Hearts & Minds BookNotes

annotations, blurbs and ruminations

to enlarge the heart & stimulate the mind

and to happily generate mail order business for Hearts & Minds bookstore

My Photo
Location: Dallastown, PA

My lovely wife Beth and I own and operate--proprietors makes us sound more classy than we really are--a cluttered, diverse and independent bookstore in Central Pennsylvania. After well over 20 years, we are still not sure what to say when people ask if our shop is a "Christian bookstore." I do a monthly book review column over at our website; we hope that these new blogged bits will afford friends and customers the chance to see other books I happen to be reading, wishing to read, pretending that I read or at least believe that others should, if not read, know about. We have three children, attend a Presbyterian church in York, PA and have no hobbies.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Just a bit about two new ones...

I have some very great news to share about a new book by my friend, Sam Van Eman, whose new book on advertising, and a faithful Christian response, is called On Earth as It Is In Advertising? Moving From Commercial Hype to Gospel Hope and was just released from Brazos ($14.99.) Sam has done workshops on discernment in media and pop culture with college students for years, and this is a very nice guide to the hard work he’s done. It is one that we feel strongly about and it is (and this is rare, these days) a solid Christian book on a topic about which there really are no other similar books. Kudos to Sam. Way to go. You'll have to bear with me as I try to tell you about it in a way that is more than commercial hype and which invites you into Sam’s deepest heart: to share gospel hope.

I will tell you about this new book, though, later. As you know, I’ve held the hand of a man as he breathed his last this week; the funeral is tomorrow. (And, I've been beaten up in the paper, too, a bit, by those who say I am way wrong to condemn nuking civilian cities, and that such a conviction applied to Hiroshima is anti-veteran. I have drafted a reflection on how my father-in-law, and my own father—both named Harry, and both proud W.W. II vets—had moral qualms about Hiroshima, based on this historic, Christian-influence of the West: the immunity of civilians. So, I am still thinking about how to give witness to a Christian perspective on the bombing of civilians, wondering how my dad and my father-in-law would speak to this, this week and wishing blog readers would ponder those last couple of posts.) So. I just can’t quite find the energy to give Sam’s book the authentic enthusiasm it deserves. Order On Earth as it is in Advertising from us right away, I’d say. But if you need some coaxing, I’ll get to that when I am less pensive.

Similarly, there are other fun and good books that I am itching to tell you about, but, again, can’t quite work up the energy to sit at the keyboard for long. I’ll have to post often over the next weeks…

Here’s a providential one, though. You may know about my high, high regard for the extraordinary, remarkable and finely crafted books by undertaker/poet Thomas Lynch. For my little rave about The Undertaking: Life Notes from the Dismal Trade and the sequel, Bodies at Motion and at Rest: Essays on Metaphor and Mortality see here. They were the first books I read a few years back after my dad’s death in a car accident, and they had extra poignancy, then. But they are still top-shelf and among my all time favorite books.

I was browsing through one of my father-in-law’s new AARP magazines in his empty living room yesterday and found an insightful article on funerals and their shallowness, these days. (We were, fittingly, in said living room meeting with the pastor to plan the funeral service.) After the second or third line, the writing was so fine that I exclaimed out loud “This has to be by Thomas Lynch.” And so it was. I tried to find it on line for a hyperlink, but couldn’t. He had a cover story a year ago in Christian Century too. Again, no link. He has bunches of columns at Beliefnet but not sure how to get you to 'em. So go here, for a printed interview with Lynch, and a video stream.

Mr. Lynch's brand new book, Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans (Norton; $24.95) just arrived at the shop. Gordon rushed over right away to pick one up---a new book by Lynch is an event around here. I myself, of course, would relish reading more of his wisdom about death, dying and the dispatching of the dead. But this travelogue and reflection on his trips to the land of his people may just may be a very pleasant treat, in a couple of weeks. The blurbs on the back are spectacular, and I will tell you more about that, later, too. Promise.