Saturday, March 10, 2007

Discerning Reader

In the last post I talked about the inadequacy of searching for books in the big book distributor catalogs. You could start with Amazon, for example, but that's incredibly broad. You'd be sorting through a lot of dreck. You can narrow your search by choosing a Christian book distributor like CBD. That's perhaps a little more helpful, but you'll still be scrolling through long lists of books and depending on brief publisher blurbs.

So perhaps I need a distributor/bookdealer that has sorted even more "severely" than CBD. I've occasionally visited Discerning Reader. It's administered by the indefatigable Tim Challies, bless his heart. Perhaps the sort at Discerning Reader is a little more skewed toward the reformed perspective than I might wish (I like to think of myself as reformed-ish) but I can certainly live with that. One really nice feature here is the Reviews page. I'll have to add that to my RSS reader, or maybe just bookmark it and come back now and then to see what's new (I'm really an old fashioned Internet user that way).

At DR I'm able to browse a more manageable list, selected by a trustworthy guide. Sure it's not thorough, but it's an interesting compilation of titles and the reviews are truly helpful. And I've found something else here too: Expert Lists: These are recommended reading lists from a handful of people (deemed "expert" by Challies). Tim's explanation:
This feature was inspired by comments made by John MacArthur during the 2006 Shepherd's Conference. A young man who was in ministry but had not had opportunity to attend seminary asked Dr. MacArthur what he would recommend to this man so he could continue learning and growing. MacArthur's answer was that this pastor should find godly men he admires and read what they read. This inspired us to find godly men and to ask them to share books they have read and enjoyed so others can also learn from these resources.
Anyway, this is pretty much a gold mine, in my opinion. I do have a feeling that the next book I read will be from one of these lists.

Okay, so I've only skimmed the surface of Discerning Reader, but I like what I see there. But I also know that DR excludes books from the Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions, and I don't really want to exclude these entirely from my personal search, so DR can't be the be-all/end-all for me. Onward, Christian reader.

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