I love books. Maybe you’ve figured it out by now, but if you haven’t, there it is: I love books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the piles of them (er, sorry Patient Husband…I’ll move those books from your side of the bed soon…) and most of all reading them. In my lifetime, I’ve consumed a zillion books.
Maybe Capt_Cardor will post in about his books, actually. Since he was ten, he’s kept a running index file of which books he’s read. I think he’s on book one million now.
I’ve begun receiving free books for review from Thomas Nelson and from The Catholic Company. The most recent one is from the Catholic Company, a book from Sophia Institute Press called “How To Pray Well.” I picked it based on description.
Prior to that, I’d been looking on the Thomas Nelson website for a book to request for review, and the only thing that looked moderately intriguing was a book about how you can pray and God will free you from habitual sins. I didn’t request it because I’d thought, “This is really just a long magazine article.” (As should have been “Love and Respect” by Eggerichs, which we beat to death here a couple of weeks ago.) Every one off their offerings was the same way: a long magazine article; an old truth boiled down to a hook, wrapped in a jacket with a pretty picture.
When “How To Pray Well” arrived, I was startled to find a faux leather cover with no illustration. Just the title and author. I flipped through it, noted the table of contents where he divides prayer into four kinds (adoration, gratitude, penitence, petition) and then went to the front, where it begins, “Adoration is the most excellent kind of prayer. Adoration consists of — ”
I stopped and turned back, looking for the introduction I’d obviously missed. No, none. I checked the publication date: 1929. Back before you had to have splash and a statement of purpose, pizzazz, a speaking platform, and a hook. This author thought, “People ought to have a book on how to pray well” and wrote it. If you picked it up, you were drawn only by the title. “Hey, I could stand to pray better!”
But think about that: no introduction. No, “I got the idea for this book when — ” and no “Fifty people at a prayer seminar said to me, ‘Emerson, you need to publish this stuff!'” and “In this book you will learn about four methods of prayer and The Very Best Way To Approach God.” There’s no thanking his cousin or a quick encapsulation of his hook. He doesn’t give you his credentials or lead with an anecdote.
There is simply a hundred and twenty page discourse on how to pray well.
It’s a book being naked. It’s completely standing on its own merits, something most publishers wouldn’t dare nowadays. I’m impressed. I have to say, after a steady diet of glitz-Christianity and personality and overblown magazine articles and “Gospel in a minute” books, I’m very impressed.