Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category


Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

9780735213296_fc74bPublishing today and already rising on Amazon is The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher (PRH/Sentinel; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), moving from #727 to #18.

Dreher, a senior editor at The American Conservative and the author of How Dante Can Save Your Life, believes that Christians have lost the culture wars and suggests that, rather than continuing to fight a losing battle, they should retreat into their own communities, following the example of St. Benedict of Nursia, a sixth-century monk whose followers kept their faith alive through the Dark Ages. Dreher suggests contemporary Christians do the same, creating strong churches, private religious schools, and strengthening their community bonds to one another.

David Brooks features it in his popular NYT column today. While vehemently disagreeing with Dreher’s points, he calls the book  “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.

In late February The Atlantic ran an in-depth feature, saying Dreher’s “work is largely a project of lament. He speaks about Christianity in apocalyptic terms … He prophesies dire scenarios for Christians in America … Most importantly, he writes with resentment, largely directed at those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and their supporters—the people, he believes, who have pushed Christians out of the public sphere.”

The Washington Post predicts that we will  “hear a lot about the Benedict Option” and “Dreher calls Christians to build Christian institutions ‘that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.’ The Benedict Option is nothing if not embattled. Readers are left to wonder if military metaphors are the best way for Christians to think of relating to non-Christians — that is, their neighbors.”

It was not widely reviewed pre-pub and few libraries we checked have placed orders. Those that have are showing holds as high as 7:1 on token numbers of copies.

Dreher was on Fox news last night. Host Tucker Carlson said the book is “blowing up the Internet.”

Cleaning Sweeps Up

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9781601427960_b52b8Currently in the #12 spot on Amazon’s sales rankings, The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker (PRH/WaterBrook) appeals to fans of the surprise hit, now a trend-setter, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Becker has a ready audience. He runs a heavily trafficked website, Becoming Minimalist. His book appeals to two currently hot topics, decluttering and learning to live with less, but with a spiritual element. Becker describes his approach by saying, “There’s a better way to live life—one that recognizes the empty promises of consumerism and champions the pursuit of living simply, Scripturally, and Jesus-centered.”

Holds in several libraries we checked were running far over a 3:1 ratio on very light ordering while other systems have yet to buy.

Are YOU Ready To See Your
Fixer Upper?

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

9780718079185_a0cf7The hosts of HTGV’s popular design show Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines, have teamed up with New York Times bestselling collaborator Mark Dagostino on a memoir.

The Magnolia Story (Thomas Nelson) is due out on Oct. 18 (Magnolia is the name of their various businesses).

People offered a “first look” at the cover and reports the memoir starts long before the couple became famous for their 360-degree restorations of houses in need of repair.

Casual viewers of Fixer Upper may be surprised that the book is published by Christian publisher Thomas Nelson, not known for design books. Although they don’t talk about it on the show, the Gaines have a strong Christian faith (the Billy Graham web site published a story last fall titled, “How God Used Billy Graham to Influence Fixer Upper Family“) and The Magnolia Story is primarily a memoir.

Joanna Gaines is also working on a design book, as noted in a press release, to be published by Thomas Nelson Gift Books in early 2017.

Expect an extensive media campaign for the memoir closer to pub. date.


Friday, November 27th, 2015

9780061125867_cb911Featured on CNN under the headline, “Could This Quran Curb Extremism?” The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (HarperCollins/HarperOne; OverDrive Sample) rose to #142 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Passed over by trade reviews thus far, this new edition has received a great deal of attention from the scholarly community. It is, however, designed for all interested readers.

The CNN report also links to Christiane Amanpour in a long conversation with the book’s co-editor earlier this month about public perceptions of Islam.

The Trailer

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The first preview of Miracles from Heaven, a new movie starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah has been just been released

9780316381833_fc723Based on the book Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing by Christy Wilson Beam (Hachette; OverDrive Sample), the film is highlighted in a People magazine online spread. It tells the story of a young girl who “survived a 30-ft. fall from a tree and told her parents she had visited heaven – then was inexplicably cured from her terminal digestive disorder.”

