So my workweek consists of working with a few dozen publishers to make sure the right readers see the right books at the right time. Through catalog, email, and display advertising, tens of millions see new, bestselling, and sale priced books that will bring them into a closer relationship with God. I work pretty far out, so the books you see in promotions and on shelves today, I saw in February. (Just yesterday, I was working on a plan for August 2015!)
By the time a book hits the shelf, it’s almost “old news” to me. That’s one of the things I have yet to come to grips with about my profession. When I initially hear about or read some great books, it’s way too early to tell people about them. They will forget all about it by the time the books are available months later. When people ask what I am reading, it’s usually something they can’t read for some time.
I was recently asked what ten books I’m most excited about releasing through the rest of the year. These are the Christian books I am happy to see on shelves of Christian bookstores. There are a number of mainstream releases I am anticipating, too ((Nick Hornby), but here’s why I am looking forward to these ten upcoming book releases.
My one snetnece summation of this book is this: although Christians are saved by grace, very few know how to show grace. And that is why the world tends to hate Christians. People who didn’t follow Jesus still wanted to be around Him, yet his followers repel those who don’t agree with their convictions. So how do we fix that? This is a core message on the nature of grace that should be required reading for anyone who claims to follow Christ.
Jesus Daily is one of the most popular Facebook pages, and the leading faith-based page. Each day, multiple posts are made with inspirations thoughts and images coupled with Scripture. I usually think these are cheesy, and often taken out of Biblical context. But at least millions of people are reminded about God’s presence and role in their life. The devotional will give a bit more in depth inspirations each day, and encourage some social media action related to that day’s devotional. Engaging millions to act on their faith each day could have a big cultural impact. With 27 million fans on Facebook, even if only 5% buy the books it’s a huge seller!
There are a LOT of books on prayer (and other spiritual disciplines) coming out this Fall. Seeing multiple publishers release books around a singular theme shows how God is working amongst His people. And for some reason, slowing down to nurture the soul is a big topic this year. No offense to other books on prayer this fall, but Keller’s sensitivity and brutal honesty to a skeptical audience will be a welcome voice on this topic.
This is going to be the most surprising read for the fall. When you pick up a Ted Dekker novel, you expect to encounter absorbing characters whose stories are filled with twists and surprises, a take that evokes wonder and intrigue. Ted has brought us to a dark world the last few years, a step away from his earlier work in more traditional contemporary fiction. But with A.D. 30, Ted stretched himself and his readers by working within a completely new genre, while still giving us the intrigue he’s known for. I’ve long expected Ted to provide a read of thrills and even horror. But nothing caught me by surprise more than an historical fiction novel set in biblical times. Ted’s faith is worn on his sleeve in A.D. 30, as he shares the story of Maviah, a reluctant desert queen who encounters the teachings and person of Jesus. Reading the familiar Bible stories now, Maviah is found in the crowds around Jesus in my mind’s eye. Ted’s fans are in for a surprise with his latest book; but those who have never read Ted (or those who gave up on him when he took us to darker corners) are in for an even greater surprise as they discover the storytelling expertise revealed in A.D. 30.
Dozens of devotionals release each year. I am sure that each one of them will be a wonderful point of spiritual connection for someone. And I’ve already mentioned one devotional on this list. But after a while, so many devos just start saying the same thing. For reflections from a book that is called “the LIVING Word of God,” I’ve found a lot of devos to be dead. Then I pick this one up and start reading it, finding daily thoughts that will stick with me throughout the day. That’s what I look for in a devotional. The couple weeks that I’ve read of this devotional have made it my top choice for daily readings in 2015.
I’ve seen miracles happen. And I’ve seen them NOT happen. When and how and who and why and where miracles occur is beyond my comprehension, but I am still inclined to believe they can/do/will happen. Jesus performed them, and said that his followers would do “even greater things,” so I think miracles are real. Perhaps they are not as rare as we think, and maybe miracles are smaller (or bigger) than we ever thought. I’m really interested in Metaxas’ take on a subject that hasn’t been addressed this way since C.S. Lewis.
Fascination with the “end times” is a relatively recent development in Christianity. It’s only been in the last couple hundred years that Christians are speculating about every facet of the Lord’s return. Although I don’t find this subject as intoxicating as many others, I do value a voice like this in the conversation. With all that is going on in the world, Jeremiah’s critique of the end times will open awareness without naming names with a trusted voice.
Every now and then you read a book that slows you down and makes you reevaluate the way you exercise your faith, both the private and public aspects of living as a follower of Jesus. Although we don’t have this plugged into any upcoming promotions at this time, this thoughtful, well-written look at spiritual formation is one of my favorite reads this year. I savored every word I read in this book, with anticipation for what I’d read next while simultaneously wanting to bask in the words I had just read. This is absolutely one of the best books that I have read in the last year, and ranks as one of the favorite books in my vast library. I’ll revisit this one often.
Remember those Bible storybooks at the dentist office when you were a kid? If not at the dentist, surely your grandparents had one or two. This book is like those on steroids. So many lush illustrations with around 300 stories. Nearly 25,000 copies have already sold in the last month! I think this will be a great seller through Christmas as the early adapters begin sharing this with their friends. If a family with children is on your list, here’s a no-brainer.
Last year, Batterson was early on the prayer bandwagon with The Circle Maker. I liked that book, and may have even written a blog about some things it challenged me with. (If not my blog, definitely in my journal). This time out, Batterson tackles the seven miracles of Jesus that John wrote about. I’m sure that he’ll have many stories about miracles his church has seen, but more importantly he’ll point us to the One performing the miracles. Batterson’s book on miracles will be a more accessible look at the subject than Metaxas, but a welcome study of the ministry of Jesus.