Luke at Him read!

Luke from Gracepoint Santa Barbara church, regaled his mom, Dora, with a loud and clear reading of this alphabet book. So of course she caught the experience on video so that you all can say, “awww” and then be inspired to pick up a book yourself, too! You see, we’re all about fostering love of reading for *everyone* here, whether you’re 2, or 22. Or 42. 🙂

Luke At Him Reading! from hemilykim on Vimeo.

Never Fear, The Book Fair is Here (again!)

BU-logoAn update from Bibliopolis U at Gracepoint Berkeley church. We had our first student complete her 4 books, and she’ll be receiving her free 5th book tomorrow! Maybe I can convince her to let me feature her on the blog with a little reading testimonial. Who will be our first post-grad to complete 4 books? 🙂

Anyway, after last Sunday’s smashing success, we loaded up all of the books into one van and had a second book fair this past Friday at DL.

a lot of books
I think we’re just a *little bit* serious about reading here!

While it was a Friday, it felt decidedly less like a Black Friday sale (see video below) than last Sunday, because we had the fair going on throughout the day and people were free to drop in to browse and purchase books at their leisure. There was also classical music and people hanging out reading throughout the rainy day. Very refined indeed.

Remember that we’re having another Book Fair tomorrow after Sunday Worship Service. It’ll be in the gym.

Check out this unscripted commercial for the Book Fair and find out why Jeff wanted to cry. It’s not because of Josh, really! It’ll be less hectic, and even more awesome, because we’ll have about 82 different titles (almost all of the ones on the Recommended Reading List) available tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

Book Fair Commercial from hemilykim on Vimeo.

The Case For Books (see what I did there?)

Many people at Gracepoint Berkeley church are rushing up to me saying variations of, “I’m *so* motivated and excited to read more books! But I haven’t read a non-required book in ____ years. I don’t know where to start!” After finding out a little more about people’s reading histories, I often recommend that people start with Lee Strobel’s The Case for _____ books, especially because many people associate Christian books, especially books on apologetics, with words like difficult, dry, boring, complicated, and are demotivated before even starting.

case for christStrobel, a former atheist, traces his journey to faith through his 1999 book, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. What I love about his books is that they are very accessible to the everyday person. While it is an apologetics book, it also reads very much like a story — it is investigative journalism, after all — and Strobel uses his background in journalism to weave in details, and even develop tension as he chronicles his own grappling with the evidence he encounters. It is both a compelling and edifying read!

For each chapter, Strobel investigates a different tough question regarding Jesus, through an interview with Christian apologists and theologians, including J.P. Moreland, Greg Boyd, and William Lane Craig. It is a great book for Christians who want to learn the evidence for why you believe what you believe, or how to present the evidence clearly and concisely. I’ve also found it is a great book for people who are not Christians, but seekers who are open to, or in the process of investigating the claims of Christianity.

Additionally, for each of The Case for… books, there is a “Student Edition” (middle and high school range) and a “For Kids” edition (for about 9-12 year olds). Bibliopolis patrons of all ages attest to how great they are.

The kindle version of The Case for Christ is currently $1.99! People often ask me my opinion on e-books. And while e-readers have done a fabulous job of simulating the sense of progress and even the act of flipping a page, I still think reading and holding a physical book, flipping and (sometimes ripping) actual pages is the best reading experience. But I’m no e-reader hater. I even like audiobooks (gasp!). I was kind of snobby about it all for a long time, but I’ve come to appreciate the pros and cons of all sorts of reading. In the end, reading an e-book is better than not reading any book. (You have to re-read that last sentence out loud…I’m on a roll today!)

Have you read any of “The Case for” books? Which is your favorite? (Mine is The Case for Faith.) What’s your take on e-books? Are you a proponent? Opponent?

Launch of Bibliopolis U!

BU-logoI am super excited to announce the launch of Bibliopolis U at Gracepoint Berkeley church! We’re starting a reading revolution, from the youngest all the way on up. To jump start everyone’s reading, we’ve released a Recommended Reading List 1.0. It’s a starter list, and we will be adding to it as we go along, but I think the 85 books should keep everyone pretty busy for a while.

