SIMON'S NIGHT is a simple, beautiful novel (as the book jacket proclaims) by Jon Hassler that I discovered on our Steals & Deals shelf ($1 Cloth 50¢ Paper). It almost went into the free box, but I got interested in this tale of a retired English professor who decided to check himself into a private rest home. Here's a quote:
"The point is that if priests were smart they would move their confessionals and their power of absolution out of the churches and set them up in shopping centers, for it's there, while handing its precious money across those counters of jewelry and flowerpots and prewashed jeans, that humanity seems most vulnerable, seems least confident and most unsteady, seems about to weep for mercy. Coming out of shops, people stand and look into their empty billfolds and purses like sinners looking into their souls. A priest with a stall between the fountain and Faracy Floral could absolve a thousand penitents a day. In a month he could counsel every last wicked or despairing soul in Ramsey County. It's just an idea, Lord; take it up with your bishops."
...which some days seems to be what we're up to at The Word Shop.
SIMON'S NIGHT is now on the regular Fiction shelf, for the newly exalted price of $2. You snooze, you lose.
"Write in Time" is the title of our summer writers/artists series, which kicks in Friday, June 16th at noon. The focus is crating on the pallet of time. Um...that was supposed to be CREATING...though crating on the pallet of time has a certain ring of reality. Check out the events page of www.companyofsaints.com for details. (Check it out anyway....ADD something.)
MORE FICTION: I sat next to a lovely lady, Francine Rivers, during lunch at the Mt. Herman Writer's conference. She writes romances and told me to try REDEEMING LOVE, a gold rush era rendition of the book of Hosea. It was fabulous. Now I've ordered her first book in the MARK OF THE LION series. (Somebody else ordered it in Spanish!) It begins with the fall of Jerusalem. Here's the first line: "The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles."
The fiction editor from Baker Book house wandered around the Christian writer's conference with a glazed expression that managed to remain reasonably cheerful as she explained for the thousandth time 'exactly what literary fiction is.' An article in April's Christianity Today also talks about these new books, which might offend that entity called "The Christian Market." Since we've already offended most everybody, I ordered in THE SECRETS OF BARNEVELD CALVARY by James Calvin Schapp and RESTING IN THE BOSOM OF THE LAMB, a southern novel by Augusta Trobaugh. The difficulty is, of course, that people who assume that all Christian fiction is pabulum are too busy reading Oprah selections and the people who only like pabulum will be offended. So who's going to read this bunch of books? (Stay tuned for the soon to be written novel, FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS.)
Just in case you think that only fiction types were at the Writer's Conference, I also sat next to a body smuggler named Chuck Bennett who had been the head of three different mission organizations. He donated a couple copies of his book, GOD IN THE CORNERS to The Word Shop. It's an Indiana Jones devotional: every day a different country, a different adventure. A guy kinda thing. Perfect for Father's Day.
OLDIES: Right. We're supposed to be a USED Christian bookstore. On the Fiction shelf (not to be confused with either Steals & Deals or Classic Literature shelves) we have such classics as Costain's THE SILVER CHALICE, a stack of Georgette Heyers mysteries & romances ($2), Graham Green, the first two of Gilbert Morris' WAKEFIELD DYNASTY (which has been described to me as "candy"), all four of Perretti's older books, Several of Bodie Thoene's ZION SERIES ($3), Joyce Landorf, Michael Phillips, P.D. James, Thomas Mann....Summer is supposed to mean reading a novel all afternoon while slurping on fudgecicles.
GOOD OMEN: Son Shawn made me read this wild and wacky apocalyptic comedy by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Crowley (demon) and Aziraphale (angel & used bookstore owner) are going about their several duties as the earth winds up its last days. The only problem is that they've both gotten rather fond of old earth and don't want it to end. Irreverent on all points, the novel still serves up a healthy dose of incarnational theology vis a vis Chesterton (who the novel is dedicated to). A wonderful ride for the brave (and foolish). Here is a quote that my husband for some unknown reason found great glee in reading to me:
"Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand book seller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours--he was incredibly good at it."
Did I mention Harry Potter?