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Follow Up on the Best Sellers List

Posted by James Carroll on

On January 13, I wrote about the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s 100 best-selling Christian books of 2016. In case you missed it, I found the list a little discouraging and very telling. Apparently, some people on the ole Facebook did not love my thoughts. For the record, I wasn’t trying to take shots at the books on the list per se, but to respond to the list as a whole. But to be fair, I can see where my comments could be construed as an attack (especially if you count coloring books as books). Well I figure if I’m gonna take a shot at ‘em, I might as well do it head-on. So I’ve decided to read the top 10 books on the list and write a short reaction.

Before I get started next week with The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines, I thought I would introduce the series today and explain what I’m trying to do.

First, I’m not going to provide full reviews. A “real” review gives detailed literary criticism based on analysis of a book’s content, style, and merit. My goal with these blog posts is to react to the book on a much lower level and then make a recommendation. Please don’t look for sophisticated critique of the book; instead, I’ll tell you what I liked, what I didn’t like, whether I’d recommend it, and I’ll offer my perspective on why it’s popular.

Second, I’m sticking with the theme from the original post: namely, the list says more about evangelicals than it does about the individual books/authors. While I’ll offer my opinion about each book, I’ll also offer an opinion of why the book is so high on the list and what I think that says about readers. WARNING: this part of each post will probably be the most offensive. The list is a mirror and I’m going to bring the reflection into focus to make you think about what we’re all reading.

Third, I welcome dialogue. My posts won’t be infallible and some clarification along the way will help all of us. There’s one line in the original post that I would re-write if I were posting it today, but unfortunately, that’s the way it goes. While I could update the page, the “Internets” has it now and I’ll try to do better next time. But judging by some of the responses I don’t know that it would matter because I’m pretty sure some people didn’t quite understand what I was trying to say. For the sake of clarity with these posts, let’s use the comment section below to chat about them.

Fourth and finally, I’ve never been big on coloring sheets, but I promise to complete a page out of the adult coloring book. I’m dreading it already, but in the name of research… I’ll persevere.