One of the things I’m getting used to in publishing is the concept of reviews. It’s strange to put such personal thoughts down on paper and then have professionals tell me what is worthwhile and what is lacking in what I’ve written. I know it’s part of the business, and I realize my thoughts are in a book on store shelves rather than in my personal journal, but it’s strange nonetheless.
More than strange, I’m finding it’s both a blessing and a danger. It’s a blessing because these kinds of reviews can serve to promote the message of this book—that Jesus is the only true satisfaction to the deepest cravings of our soul. And I think that is a message worth sharing to as many people as will hear it. But it’s a danger as well because I can begin to believe that writing is about me. I can soak in the praise and defend myself against the criticisms, and I can far too easily fall into a season of making much of myself, when the reason I write is to make much of Jesus.
Publisher’s Weekly recently reviewed Crave in its November 2009 issue. They are the standard in the industry, and from what I hear, they can be fairly hard on books, and they don’t often review first-time, unknown authors. My publisher was very excited with this review, and I’m grateful PW took the time to go through the book. The parts that aren’t as positive as others sting a little, but mostly because they’re accurate.
Here is the review:
Crave: Wanting So Much More of God Chris Tomlinson. Harvest House, $13.99 paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-7369-2693-5
This first book by Tomlinson, a management consultant, is a perfect fit for the booming spirituality market, particularly for enthusiastic, evangelical 20- and 30-something audiences. He begins his personal musings with a simple thesis: it is too easy to become a “comfortable Christian” and we must always search for ways to express our active devotion to God and Jesus Christ. This premise is not particularly innovative, but his writing style is straightforward and personally honest. The author acknowledges his own struggles with pride while retelling, often with humor, his only-too-human attempts to reach lofty spiritual goals such as charity and purity. Every chapter opens with vivid and iconic imagery—a spoon, a bit of floss, a pager—tangible symbols throughout the book for more abstract ideas like obedience, joy, and comfort. In sum, the product is endearing and inspiring, especially appealing to young, male evangelicals. One chapter specifically devoted to the intersection of his spirituality and military service will also draw the interest of Christian men and women in the armed forces. Tomlinson’s debut leaves room for future development while it meets the expectations of readers and the genre as a whole; he is worth watching. (Jan. 1)