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Notable Books

Four nonfiction books


Notable Books
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The book of Acts ends suddenly and, with it, the Bible’s narrative of the earliest Christian churches and leaders. Many Christians have wondered what happened after Acts, and this is the question Bryan Litfin sets out to answer in his new book. He combs through history, tradition, and existing evidence to learn what became of the disciples, the apostles, and other important figures. His interesting research results and reader-friendly format will strengthen your confidence in both the authority and the truthfulness of God’s Word.

The Quest for the Historical Adam

Is Adam a historical figure who actually lived and is actually the father of all humanity? Or is the story of Adam in the garden of Eden a kind of metaphor we should understand figuratively? This has become a pressing question in the church today, and William VanDoodewaard’s The Quest for the Historical Adam carefully examines what Christians have believed from the time of the church fathers until today. He advocates a traditional understanding of the historicity of Adam by showing what Christians have understood and what is at stake if we waver.

Side by Side

I wholeheartedly agree with Ed Welch’s conviction that, in general, “God is pleased to use ordinary people, ordinary conversations, and extraordinary and wise love to do the heavy lifting in his kingdom.” God has assigned the joyful work of doing ministry to each of us who profess faith in Christ. Side by Side is a book of practical and biblical counsel for excelling at that very thing, and for teaching Christians to walk with others in wisdom and love. If we all did what this book advises, our churches would be much stronger and much healthier for it.

The Wright Brothers

It makes sense that David McCullough has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for few historians have his ability to recount history with such skill and verve. His latest, and perhaps final, work is a biography of the Wright brothers. From their humble beginnings as bicycle mechanics in Dayton, Ohio, they achieved worldwide fame as the first to successfully take to the air in a machine-powered aircraft. This account is both thrilling and fascinating, a quintessentially American tale of opportunity, ingenuity, and determination. No one could tell it better than McCullough.

Spotlight

At the annual gathering of the biggest book publishers, the BookExpo America, top representatives from book subscription services met to talk about the new trend. Book subscription services, like Scribd, Oyster, and Amazon Kindle Unlimited, use the Netflix model for reading: Customers pay a monthly fee, usually about $9, for unlimited access to a digital catalog of books.

The companies at BEA had collectively seen a windfall of $64 million in venture funding. Scribd, for one, argues it is only adding to publishers’ bottom line, paying publishers near-retail rates for every book a subscriber reads.

But publishers are wary. Of the “big five” publishers, three (Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster) share their content with Scribd and Oyster, and only their back catalog, not new releases. Andrew Weinstein, the vice president of content acquisition for Scribd, said publishers think the numbers are “too good to be true forever.” They think the subscription model might be an unsustainable revenue stream. But Weinstein pointed to diving retail book sales and said, “Everything is too good to be true forever.” —Emily Belz


Tim Challies

Tim is a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto and a former WORLD correspondent.

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