I remember when one of my sons came home a few years ago with an armload of vinyl LP’s. “That’s dinosaur technology,” I said.
He disagreed. He loved the warm sound (complete with a few pops and crackles), the cover art, the liner notes and the experience of holding a piece of the artist in his hands. An MP3 just can’t deliver that experience.
The Englewood Review of Books has carved out a niche for itself in cyberspace as a thoughtful and wide-ranging book review site, with a side of poetry, essays and other miscellany that is meant to spark interaction among spiritually-hungry readers. My husband and I have both reviewed books for them over the last year; I found out about ERB in the most modern way possible, circa 2010 – I followed their twitter feed. (@ERBks, in case you’re wondering.)
They recently launched a print version of the site. In an era when newspapers and magazines are evaporating into the ether at a stunning pace, coming out with an ink and paper Englewood Review of Books is perhaps one of the most countercultural things the ERB team could do. But I have the sense that this is not all that different from when my son came home with vinyls in an MP3 world. Bill and I plunked down our shekels and became charter subscribers.
I love Christianity Today’s Books & Culture (though we’re not subscribers at present), but believe there is room in the evangelical world to support an alternative vehicle for print book reviews. The first issue of ERB arrived here last week, a tidy little 40-page effort that tackles books very loosely grouped around the theme of space and includes reviews of Milbank, Zizek and Davis’ Paul’s New Movement, Jones and Musakare’s Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven and Roden’s America’s Four Gods. There are a couple of author interviews (Sean Gladding, Willie James Jennings and Anne Jackson), a couple of poems, and a bit of editorial essay sprinkled in the mix.
It is like the website, but it is not the web site’s content repackaged and slapped into print. It is readable, but it is not light reading. In short, it is another way of creating a conversation about books, faith, culture and lifestyle, and is worth your consideration if you care about any of these things.
And I’m not just saying that because I do some online reviewing for them. 🙂
P.S. – Bloggers, you can get a free copy of the first-ever ERB print edition if you’re willing to chat it up. Click here to learn more.