I just received two books for review from Armour Publishing: The Life and Ministry of John Sung and The Diary of John Sung. The books are published to commemorate the 110th birthday of John Sung, which falled on the 27th of September. I must admit that I was so happy when I received the request, as this is the first time ever I receive books for review. Sending books to bloggers for review is a common marketing practice in North America (and Europe, I guess), as it is a quite effective way to disseminate information about new books to significant number of people, especially if the targeted market of your books reads the particular blog passionately. That’s why blogger like Nick Norelli received hundreds of books for free every year. (And I do envy him. A lot.) I don’t really expect this happening in Singapore, as the market is quite small and the reading culture is not really there, so I am quite surprised when I received the request for review. Anyway, it is a good surprise to have, isn’t it?
On the subject matter of the books themselves, John Sung, I just knew that we shared the same birthday. Not to mention that he also did a PhD, and that he went for theological studies afterwards. It is a little bit creepy, but as for me I wouldn’t mind getting into Union Theological Seminary in New York, and I hope the similarities would end here, as I really don’t want to end up in an insane asylum for 193 days.
(I don’t really like thoroughgoing liberalism, but Union has a huge history. Notable people who have graced Union: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, E. P. Sanders, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Raymond Brown, James Cone, Dorothee Sölle, Harry Fosdick, Henry Sloane Coffin, and Paul Knitter. Bonhoeffer went to Union for post-doctoral fellowship three years after Sung left Union.)
I am a little bit ambivalent about which book I should read first. I am thinking to read the Diary first, as I never really read any primary source of him. On the other hand, you also need to know the situation where John Sung was in to appreciate him better, which is provided by the Life and Ministry. Well, I guess I will stick with the Diary first.
I will post bits and pieces from each book from time to time (which sometimes might even veer away to other related and not so related topics), and I will post the full review of the Diary on Oct 27 and the Life and Ministry on Nov 27.
Finally, I know that sometimes people wrote a disclaimer saying that they received no incentive for reviewing the book (and disowning any conflict of interest whatsoever), but I guess for me getting the books themselves is the incentive. Many thanks to Armour Publishing!