Winter books 2021: Introducing BookShop

Photo from The Book Cellar's website.

Photo from The Book Cellar’s website.

My Chicago neighborhood is known for its lively town square. The heart of the physical square is The Book Cellar, a locally-owned bookstore that also sells coffee and wine, a trifecta that has made it my hangout of choice since we discovered this slice of heaven over 15 years ago.

The Book Cellar holds many memories for me. There’s the overstuffed chair in the corner where I studied Hebrew flashcards during seminary, a low table where my children once looked at picture books and drank “baby-chinos” of foamy milk, a high top where I’ve been known to meet with couples who’ve asked me to officiate their wedding and a counter where my kids and I solicited donations of picture books to offer at our local food pantry. These areas are currently roped off from the masked customers that swiftly brush in and out, but I’m grateful that our neighborhood bookstore is weathering the pandemic storm. We wouldn’t be the “square” without it.

I hope that the Outlook’s book issues will serve as a virtual town square. We’ve lovingly curated a shortlist of books tailored to the season — to nurture you during the liturgical season of Advent, lighten the gift-giving load for Christmas or to shine a light on important voices in our country’s political and civic climate that you may not discover on your own. This fall’s publishing season was particularly rich, so we dipped into popular releases that we think will inspire Christian leaders in daily living as well as ministry — these are the books you will want to read, gift and recommend to your book club.

When you want to pick up a few of these gems, come to our virtual town square to meet a new neighbor, When you read a review online, click on over to their webpage to purchase. The Outlook receives 10 percent of the purchase price AND they give 10 percent to local booksellers.

The Outlook’s decision to affiliate with BookShop wasn’t easy; thoughtful readers used to click our Amazon link, purchasing everything from books to snowblowers, and the Outlook received a percentage of their total order. We anticipate that our relationship with BookShop will be less lucrative, and yet so much more joyful. Just as I willingly spend a few dollars more at The Book Cellar because it’s an investment in my community, the Outlook is helping to create the kind of equitable world we seek. That’s good news in my book!

Want to purchase any of the books in this issue? Follow this QR code to our BookShop account. If you purchase a book through this page, Outlook gets 10 percent of your purchase AND 10 percent of your purchase is donated to an independent book store. To use the QR code, open the camera on your phone, hold it over the graphic and click the link that appears. You can also visit our BookShop page by going to