m as caught in the net of consumerism as much as anyone else. Christmas (or, if your faith prefers, the solstice or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) is a time for gift giving. But even though George W. Bush might think it is our patriotic duty in tough times to buy an HDTV or an American-made car, I’d like to spend the next 9 weeks promoting a different kind of gift: books.
I love reviewing books, and I’ve posted a number of reviews on this site (you can see a list of them all here). Normally I like to write an in-depth review, getting into not only what the book is about, but why I value it and consider it relevant for today’s Christians, contemplatives, and other spiritual seekers.
But as we approach the 2009 holidays, much of my time is invested in writing my own book, which is why this blog has been a bit neglected as of late. Frankly, taking an hour to write a detailed book review seems like a luxury right now. So I’m going to try something new, which was actually recommended to me by my good friend (and postmodern Christian prankster) Mike Morrell, who wrote to me in a recent email:
Book-blogging does not have to be book-reviewing every time! You don’t have to rival the New York Times Book Review on every post . . . Depending on the particular book and how it engages you, your post can be as little as a mention, a few sentences, or a paragraph. You can keep it short & sweet … Book-blogging can be a thought sparked by the title, an impression, or your review of a particular chapter (or even paragraph) of the book.
So now I have a new distinction: book-blogging as opposed to book-reviewing. I guess it’s kind of like the difference between posting a long detailed entry to my blog, versus a quick little Twitter or Facebook status update (although I can’t/won’t get that brief when writing about books).
So here’s my experiment: I’m going to try over the next few weeks to post mini-reviews of as many books as possible (hopefully one a day). I’ll mix books new and old, books that I strongly recommend with those that I simply think are interesting, books that are explicitly contemplative/mystical with those that have a more general Christian focus, books that are aimed at a popular audience and books that are more academic in tone. The only boundaries is that all of these books will have at least some sort of a spiritual focus, no book will be mentioned that I actively dislike, and I’ll be trying to keep the reviews short and sweet (let’s see how good I am at that). So stay tuned: the first mini-review posts in a few minutes, with more to come!