The new issue of People magazine, on newsstands this Friday, features the story in full and includes “additional photos from set and more from Jennifer Garner.”

The film’s release date is March 18, 2016. The Sony producing team behind the 2014 movie Heaven Is for Real is also heading this one.

Although the book title sounds like a several  bestsellers, this one did not hit any of the lists and was not reviewed pre-pub. It was written by the girl’s mother, played by Garner in the film, and is her first book.

Two tie-in editions are forthcoming in February.

9780316311373_2cc88Miracles from Heaven — Trade pbk. ISBN: 9780316311373
Miracles from Heaven — Mass Mkt. ISBN: 9780316355322

Note: Tie-in cover art is forthcoming


Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 1.05.55 PMNadia Bolz-Weber’s third book, Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People (RH/Convergent Books; Random House Audio), just hit the NYT Bestseller list and is getting widespread attention, with holds rising as a result.

Bolz-Weber spoke with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air last week, giving a sense of both her book and her approach, saying “Some churches might have a hard time welcoming junkies and drag queens; we’re fine with that.”

The Atlantic and The Huffington Post have also posted features with Huff Post saying Bolz-Weber is:

“… one of the most important Christian voices around — not because she has come up with some catchy, easy new way to do faith, but because when she talks about the destructive power of sin, as well as redemption and grace, she knows of what she speaks.”

Like her memoir’s title, Bolz-Weber is an accidental pastor. She found her path in the Lutheran church only after working as a standup comic with a heavy drinking problem. Her book is inviting, profane, and big hearted.

Holds are exceeding a 3:1 ratio in many libraries we checked. Some libraries have yet to place orders.

Pope Francis Arrives Next Week

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.21.57 AMIn case you haven’t heard, Pope Francis will make his first visit to the US next week, arriving in Washington, DC on September 22, followed by tours of NYC and Philadelphia.

In anticipation, yesterday’s NPR Fresh Air featured Paul Vallely, who wrote Pope Francis: The Struggle For The Soul Of Catholicism (Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample; 2013), discussing the changes the Pope as made within the Church.

9781426215827_7afb4Published to coincide with the visit, National Geographic released Pope Francis and the New Vatican by David Yoder last month. Filled with 140 “never-before-seen” photographs, the publisher says the photographer got them by being “embedded with the Pope inside the Vatican for 6 months.”

For those planning displays, last year Publishers Weekly offered a rundown of the big new and forthcoming books on the Pope, including the “highest-profile book in the Francis lineup,” Garry Wills’s The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis (Penguin/Viking; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample; March, 2015).

CAPTIVE, Trailer

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Faith-based movies and tv shows have become significant money makers, so much so that the Hollywood trade publication Variety sponsors an event titled “PURPOSE: The Family Entertainment & Faith-Based Summit.”

One of the keynote speakers this year will be David Oyelowo, who starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. According to Variety, he is a devout Christian, who only takes roles that reflect well on his beliefs.

In the upcoming movie Captive, he plays the real-life Brian Nichols, an escaped convict who murdered four people and took Ashley Smith as hostage in the process. By reading to Nichols from Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life, (Zondervan,2002), Ashley (played by Kate Mara) managed to talk Nichols into turning himself in. She then wrote an account of the experience, Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story Of The Atlanta Hostage Hero (HarperCollins/Zondervan, 2005), on which the movie is based.

The movie is being released by Paramount on 9/18/2015. The trailer was just released:


Captive : The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero
Ashley Smith
HarperCollins/Morrow: August 18, 2015
Paperback, $14.99 USD, $18.50 CAD

But the book that may get the biggest boost  from the movie. is The Purpose Driven Life,

Fifty Shades of Protest

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.07.13 PM Heading in to Valentine’s Day weekend, which morphs this year into Fifty Shades of Grey weekend as the R-rated movie opens to major box office expectations, the book it is based on is #3 on Amazon’s best seller list, followed closely by the boxed set of the entire trilogy. At #13, is a title that sounds similar, Fifty Shades of They (Creative Pastors) by the founding pastor of the Fellowship Church, a Dallas megachurch, Ed Young.

