Joel

Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll

51 posts in this topic

As previously mentioned on a lonely little thread in the "Work in Progress" section, I wrote a book, and it's real enough of a thing that I think I'll start a thread for it here. The book will be out sometime in October -- it's a small publisher, Cascade Books, that doesn't send out books unless they're ordered, so there's not a specific street date and I don't know exactly when they start printing them.

Here is a little blurb that describes the book pretty well:

Church-camp sing-alongs gone horribly wrong, infatuation with contemporary Christian music, teenage love set to indie rock soundtracks, playing rock in churches and church music in rock clubs, betrayal by Christian rock bands—Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll is a book about how listening to music makes us who we are, and it’s an exploration of the intersections between the evangelical church and the pop music scene. The author, a youth group dropout turned music critic, combines laugh-out-loud humor with thoughtful reflection to describe how his obsession with rock and roll has shaped him, and how living in the shadow of God and guitars can transform all of us.

You're invited to read it when you get the chance! I'll let you know when it's available.

FYI, this is the second book in the "Experiences in Evangelicalism" series (the first was the excellent Jesus Girls) which is a venture of the good people at The Other Journal.

Edited by Joel

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Congratulations! Looking forward to it.

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Congratulations Joel. Any excerpts available online?

Matt

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Congratulations Joel. Any excerpts available online?

Matt

Thanks, guys. I know I haven't been that active on here as of late, and it's nice to have the support.

I'm talking to Patrolabout running an excerpt, and maybe Killing the Buddha as well. I'll let you know when I know more. I know off the top of my head that 4 of the ]blog posts I've done for Image at Good Letters were reworked and put into the book

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Amazon listing! (Note: it'll be cheaper to order from the publisher's website when it comes out.)

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A couple of events scheduled:

New York City - October 15 @ the All Things Project at the Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village

Musical guest Matt Basinger

Delta, BC - October 25 - the Kindlings Muse Canada West @ the Delta Lion Pub

Vancouver, BC - November 10 @ the Wired Monk in Kitsilano

Musical guest Miles Mattix

Seattle, WA - November 18 @ the Q Cafe, sponsored by the Other Journal, IMAGE, and KSPU

Musical guest Erick Newbill (of Fair) and others TBA

Edited by Joel

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The book is now officially "in print" -- my copies have been shipped! (I'll believe it when I see it, though.)

It will be available for online ordering as of next Wednesday; I'll post a link.

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Book is available! If you order now, you may get a copy with a typo that is the result of hilarious misunderstanding involving an A&F member on the back cover.

Order it here!

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The book is a whole lot of fun. I read it on an airplane and the long flight was a breeze. I was laughing out loud at Joel's playful use of footnotes. He has a distinct, enjoyable voice. It's on my nightstand so that I can finish it soon, as my own deadlines interrupted my progress. But I will finish it, because I'm eager to see how he wraps it all up.

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Overstreet wrote:

: It's on my nightstand so that I can finish it soon . . .

You endorsed it without finishing it!? 8O

BTW, in case I haven't said this at A&F yet, Joel's is the first book that I have read electronically -- on my cell phone, in fact, which I assume has a tinier screen than Kindles and iPads and whatnot. (Don't know about iPhones.) I rather liked the experience -- though I'm sure the fact that the book was such a fun read helped, too. :)

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Did you know Malcom Muggeridge endorsed books after reading only the dust jacket?

I do not look at an endorsement as "Yes, I've read the whole thing and it's flawless." An endorsement can be, "Joel Hartse writes with a compelling voice, insight, and experience." An endorsement can be "The opening chapter alone is worth the price of the book." And in my experience, most endorsements are collected by publishers who send you the book and say "We need to hear back from you in a week." When my publisher sends out copies for endorsement, they send out early drafts, not the finished product, and they allow about a week's time for the readers to reply.

So you can probably safely assume that most endorsements come from folks who haven't read the whole book... or who may have read a draft that is much-changed by the time it hits the shelves.

Edited by Overstreet

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Well gosh. Now I feel silly for asking for (and getting) a deadline extension so that I could read the last chapter or two before writing my endorsement. (Or do I...?)

And given how Malcolm Muggeridge completely missed the point re: Life of Brian (if memory serves, it's not even clear whether he had even seen the film before debating it with the Pythons), I'm not at all surprised to hear that he offered his opinion on various subjects without doing any research first. ;)

(And now I'm getting flashbacks to my 1997 interview with N.T. Wright, where I asked him why, in one of his books, he expressed dissatisfaction with a book by Luke Timothy Johnson that he had previously given an endorsement to. Hmmm, now that I think about it, the part that he said he was most dissatisfied by was the second half of the book -- the part which, perhaps, he hadn't had time to read yet before he endorsed it!)

