What I Look For in a Book

There are two things I look for in a book: Solidness and Freshness. I’m going to start rating books on these criteria. For each category, the book can receive a score of minutes (-), neutral (0), plus (+), or plus-plus (++).

Solidness: Is the book theologically solid?

“-“ The book holds a position that stands in opposition to Biblical orthodoxy regarding the essentials of the Christian faith.

“0” The book is a mixed bag of good and bad (wrong, unclear, sloppy) theology. I’m not going to nit-pick here and I don’t expect every book to be a theology book.

“+” The book has solid theology and all the essentials and I agree with the author on most disputable matters of the Christian faith.

“++” I can find no problems with the book theologically. It is solid and precise. It presents multiple sides of the issue where there is room for disagreement.

Freshness: Does the book present new ideas or old ideas in fresh ways?

“-“ The book presents no new ideas and presents old ideas in uninteresting ways.

“0” The book presents no new information but presents old ideas in interesting ways.

“+” The book makes fresh connections between old ideas and presents its thesis in a compelling way.

“++” The book presents new ideas or a novel way of looking at an old idea. There have been a few books in my life that have resulted in a paradigm shift in how I think. These are the books that receive a “++” rating.

The ideal books are those that are theologically solid and present me with a new way of looking at the world.

What do you look for in books?

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3 thoughts on “What I Look For in a Book

  1. zanspence

    Nice. I would add another category called “Writing style”. Which I think is important. So using your score syntax rules:
    “-” redundancy- repetitious information beyond reinforcing the outline
    “0” pure testimonial or pure academic – the book reads like a Spirit filled diary or memoir sharing what God did for you. the book reads like a textbook or doctrinal manual
    “+” half-testimonial, half academic – a Spirit filled intellectual read
    “++” (can’t really think of any thing) 🙂

    1. stevenkopp Post author

      Yeah, I may need to add “style” in there. Initially, I had sort of considered as a contributing factor to the other two categories (a poorly expressed idea is almost as bad a bad idea) but perhaps it needs its own category. Someone also suggested relevance – another good option I think.

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