Blogger: Michelle Ule
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Most Christian nonfiction is about Christian living–self-help books, advice on a myriad of subjects, or a manuscript on how to apply the Bible to life. A cursory glance at Christianbooks.com’s website today shows ten of the twenty-five top sellers as nonfiction projects.
What makes a project attractive to the nonfiction reader? One that identifies a “felt need” and provides advice on how to live with that need. This can range over the gamut from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World–how to live a more spiritually-focused life within the context of our frenzied society– to No More Christian Nice Guy–a clarion call for men to stick up for themselves even at church. While many of us would agree our lives are too busy and we really would prefer to be more like Mary who chose “what is better,” in Jesus’ words, Paul Coughlin’s title, No More Christian Nice Guy, probably piqued the curiosity of some of you.
And that’s the key to Christian living–either plainly declaring the subject (Where Have All the Good Men Gone?) or using a catchy title to draw the reader to a concept (How to Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World). It can include humor (Getting Old Ain’t for Wimps), how to’s (Prayer Walk), and general reflections on life (Horse Tales from Heaven).
It also was the key to my early walk as a Christian. Growing up in an academic, non-church-attending family, I didn’t have a clue about how to diaper a baby, much less how to raise one in the Christian faith. I started with Dr. James Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child, and from there became a regular reader of Focus on the Family materials. I could not have successfully raised my children without those important Christian living books.
These days my child-rearing is behind me, and my radio-listening is done in short spurts. While I used to learn about Christian nonfiction books that could help my life from friends and the radio, these days the avenues are not as broad. With so many Christian magazines truncating their content and book reviews, it’s harder than ever to find books that might pique my interest or fill a felt need. Which brings me to my questions:
Where do you find nonfiction book suggestions?
What types of Christian living books appeal to you and why?
What books have you recommended over and over again?
And what Christian living-type book made a difference in your life?