It really is a lovely place. It doubles as a coffee shop and a bookshop, with a great second-hand section upstairs. (We'll get to that in a moment.) I've been to many 'Christian bookshops' in my time and some of them can be a wee bit pants. You know what I mean: soft Xian rock playing in the background, posters bearing the laziest of theological puns usually designed to intersect with a cultural trend at least 2 years old, etc. Thankfully, the GNC is not really like that. Great food, some lovely art. Not cheesy, just.. peaceful.
As mentioned, upstairs is a great selection of second-hand texts, ranging from theological to pastoral to biographical pieces.
I really do love second-hand bookshops, don't you?. I know I'm not the only one; you might well be 'one of us', too.
There's something delicious about the smell, the feel - but most of all, that suspicion that today's the day. This is it. You're going to find - just beyond that next spine, just on the next shelf or across the other side - that book. The one you want. The one you need (using that word loosely). Absurdly cheap, too. Pristine edition of Calvin's sermons on Job for 50p for example, or, Barth's Church Dogmatics for £1.50, or, a complete Whitefield collection for a fiver. (No? Just me?)
It'll happen one day. You know it; I know it. We all know it. It's why we love second-hand bookshops if we're really , truly honest. It's like some sort of horrendously dull addiction. Gambling for the short sighted.
Then my wife came up to check on me.
It quickly became clear that this kind of super-sharp theological argument just wasn't going to cut it (alas, I have work to do still), and I'm given a budget so painful it'd make George Osborne cry pound coins. (That was a political joke, get it? That's the kind of biting satire you can expect here at TLD. It didn't even really work. Stick around kids.) What you see in the photo above is the result of my eventual choosing.
There are some great texts here. Several highlights:
- A book about the marriages of famous theologians and pastors (eg. Luther, Wesleys, Edwards, Billy Graham, Booth, etc), by William Petersen. Really looking forward to this. Much has been written about Luther's marriage but it'd be good to read more. Meanwhile, these other relationships I've never even encountered before. I think William Booth will prove particularly interesting.
- "Connected", by Sam Alberry. I'm cheating here; my Father-in-Law got me this one as a gift, but bought it on the same afternoon of our visit. This one's about the trinity with particular focus on practical application. The Trinity "just is", so "what now". Interested to see how this can help me in some of my more catechetically oriented sessions, at the Sunday evening service with students at my Church.
- A biography of Whitefield. I don't know what it is, but I have a strange connection with this guy. I think it's largely that he and I both share/d a passion for street preaching but in particular preaching 'in the theatrical'. "I will not be a velvet tongued preacher", as he once said. He wished to make the true look true using the same toolset that the actors use to make the false look real. This beautiful thing deserves such treatment. Good approach, I feel.
- Two texts dedicating to cultivating a daily prayer office. I like structure and my background has a special Anglican flavour. Not just that, but I'm magisterially Reformed by conviction. Go figure. Looking forward to getting my teeth into the Northumbrian office, as well as a wonderful printing of the BCP and Common Worship. Jo and I have already started sharing complines together. So wonderful. Been trying to find the equivalent of a Genevan Office for a while. If anyone has any ideas, let me know! :)
Anyway, just thought I'd share this with you. If you're around Newent, do drop into the Good News Centre. Great stuff. And, without trying to sound like 'one of those people', remember to support your local bookshop! (I immediately sound like one of those people.) I use amazon as much as the next guy but it's important to sustain local businesses. Chester now has no Christian bookshops anymore (discounting the dubious collection in the Cathedral), whereas it used to have at least two. (Although one had such a tense atmosphere that you felt you needed a PhD just to enter.)
Have you got any good book hauls recently? Had any good bookshop experiences? Thoughts about bookshops in general, or Christian bookshops in particular? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!