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Ack. Just double-checked my Muggeridge reference. He *reviewed* books after reading the dust jackets. So never mind about endorsements... I would never *review* a book having only read the summary. I'd have to read the whole book. An endorsement is different than a review. I recommend a lot of books that, if I was reviewing it, I would give mixed reviews.

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Sorry, just one more flashback.

I found myself thinking back to an article on evangelical ghostwriters that was originally posted by the Washington Times on July 7, 2000, portions of which can now be found here, among presumably other places:

The day may come, he says, when a Christian work is "a celebrity preacher's ghostwritten book of ghostwritten sermons bearing a ghostwritten foreword by another celebrity and ghostwritten endorsement blurbs on the dust jacket by still more celebrities, none of whom has read the book."

And the person who forwarded this article to the discussion list I was on at the time added the following note:

Well, we're at least part way there. A couple years ago my wife helped ghostwrite a "celebrity" foreward to a book by an author mentioned in this article.

So, hmmm, that would be another way to beat the endorsement deadlines, I guess. The question is: do the ghostwriters read the book before ghostwriting the endorsements!?

Okay, I'm done now. My apologies, Joel, for the quasi-hijacking.

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Overstreet wrote:

: Ack. Just double-checked my Muggeridge reference. He *reviewed* books after reading the dust jackets.

Yikes! I can't imagine trying to fill a typical word-count without knowing what is in the actual book itself. Or was Muggeridge just writing tiny capsule reviews? That might be easier to fudge your way through.

At any rate, the fact that he read the dust-jackets before reviewing the books rather than before endorsing them does resolve one question I had, i.e. how Muggeridge could read the dust-jackets before he had contributed his endorsements to them. :)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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That's OK, guys. It's good for the thread to have Overstreet & Chattaway writing stuff in it!

I assumed that people who endorsed would be doing so because they knew enough about me & my work to feel like they wouldn't be doing something stupid by giving their stamp of approval, whether or not they managed to read the whole thing.

Anyhoo!

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When humorist Leo Rosten asked Groucho Marx to provide a jacket blurb for Rosten's new book, Groucho offered the following:

From the moment I picked your book up until the moment I put it down I could not stop laughing. Someday I hope to read it.

Now I'm flashing back to three or four years ago when Peter got a ton of grief from a talk show host in Michigan because Peter reviewed a film without having read all the way through the book on which the film was based. But of course, that's different.

At my ghostwriting firm I have seven employees. We do jacket blurbs, introductions, etc., with 6 readers and 1 writer. Five of the readers split up the book and read it ... so if it has 20 chapters, each of them reads four. The sixth reader reads a sample of writing from the person who is endorsing the book. The writer writes the blurb, and then the readers look it over and make any necessary changes for accuracy and style. Since they all work simultaneously, the whole process usually takes 90 minutes or less.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work. For all I know, my employees are just playing cricket all day long over there in Hyderabad. But they do produce good blurbs. We haven't had any complaints yet.

Edited by mrmando

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At least, that's how it's supposed to work. For all I know, my employees are just playing cricket all day long over there in Hyderabad. But they do produce good blurbs. We haven't had any complaints yet.

Is this all real?? Sorry, the line about Hyderabad made me think maybe it was all in fun, I really know nothing about ghostwriting. This is utterly fascinating to me. Somebody should write a book about it. Maybe you could knock one out in a couple hours?

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Anybody else think I really outsource book blurbs to a team of ghostwriters in India? Show of hands?

Previous post was missing one of these, I guess: ;)

Edited by mrmando

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Anybody else think I really outsource book blurbs to a team of ghostwriters in India? Show of hands?

Previous post was missing one of these, I guess: ;)

It was all so detailed! Now I really wish it was true.

edit: I realize that most people would say "I wish it were true" but I think that's annoying. My editor changed that multiple times in my book and even though it's "correct" I think it cramps my style. But anyway.

Edited by Joel

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BTW, Joel, I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I got a kick out of the fact that (1) you spend one chapter (or part of it) ruminating on the transition from CDs to MP3s, i.e. from physical media to virtual media, and (2) shortly afterwards you ask the reader if he or she ever felt like throwing your book across the room. Given that I was reading your book on my cell phone, I found that kind of ironic. (And no, I would NEVER throw my cell phone across the room!!)

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edit: I realize that most people would say "I wish it were true" but I think that's annoying. My editor changed that multiple times in my book and even though it's "correct" I think it cramps my style. But anyway.

Well, I wish the subjunctive were still being taught in schools...

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Heading to the Canadian version of the Kindlings Muse tonight! Discussion of themes in my book, including but not limited to the relationship between Nine Inch Nails and dc Talk. (I hope.)

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