To kick everything off with vim and vigor, we had a book fair in the gym after worship service. There was so much excitement it looked rather like a crowded subway station. But we sold over 320 books in less than an hour! We’re expecting a whole lot more books for this coming Sunday, and we’ll be relocating to a more spacious venue.

happy customers with books
These happy customers were willing to be photographed. Look behind them at the crowd…that was *after* a bunch of people cleared out.
veteran readers
A couple of veteran readers perusing the BU Recommended List. Joe: “I’ve read all the books on this list.” Annie: “Wow, you’re awesome!”

As an extra incentive, everyone received a bookmark with our great logo, and our key verse. And on the other side, the clincher: Read 4 books from the list, and receive your 5th book for free! Wowza!
bibliopolis U

Were you at the Book Fair? What books are you excited to read, or have already started?

Reading Makes Me Happy!

I received an update from our junior librarian over at Minneopolis, our MPLS branch. Abby Mr. Sketch from Gracepoint Minneapolis church sent over some photos of our youngest midwest readers, who are keeping warm by staying indoors and reading on their gigantic bean bag chair. 🙂

Clara’s kind of doing her own thing, but check out Stephen’s progression.

We’re considering sending in these photos as evidence for the case that reading improves one’s disposition. If any of you know little Stephen, you know he wouldn’t be smiling and exclaiming unless he was truly happy!


Read Ninja Read!

The parents at Gracepoint Riverside church are getting super skilled at capturing reading snapshots of their kiddos. Not sure if Anna wants Ian to share, or if she’s waiting for him to read aloud, but he’s really into the tactile elements of the book he’s got there!

Go ninja go! Reading is totally awesome, dude.
As always, feel free to send me any reading snapshots you’ve captured lately!

2016 Reading Resolutions & Reading Challenge!

You probably saw this one coming. I know we’re almost to the end of January, but 2016 still feels new, and the beginning of the year often means resolutions and goal-setting. “Read more” is often on people’s list of resolutions. In fact it was in the top 10 resolutions of 2015, according to the Nielsen Report.

Whether you’ve set some concrete reading goals (I’m trying to read 365 books this year — I’m on book 28, but then again, I read a lot of children’s books!), or you’re part of the generally “read more” group, I invite you to participate in the official unofficial 2016 Bibliopolis Reading Challenge.

  1. Read a Christian biography or autobiography. As you know, Nikki from Gracepoint San Diego recommends the Watchman Nee biography.
  2. Read, or reread, one of the C.S. Lewis FiveMere Christianity, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, The Abolition of Man, The Screwtape Letters.
  3. Read a Christian “series,” or basically 3 (or more) books by the same author. Whether it is Lee Strobel’s The Case for… books, Helen Rosevere’s Living… books. You can create your own series. 🙂
  4. Read a book that has been on your TBR (To Be Read) list for a long time. For me, that’s The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I’m completely serious when I say that it has been on my TBR since 1995. I think 20 years is long enough.
  5. Read a work of non-fiction that isn’t a memoir or (auto)biography.
  6. Read a book about a historical event or era.
  7. Read a book about or set in a different part of the world. Expand your horizons!
  8. Read one of the books that you were supposed to read in high school, but you fake read. Or if you were a dutiful student who read all of the books you were assigned, you can choose one of the “classic books” that other people seem to have read but your teachers never assigned. For me, that’s Homer’s The Odyssey. (I think it was because Homer was still writing it when I was in high school.)
  9. Read a children’s book you never read. It could be a recent one, or one from long ago. For me, that’s Where the Red Fern Grows. I know you’re thinking, “No, that’s actually impossible, because everyone’s read it.” But I’m not kidding.
  10. Read a book of poetry. Anthologies are good, if you don’t know where to start.

That’s 12 books, so you could break it down to an average of a book a month. If that’s too easy, then just double each of the categories. 🙂

Let the reading challenge begin, and let’s all celebrate having “read more” come December 31, 2016! Reading challenges are always fun to do together, so maybe you and your peers, life group, or housemates can participate together. Are you in? 🙂