Although the title may seem to pay homage to E.L. James’s famous novel, Young calls that book a “perverted attempt to trap readers and leads them to a misunderstanding of what intimacy and connection are all about.” As a protest, he plans to “baptize” copies of it this weekend. His book, published by Creative Pastors, an imprint of the Fellowship Church, is about forming relationships with the “right ‘they'” and claims to offer “fifty simple, yet profound insights that will help any relationship thrive.”

60 MINUTES On Pope Francis

Monday, December 29th, 2014

9780770435066_74f48CBS dedicated yesterday’s entire 60 Minutes show to Pope Francis and the Vatican (including a repeat of Morley Safer’s visit to the Vatican Library three years ago).

As a result, On Heaven and Earth by Pope Frances and Abraham Skorka (RH/Image, 2013)  rose to #214 from #43,488 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Lunar Predictions

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Blood Moons RisingWas last night’s blood moon, the first of four that will occur this year, just a beautiful event, or does it portend something more? The Washington Post takes a look at several new books that claim the event  fulfills the Biblical prophecy, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord,” in the Book of Joel 2:31.

The most popular of these comes from Texas televangelist John Hagee, Blood Moons Rising, (Tyndale House). It is currently at #4 on the New York Times Advice & How To best seller list.

Holds Alert: ZEALOT

Monday, July 29th, 2013

ZealotAttention to Reza Aslan’s book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House) blew up over the weekend after his appearance on the show “Spirited Debate.” Host Lauren Green grilled Aslan about why, as a Muslim, he would write a book about Christ, to which Aslan replied, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

People weighed in all weekend, with the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum tweeting that the interview was, “absolutely demented” but that Aslan “handled it with remarkable calm.”

The book debuted at #2 on the latest NYT Combined Print & E-book Nonfiction best seller list but this controversy has sent its sales even higher. It is now at #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are multiplying in libraries.

The author has appeared on several other shows, including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

By and About the New Pope

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

LIFE Pope Francis

The new pope is getting the Life pictorial treatment in Pope Francis: The Vicar of Christ, From Saint Peter to Today, (Hachette/Life). A paperback book/magazine edition appears on newsstands this week, with the hardcover releasing on April 16.

A book by the new Pope, previously published in Spanish in 2010, will be released in English on May 7. On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, (RH/Crown/Image Books) is a record of conversations between the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. According to the Random House press release, the two religious leaders address “such topics as God, fundamentalism, atheism, the Holocaust, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization.”

It will be released simultaneously in print, digital, large print and audio formats. The original Spanish-language version, Sobre el Cielo y la Terra will be published in North America in both trade paperback and eBook by RH/Vintage Espanol.

Also coming from the Image imprint of Random House is a book by Robert Moynihan, the founder of Inside the Vatican magazine, Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas.

Behind the Scenes at the Vatican

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The Vatican DiariesIn an amazing stroke of good timing, Vatican reporter John Thavis just published The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church (Penguin/Viking).

He appears on NPR’s Fresh Air today, sounding as surprised as anyone by Pope Benedict’s resignation; “most people around the Vatican, including journalists, are a little bit disoriented … It almost seems as if Benedict made his decision without necessarily scripting the entire process in advance and leaving his Vatican aides to scramble for answers. … no one here really knows what’s going to happen next.”

After Lincoln and Kennedy

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Killing JesusBill O’Reilly announced at the end of last night’s OReilly Factor that his next book will be Killing Jesus (Macmillan/Holt; 9780805098549), to be published on Sept. 24th (via USA Today).

O’Reilly said, “My co-author, Martin Dugard [also the co-author of Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy] and I have uncovered some amazing things about the execution of Jesus of Nazareth and how it all tied into Roman power.”