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?